February 27, 2012 – Turkey Flats

I went for a hike on Turkey Flats yesterday afternoon. Prince’s harem was on the western side of the flats.






Garcia’s harem was nearby.





The main reason I went onto Turkey Flats was to try to find some horses that I had been shown a photo of last week. It was of two grullas, and I just couldn’t quite tell who it was in the photo without being able to see their faces. I found these two on Turkey Flats, and saw that one was Bristol.


When I was able to get a good look at the other grulla with him, I was very surprised.

Do you recognize her? It is Kitalpha, Buffalo Girl’s 2010 filly that we thought must have died around the time that Buffalo Girl died. Below is a photo of Kitalpha from August 2010.

Kitalpha - August 2010

She has really grown up since she and her mother disappeared. Notice how striking her wither bars are now. (Those are long stripes and not her mane on her neck.)

I would really like to know just how Kitalpha managed to survive while also remaining unseen for the past many months. Further, I would like to know how Bristol ended up with her; there are other stallions in the area, especially this time of year when some of the Burnt Timber and Sykes Ridge stallions come down into this area. Talking with Jared about it this morning, there are a couple facts worth knowing. First, while the BLM was doing work to improve Cottonwood Spring late last year, they saw Bristol frequently as he would come to water. He was always alone then. Also, Buffalo Girl’s remains were found relatively close to one of the guzzlers on Sykes Ridge. My best guess is that Kitalpha was able to survive by having the water in that guzzler readily available while also having the good forage available in the area. It makes sense that she could have easily kept herself hidden in that area as well. At some point in the winter, she apparently met up with Bristol. I think it will be very interesting to see what happens next with these two.

Bristol and Kitalpha

Published in: on February 27, 2012 at 9:02 pm  Comments (30)  

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  1. What an amazing story of Kitalpha. I just looked her name up and found out that Kitalpha is the brightest star in a the consetellation, Equuleus. The description says, “Most ancient constellations dominate their parts of the sky. A few, however, are remarkably obscure and hard to find, among them Equuleus, the Little Horse. Could there be a more perfect name for a little horse that was obscure and hard to find for so many months? Both Kitalpha and Bristol show the strength and resiliency of the Pryor horses. Thanks for sharing, Matthew!

    • Cool! And thanks for that info. Where did you look up the name?

      • I just Googled her name…many sites came up. My info came from:

    • Wow! What a Totally AMAZING & happy find! And an INCREDIBLE Story to Tell and follow through the upcoming Years !! 😀
      –» O, Matt! PLEASE tell us that there IS some way: for BLM to make *special exceptions* so that
      THIS Exceptional Pair -will NOT be disturbed or Removed- in this summer’s bait traps !?!?!
      I literally Cried when poor *Bristol LOST his *family, that he’d worked So Hard to KEEP & raise (against the odds) to Garcia last year!
      Now that Bristol has this *2nd Chance* at family life -with such an Amazing story of survival, that IS *Kitalpha!! -I can’t bear the thought- it could be Whisked away from Him, just to ~satisfy some numbers~ ?? He & Kitalpha, at least, DESERVE so much More* from ~humankind! (will they possibly “protect them” somehow ??
      –»also great to see 3 of *my Favorites* looking so well: *Electra/Ireland, daughter *Limerick, and *Hera! With Prince …(and isn’t *Prince & Electra”s long STORY of Survival -pretty *Incredible* as well!?!)
      But I was thinking that *Hera was pregnant & had a 2011 Foal* last year? What happened to that Foal?? (I seem to have missed it ?)

  2. That is great news Matt! Thank you for sharing.

  3. I couldn’t agree more — fantastic news. Thanks.

  4. THat is Awsome!!!!!!! Thanks Mat!! she is stunning!!!!

  5. Thanks for the post,Kitalpha’s story reminds me of Kerry’s story.And Hera looks huge.Ireland and Greta also look round!

    • P.S Is that a scar on Ireland’s flank ?

  6. Great news Matt! I am surprised that little Kitalpha survived, but so happy! Good for Bristol. I wonder if they will live on the DryHead, or Burnt Timber? Should be interesting to see how this unfolds!
    Liesel sure looks good too.
    Thanks for the pictures and the update!

  7. I tried to find Bristol when I was there in Sept., to no avail. There must be some good “out of the way” places in that area, since Seattle seems to be staying out of view pretty much, too, these days. After a long walk, I did find Sitting Bull and his family out there. And saw Fools Crow from a loooong way off.

    I’m glad there are still places for them to be unobserved.

    This is GREAT to know that Bristol has a companion, and also so good to know that Kitalpha has survived, and she IS beautiful! That’s amazing and wonderful!

    THANKS for the update.

    • I have seen Seattle, Sacajawea, and kemmerer regularly on mustang flats over the last two weeks. They seem to be the only horses out there right now. They all look to be in good health this winter.

