February Day on Turkey Flats

It had been about a month since the last trip to Turkey Flats. Weather and circumstances of life had been hindering weekend trips. However today was a perfect day to head out with a bright blue sky, little to no wind, and temperatures in the 40s. It was the kind of winter day for peeling off layers rather than putting on layers. Most of the land has some type of snow cover of varying depths. Much of it was boot depth. Drifted snow and snow in the ravines  was knee to thigh deep. The horses were scattered and remote. Between the snow and the locations of the horses, the hike was a challenge!

Turkey Flats in winter offers interesting wild horses. Today was no exception. It appears the horses were enjoying the warmth of the afternoon sun as each group rested quietly in their respective areas. Just south of the Red Hills, in a secluded area was the first band of the day…Sitting Bull. Years ago, Sitting Bull had had one of the most frequently viewed bands on the Range with his main territory right at Crooked Creek Bay. He, his mare, Cecelia, and their 2012 colt, Mato live an isolated life in the Red Hills area.

Mato and his parents, Sitting Bull and Cecelia were grazing and eating snow just south of the Red Hills.

Mato and his parents, Sitting Bull and Cecelia were grazing and eating snow just south of the Red Hills.

Sitting Bull (1996)

Sitting Bull (1996)

Cecelia (2002)

Cecelia (2002)

Mato, a coming 2-year old, is such a beautiful horse with his color and conformation. He has the natural curiosity of the young. Mato does have some soundness issues in  his rear. He moves along ok, but has a noticeable “crow-hop” type gait. This may hinder his life as he moves into adulthood, however, it is part of the natural world. He is fortunate to be raised with such an elusive lifestyle. This may help him find a niche in the Pryor world, much like another stallion, Bristol, who has lived with his own soundness issues for many years.

Mato, 2012 colt

Mato, 2012 colt

Mato runs towards his sire, Sitting Bull

Mato runs towards his sire, Sitting Bull

The trek continued up to towards the west side of the Red Hills. A high vantage point allows for a thorough sweep with binoculars of the area. Three bands were spotted…scattered far apart and in some rugged terrain. The first group was on a ridge to the west of Sykes Ridge Road. It was a pair of grullo horses which turned out to be Fresia and her 2012 colt, Montana.

Montana (2012 colt)

Montana (2012 colt)

Montana was on the hillside, standing alone and grazing the sparse grass. A short time later, Fresia, peeked up to check out the intruder.

Fresia

Fresia

She moved up towards Montana. No other horses were to be seen. On December 26, 2013, these two had been with Hidalgo, Halo of the Sun, Jewel and her filly, Mercuria. A quick search of the area revealed no other horses. Fresia kept looking off towards the southwest and even called out.

Fresia (2005)

Fresia (2005)

Montana is the spitting-image of his mother. They both have a beautiful grulla/grullo color with distinct primitive markings. They also have a star and a snip.

Montana and Fresia

Montana and Fresia

The ridge they were standing on dropped off into deep ravines, down one ridge was Hidalgo. His red dun color is unmistakable. He was resting on a slope right beneath Fresia and Montana. Unless the other mares were hidden deeper in the ravines, they were not with Hidalgo. He continued to rest the entire time he was in view.

Hidalgo (2007)

Hidalgo (2007)

The next band was several ravines away due west of Hidalgo. It was Fools Crow. The last time Fools Crow was seen in this area, he had Belle Star, Icara and her 2012 filly, Morgana. There was no sign of Belle Starr.  Fools Crow looked a bit roughed up and he moved as if he was sore.

Fools Crow (2005)

Fools Crow (2005)

At first only Icara was visible.

Icara

Icara (2008)

A short time later, Icara’s 2012 daughter, Morgana popped up from her rest.

Morgana

Morgana

The band drew together. Fools Crow and Morgana engaged in some quick grooming.

Fools Crow's Band

Fools Crow’s Band

Again, unless, she was hidden, Belle Starr was not visible. Time will tell the story of where Halo, Jewel, Mercuria, and Belle Starr are. Interchange isn’t unusual for this group of horses, but at this point their whereabouts are a mystery.

No horses were visible in the Big Coulee drainage. The last band of horses seen was a familiar group in that area…Garcia’s Band. At first they were all resting out in the middle of Turkey Flats. In time, they got up and moved to a snow drift which provides their winter hydration.

Millicent could be seen out in the middle of Turkey Flats.

Millicent could be seen out in the middle of Turkey Flats. She is the 2012 daughter of Garcia and Greta.

Greta is a shy horse. She is wary of human interaction so it’s especially important to let her have her space.

Greta (2006)

Greta (2006)

Garcia and the fillies, Millicent and Norma Jean, enjoy the snow together.

Garcia (2006)

Garcia (2006)

Norma Jean, born in 2013, is bold and curious!

Norma Jean

Norma Jean

These four bands were all that were seen on Turkey Flats. For the most part, they looked like they were wintering quite well. We are very interested to hear if anyone else sees the missing mares. And we will post as soon as we get more information on them and other horses we spot.

Advertisements
Published in: on February 16, 2014 at 6:15 pm  Comments (9)  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://pryorwild.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/february-day-on-turkey-flats/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. What a great day you had, Nancy! Thanks so much for sharing — we are all anxious to hear how the horses are doing, I am sure. Fiero does look a bit roughed up, but at least he was able to keep Icara and Morgana. Fresia looks pretty plump to me — a Hidalgo foal perhaps? I enjoy your insight, too. Thanks again 🙂

    • ooops, I meant Fool’s Crow 🙂

    • I agree about Fresia 🙂

  2. Thanks for the update! Looks like Greta is definitely pregnant. Fresia seems to be too. Montana is the spitting image of her! but I like that you can also see Merlin in his face too. Fools Crow does look a bit roughed up. I guess we’ll have to wait and see with the other girls. I’m glad you mentioned Mato’s gait. I had been going to ask about it when I saw that you saw them. I hope he’s able to find a happy little niche like Bristol has too.

    • I was hoping Greta would not foal this year… that would be six years in a row. :/

      • I know, poor girl could probably use a break. Firestorm’s another one that could use a break. But at least they are great mothers.

      • I know, girl could probably use a break. Firestorm too. But at least they are great mothers.

  3. Thanks for sharing. It’s great to hear what’s going on, even if there are several more unanswered questions now. 🙂 That’s one of the things that make wild horses so interesting. I’m pulling for Mato to be able to do OK even with his problem, too, and I think he will. He’s from hardy stock, and others, like Bristol, Bigfoot and Medicine Bow, have shown that they can have serious injuries or birth defects and still thrive. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Thanks Nancy! What a great day to have been out on the range. Weather and driving conditions permitting, I will be heading out there soon! Just love that Norma Jean…she is a beauty, and as always so are they all!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: