December 13, 2010 – Winter’s Arrival

East Pryor Mountain started getting significant snowfall during the middle part of November. Since then, we’ve continued to get snow here. Last year, at the end of November, I spent time on the top of the mountain; and most of the horses, such as Baja’s harem shown below, were up there.

Almost one year later, I was once again with Baja’s harem. Winter has arrived earlier this year, though. Instead of being with them on top of the mountain, I was with them at the very bottom of Burnt Timber. They were just above the Burnt Timber entrance of the Range.

At that time, the snow was reasonably deep; and the horses were having to dig through the snow for forage.

Holes in the snow could be commonly found in the places where horses were looking for grass.

At this time, there were a number of horses pushed down to the Range boundaries. Walking the fence, the tracked up snow on the Range side contrasted with the untouched snow on the other side.

There are horses higher on the Range; they tend to be in windswept or sheltered areas such as the sides of Big Coulee. Jackson’s harem was near my spotting location there; Galena, Jasper, and Firestorm’s foal Kalahari were up higher while the rest of the harem grazed below.

This snow has also pushed the deer down into the winter range. Lately, I’ve been seeing about as many deer as horses out there.

In the days since I took these photos, there have been some warmer days when some of the snow melted off; but more snow has also accumulated up there on other days. This is definitely a different year than it was last year, and it will be interesting to see how things go for the herd as we continue into the winter.

Published in: on December 13, 2010 at 3:33 pm  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. So can we all agree there might be merit in at least discussing the possibility of climate change?

    I live in Farmington, NM. Last winter we had more snow over a longer period of time than had been seen since the early 1950’s. Meanwhile, in coastal Massachusetts (where my parents) live they did have snow, just not enough of it. The town had to declare a drought emergency in MAY, not July or August as occasionally happens.

    Wild animals know where they need to go to find food. Deer can hop over that fence with ease, but the wild horses are trapped unless they push it down and risk being take for just trying to survive.

    I don’t know how things work in the Pryors. Do you throw hay when things get bad? If not, and it’s a matter of money, I’ll do my best to raise some. If it’s a matter of policy or philosophy not to feed the bands when they’re most in need – “the survival of the fittest” – I’ll be a lot more than disappointed in the management program.

    For the sake of these wonderful horses we’ve come to know and love, I hope I get a positive answer.

  2. Matt, are any of those good grazing areas the horses don’t use in the summer because of lack of water in areas that they may go to now with snow to fill their moisture needs?I hope so.

    Our weather here in northern Wisc., and lake levels are beginning to return to normal with the above average rainfall we got last summer. We already have as much snow this winter as we had all last winterwhere we live. Whew! I was beginning to wonder.

    Great post again, thanks! Baja sure is a fine example of the old bloodline coloring. I love to see that.

    Here’s wishing you, your family, and everyone at the Center HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

  3. There is no fresh grass where I live either. Even though there is a round bale in my pasture, I still see my horses digging through the snow looking for grass. Kind of like looking for fresh sweet corn in Ohio this time of year.

  4. Got the 2011 calendar I ordered. Wow! What a great Christmas present from me to me! I like May, July, August and September the best.

    Glad you liked the magazine article.

    I DO intend to see you in 2011. I can hardly wait!

  5. I notice even though there is no fresh grass and they are digging for food, they all seem to look ‘fat and sassy’! Must be finding good grub!

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