Spring Day…Wild Horses and More

Most any day of the year, a trip to Big Horn Canyon provides a richness of beauty. Today was no exception. The day’s weather was typical spring with dark cloudy skies and strong winds. The thermometer’s display of 62 was deceiving with the brisk wind lowering the temperature to the need for a warm coat. On a windy day, the chance of seeing horses is diminished. They are smart and know how to find shelter from the winds. However, the threesome of Hickok, Seneca, and Hightail were easily visible in one of their favorite spots near Crooked Creek Bay. These horses are some of the most visible horses on the range and yet, the two mares have maintained such a wildness to them. They will move off quickly if approached. No need to get closer and cause them to move off.

Hickok's Band

Hickok’s Band

The trip continued through the beautiful landscape. Dark clouds swirled around the top of the Pryors just above Mustang Flats.

Cloudy Day

Took a slow trip through Mustang Flats, searching each small ravine for any sign of wildlife.  Something caught my eye in one such ravine to the south. It was a good size herd of Big Horn Sheep. This was a nice treat as the Big Horn Sheep population has struggled throughout the years. Again, on a windy day, just best to keep the distance to prevent unnecessary stress.

Big Horn Sheep

In the same area a brilliant flash of blue appeared…a mountain bluebird perched on a juniper. It is, indeed, spring!

Mountain Bluebird

Mountain Bluebird

The ample winter moisture had filled the sagebrush areas with green grass, such a treat for the wildlife in the area.

Spring Grass

Spring Grass

Down into Layout Creek, really the last opportunity to see wild horses before leaving the Wild Horse Range. No disappointment today…across the creek bed near the range fence were two familiar grullas. It was Sacajawea with Fiero. They were on alert as they looked in my direction.

Fiero

Fiero

Sacajawea

Sacajawea

A movement to my right let me know that the two horses weren’t worried about me. It was Seattle standing right near me,  just below the road. The last time I saw Seattle he was with Sacajawea. Now alone, Seattle obviously hasn’t lost interest in winning her back.

Seattle

Seattle

 

Seattle, at the age of 17, has led an amazing life on the Dryhead. He has created a legacy of his strength and striking black color. But even now he shows strength as he quickly headed down the hill to approach Fiero.

Seattle runs down towards Fiero

Seattle runs down towards Fiero

With arched neck he moved into the thick vegetation of Layout Creek.

Seattle

Seattle

Fiero headed in Seattle’s direction. But the next few moments were hidden by the thick brush.  Fiero chased off Seattle with no physical confrontation. He then returned to Sacajawea.

Fiero and Sacajawea

Fiero and Sacajawea

They watched intently. The last glimpse of Fiero was as he and Sacajawea headed off along the fence line towards the east.

 

Fiero

Fiero

Seattle seemed to have disappeared from sight, well until I turned to head back to the vehicle. And there he was. Energetically running up the hill along the road.

Seattle

Seattle

He crossed the road and slowly walked up the ravine to the west. Perhaps another day he will challenge again for the mare.

Seattle walks off

By this time, rain had started to fall. The return trip was filled with the special beauty during the time when winter turns  to spring. This area holds such a beauty with the wild horses and so much more!

Panorama

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Published in: on April 12, 2014 at 3:48 pm  Comments (18)  

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  1. What a cool ride (day) you had! Wish I were there, too. That truly is beautiful country. It’s a relief to see Hightail looking pretty good, and I’m glad to see Seattle is still hoping to bring Sacajawea “home”. I’ll bet she’s hoping he can be successful in that endeavor, too. I remember a day in 2012, when Seattle, Sacajawea and Kemmerer were relaxing on the Flats and Seattle sent Fiero packing with his little family at the time when they ventured a little too close to Seattle’s spot. I love Fiero, too, but I just wish it weren’t Sacajawea who has his eye on now. I feel for Seattle with his arthritic knee, especially now that I’m experiencing the trials and tribulations of that condition and know what it’s like, and know that he is one heck of a determined stallion to still be pursuing the object of his (horse) affection. All I can say is “Go Seattle!” Love the other stuff, too, especially that beautiful little blue bird. I can never seem to get close enough to get a good pic of one. 😦

    • Hi Linda, Thanks for your comments and your story about Seattle. I really felt like it was the changing of the guard today. Fiero sure didn’t have to give much of a challenge to chase Seattle away. I agree about the bluebird. I was taking pictures of the sheep when I noticed the spot of blue in my lens. And maybe the wind kept the bird perched longer than usual…don’t know, but I was actually able to shoot 3-4 decent pictures of him.

