When They Disappear…A Story of Three Pryor Horses

Let me first introduce myself to those who may not know the “face” behind this blog or the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center FaceBook page. I am Nancy Cerroni, a longtime resident of Lovell, WY. I started watching the Pryor Mountain Wild Horses back in 2004. Since 2014, my husband, Steve and I have been doing our PryorWild tours where we have had the pleasure of showing hundreds of people the beauty of the Pryor Horses and the amazing land of their home. Horses are a big part of our lives at home too. We live on a ranch just east of Lovell where we have a number of Quarter Horses and a couple mustangs of our own. You can see that horses, both domestic and wild are a huge part of our lives and our hearts. I have become a keeper of the wild horse databases. In addition, I serve as the voice of the Mustang Center as we inform and educate people from all over the world about this very special herd of wild horses.

I feel it important to tell you this now, so you understand the difficult task writing this post is. With horses it is possible to identify them as individuals which brings a unique perspective on life. It is a unique privilege to witness their lives from birth to death. And try as hard as possible, it is impossible to completely detach emotions from what is known intellectually to be all part of the natural world. Bottom line, horses are remarkable creatures that have woven their way into the lives and hearts of so many. Loving these horses is the essence of bittersweet…of pain and pleasure…of happy and sad. And at the times of sadness, the pain is equal and opposite to the amount of happiness. It is the risk of loving…the chance you take.

As much as we know about the horses, there is always mystery which that is known only to themselves. One mystery is with death and possible death. So often, the wild horses just disappear. The hope is that they will soon re-appear. The reality is that they seldom do once they disappear. Disappearance and death are painful and leave question marks in our hearts. Three Pryor Horses have recently disappeared. The odds that they are alive are slim to none. Time will fully reveal this answer…yet quite honestly, we probably already know.

Mescalero and Dove – July 27, 2006

Mescalero – Mescalero was last seen during the Winter 2020-21. He was born in 1999, the son of the lovely roan, Sitka, and the mighty Shaman. My first memories of the handsome dun roan stallion, Mescalero, came when the beautiful mare, Dove, joined him. They were a pair with one of those one word names…MescaleroandDove.

Through time his band changed and offspring were born. As he moved into prime and beyond, he had quite a band with mares such as Polaris, Isadora, Rosarita, Half Moon, Topper Too, and Feldspar. He had a fine set of offspring as well, with Quintana and Sirius still on the mountain today.

Mescalero lost his band in 2019 to the dun roan, Okomi. From that time, Mescalero was visible on the Range, hanging out with others or just living the life of a lone stallion. As happens with aging stallions, they go into winter, but never come out. In 2020, Mescalero was seen in the late fall meadows on top of the mountain. At this point in 2021, he hasn’t been spotted. This indicates that the stallion is most likely gone as he surely would have been seen by now. A loss like this is sad, but Mescalero’s is a story of success. He was born wild, lived wild, and died wild…all in his Pryor Home.

Mescalero – September 5, 2020
Usha and Morning Reverie – June 13, 2020

Usha – Little Usha is on the other end of life’s spectrum from Mescalero. Her life was just beginning on the Pryor Mountains. She was born to the young mare, Morning Reverie. The young mare was with her mother, Hataalii, along with the dynamic situation between Killian/Echo and Orlando. Later in the year, Morning Reverie and her young daughter became a part of Oro’s band. The mother/daughter pair were so sweet…both beautiful young duns.

Sometime during the winter, Usha, sustained a broken left front leg. This was a very serious injury, yet remarkable healing has happened with the wild horses and maybe, just maybe, she would be one of the survivors of such an injury. Oro and his band put a shield of protection around the young mare and her injured yearling. They made it to the top of the mountain in late May.

Oro’s Band – May 30, 2021: L-R: Celt & Baileys, Niyaha, Usha, Morning Reverie, Manualita, Felina.
Morning Reverie – July 15, 2021

Usha was in tough shape, but she showed a true mustang spirit. Reverie stayed by Usha’s side, doing all she could to help the little one keep up with the band. In precious moments, Usha would run and buck playfully in the grass of spring. However, one day Usha was there and the next she wasn’t. This mustang made a valiant effort, yet healing was not to be. Morning Reverie has carried on without her foal. The truth of the matter is the injured foal was taking a toll on her own health. Since then, Morning Reverie has regained her strength. She is strong and healthy and surrounded by a very protective band who has helped her every step of the way. Usha, the little spark of dun touched many hearts and will not be forgotten.

Oceana – And then we come to Oceana…the third that has recently disappeared. Oceana, beautiful copper-colored Oceana, is another wild horse that just disappeared virtually overnight. It was obvious through spring and early summer that Oceana was in foal. She has been with the stallion, Jasper/Jack, for quite some time now, along with her two-year old son, Titan.

Jasper’s Band – June 16, 2021: L-R: Lariat, Petite Colour, Titan, Oceana, Sequoyah, Jasper, Ketchikan.
Oceana – July 10, 2021 Photo by Brittny Budde

She was seen and photographed on Saturday, July 10, 2021.

By Monday, July 12, she was missing from Jasper’s band. At that point, there was optimism that she was just off having that baby. Next day…no sign of her. The hope then was that somehow she had joined up with Grijala, her former stallion and the sire of her son, Titan. A day later, Grijala was with a band of young bachelors kicking up action in the Mystic Pond area. No sorrel colored mare was with him. Almost daily sightings of Jasper’s band showed Titan quite content and surrounded by a band of mares who have been his family since birth. We have accounted for every stallion on the mountain except Johan who keeps to himself on mid-Sykes Ridge. The chances that Oceana is with him are slim. The other possibility is that she is off on her own with her foal. This has been known to happen on occasion in the Pryors.

Oceana – October 2014

I carry a flicker of hope with me. I have her listed as “In Transit” on my list with the hopes that something unusual has happened and that she just re-appears one day with her shiny coat and a brand-new foal. Intellectually I know the chances that she is gone are overwhelming…but for now. I hold onto that hope. The hope is for the bright colored little filly who jetted across the mountain meadow in October of 2014 when she was born to the mare, Galadriel. She and Okiotak came at the same time into the same band…both little sorrels who survived their late fall births.

Hope is for the small genetic line that Oceana represents that traces back through Galadriel – Atlantis – Coppertop – Pocotello. Thankfully Titan is there to carry on for his beautiful mother.

If by chance, one of you happens to see Oceana…please let us know as soon as possible. Let’s keep an eye out for this beauty…and keep on hoping!

Jasper’s Band – July 14, 2021

Loving these horses is not easy. One must expect moments like these that touch the heart so deeply. As a friend just provided the perfect way to close said, “The wild claims the old…young…and unexpected.” Advice comes right from the behavior of the horses themselves. Morning Reverie is carrying on after the loss of Usha and Titan is carrying on with the possible loss of Oceana. My friend added this wisdom. “Try to apply the horses’ way of living…one thing I admire is… you grieve but then you move on, in the wild you can’t look back … only move forward.

Published in: on July 19, 2021 at 9:10 pm  Comments (23)  

Stallion Story

The behaviors of the stallions are, perhaps, one of the most interesting and exciting components of the wild horse world. While the most intense are the confrontations when two stallions go up in the air on hind legs, there are many more subtle behaviors that occur when one stallion works to maintain his band against one or more other stallions attempting to gain the power. Through a whole bunch of photos and a few words, witness the action between one band stallion, Chief Joseph and six bachelor stallions over the course of a little over an hour on a beautiful November day in the Pryor Mountains.

The morning began with the young bachelor stallion, Parry. He was grazing on the sagebrush land when something caught his attention.

When a horse moves into this attentive, or alert mode, it is best to take notice. Their powers of observation are keen and typically very accurate that there is something out there in that direction. Sure enough…Parry began moving quickly; first with a long-stride walk that broke into an easy-going lope. The golden dun horse looked spectacular against the red, Chugwater dirt background.

As Parry moved in the direction of the rising sun, it became apparent as to what caught his attention. Another horse had moved up from the water hole called Little Sykes Spring. This one was a stallion – a black stallion that came up to meet up with Parry. The two greeted each other with posturing movements of arched necks and high stepping legs.

Parry meets up with the black stallion

This encounter was brief as both stallions shifted their attention from each other to something coming up from the east. The eyes, ears, and body position tell the story. Parry’s ears and eyes are definitely focused on the distance. The black’s ears show a dual concern – partly on Parry and partly on whatever was in the distance.

Again the powers of observation were right on the mark as a pair of horses emerge into view. These two provided the key to identifying the black stallion. It was a bay roan mare and a dark-colored foal trailing behind her. It was Pilar and her 2020 colt, Ukiah. This proved that the black stallion was Chief Joseph.

Pilar is the 2015 daughter of the mare, La Brava, and the stallion, Irial. Ukiah is the son of the stallion, Hamlet.

Chief Joseph left Parry’s side and guided his band away from the intruder. He positioned his body between Parry and his mare. In turn, Pilar, shielded her foal with her body. The three trotted off in unison together.

This didn’t diminish Parry’s interest in the other horses. He circled around and took the lead.

Chief Joseph broke up the momentum. He cut Parry off from the forward motion. This allowed Pilar time to move Ukiah out of the line of potential fire.

Once Pilar and Ukiah have moved off, Joseph can turn his attention briefly back to Parry. The two engaged in a minor scuffle with the most action coming from Joseph’s mane.

After that, both stallions’ attention was once again drawn to something in the east. They separated and both stood at attention…such unbelievable beauty in this rugged land.

Parry headed off and left Joseph behind.

Parry had shifted his attention to two more bachelor stallions who had just appeared in the area. He ran right over to the grullo stallion, Hidatsa. This was not an adversarial meeting, rather just a morning greeting. The black stallion, Hawk appeared much more interested in his brother, Joseph, than the young stallion. Parry then continued walking out of the area.

Meanwhile on the other side of the sagebrush meadow, another bachelor stallion made his way down into the area where Joseph, Pilar, and Ukiah continued to graze. This was the young grullo stallion, Pax. He is one of the finest examples of grullo in the Pryors with his thick wither bars. At the age of five, he has matured into a handsome stallion. He has spent much of the summer roaming alone as a bachelor stallion. So as one five year old bachelor left, another came onto the scene and kicked up the action!

Joseph headed over to check out the newcomer. The colt, Ukiah, is not too young to learn the lessons of being a band stallion.

At first, Pax doesn’t seem to have much desire to engage in a confrontation with Joseph. After a quick, quiet greeting, Pax moves down the meadow toward Pilar and Ukiah.

The situation becomes tense for Joseph as Hawk and Hidatsa move to the northeast side of Joseph and his band. The next set of photos illustrate how hard the band stallions have to work to maintain their family. One one side, Joseph has Pax. On the other side, he has the two veteran bachelors, Hawk and Hidatsa. Smack dab in the middle are Pilar and Ukiah.

At first, Joseph goes back to size up the situation with Pax. Pax turns and walks off while Joseph turns an eye on Hawk and Hidatsa.

Next, Joseph moves over to check out Hawk. Both Hawk and Chief Joseph are the sons of the legendary Dryhead stallion, Seattle. Both have the jet black color of their sire. Again, Joseph is not overly concerned with Hawk and he walks back to the mare and colt.

At that point, Pax moves over to Hawk. This resulted in just a greeting and both were more interested in their surroundings than each other.

All of a sudden Pax seems to gain the courage to make a challenge. He moves confidently through the sage. Chief Joseph responds with a quick chase. Pax arches his neck, but retreats.

Joseph turns in the opposite direction and lopes back to make sure his band is safe from the other bachelors.

He moves closer to Hawk and gives the reminder of who is in charge here. Hawk obliges without a bit of hesitation.

There is no rest for Joseph. He turns back and notices Pax moving in again. Joseph breaks into a run and moves past Pilar and Ukiah. He, then, blasts at full speed towards the eager bachelor. This time Pax shows the willingness to stay around and challenge Joseph.

