November 16: Adventure (by Nancy)

Every trip to the Dryhead is an adventure. Today was certainly true. The day was a little bit overcast and cool. The trees were noticeably bare, their limbs a tangle of silhouettes against the red rocks around Crooked Creek Bay. As many times as I come up here, there is always a sense of excitement about what horses will be seen. But on a day like today, the chance to get out and hike in the beauty of that country is adventure in itself.

I was determined to find La Niña. Last week Diane reported that Bakken and her foal were with Fiero, Strawberry, and Sacajawea.  I set off to find her along the meadows of Layout Creek. No luck! So off I went back to my Jeep. I had seen three black horses up in the foothills of the Pryors so that was my next adventure. I pulled off the highway to park near the power lines. Something caught my eye just off the road. The flash of gold had to be Blizzard. Grazing nearby were Cascade and, yes, Bakken was back with Blizzard. I watched for awhile as they started moving west. But where was the foal?

Blizzard grazes with mares Cascade and Bakken.

Blizzard grazes with mares Cascade and Bakken.

Another flash of gold had the answer.  La Niña was laying quite a distance from the family. She raised her head as she heard me draw nearer.

La Niña

La Niña

And in a quick moment she was up.

La NinaShe began her own little adventure. She was unable to see her family which caused a bit of a panic. With a high pitched whinny she took off at a run.

La Nina Runs 2

La Nina Runs 1The adults in the band watched the action, but made no attempt to call La Niña back to them.

Blizzard watches as La Niña runs in search of the family.

Blizzard watches as La Niña runs in search of the family.

Bakken and Cascade keep an eye on the foal's actions.

Bakken and Cascade keep an eye on the foal’s actions.

The foal was running north, but Bakken wasn’t going to let her get too far away. With a very muted whinny, Bakken called to the foal.

Bakken whinnies for La Niña.

Bakken whinnies for La Niña.

Success! La Niña is reunited with her mom.

La Niña comes up from the ravine and finds her mom waiting.

La Niña comes up from the ravine and finds her mom waiting.

Bakken and La Niña

Bakken and La Niña

The comfort of nursing

The comfort of nursing

La Niña's face is very dark and may indicate grulla. Time will tell!

La Niña’s face is very dark and may indicate grulla. Time will tell.

Blizzard got the band moving to the north. The mares and foal followed behind.

Blizzard heads out

Heading Out

I searched the hills to the west to see if I could spot the three black horses. Unfortunately I was unable to find them so I decided to head home.

As I neared Crooked Creek Bay I came onto my next adventure…this one with Hickok. A group of three young whitetail deer came bounding out of the brush near the road.

White TailA noise came from the brush behind the deer. And it was Hickok.

Hickok 1He was agitated and obviously looking for the mares, Seneca and Hightail. He took off across the highway and down into the thick brush.

Hickok runs through the brush.

Hickok runs through the brush.

He called repeatedly to get the attention of the mares. He quickly ran around the area south of the highway and crossed back to the north side of the road.

Hickok Calls out

Hickok whinnies loudly for the mares. If you look closely you can see swelling on the left side of his face.

I followed as he walked on a trail leading to the north. Every so often he would stop and look around.

Hickok LooksHe went up a slope and used the vantage point to try to find the mares. He looked magnificent against the background of Sykes Ridge.

Hickok and SykesAnd then he took off at a quick lope, no way possible for me to keep up. I returned to my Jeep and went back up the road. He was over by the boundary fence still pacing and calling out for the mares. I left the Range, not knowing where Seneca and Hightail are. They have been known to take off together on their own adventures. I’ll try to get up there again tomorrow to see if Hickok was able to meet up with the mares.

Published in: on November 16, 2013 at 10:00 pm  Comments (19)  

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19 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Heart warming story of Blizzard’s band, wonderful photos and thrilling visit with Hickok — he’s really getting to be magnificent. La Nina looks like she might turn out more than just grulla. Will really be interesting to see what she looks like when she is done shedding out. Thanks Nancy!! 🙂

    • Any idea what that lump on his face might be?

