February 13, 2011 – Burnt Timber

Yesterday was a really warm day compared to the weather we had been having. Temperatures were in the high 30’s and maybe even in the low 40’s. Today, temperatures are definitely in the 40’s. There was still a good amount of snow on the Range yesterday, so I stopped at the Burnt Timber entrance of the Range and snowshoed further in. I headed out to the area where horses have been often sighted lately. The area consists of alternating ridges and canyons, and so it isn’t the easiest to move around in.

I first saw Lakota’s harem. Lakota, Blanca, and her foal Kalispell were about a quarter of a mile from Quelle Colour and her foal Kohl. They were all down in a broad drainage area in between two large ridges. There was at most about three inches of snow here. The forage wasn’t great, but it was better than what they were eating when Jared saw them last week. They were about a mile and a half north of where he’d seen them.

Lakota

Blanca

Kalispell

Quelle Colour

Kohl

Heading east, I came upon Prince’s harem. They were on the east side of the ridge that was east above Lakota’s harem. There was about three inches of snow here as well, and the forage was about the same as that down below.

Prince

Ireland

Kerry

Pococeno

Hera

Just up the ridge from them was the bachelor Garcia.

Garcia

I spotted some more horses far to the east and started toward them. Before I got there, though, I came upon Blue Moon’s harem. I often see this harem around in this area. Though this rocky ridge is mostly snow-free, it doesn’t really have much in the way of forage.

Blue Moon

Feldspar

Krystal

Jupiter

Sequoyah

Kane

Just east from them on another ridge was Starman’s harem. Rosarita and Isadora were on one side of the ridge while Starman was on the other. That is an old mining claim that Starman is standing by. The harem looked to have been down on Turkey Flats and was working there was back up higher. Just beyond this ridge is also Big Coulee, the canyon that separates the Burnt Timber area from Sykes Ridge.

Starman

Rosarita

Isadora

Looking far to the south, I could see Teton’s harem. By the time I got to them, the sun was pretty low; and they didn’t seem too interested in being around me. I didn’t want to make them move anymore than they would naturally, so this is why these aren’t the best photos of them. The snow was deeper here, and this area has the type of forage Jared described in the last memo.

Teton

Phoenix

War Bonnet

Kayenta

Since it has been a while since I have posted individual photos, and since there has been a lot of concern over the conditions of the horses, I thought it would be good to post photos of all the horses I saw yesterday. I was hoping to find some more horses in the area, but it is easy for horses to remain hidden in the many canyons there. It took over seven hours of snowshoeing up and down to find these horses. Though the snow was only inches deep where the horses were, it was at least 1 to 3 feet deep in parts of many of the adjacent areas, including the Administrative Pastures, an area that has been brought up in recent discussions. We should continue to have this warm weather for most of this week, and I am hoping that this melts some snow and makes more forage available for the horses.

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Published in: on February 13, 2011 at 6:36 pm  Comments (24)  

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24 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hey Matt! I Loved the photos and especially the one of Garcia! He is my horse’s(Nebraska) full brother (as you told me). This is exciting. I was happy to see all of the pictures and the horses look to be in pretty good shape except Quelle Colour, and Teton looks a bit thin too. I know this weather we are having will be good for the horses and hope it continues.
    Thanks so much for taking the time to go hiking and posting such beautiful photos, especially in the current condition of the range. You must be tired today!!

    I also love the picture of Kane and all of the other colts.
    Keep up the good work. I am learning alot about the horses and their names just from reading your posts.
    Thanks Matt!!

  2. Thank you so much for all this!

    It’s amazing to see the color that Teton is with the winter coat, and so good to see Phoenix looking so well. Blanca appears kind of thin, but still shows dappling in her coat that’s supposed to indicate good health.

    It’s good to see all that hair, even if it’s not real “pretty”. I read somewhere that a deer’s winter hair is such good insulation that when they lay down their body heat is so contained by their coat that they don’t even melt the snow they lay on. If that is true of the horses’ winter coats, Mother Nature is taking pretty good care of them, too.

    Here’s hoping the thaw coming in does make some forage more available. Will the horses browse on the juniper bushes (or whatever all that taller green stuff is) that are so plentiful on Mustang Flats and other areas, if they get really desperate?

    Thanks again for all you do.

  3. Some of them look really thin, Matt, I hope the thaw frees up some needed forage. Thanks for the update.

  4. Matt, Thanks so much for the photo’s and update…you are my link to see the horses in the winter.
    Trish

  5. Thanks so Very Much Matt for these wonderful photos and updates! It is so great to be able to ‘feel like you’re there’!

  6. Thanks Matt,
    Really appreciate your hard work and long walk to check on the horses and get these pictures. Good to see Phoenix!
    Sending warm and sunny thoughts to the Pryors!