      • Fiero has also been there alot regularly.. He has been alone when I seen him

      • That’s good news. I envy you getting to see them. Seattle was the first real “band” stallion I saw on the Range in 07, (good ol’ Sam was the one-woman man). I was so impressed with the fact that he had greys and blacks only in his band. I have a great pic of him standing on a rise looking off into the distance, silhouetted against a red and gold sunset. I still remember the thrill of that sight like it was yesterday. I really hope he is able to keep that little family indefinitely.

      • Linda said, “have a great pic of Him (*Seattle) standing on a rise looking off into the distance, silhouetted against a red & gold sunset.”
        –» Wow, Linda! I would just LOVE to See this great photograph that U describe! (IF U are interested in Sharing??) …sure would’ve Loved sharing such an incredible experience, too; I can only imagine the ~thrill~ U felt!
        … [¤sigh¤…looks like I may Never Get there, afterall now ..,] 😦
        Anyway, I’ve always been facinated by *Seattle, as well !
        & dearly hope that he IS able to keep this 2nd Chance Family.
        She is a great Mare. perhaps, IF they do not try to Take away her son, *Kemmerer this summer -so as to Avoid disruption & wandering- it will give them a Better chance to fully Bond & stay together ? ….I hope so.

  8. LImerick looks great too! I have some pictures of him from July and he sure has grown up! thanks again Matt for the update!

    • In case you don’t know Limerick is a filly

      • Yes…I knew that. Sorry. I was thinking of Lander playing with LeDoux. Those are some photos that I have from last year. I do however have pictures of Limerick too, but not the one with Lander playing with LeDoux.
        Good to know someone is paying attention!!!

  9. I thought that Buffalo Girl’s filly was dead also. It’s a miracle that she’s still alive and that she’s a two year old now. She sure has grown a lot and is very pretty

  10. Amazing story Matt! It’s nice to hear when these things happen. I’m glad she’s okay and looks pretty healthy. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Matt,

    It takes awhile to go through the past posts, but when do you think that Buffallo Girl Died? Seems like last winter right (2010 not 2011)? It really is an amazing story if that is what I recollect that she survived without her mother as she was still very young only coming up on her two year this summer/fall 2012. She also looks to be in really good condition coming out of the winter 2011. She definetly is a survivor, if you don’t mind updating the facts so everyone realizes what an amazing story this really is and that she evaded notice until now. I hope she isn’t removed from the range in the possible upcoming gather, she really is a prize of how the mustangs have survived.

  12. Wonderful the little filly survived and looks so good. Hope to get back there this summer but don’t know.

  13. Seems like maybe we can chalk up one victory to the efforts we humans have put into helping the horses if the improved water source was important in Kitalpha’s survival. We certainly owe them that since we are the ones who limit their ability to go wherever they need to for food and water. Anyway, it IS a WONDERFUL story, and it will be interesting to see if she and Bristol maintain that elusiveness. Perhaps Beauty shared some of her secrets with Bristol…

  14. Matt,

    Does the BLM have a registry of the horses in the Pryor mountains that can be accessed? I have read they name each foal and record them.

    • Not really – I help them with horse identification and record keeping stuff, though, and have thought about putting together an online database of sorts that has this information available in an easy to access spot. Information would include photos, descriptions, parents, year of birth (actual, not the estimated ones often used), and the like.

      • That sounds really good! I’m hoping that you will find the time to do it! We would all benefit from having this info available! Thanks!

      • That would be absolutely wonderful Matt! I do hope that becomes a reality. : ) But I know it would be an astronomical effort, so I’m not going to hold my breath right off. I would so love to live nearby so I could volunteer to help with things like that. As I had mentioned before, I also wish the website had a search engine where we could enter a name and the locations of posts pertaining to said horse, or subject, would show up. I know, we don’t want much—right?

      • I have only tagged up through K, but I did make a group on flickr that has all of the horses that I have. It is pretty searchable by name, color, markings, etc and the stallion each mare is with. I doubt I will keep up with the changes of stallions each spring, but will try to use the info from the blog to keep it pretty current. The only problem I have found is that while I can alphabetize my horses in my own “collection” on flickr, I can’t rearrange them in the group.

    • Wow! The online database that you describe, Matt —would be totally Amazing, indeed! & I’m sure We would all be thrilled + grateful, if U could do this 🙂
      …however, the rest of Answer to the question: “Does the BLM have a registry of the horses in the Pryor mountains that can be accessed?”
      –» is that YES, they DO! & after the Cloud Foundation sent me the “2007 BLM inventory by Band list”, I was also able to link & download ones for 2001, 2002, 2003, & 2005….BUT such links seem to be NO longer available, (with n0 reason given) for either newer or older lists ….presumably “just because they CAN ~withhold it” …& be irksome in any possible way ??? (I get 0 answer to any requests abt it, too)
      …so IF anyone knows Where these Can be accessed, or ordered, or …..?? Please LET us know, or SHARE a copy if U have them???

  15. Thanks Shawn! Every little bit helps.

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