      • Hi Joy,
        Thanks for your comments. It will be interesting to see what color the foal becomes. She is very unusual right now. I don’t know what could have caused the swelling on Hickok’s face. I thought it might be an abscesses tooth, but Steve thought it looked too high. This was the first time I was able to get close enough to take decent pictures of him. He sure was forlorn!
        All my best,

      • It almost looks like the swelling our dog had when one quill remained in his face after his meeting with a porcupine — I’m not suggesting Hickok met a porcupine 🙂 but it is similar…

  2. What a great day on the Dryhead! Thanks for sharing! It won’t surprise me if Hickok’s lack of wariness about “his mares’ results in him losing them to another stallion one of these days. They are after all, his first experience (as far as we know), of having a family—and with Jesse James gone, he’s the only one keeping an eye on them, and he doesn’t seem very concerned. Like Joy says, he sure is getting more and more magnificent. La Nina is sure growing, and looking good. She really reminds me of Montana at this age—gorgeous. They all look so good. 🙂

  3. Linda,
    Thank you so much for your observations. I agree that the horses do look very good. It does seem that Hickok has a different type of relationship with the mares. It’s another example where the mares might be more bonded to each other than to the stallion. It snowed last night, I’ll let you know if I make it back up today.
    Thanks so much for your support!

  4. Thank you for the update Nancy! I was looking back at my photos of Hickok that I took late in October, when I saw him alone by the red hills. It looks like there may have been a little swelling on that side of his face then. Hope he heals fast and finds his girls! If he wants to keep him, he better stop wandering off! 🙂

  5. Reblogged this on Wild in the Pryors and commented:
    Here is an update from Nancy (PMWMC), I thought you might enjoy! Thanks Nancy!

  6. I’m glad Bakken and La Nina are back with Blizzard. La Nina has the sweetest face! I can’t wait to see what she looks like too once she finishes shedding out. Thanks for the update!

  7. I love your picture of the deer. I also love seeing the foals change color. La Nina reminds me of a lamb with her dark face and woolly body.

  8. Maybe Hickok has a piece of some sort of stick embedded in the side of his face from a puncture wound. It could take a long time for his body to get rid of it, especially if the skin has healed over. It’ll fester and fester until it gets ruptured and the foreign object comes out. I also think about how likely it is for the Dryhead horses to get snake bitten when they’re grazing along, but figure that’s probably pretty rare. Hope he gets better soon. I, too, love the pic of the little deer. It’s always such a hoot to watch the mulies hopping along. 🙂

  9. Thank you Nancy for this post! The FB updates are wonderful but I also love the blog posts – – we get more “stories” to go with the photos.

    • I agree! Stories and insight… 🙂

    • Thank you for your input on the blog. I really never know what is the best forum to report. I agree that you can add a bit more…more photos and more of the story through the blog. We are going to try to keep our website a little more current too as a way to inform the people who may not use FaceBook. The 21st Century has brought us some amazing technology, but it has added a learning curve with each new change. I’m definitely trying to become more proficient with it all.

  10. I keep looking at La Nina’s ears — are they really wide or just extra full of hair/baby fuzz? Can you tell?

    • I hadn’t noticed…I’ll try to crop in close to get you a better look.

  11. Great post Nancy. When we were there last month, Hickock seemed to be out on his own more than he was with the mares. They seem ok with it, and he does too. Open marriage? Love seeing the wildlife too.

  12. Thanks for the updates Nancy! I am happy to see that little La Nina is doing fine and growing up to be a little beauty! She is under the protection of such wise mares & Stallions! It will be interesting to see what she looks like come springtime.
    I agree with the others and am happy to see you posting photo’s and stories on the blog.

  13. Finally got the chance to read your blog. It is wonderful and the pictures are fantastic. I can’t wait to return the Pryors next June. Keep up the great post so I can live vicariously thru you. Sue D.

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