November 17, 2010 – Dryhead Updates

Though much of this post shows things I’ve lately seen in the Dryhead area, I’m going to start with some photographs of the improvements made to the cattleguard that is on the new north boundary fence.

This part of the fence has had some additions to further reduce the chances that horses can be injured by it. Also, a spring gate now goes across the cattleguard.

The cattleguard has had more bars welded onto it to further reduce the chances that a horse could get injured by crossing it.

As you can see, there was a good amount of snow when I took these photographs last week. Though there was this snow up there, the lower elevation areas were mostly clear of it. However, we had another snowstorm hit earlier this week; a and the mountain is snow covered.

Before this happened, though, I spent a good amount of time on the Range, especially in the Lower Sykes and Dryhead areas.

Upon seeing Fiero, I found that  he had two more in his harem than he should.

The new members are Cascade and her yearling Johnston, who had been with Blizzard.

I found this interesting, and so I worked to try and find Blizzard to see what was going on. I found him higher up on Sykes Ridge’ and I found that in addition to missing Cascade and Johnston, he was also missing Beauty. He only has Bakken and her yearling Chief Joseph.

As I hiked around this area, I heard the sounds of horses; and so I went down and was surprised to find Beauty. She is with the young stallion Fools Crow!

It will be interesting to see how this unfolds with Blizzard’s harem being split up with these two younger stallions.

While down a ways lower on Sykes Ridge, I found Sitting Bull’s harem. As they walked along, I saw that they were finding places to dig holes at so that they could eat something buried.

It looked as though they were after some kind of plants and its roots, but I couldn’t quite tell what. Talking with Jared, the wild horse specialist, and giving him the information I could, it sounds like this could have been a plant called spiny phlox. As I walked around this area more, I found many spots where the horses have been doing this. You can see two such holes below in the upper left and lower right of the photo.

While scanning in this area, I caught a glimpse of a horse walking down a drainage toward Cottonwood Springs. I headed down there and was surprised to see Bolder standing by the old corrals there.

He soon after joined his harem to drink from the spring.

Cottonwood Springs was the site of some work this summer. The BLM worked to remove the Russian olives and tamarisk that had grown in there. The goal of this project was to allow for better spring flow while also providing more room for the cottonwoods and other native vegetation that make this such an important area for the horses. We were able to help out with this project, and it was great being able to help restore Cottonwood Springs. As you can see here, there is a pretty good amount of water to drink. When I was last there during the project, there was very little water available for the horses; they were mostly sucking it from the mud. Hopefully the precipitation we’ve received lately, as well as the restoration project, will allow this to continue to be a dependable water source for Dryhead and mountain horses alike.

It isn’t uncommon to see Bolder, as well as some of the other Sykes and Burnt Timber horses, down this low during these cold months. It always a time I enjoy as it is fun to see these mountain horses near Dryhead horses. As Bolder’s harem left the area, Hidalgo and Medicine Bow were heading there. They can be seen in the upper left hand corner of the photo below. Sitting Bull and his harem were just out of the photo.

In one of my recent posts, I showed a rattlesnake that was out there. Below is a photo I took out there; it seems to be the remains of a rattlesnake that made a good meal for a coyote.

Published in: on November 17, 2010 at 2:27 pm  Comments (34)  

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  1. Amazing photos! The snow is sure lovely, but your photos of the horses digging reminds us that winter isn’t shortbread cookies and festive foods for the horses!

    I am very interested in that seemingly white foal in Bolder’s harem. Its exciting to think that there is a creamello in the herd!

    Wonderful shots as always! I don’t always post, but I relish everything you post!

    • Thanks for your comment! This time of year really can be tricky for the horses. Currently, almost every horse is looking great as they go into the winter; and so that will definitely help them in the coming months.

  2. Hi Matt,

    Good to see the grates have been adapted to avoid major injuries. The spring gate looks like a good idea, but it also looks broken already…

    One more thing, the home page of does not show the new postings on the blog. People may be missing out on these new postings.


    • Hello,
      Thanks for letting me know on this! I’ll take care of it. Yes, the spring gate is already broken on that one side. I tried to put it back together, but it will need some repairs. There are signs on either side of the gate telling people to slow down to 5 MPH, but sometimes these signs have the opposite effect for some of the people who live here. I’d guess it will be fixed when it gets warm again next year. Also, thanks for posting the link to the video. It was a good video that had footage of a lot of today’s horses as youngsters.

  3. Thanks for the pictures. Love those horses. Had not seen a picture of Bolder in a while. He is gorgeous. Does he throw palomino babies?

    • I’m wondering if that little guy is either a very light palomino, or perhaps a cremello?

      • I think that he’ll be a palomino. It will be interesting to see what he looks like as a yearling!

    • Well, it is confusing with Bolder as he is so dark; but he is a cream carrier. The yearling there is a buckskin from Sapo; and Celt had the buckskin foal Igneous in 2008 as well. Thanks!

      • In that photo you posted earler this spring of Celt’s pale colored colt, he sure looked like he could become the next generation’s “White Cloud”. When will he be given a name—next spring? Celt is also a very beautiful mare. Their story will be an interesting one.

