April 21, 2011 – Heritage

The winter of 2010-2011 seemed endless compared to recent winters. Even as we’ve gone into the spring, it seems to persist – We just had a pretty wet snowstorm earlier this week. Despite this, though, it is seeming like there wasn’t a ton of winter loss. With the BLM’s spring population estimation flight, and my increasing access to the Range, there just aren’t as many missing horses as were anticipated. I’ve had a few surprises this spring with horses reappearing, and I think the biggest one is with Heritage and her foal Kootenai.

Heritage has always been a pretty special horse to me. I found her shortly after she was born on the morning of July 1, 2007, which was one of my most memorable days on the Range (actually, she was born off the Range). I named her Heritage after a phrase commonly used with the herd: Horses with a heritage.

As we went into the winter, Heritage and her 2010 foal Kootenai were spending more time by themselves, typically away from Lakota’s harem. I have wondered if this was something Heritage picked up from another independent mare, Guinevere, as Heritage spent time with her in early 2009 while she was spending more time alone than with a harem stallion.

By November, the two still continued this; and I wasn’t too impressed with Heritage’s body conditions compared to most of the other horses.

Kootenai is Heritage’s second foal already in her life. Her first foal, born in 2009 when she was just two years old, didn’t survive through the summer. Many of you likely recall him as the foal with the big neck wound.

Even with his death, Heritage’s development was likely affected by the stress of nursing him. Kootenai’s birth in 2010 further added to this, but Heritage did a really good job taking care of them both. About a month after the above photo, I found Heritage and Kootenai still alone and still not looking great as we were just coming off of one of our first major snowstorms of the winter months.

A week later, I found the two again.

I was surprised to see that they had another companion – Guinevere’s foal Knight.

I took this to mean that Guinevere had died (and I still believe this to be the case). Knight’s story hasn’t ended, though; and I will elaborate more on this in a future post.

Through the next month, I wasn’t able to get out to Burnt Timber too much due to the weather and the holiday season. Family and friends had, though, and they reported seeing Heritage and Kootenai. Sometimes they were alone, sometimes they were both with Lakota’s harem, and sometimes only Kootenai would be with Lakota’s harem while Heritage was off by herself. I was able to next see Heritage while on the way home one evening in mid-January. At this time, she was alone. Kootenai wasn’t there, and he wasn’t with Lakota’s harem that day either. Heritage was looking pretty thin.

This would be the last time she was seen until the past month or so. Somehow, Heritage and Kootenai both had managed to survive the winter and then find their way together again. Kootenai was the first to appear with Cappuccino’s harem. However, he hadn’t been with them this winter as I’d been seeing them fairly frequently in the lower elevations. In any event, the two are back together again. I first saw them together up close right at the beginning of April.

Last weekend, I was able to spend time with them again. They were still together, and they were still alone. That day, there were at least three harems in fairly close proximity; but the two just seemed content by themselves. I’ll be interested to see what they end up doing as we move into the summer.

Heritage and Kootenai aren’t the only ones to have just become visible again. Like I said, based on the current evidence, I am thinking that the loss in the winter of 2010-2011 wasn’t too much different than that of some of the other recent and more mild winters. I will be interested to learn more as we continue to move into the warm months, and I am able to get around the Range better.

Recently, I noticed there were some questions about how Exhilaration is doing. I know many of you followed this, but I’ll write it here too. During the holidays, while I was out of town, a report was received that Exhilaration had gotten back in with the domestic mares. From what I understand, the BLM had to remove him at this point due to the fact that he would not stay away from those mares. He was adopted out at a small event at Pompey’s Pillar, and my stepfather was actually the one who adopted him. This happened while I was starting a new job, and so I just didn’t have the time or energy to do much work on my blog then. I have been able to get to see Exhilaration a few times since then, and he is doing very well in his new home. I’m hoping to be able to share some photos of him sometimes soon.

Published in: on April 21, 2011 at 10:17 pm  Comments (24)  

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  1. Matt what a lovely post! I have been dying to see which horse Heritage was I just couldn’t remember. It is because she is one of those pretty roans that is always a different color.

    Heritage still doesn’t look great but hopefully she will rebound now that we are coming into mid spring. Curious that sometimes the younger mares don’t hold up so well. However I am sure she is still growing along with taking care of a foal so young.

    Thanks you SOO much for the update! I know many more will be happy about this too.

  2. Hi Matt, good to read you again. Thank you for giving us informations about Exhilaration.

  3. Did High Noon(Heritage) adopted an orphan? Im very sorry for Knight because he’s lost his mother but Im glad that the three of them survived the winter.

    • Well, Heritage did have Knight with her that day I saw them; but it didn’t last long. Even while I was with them, Heritage didn’t seem overly happy with Knight being there. I hope to elaborate more on Knight in a future post.

  4. Thank you for the u-date on exhileration too. I wondered how that went.

  5. Are there any new foals on the Range ?

    • I am sure Matt will keep us all up to date as soon as he is able to access the horse range. I think he said he saw a foal last week. We have had a lot of snow this year making it almost impossible to get up to the range.

      Thank-you for your interest in the PMWMC.