After a good, aggressive blast from both stallions, Pax turns away in defeat…for this battle anyway.

Joseph moves back and snakes Pilar back to her foal. What is happening on the other side to cause the stallion more concern?

Again Joseph feels the need to get back to Hawk. He charges over, takes a second to keep Hawk well in his place, then charges back to Pax.

At first, Pax turns and runs quickly!

But then he shows himself to be a formidable opponent and goes up against the more experienced stallion.

At the end of that intense battle, Pax was done. He turned away from Joseph and moved off to the east. Hawk and Hidatsa followed behind him. The three stallions met briefly and then moved off together.

At this point, it would be good to see Chief Joseph be able to just relax, but the hour of challenge wasn’t quite over for him. As soon as the trio of bachelors moved off, Hidalgo came down the same path that Pax had appeared from a short time ago. Following Hidalgo was Sundance.

Hidalgo gave Joseph a very brief challenge. Hidalgo has been one of those stallions who seems quite content with solitude. As a two-year old, Sundance seemed more interested in finding some good things to eat.

At the end of this exciting hour, Ukiah moved over to his mother, Pilar, for bit of breakfast.

Finally, Chief Joseph could enjoy some well-deserved relaxation. This short time showed many stallion behaviors of both the band stallions as they strive to keep the band and the bachelors whose goal is to gain a band of their own. Yes, the up-in-the air action is exciting, but often overlooked is the amount of running and chasing the stallions have to do to maintain the band. It is hard work for sure, but these stallions are driven to get and maintain a band.

Published in: on November 22, 2020 at 8:27 pm  Comments (7)  
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Blizzard…A Tribute

By Nancy Cerroni

Perhaps this should start with an apology; an apology to all who loved Blizzard and have, in all likelihood been wondering about the beautiful “orange” stallion of the Dryhead. It was mid-July when we got the word that Blizzard’s remains had been found in the Dryhead. Shortly after Christie Marcus and I headed out to find him. We both carried a heart full of memories of this very special horse. No, we weren’t surprised to hear of his passing. But death is never easy, even when somewhat expected. With the series of difficult events from that time to now, I held the story of Blizzard in my heart. So please forgive me for holding onto this for all these months. The memories of this wild horse will stay with me and will be used to pay tribute to one of the Pryor legends.

Blizzard – 2001

Blizzard was an amazing presence in the Dryhead area of the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range. He had this almost explosive apricot dun color that glowed like sunshine against the sagebrush background of his home. Blizzard was born to the stallion, Durango, and mare, Waif, in 2001. Using Reverend Schweiger’s photos, Pryor Horse historian, Alessandro tells the story. In 2000, Durango’s band included the mare, Waif, and yearling colt, Medicine Bow. Medicine Bow had been orphaned at this early age when his mother, Twiggy died. So in 2001 when Blizzard was born, he had his parents along with a big brother.

The location of Reverend Schweiger’s photos show the family on Mustang Flats, an area that would be Blizzard’s home for the rest of this life. The photos tell the story of Blizzard and Durango. Blizzard and Medicine Bow, and Waif gently guiding her orphan son, Medicine Bow across the desert land.

Blizzard and Durango – 6/26/2005

My earliest memories of Blizzard were when he was a bachelor stallion. One time, he came thundering down a hill towards my son, Matthew and me. This strong powerful animal came full speed at us and just wouldn’t stop or move until he drew closer to us. And then he stopped and just hung out near Matthew. It was like he needed a little bit of companionship in his lonely bachelor world.

Blizzard comes looking for companionship – 6/29/2005

Blizzard and his brother, Medicine Bow, would frequently join together in their bachelor lives. The pair was striking with Blizzard’s apricot dun and Medicine Bow’s unique red dun sabino. The two were never hard to spot with their bright orange colors. The pair is a great example of the strong bonds formed by wild horses.

