Horses Far and Near

It was a privilege to go to Sykes Ridge with Ginger Kathrens and Ann Evans on the last day of April 2016. The day started out with horses in the distance. Medicine Bow and Jemez were grazing up on a high meadow on the face of Sykes. That set the stage for the rest of the day!

As we continued up the mountain and up to the mid-meadows we ran into friend, Dennis McCollough, who was scanning the area with binoculars. He pointed out several more bands including Kemmerer & Waif and Hidatsa & Belle Star.


Kemmerer had just chased Hidatsa and Belle Starr off as they were a little too close for comfort. Waif and Kemmerer are near the trees to the left.

At that same point we could also see Bolder’s band, Irial’s band, and Hamlet’s bands. We continued up the road with the knowledge that we could get much closer.

We found a good spot to look for horses and were not disappointed. We was the first “near” horses which gave us a wonderful treat!! Ginger was excited (as we all were) to see the beautiful stallion, Mica/MatoSka. He is the 2012 son of Cloud and Feldspar.For me, this sighting was incredible because of Johan. Since his birth in 2009, I had never seen Johan. And there is was!!! There was a third young bachelor stallion with the other two. It took us a minute until we realized it was Nickle. This was the first time we had seen Nickle away from his mother, Fool’s Gold, in Irial’s band.

IMG_0818 Mica and Johan

It was easy to recognize Mica/MatoSka. But who is that dun behind him???

IMG_0823 Johan

Oh man! It is Johan!! As we drove up the rocky road of Sykes, I mentioned that my day’s goal was to see Johan. And there he was. He is a beauty…reminds me much of his sire, Starbuck.

IMG_0831 Nickle

It was the dun roan color and the left hind white leg that led us to identify Nickle…now a young stallion entering a new chapter of his life.

IMG_0836 Boys

The three young stallions ran down into some trees and had a brief, harmless scuffle.

IMG_0837 Boys

The blaze on that blue roan face…Mica/MatoSka is one handsome horse!

The three horses took off running and disappeared. We walked up the hill to see if we could spot them again. But…no…they were gone! From that vantage point, though, another band was spotted to the west. It was Bolder’s band.Bolder’s band has had a major change this year. Scarlett/Velvet disappeared from the band earlier this spring. Jack Sterling had reported the band was one horse short, but we weren’t certain which one was missing. Scarlett/Velvet turned 20 last year. We’ll keep an eye out for her in case she somehow wound up in a different band. The rest of the band is accounted for including: Bolder, Sapo/Cedar, Baileys/The Black, Celt/Cascade, Lobo, and the ever persistent, Killian/Echo.

IMG_0842 Bolder

Bolder on the left. Killian/Echo on the right.

From the same lookout point, Hamlet’s band could be seen to the southeast. Hamlet has mare, Audobon and her 2016 filly, Penn. He also has Niobrara who joined the band earlier in the year. The band was resting quietly.

IMG_0851 Hamlet's Girls

Hamlet is out of the picture just to the left of the band. The three horses from left to right are: Niobrara, Penn, and Audobon.

After we turned around to head back down, it wasn’t long until we saw a horse off in the distance. We were able to quickly identify Jupiter’s band of roans.


A single horse caught our attention against the backdrop of the snowy Big Pryor.

A short hike brought us much nearer to this beautiful band. During 2015, Jupiter/Jasper had mare, Maia, and her colt Oro. During late winter or early spring, he acquired one more dun roan mare, Niyaha. Niyaha had been with her mom, Audobon, and stallion, Hamlet in 2015.


Look-Alike Mares: This is such a fun photo that shows Jupiter’s mares.

At first Jupiter grazed quietly a short distance from the mares. What a beauty! He is just unmistakable with his funnel shape face marking.


Jupiter grazes contentedly on the spring grasses.


Oro has grown into a very handsome bay roan. He was born in 2014 to Maia and stallion, Galaxy.


Something caught Jupiter’s attention and he gave us this beautiful stallion pose.

We continued on down the mountain and enjoyed the rugged beauty of the land. Sykes gives such an amazing view of Bighorn Canyon to the east. That alone is worth the trip. We got all the way to the bottom into Cougar Canyon when we saw our next “up-close” horses. This little one walked across the road in front of us.


The age and color…hmm…followed by…


A horse of this color…Hidalgo!

The two males walked across the road and took us to the rest of the band.