        As always, great pics and interesting info! Thanks again.

      • I named Celt’s colt Killian. I thought it was a nice strong name that was consistent with the name Celt.

      • Boulder looks like a golden Palomino with a bit of the sooty gene mixed in for good measure. If the black mare who is the mom of the colourful cold is actually a smokey black (a black horse with a creme gene hidden in the colour), then the colt would almost definitely have received 2 cream genes, and thus, be a creamello. 🙂 Creamellos can sometimes look like very light palominos..and vice-versa. But to know if the mom is truely a smokey black, we would probably have to know who her parents are and/or do a dna test.

      • Hello,
        This is actually an interesting thought game with colors. Killian is linebred to a certain extent; his sire and dam are both descended from the buckskin mare Isabella. (Isabella > Phoenix > White Cloud > Bolder > Killian and Isabella > Ireland > Celt > Killian) This definitely ups the chances of seeing a cremello out of this pairing. Whether or not Celt somehow carries the cream gene does, as you say, seem like something that may need to be DNA tested. In any event, I think Killian is a pretty striking colt.

      • What happened to Celt’s foal Igneous?

  4. When I was looking at the photo of Bolder and his family, I noticed that Bolder’s filly Kicks Alot and her mother Autumn were missing.

    • Yes, they have been with Coronado. I’m actually surprised I didn’t see them up close like I did Bolder as I had spotted Mescalero and Coronado’s harems in this area the day before while in another location. Thanks!

      • Kicks Alot and her mother Autumn are with Red Raven?

      • Yes; at least they were last time I saw them a couple weeks ago.

      • So Autumn and Kicks Alot are back with Bolder again?

      • are Kicks Alot and her mother staying with Red Raven now or are they back with Bolder?

  5. Hi Matt! Thanks for the update. Beauty sure gets around doesn’t she? I was surprised that Blizzard’s harem is so small now. I thought he had all of Seattle’s family. Then I wondered what happened to Strawberry and her apricot fun yearling (J name can’t remember it off hand.) You and Jared have done some great work on those range projects. Chris

    • Thanks for the post! I think Beauty is definitely an interesting mare. I actually am expecting her to get back with Seattle in the future; she has just seemed distant to these last stallions. Thanks!

      • Matt,
        When you say that you expect Beauty to be back with Seattle, how does that work? Are you saying that Beauty will leave her band stallion if the opportunity is there? Or are you saying that Seattle might try to win her back? Isn’t she getting along in years? Chris

      • Well, there have been some times when we’ve seen mares go back to stallions they’d been with for quite a while. It will be interesting to see what happens next with her. She is definitely up there; she is the oldest horse on the Range at 23.

      • Seems like Blizzard may have gotten too greedy and spread himself too thin, especially for trying to break the allegiance of a mare who has been with a stallion for quite a while. I think maybe Beauty is independent enough not to want to be told what to do by some young upstart stallion. I hope she and Seattle do get back together. She seems to be the matriarch of the Dryhead; being older and wiser.

      • I think you’re right. I think that with Pryor harem stallions, it can be said that the bigger they are, the harder they fall. These big harems are just so unstable out there that they often fall apart like this. I’ll be very interested to see what happens next with these horses.

  6. Beautiful photos, Matt! I look forward to each and every of your posts. Thank you!

  7. Who has Hightail been keeping company with since Sam’s demise, do you know?

    • She’s still with Admiral. It’s just Admiral, Seneca, and her foal since Jesse James got kicked out.

      • Interesting that Admiral’s family is small again. First time I saw them in 07 it was just Admiral, Seneca and Ghost Dancer. They were among the first horses I saw on the Range, and I can still remember my excitement that day! I hope Hightail is sharing lots of wisdom on the ins and outs of survival with them and I’m glad she has companions and isn’t wandering alone.

  8. Great photos and update Matt. Can’t believe that Blizzard’s harem is so small. How things have changed in the last year.
    We have a good eight inches of snow, and very very cold. Is supposed to be a real dandy of a winter according to the Farmers Almanac. At least on the Canadian Prairies. After last year, we were spoiled with a mild winter, but then it rained all sping, summer and fall. Crazy, crazy!
    Have enjoyed following the herd, and the evolution of changes. All seems well, and I do hope all the horses are in good health to get them through what may be a severe winter. Some saying may be the snowiest and coldest in the last 50 years.
    My best to you and your dad.

    • Wendy,
      Thanks for writing. It is funny to see the whole saga of Blizzard unfold. I’ll be curious to see what happens next. The weather here has been pretty unpleasant lately too. We’ve had some bitter cold days and a surprising amount of snow. Nothing like you’re getting, but I guess we were just getting used to the great fall weather. I think that if it is a bad winter, it will be good that the horses had a nice fall to get fattened up.

  9. Hi Matt,

    Wonderful photos. It’s just amazing how these horses change herds. Doesn’t that kind of help the gene pool?
    They all look in very good condition. That is so good to see.
    Thank you!

    • Hello,
      This definitely helps things when the horses mix up like this. I have heard discussions about this being a reason for the herd’s current genetic health.

  10. Are Autumn and Kicks Alot still with Red Raven or did Bolder win them back or are they will another stallion?

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