  6. Glad to hear that Exhileration has found a home. His actions seem to indicate that he’ll do well around people if handled properly. I only wish it were I giving him that home. He is a beautiful horse as well as bearing the title of sole survivor of the foal crop the year he was born. I hope we get to see how he develops sometime along the way.

    Thanks much for the updates. Hope Heritage gets back to normal soon.


    • Hello Linda,

      Yes…we are all so happy that Exhilaration has such a good home. He may be the “Ambassador” for the Center someday! Wouldn’t that be great!!??


      • I would think he’d be a great ambassador! It certainly seems as though he’d be one of those horses who can easily bridge the gap between man and animal. I don’t think his heart was in being “wild”.

        I never was able to spot him on the Range when I was there, and would love to see him up close enough to look him in the eye.

        Thanks again for all the info. Linda

  7. Hi Matt; Just saw newest Cloud film. Did Ginger adopt Image? The film wasn’t very clear that Cloud bred his daughter resulting in the “Image”. She said that it was Sitka’s grandson. Do I have my facts right? Anyway it was an OK film, mainly just loved to see the horses and foals. See you in Aug,,, Hazel

    • It was my understanding, according to information from more than one source, on my last visit on the mountain (2009) where I saw and photographed Image, that Image IS the result of Cloud breeding his daughter. Like Matt said once on here, way back when, life on the Range is a real soap opera, but this is a rare occurence.

      If you don’t mind me asking, what is the title of the movie you just saw? I’m wondering if there’s a new once since the last one I saw.

      Thanks. Linda D

      • Hello. The name of the documentary was “Cloud Rules Arrowhead Mountain”. My sis and I have gone to the Pryors for the past 5 years.

    • I ran across this blog a while back, created by the peron who adopted Image and his sister Ember: http://deblittle.wordpress.com/
      –it’s apparent he is thriving as is Ember, contrary to what the BLM professed that he was sickly and wouldn’t thrive. There are different views on Image’s parentage–most likely he is Bolder’s son.

      • Actually. You three are wrong. Image is Cloud and Sitka’s grandson and his mother is Dancer(Cloud and Sitka’s daughter born in 2003). Image’s father is Cloud’s half brother Red Raven. Image and Ember were adopted by Deb Little and now live in Ohio. Image’s mother Dancer hasnt had a foal this year but Ember’s mother Firestorm has a bay roan filly

      • This issue with the father of Image has long been around. Based on the available evidence, it actually looks to me as though Cloud is indeed his sire. However, this is information that I haven’t explained in detail to many due to the fact that I receive a lot of personal attacks whenever I bring such things up. Again, though, there is evidence that points to it that I feel is pretty hard to argue with.

      • Oops, right Jonathan–I had a memory lapse–handsome little Echo is Bolder’s son on the mountain now.

  8. That IS a new movie I hadn’t heard about. I’ll have to check it out. I guess I’m getting out of touch with the new happenings.

    I guess with the way things are out there on the Range, it would take a DNA test to absolutely prove Image’s parents, wouldn’t it? One person sees this, another person sees that, and no one is out there full time.

    I thought Image was a cute little horse, but didn’t see much of the majesty of Cloud in his demeanor when I saw him. I’m glad to know that he and his sister have good homes and are doing well.

    Echo sure is a cute little dude, and a real spitfire. I expect he’ll do his daddy and his uncle proud, as time goes on. I think Bolder’s color is fascinating, especially how dark he gets in winter.

    ALL the horses are beautiful, in their own way. So far, I haven’t seen ONE I didn’t like…

    • Oops! His daddy and grandaddy. I don’t know why I was thinking Bolder was Cloud’s half-brother…some kind of brain freeze.

  9. Hazel, was part of the title of that movie “Challenge of the Stallions”? I have seen that, and the second half of the title is “Cloud Rules Arrowhead Mountain”, so I’m thinking it may be the same movie. Guess I’ll just have to watch it again. Oh, darn… 🙂

    Thanks for the info.

  10. On the issue of Image’s sire; I’m inclined to believe the “boots on the ground” observations, but I know that there are people who are so totally wrapped up in their “hero WORSHIP” that they can’t consider the possibility of that hero being less than perfect in every way. Seems like if their hero is diminished, it somehow diminishes them. Reality bites, sometimes, but learning to accept reality and then deal with it is usually the best choice for all involved.

    Keep up the good work, Matt. “May the road rise up to meet you, and may the wind always be at your back.”

  11. Hey Matt!

    Thank you for the Dryhead update and for this story about Heritage. I was on the mountain the day her first foal was born and was sad to learn that he had died. Heritage is a liver chestnut roan, yes? Last summer when I was there, I didn’t see Blizzard since he had moved up Sykes and we were on Burnt Timber. I hope he is still in the Dryhead when I return in late June (unlikely I realize.) Hope all is well!

    • Hello! Heritage is a liver chestnut roan. I think that there is a good chance that you’ll see Blizzard and the other Dryhead harems when you are here in June – I’m going to remain optimistic for you!

  12. Thank Matt for this post. I keep re-reading it and have it booked marked. Since I adopted Kootenai, I have thought many times that he may be deaf, or partially deaf. Which may explain how he seemed to get separated from Heritage so many times. Just a thought anyway! So glad to have him in a safe home with us now. Thanks again. Sandy

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