A New Year…Changes

Looking for wild horses is far different in the winter than in the summer. In the summer, it is possible to see most every horse by visiting the top of the Pryors and the Dryhead area. But in the winter, the horses are scarce. They scatter out across the mid- and lower elevations of the horse range to find suitable food and shelter in the harsh days of winter. This winter the area has been hit hard with some bitter cold weather. I (Nancy) took advantage of a blue sky day to head out onto Turkey Flats, an area frequently used by the wild horses in winter.

Winter brings change and change has happened. My goal, through the blog, is simply to report what is seen. Winter’s changes are an example of natural management, and sometimes there are unanswered questions as a result.  We will keep an eye on the range and provide updates as we continue to venture out on the Range throughout the winter.

Near the red hills, it was a dun and a grullo, possibly Sitting Bull and Bristol. The grullo was sleeping in the warm, winter sun and the pair was left undisturbed. The picture also shows the amount of snow in the area.

Two horses on a far slope. May be Sitting Bull and Bristol

           Look closely to find two horses…one on the left, the other is laying down on the right side of the photo.

The last time I had seen Sitting Bull he was with his son, Inniq. Today Inniq was by himself farther out on the Flats.

Inniq


Just beyond Inniq was a band of horses. It was Garcia’s band. They caught sight of the “intruder” and watched as I drew nearer. In the winter, I take extra precautions to not cause the horses to change their behaviors with my actions. I kept my distance as I walked around the band. Orlando, the 2014 colt, was standing near his mother, Greta. She is very shy and kept an eye on me.

Orlando (left) and his mother, Greta, watch me approach

Orlando (left) and his mother, Greta, watch me approach

Norma Jean was standing just beyond her mom and brother. Garcia was a short distance from her. There was one missing, Millicent, the 2012 dun filly was not with the band today. She definitely is of the age when she could have left her birth band. This is one example of this winter’s changes.

IMG_2589 Garcia's Band

                                                                                      Garcia’s Band

I left Garcia’s band and continued west towards the mouth of Big Coulee. This area is well-protected and provides good forage in the winter. Sure enough, there were many horses in the area. The first band I saw revealed more change. Horizon’s band caught sight of me and showed great curiosity. Leading the way was Dove and her daughter, Manuelita, also known as Mourning Dove. Wait a minute…they don’t belong with this band. They had been with Coronado’s band even after it was taken by Irial. But there is no mistaking the dark buckskin color of this mother/daughter pair.

IMG_2597 Dove and Manualita

The band drew nearer to me and are seen from left to right: Juniper, Tonapah, Dove, Manuelita, Horizon and the ever-faithful Fiesta. But wait…two are missing…Lariat and Oklahoma. I kept scoping the area, just hoping they may be hidden somewhere. But they were no where to be found with the band.

IMG_2598 Horizon's Band

                                                                                    Horizon’s Band

More horses could be seen north of Horizon’s Band up in Big Coulee.

IMG_2606 Big Coulee

                                                                         Horses in Big Coulee

It was hard to identify the horses, so I moved closer. Even then it took awhile to realize this was Irial. His blue roan coat had turned to a dark winter color.

IMG_2603 Irial

  Irial/Indigo Kid

Other than Dove and Manuelita, his band was all there.

Irial and Adona

                                                                      Irial and Adona

LaBrava and Blue Sioux

                                                                        LaBrava and Blue Sioux

Fool's Gold

                                                                                   Fool’s Gold

Nickle

                                                                                            Nickle

Three more horses were just beyond Irial’s band. It was Bolder!

Bolder

                                                                                         Bolder

He was with two of his dark mares. I was still quite a distance from them and could only identify Celt because of her very distinct face marks.

Bolder's Mares

                                                                                   Bolder’s Mares

The horses were getting a bit restless and Bolder moved his mares deeper into the Coulee. I chose not to follow them any farther. Unfortunately I did not see if the rest of Bolder’s band was up ahead of Bolder and the mares. This will have to wait for another day. It was a good three and a half mile hike back to my vehicle and darkness comes early. It was time to head back.

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Published in: on January 2, 2015 at 10:12 pm  Comments (19)