Fresia and Parry at the top. Morgana, Oglala, and Oak in the foreground. Fresia has the wild shyness of her mom, Buffalo Girl, and she kept her distance.


Little Parry is such a Hidalgo look-alike! It looks like he is a regular dun with the black primitive marks.


Hidalgo is a red dun with a dark mane and tail. He has light red primitive marks which indicate the red dun coloration.


Morgana and Oglala. When Oglala was first born in 2016, there was another foal born into Fools Crows band. We called that one Osage, who died soon after birth. We do not know for certain who is Oglala’s birth mom, Morgana or Icara.


Morgana is just striking! She is the daughter of Icara, born into Merlin’s band.


Oglala is a solid dark bay. He was very curious about the visitors.

We left the band and continued out of Cougar Canyon. We took the high road leading out of Sykes. This gave us the opportunity to view a few more horses from a distance. The use of a spotting scope revealed a lone horse standing high on Sykes Ridge. Persistence led us to identify the white socks and the classic face marking that could only be…Corona!


Corona has been on his own since summer 2015. He turns 19 this year. He is definitely a favorite…leading a very elusive life in the harsh country of lower Sykes.

More scoping showed us the two horses we started the day with….Medicine Bow and Jemez.


The “orange” color of both Medicine Bow and Jemez makes them fairly easy to spot from a distance.

And that was our day with horses near and far. We drove out of Sykes without seeing any other horses. But what a day! Many thanks to Ginger and Ann for letting me share this unforgettable trip to Sykes with them.










Published in: on May 5, 2016 at 6:45 am  Comments (10)  

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  1. Great pics! Thanks for sharing. 🙂 I don’t see Killian in the picture shown, but a black, or dark horse. It will sure be interesting, again, to see how long he’s allowed to hang around. Here’s hoping Scarlett appears with another stallion somewhere. Maybe Seattle swopped in and stole her. 🙂 I’m happy to hear that Kemmerer and Hidatsa each have a mate, but feel bad for Corona if he’s been deposed. Hopefully, he and Merlin will be able to chum around together for some relatively happy years of retirement, since they seemed to be “friends” during their years as band stallions on the Dryhead. I sure am looking forward to seeing some of the oldsters, as well as the feisty little foals when I come to visit this year—and of course, all the others, too. Thanks agaian all, for the report.

    • Killian is all the way on the right end of the picture. The dark horse is kind of in the middle.

      • Guess I’d better clean my glasses! Now I see him right there, big as life! 😉

  2. Oops! I meant to say maybe Seattle “swooped” in and stole her. And, thanks “again”. That’ll teach me to hurry!

    • Thanks for your comments, Linda. I share your love of the “oldsters.” We haven’t seen Merlin for awhile either…he is an elusive one for sure!!

  3. It seems to be the year of bachelorhood for a lot of the young stallions!!… haha except for Killian of course! I hadn’t realized Scarlett/Velvet has been missing from the band. I hope she’s just with another stallion. There’s been so much drama with that band it wouldn’t surprise me if she decided to leave. Perhaps she’s even with Grijala. Noble showing up with Garay’s band makes me wonder if Grijala picked up another mare and somehow during the exchange Noble got displaced. Or how great would it be if she was keeping Cloud company. I try not to worry that he hasn’t been seen. During his young bachelor years no one ever saw him during winter so it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s gone back to that again is his older bachelor years. I think we’ve all just gotten accustomed to how visible he’s always been in his band stallion years. But I’m sure with spring coming we’ll see him again soon.

    • Thanks for your comments, Sarah. We had a report of Grijala in the last couple of weeks. He only had Graciana at that point.

  4. What a very good day you had! It’s great to have a glimpse at what’s going on out there. The horses are ALL so beautiful. Looking forward to seeing that some of them have out on some weight, like always, as the forage develops. I appreciate your comments about Oglala and “who’s his momma?” (I think you meant to say he was born in 2015, not 16, in case a new reader is confused.) Anyway, while I observed the family in 2015, he went to both Morgana and Icara to nurse, so I was confused. Interesting to see how they work things out. I’m glad to know Corona is still there, doing what older stallions do. 🙂 Thanks again for sharing.

    • “put” on some weight. 😦

  5. So cool that Jupiter has look alike mares! I love that picture of them! Oro is so handsome!! Cant wait to see him all shed out! Those pictures of Jupiter are gorgeous too. Cant believe how much Parry looks like Hidalgo!

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