Medicine Bow & Durango – 2006 photo by Matthew Dillon
Blizzard and Lone Wolf – 6/4/2006

Blizzard soon showed a courage and boldness to challenge for a band of his own. It was in 2006, when he went head to head with the grullo stallion, Lone Wolf. Lone Wolf was lean and experienced. Blizzard gave it a good try, but backed down.

It is ironic that Blizzard first found success as a band stallion when he acquired Strawberry and her foal, Gem, from Lone Wolf somewhere in 2006-2007. The young apricot dun stallion had an innate ability as a band stallion. In 2008, he had a nice band with mares Strawberry and Sacajawea, along with two of Sacajawea’s offspring, Hidatsa and Isolde.

Jemez greets his new brother Kokopelli
Photo by Matthew Dillon

In 2009, Blizzard and Strawberry had a beautiful colt who was named Jemez. The following year, Jemez had a brother, Kokopelli. Both these young sons of Blizzard shared his striking apricot dun color although each carried their mother’s roan gene. Kokopelli was removed as a yearling, but Jemez became another one of the “orange” boys of the Dryhead.

Blizzard, band stallion of the Dryhead

In time, Blizzard took on the monarch of the Dryhead, Seattle, and acquired his mares Cascade and Bakken. In 2013, Bakken gave birth to the lovely dun filly, La Nina. The mares bonded well with Blizzard and the band endured for many years. In June 2017, life as a band stallion pretty much came to an end for Blizzard. He first came up against the stallion, Hidalgo. The battle was difficult with Blizzard sustaining serious injuries which he possibly never recovered from. He was valiant and tried to recover his band, but soon joined the ranks of the bachelor stallions once again.

For the next years of his life, Blizzard seemed content in his life of solitude. He was a gentle soul that moved freely from the Sykes area to the Dryhead. This horse could literally disappear for a long period of time, only to reappear in his familiar spots on Mustang Flats.

Blizzard and Morgana

One sweet moment in early 2018 was when Blizzard was found on Mustang Flats with the mare, Morgana, and her brand new foal, Sorcerer. Sorcerer had been born during a brutal storm in February. The band not only endured harsh weather, they also endured turmoil as Johnston struggled to keep his band together. On this day, Blizzard, the mare, and the foal were grazing contentedly. Blizzard was so protective of the mare and foal and kept a watchful eye out for any challengers. No, Blizzard was not able to keep his little band, but for that moment in time, he once again showed his gentle, yet watchful nature as a band stallion.

In January 2019, Christie Marcus took the last photo of Blizzard that I have seen. He was so beautiful with his soft eyes, flaxen mane and tail, and that brilliant coat. He was on Mustang Flats, his home, in the spot very near his final resting place. It is very likely that Blizzard died soon after this photo was taken.

Soon after Christie and I walked out to pay our respect, Christie went home and wrote her own tribute to this great horse. It is with her permission that I share it with all of you.

In the last few years, Blizzard could disappear in all the secret places in his rugged home. We would frequently wonder if he had made it of not…made it through the cold winters…made it through the hot summers. And then we might catch a glimpse of his bright orange color. A part of me will still think of him out there someplace…living his life as a Pryor Mountain Wild Horse.

Another Perfect Day!

Every day on the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range is a good day, but there are days like Saturday, December 8, 2018 that simply surpass expectations and turn out to be perfect days. The day began for me with a phone all from Jack Sterling, a friend of ours and a friend of the wild horses. A quick plan was set up to meet asap at the Sykes Ridge entrance to the horse range. Off I went, ready for the day! The short drive in the morning cold air, set the stage for the day. The Pryor Mountains to the north were vivid against the backdrop of the blue sky and the light of the sun sending tones of gold from the rim of the Big Horn Mountains to the east. Jack climbed into the Jeep and off we went.

We headed to Sykes Springs first. The spring itself was locked tight with ice. Thankfully the snow gives the horses some form of hydration. Just before turning around we spot a dun horse. My first thought was Hidalgo because of the face marking, but no…it was Parry!


Parry is the three year old son of Fresia. They have been with Hawk for much of Parry’s young life.