  2. Thank you for sharing this special Spring day, Nancy. Looks gorgeous 🙂

    • Thanks Joy. It was a special day…a little bit of winter mixed in with the newness of spring.

  3. Beautiful pic of the blue bird! Glad to see these horses looking well. I do hope Seattle might get back Sacajawea, and then take her far away and hide 🙂 It seems like Fiero may be torn between wanting to regain a mare, since he lost the others, and between not really wanting to keep Sacajawea since she’s his mom. It seems like even when they do end up together they don’t seem to stay “together.” I think it’s sometimes a proximity thing when there are other mares involved and Fiero is either stealing them or trying to keep another stallion away from them. But then she’ll kind of wander independently sometimes and he doesn’t always stop her when she goes. I wonder if that’s when Seattle has taken advantage of the situation, like when we last saw her with Seattle. Maybe when Fiero and Blizzard are in closer proximately with each other, Fiero is more concerned with the mares that he seems to “share” with Blizzard and looking for a chance to get them and less concerned with holding onto his mother. Who knows! I’m definitely looking forward to see more foals popping up soon 🙂 Have you been able to see Orion yet? If not, I hope you’re able to see him soon! Thanks for the update!

    • Thanks for your comments! No…I haven’t seen Orion yet. I was kind of hoping I would today, but not surprised that I didn’t with this wind. The dynamics of the Dryhead are always interesting. I think that’s one of the things that keeps me going back so frequently…well, that and the fact that it is just so beautiful out there.

  4. Thank you so much for the post! 🙂 Sacajawea is looking plump! even if I’m not to happy that she is with her son!!! the range is looking good and so are seneca,hightail and Hickok! 🙂 looking forward to more posts !

    • Thanks Alex! I know how you feel about Sacajawea being with Fiero. It does happen on occasion. I wish I knew more about horse memory and if there is a bond between mares and their offspring, but I think that might be one of the prevailing mysteries.

  5. Thank you, Nancy, for the great photos and “story line” of the action. One of the most beautiful sights I saw last year was Seattle with Sacajawea and Kemmerer up on a ridge where they felt safe and I got to watch them for a long time. I love seeing Sacajawea, she sure has had beautiful offspring!! Bakken and Kemmerer are two of my favorites, and I’m sure Sandy would agree as she has Valerosa. Thank you for the many, many blogs and photos we have enjoyed. We plan to get to the Dryhead for several days in May.

    • Thanks, Laura! I agree that Sacajawea is such an important Pryor mare. She has that incredible wisdom that I hope has been passed down to her offspring and to the other mares she has been with. Let me know when you are in the area. Maybe we can enjoy the Dryhead together!

  6. LOVE HEARING all about the pryor horses. Can’t wait to see the pic of the new foals. see ya in Sept. with sis Harriet. Hazel Matejec,, say hello to Matt and his Dad.

  7. I had forgotten about the relationship of Sacajawea and Fiero. 😦 So, I’m thinkin’ maybe it’s like Killian being so protective/”possessive” of Celt. Killian stayed very close and thwarted Bolder’s advances a few times as I was observing, but never made any “romantic” moves toward her himself. Maybe Fiero just thinks it’s time his mom got a break from the procreation gig. LOL!

  8. Thank you Nancy for this blog! I am just now catching up on your FB and blog post. The “redline” manuscript is on my desk from the publisher, so I am getting a little closer to the books’ publication. In my research I noticed that Sacajawea was one of Rev. Schwieger’s favorites because she is such an iconic Pryor horse.

    • Looking forward to your book being out, Chris! They have a picture of Sacajawea taken by Rev. Schweiger when she was very young on the wall over the door in the Center. (At least, it was still there when I was there last year—bet you remember it.) She is absolutely the quintessential Pryor Mountain Mustang! I am thrilled with this development. 🙂

      • I do indeed remember the picture! Her foal loos a lot like she did at that age I think.

  9. Thank you for the foal list! 🙂

  10. Appreciate the post Nancy.
    Happy to see Seattle in action, he looks great compared to when I saw him toward the end of last summer.
    Fiero rarely takes a bad picture, such a good-looking horse.
    Looking forward to an interesting year on the range.
    Love the ‘Field Guide’ idea by the way.

  11. Thank you for the update 😄
    Do you have any news about Medicine Bow? I haven’t seen any picture of him for a long time. I know he had a bad wound. Did he survive? I love that stallion ❤️
    I wish I could co up there som day. I live in Norway so it’s not that easy.


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