June 26, 2011 – Mountaintop

Before today’s post, I thought I’d post some information on the domestic sorrel mare that is on the Range as there has been discussion about her. Jared from the BLM is definitely taking this seriously. The BLM can take action as they have already gone through the proper steps; there are just some obstacles that are preventing immediate action. Given his observations of her, Jared is pretty sure that the mare had been on the Range for a while before I saw her, which makes sense given that it had been a while since I’d been able to get into the Lower Sykes area due to snow. As such, he thinks that it is probable that the mare would have already transmitted any diseases she may have been carrying – We aren’t seeing any sick horses out there. However, Wyoming has issued strict orders on horses crossing the state line due to the recent EVH-1 (equine herpes) risks. This, of course, makes things difficult as the Range (especially the part she is in) can currently only be accessed through Wyoming. Jared has further concerns with how the mare would be caught. I have most often seen her in some areas that are difficult to get into – The only real feasible way to catch her would be on horseback. This has a lot of risk too, both to her and to any of the Pryor horses she may be with. Thus, this is a very tricky situation that is being seriously considered. I’ll be sure to provide any updates as I learn them.

With that, let’s move onto some updates. I headed out to the Range this morning, and ended up having to go to the top of the mountain before I saw any horses. There were many horses up there, but I thought I’d just focus on some of the trip highlights.

One of the first harems I saw was Cappuccino’s. Down from him were some of the bachelors.

(l-r) Jupiter, Horizon, Fiesta, Irial

Cappuccino seemed to be pretty interested in the bachelors, and so he headed down to them.

Fiesta came out to meet him, and the two really go into it.

It’s been a while since I saw this level of stallion interaction. After a few minutes of this, Cappuccino seemed to have been the winner of this. Quite a ways down from these stallions was Lakota’s harem, and Lakota then came up to see what was going on.

Lakota and Cappuccino had a little interaction, but they both parted ways shortly after they met up. Cappuccino has Lakota’s former mare Blanca; I wonder if this had something to do with Lakota coming all the way up here.

It’s been a while since I had any photos of Morning Star and his harem on here. They were up there today, and so here are some photos of them.

Morning Star


Joviana (Felina's daughter)


Gaelic Princess and her yearling Kelly



There were also two new foals that I saw today. I had heard about the first from some visitors who had been on the mountain during the week. He was born to Helenium in Duke’s harem. We’re going to call him Lancaster.

Helenium and Lancaster


The second foal, who was just a day or two old, was born to Inocentes in White Cloud’s harem. This foal is also a colt; he is a solid dun named Lynx.

Inocentes and Lynx


Though I didn’t see him today, there have been reports of people seeing Bigfoot still alive up there too. I’ll be sure to post new photos of him when I can. It looks like most of the horses have moved up to the top of the mountain for the summer, so expect to see many more photos taken up there as we continue through the summer.

Published in: on June 26, 2011 at 7:49 pm  Comments (19)  

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19 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Nice to see a little more body weight on the horses. They are all so beautiful in their own way, and the foals, of course, are ADORABLE!
    Thanks for the news.

    • You’re welcome! I agree that it is a nice time for the horses right now.

  2. All the foals are beautiful because they are born this way.I’m sure that there will be more foals.I’m sure that Damsel,Washakie and Jacinta are pregnant.And I’m not so sure about Bacardi,Broken Bow and Phoenix,but they also look more round than usual.Felina and Hataalii also look like they could be pregnant.Do you know who is the father of Inocentes’ foal.Doc or Custer?And Jovania and Gaelic Princes look like twins.

    • I think that we will probably see a couple more foals born too. We’ll see what happens in the next while! If I had to guess the probable sire of Inocentes’ foal, I’d say it was either Ferdinand or Custer. I agree that it is interesting how Joviana and Gaelic Princess look so similar!

  3. *Joviana*

  4. What is the reason for considering removing the sorrel — fear of disease?

    Do you think the sorrel is a wild horse?

    • The sorrel mare is not a wild horse; she looks like the typical sorrel quarter horse you’d see in people pastures around here. To me, there are a couple reasons why she shouldn’t be on the Range. First, it wouldn’t be optimal for her to be reproducing in the herd. Second, it’s all about the numbers; if she stayed on the Range, then a true Pryor horse may have to leave in her place.

      • Seems to me like it’s hard enough to protect the bloodlines in this herd without having a domestic breed in the mix. I’ll be glad to hear the news when she has been removed. I’m betting that a bucket with some oats in it would probably bring her to you if you could get close enough for her to hear it and if the stallion around is not too protective.

        I truly hope that this is just a case of someone not being able to care for their horse and thinking it would be cool to turn her loose on the range; but think it should be treated as a possible threat to the herd, just to be safe. If the person or persons responsible are discovered, I hope they will be charged with criminal trespass, or something, for all the trouble and concern they’ve caused.

        Thanks for being there.

  5. PS Do you have any formal way of studying the effects of PZP on herd dynamics and band integrity. Is anyone besides you keeping any record of this in any formal way?

    Also there has been no proof that PZP is not permanent in some mares. You can’t prove a negative, but can the public assume that all PZP’d mares are followed by BLM for the remainder of their lives? This type of longitudinal study will be valuable should any wild herds survive — rather than just a few short-term studies.

    Remember, PZP is an experimental drug. Our wild herds are being the guinea pigs everywhere I look for all kinds of unfounded science which purports to support ‘in the wild’ management.

    • Behavioral studies have been done to a certain extent. It’s really quite difficult to do these as there is a lot of natural variability that must be taken into account. I wouldn’t be comfortable doing such a study unless I had a lot of time to devote to allow for the gathering of many observations. For a Pryor-specific study, I’d recommend looking at Jason Ransom’s research on this; this paper reflects many, many observations done over years in three herds. You can find more about it here: http://www.fort.usgs.gov/Products/Publications/pub_abstract.asp?PubID=22643.

      As for reversibility, studies have shown that the vaccine is generally reversible when given less than a certain number of consecutive years. There is the possibility that a minority group of mares could be more affected by the vaccine than others…But you could say something similar for many of the vaccines and medications used by humans. There should be detailed observations made on treated mares. The SOP’s have this line in them: 12. All mares targeted for treatment will be clearly identifiable through photographs to enable researchers and HMA managers to positively identify the animals during the research project and at the time of removal during subsequent gathers. This is definitely something that has been done here, and it is also done in other areas. I am unsure of whether or not all treated mares are carefully observed, but it should be the case based on the way I understand it. I don’t think you need to worry about the use of PZP leading to a situation where there is question whether any wild horse herds will survive. It’s just not that perfect of a vaccine.

      PZP is experimental in the legal sense, but I think it would be a tough case to argue that it is experimental in the scientific sense. It has been used on a great number of animals that represent a number of different species. Some of these animals are quite rare; managers use it to control reproduction in population members that are less genetically valuable without sterilizing them. I do not think that a substance would be used on such animals unless its nature was fully understood. This is not unfounded science; it reflects years of research done by some pretty top-notch scientists.

      PZP is imperfect; it doesn’t have 100% efficacy in wild horses. Further, it has been found to be capable of wearing off relatively quickly. To many of us, these are desirable traits for a vaccine of this kind. However, there has always been the search for the longer-lasting agent that is more effective. Research is being done on such agents. Perhaps it would be good to learn more about them as new information is gathered.

      Hope this helps. Please don’t hesitate to let me know if I can clarify anything here or answer any further questions.

      • I have been looking on the net all morning to try to find a study or something for more information about the importance of pheromes (sp?) for equid reproduction. As science has provided us with DEET and the like to make us invisible to mosquitoes, flies, etc., why couldn’t the mares take a pill or wear a device that makes them invisible (chemically) to stallions? I do know there is a cascade of hormones etc., but is there one factor that makes the stallion ‘know’ it is ‘time’ which might be isolated (such as a pherome produced by the mare) and made ‘invisible’ to the stallion?

        I am quite sure greater more educated minds than I have thought of this before. .. but can’t find anything on web; however, I need better research skills, too.

  6. Cloud and Aztec’s daughter Shadow looks so beautiful now. Is she pregnant this year?

    • She really has matured well. I didn’t think she was looking pregnant, but maybe she’ll surprise us.

      • It would be a surprise if she’ll have a foal this year. Why can’t some mares accept new ones that the stallion wins?

      • Since Velvet(Scarlett) and Feldspar left Cloud and Flint because they couldnt accept Ingrid(Inocentes) and Sequoyah, is it possible for them to accept Ingrid and Sequoyah and return to Flint and Cloud? Why cant some mares accept new ones that the stallion won?

  7. Matt,have you heard anything about Kerry and Kalispell?And do you think that Blanca is pregnant,because in one of your recent updates,she is behind Gabrielle and i can’t see her.

  8. I just hope that the sorrel mare is removed soon if case she is carrying a disease. Maybe she escaped from her field and found her way into the Pryor Mountains

  9. I think the sorrel mare looks a little like Blizzard…

  10. Has Cloud’s daughter Dancer given birth yet? Has Flint won back Feldspar and Agate(Krystal) from Cloud and has Cloud won back Velvet(Scarlett) from Bolder?

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