Black Stallions

On Sunday, June 14, 2015, the mountain was draped with a heavy blanket of clouds. The horses were like ghostly images in the foggy skies. As the clouds began to lift, the horses became more and more active. As the cloud lifted, so did their energy levels.

Three bachelors engaged in some good-natured fun. It was Moorcroft and McKeahnie, both age three. The third was a black. The black stallions can be a bit tricky to identify, especially those that don’t have the easily recognized white marks.

Three bachelors in the mountain mist.

Three bachelors in the mountain mist.

The two horses in the background led to the conclusion that this was Hamlet. It was Audobon and her two-year old daughter, Niyaha. They have been with Hamlet since last summer.

The boys continued to play. At one point, Moorcroft took aim with both hind feet!

Moorcroft with a "double-barrel" kick.

Moorcroft with a “double-barrel” kick.

As the boys played…Audobon and Niyaha’s grazing moved them down the hill and out of site. Coronado/Red Raven, had been in the vicinity and took the opportunity to get himself a band. He followed Audobon and Niyaha across the foggy meadow.


Conoado has been a bachelor since last summer. He seemed to know just the right moment to claim a band.

He circled around the mare and the filly.

Coronado circles around the mare and the filly.

Coronado greets Niyaha and Audobon.

But wait! A black stallion came charging out from the trees to the east. Who was this? Was it really Hamlet up with the boys or was this Hamlet? Regardless, Coronado had no desire to fight for the girls.

IMG_8126Whoever it was, the girls were not happy. This next series of photos shows some pretty serious action!


First the mare and filly turned and ran. The black was in pursuit.


Audobon placed herself between the stallion and her daughter. And then she fired!

Audobon placed herself between the stallion and her daughter. And then she fired!

The black rears up in response.

The black rears up in response.

And Audobon fires again.

And Audobon fires again.

The black retaliates with the same tactic.

The black retaliates with the same tactic.

A short time later, a black comes running from the west to check out the action. The other black leaves the mare and filly and runs out to meet the second black.

Another black trots over to the action.

Another black trots over to the action from the west.


The other black runs from the east.

The mare and filly head off as the two blacks posture towards each other.

IMG_8190The battle was short lived…more like a chase.

IMG_8193The black retreated…no band for him right now. His identity was still a mystery at this point.

One black retreated.Hamlet was the one up playing with the boys. The mare and filly definitely settled back down after their encounter with the other black stallion. Hamlet went on alert.

IMG_8197Audobon and Niyaha went back to their grazing. Life for them was back to normal.

IMG_8204And how about the other black. There are two solid black stallions in the Pryors. One is Seattle and the other is his son, Issaquah. Both have been quite elusive for over a year. Later on the mystery black came running back towards us. Back home, Kassi had the most recent photos of both Seattle and Issaquah. Using her photos, it wasn’t hard at all to identify him as Seattle!

IMG_8233 Seattle

This was very exciting and surprising! Seattle is among the fine group of aging stallions who have lost their bands to the next generation. He was a powerhouse on the Dryhead for many years, and rarely seen on top of the mountain. We did get a report of him from Ginger Kathrens about a month ago. But seeing him on the upper elevation meadows was totally unexpected.

The misty day on the mountain that started out so quietly turned out to be filled with action, a bit of mystery, and the siting of one of the Dryhead legends.

Published in: on June 15, 2015 at 9:52 pm  Comments (6)  

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I remember seeing him up on the mountain top in June, 2013. So happy to hear he is still doing so well!

  2. Wow! That was an interesting episode in the saga of the Pryor Mountain Mustangs. The black stallions sure can be a mystery can’t they? πŸ™‚ I figured the black who approached the girls was probably Seattle as soon as I could see that right knee. It does look better than it did in 2012 when he still had Sacajawea and Kemmerer, but it’s still somewhat enlarged. Seattle must be attracted to the mountaintop for some reason. We saw him up there when he still had his whole band of nothing but blacks and grullas—I believe it was 09. They were in the meadow just where Burnt Timber Rd comes out on top, before Mystic Pond. I’m so glad to see him and know he’s getting around well. He may not get back to having a band, but he’s helping to teach the newbies that they’d better keep an eye on things if they want to keep theirs. Coronado, too. πŸ™‚ Sure seems like Audubon is happy with Hamlet and isn’t going to go willingly with another. It’s all so interesting! Thanks for sharing.

  3. The fog makes for some great pictures! Wow have McKeahie and Moorcroft matured. Last year they looked so small next to Hamlet but not anymore! Glad to see Red Raven and Seattle still in good spirits. Maybe Seattle came up top because he’s decided theres too much competition in the dryhead. I wonder if he’ll stay or if he’s just taking a “vacation.” Audobon is one mama you don’t want to mess with! She was not playing around with those double barrel kicks and in every picture she has placed herself between the intruding stallion and Niyaha. Without a doubt those girls are with the stallion they want to be with. I love how bonded this little band is. Even last summer the girls seemed to take an immediate liking to him. I think we will see great things from Hamlet.

  4. I had hoped the third black was Issaquah, but sadly, it is not. In all the excitement, do you think maybe this was just Hamlet returning to the ladies? What a great event to watch! Happy to see Seattle still has the desire to try for a band, but the smarts to tell when it’s not going to work. πŸ™‚


  5. What a Fantastic series of Photos! Thank you so much!

  6. Has ANYONE else seen Issaquah this summer and fall? Do you think something may have happened to him? (sure hope not) Seems that at least one of the visitors would have noticed his remains OR that he’s hurt, if so?

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