  7. Do you get thawing and refreezing up there? Both some older and some younger horses are showing the bones and ribs. Is it to be expected that the thinness is spread over such a disparate age group when it appears that others in the same age groups are not showing stress? Is it possible that not all these horses have been hanging out together during the whole winter and maybe the ones in better condition have been in other bands or something? Shouldn’t most horses in one band show similar body condition?

    (A ‘Beginner’s’ questions!!!)

    Hope you enjoyed your day.

    • Yes, this thawing and refreezing we get is really hard on the horses. From what I understand, this pattern is actually what made the winter of 1977-78 so bad. Though the harem structure seems more loose during the cold months, I’m not sure that this is what has influenced the distribution of body conditions we see now. To me, it seems that mares with young offspring are the thinnest. This of course makes sense given that lactation requires a lot of energy on the mare’s part. Lakota’s harem is interesting. Here we have Lakota, born in 1992, showing pretty good conditions. Compare him to the mares he has and has had, all of whom foaled in 2010. Quelle Color (DOB 1992) and Blanca (1998) aren’t in super shape, Half Moon’s (DOB 2007) status is currently unknown, and Heritage (DOB 2007) could very well be dead. These lower Burnt Timber and Sykes horses do seem to be doing okay, in the sense that they aren’t on the verge of death. However, I’d also like to get some good assessments of horses in other parts of the Range. I was hoping to get to do that this weekend, but we’ll see what the weather does.

      • Did High Noon and her foal die?

      • Is it possible to post a past picture of possible missing and or deceased horses? I have looked back through your previous entries for a picture of Heritage and can not find a single one. I thought I knew what horse this was…now I am not sure. It would be nice to give them a one last memory entry with a picture if they are no longer on the range for certain.

        Thanks Matt for all the hard work you do!

  8. Hi Matt.Can you tell me what do you think.Are there many pregnent mares,cuz i think this year there will be less foals the last year?.

    • There definitely are some mares we think are looking pregnant out there. Hypothetically, there should be less foals this year than there were last year. However, we’ll have to wait and see what kind of foal numbers we see this spring before we fully know how effective the PZP pellets given to the mares in 2009 were.

  9. Is Hera a colt or a filly and is Hera the son or daughter of Electra?

    • Hera is a filly that is out of Morning Star and Audubon.

      • Is Hera a two year old and did Prince won her?

      • Hera was born in 2007. Starting in 2000, foals born were named based on the year. All of the horses born in 2000 had names starting with A, such as Admiral. We have continued using this naming system. This is why all the foals born in 2010 have names that start with K. This system makes it easy to know how old a horse is based on their age. Of course, for horses born before 2000, it doesn’t work. I guess you could say Prince won Hera, but she had been with her birth harem before then. She may have also just left her parents and gotten taken in by Prince, who was in the same area.

  10. hi Matt, Thank you so much for posting more often! I have been wondering about Starman, and it is good to see him, although he does look thin. He is one of my favorites.
    Quelle Colour looks very bloated and thin. Kole is her baby that she had in October, right? Is she pregnant again, or is something else going on to make her look that way…? Seems to early for her to look that big after the birth of Kole only in October.
    Thanks again!

    • Jared and I were talking about Quelle Colour’s belly too. It seems odd that she would be showing signs of pregnancy like that this early. Further, she shouldn’t be able to get pregnant as she was treated with PZP. I’m really not sure what to make of it; it is weird as she is showing signs of low body fat on other parts of her body, but she has that big belly. It will be interesting to see what happens as we move into the spring.

  11. what happen to Half Moon? I saw that War Bonnet’s filly High Noon and her colt were by themselves. Are they ok? Is Autumn and Kicks Alot ok too? Im worried about them

    • Half Moon and her foal have been drifting back and forth from Lakota’s harem. I am not sure where she currently is. Heritage is the mare that has been described in some of the writings as not doing well. The last time I saw her (which was before this last bit of bad weather), her foal was not present. Young mares are definitely susceptible to these kinds of conditions.

      • Have you seen Autumn and Kicks Alot with a different band lately? Im very worried about them. Do you think they’re back with Bolder again? I hope they’re all right and I think that Autumn’s mother Texas is missing her daughter and is very worried

  12. Really nice job, Matt, both news and photos … and much better you than me snow shoeing for 7 hours, some of the time in 3 foot deep snow.

    See you in June.

  13. I was wondering how’s Cloud and Aztec’s filly Breeze is doing. Breeze’s mother and father have a real beauty

  14. Cloud’s mother Phoenix is looking great and she doesnt look skinny at all. I know that Cloud’s brother Diamond(Teton) will fine and Flint’s son Jasper will be a bachelor stallion this year and I’ll be so proud of him when he becomes a band stallion in a few years


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