Fresia was across the road from Parry, and got nervous by our presence. She, like several other mares, have a strong flight instinct. She watched us for awhile, and then moved towards the other two.


Fresia is the 2005 daughter of Durango and Buffalo Girl. Buffalo Girl was also a shy, beautiful mare like her daughter.


Fresia moved toward Hawk and Parry. She is definitely a lead mare!

Fresia began walking up the ridge. The other two watched and then walked off with her. This was a magic moment on the range as the horses walked through the glow of the rising sun!

Part 2: Jack and I turned around and headed back towards the red buttes. These beautiful hills are from the geologic “Chugwater Formation” which is characterized by the deep red color. I call it rusty dirt because the red is formed from the oxidation of iron. These red buttes are landmarks and can be seen even from the top of the mountain.

IMG-4509 (1)

The red buttes at Lower Sykes provide good shelter for the horses and other wildlife. Not much grows in the rusty dirt, but these landmarks add a splendid beauty to the area.

There is always such anticipation as you drive around to the west side of the buttes. That is where the expanse of Turkey Flats becomes visible and where horses can frequently be seen during this time of the year. We were not disappointed. As we got to the “parking lot” at the bottom, Jack simply stated, “Well look over there.” Oglala was grazing right near the road. It didn’t take much time to find his buddy, Jemez resting in the early morning sun.


Oglala is a solid black stallion! Just beautiful! He looks curiously at us as we get ready for our hike.

He turns his attention back to the sagebrush flowers that he has been enjoying for breakfast. He sets his eyes and his ears on the sound of a vehicle in a distance. These horses are ever alert to their surroundings.


The sagebrush is a major source of nutrition during the winter months.

Oglala heads off down a well-worn trail, then turns to look for his buddy, Jemez.


Jemez was resting just to the north of Oglala. The big, burly stallion was not at all concerned by the two visitors to their part of the horse range.


Beautiful Jemez glows in the morning light.

IMG-4510 (1)

Jemez against the backdrop of the red butte.

By the time we got all our gear ready for a long hike, Jemez had started his movement to join Oglala. He looks almost small against the red butte behind him. Off we go!

Part 3: The walk across Turkey Flats is about two miles. It isn’t a difficult hike if you stick to the old two-track road that cuts across the vast area. All along you get a great view of the face of Sykes Ridge and even across to Burnt Timber. Surprisingly, there was no snow which makes travel even easier. We got to the edge of Turkey Flats, at the point where it drops into the mouth of Big Coulee. It was there we spotted more horses!

It was a great treat to find the Miocene clan on the edge of Turkey Flats.  This has been one of the continuing sagas of 2018. And all the players were still there…..Miocene, Hailstorm/Shadow, Hataalii, and Morning Reverie. And right in the mix were stallions Lobo and Nickle.


This was one of the first views of horses that we saw. From l-r: Lobo, Hailstorm/Shadow, Hataalii, and Reverie.

Seeing Miocene is like seeing his sire, Blue Moon/Flint. In fact, I commented to Jack that one of the last times we were out there together, Flint and his band were right about this same spot.


Miocene is the spittin’ image of his sire, Blue Moon/Flint

Off to the side was the ever persistent, Orlando. I had seen him a few weeks ago on Sykes Ridge with stallion, Inniq. But here he was back doggin’ the band. He kept a bit of a distance from the others. I think he’s been attending the school of hard knocks all summer in his relentless pursuit of these mares. At some point, that education is going to pay off for him.



The band kept close proximity to one another. Jack and I took lots of photos of the tight-knit group.


It is great to hike with Jack Sterling. He is friendly and has that long lanky stride that keeps a great hiking pace!


The band rested in the warmth of the morning sun.

All was quiet until Nickle got a little too interested in Hailstorm/Shadow. Miocene and Lobo were going to have nothing to do with this!


Hailstorm kept a close eye out on the other horses in the area. She has shown good leadership skills in both Morning Star’s band and now, with Miocene.

Nickle’s advances are quickly thwarted by the strong kick from Hailstorm.

DSC_8373She walks away, but Miocene comes over to deal with the situation. No one is going to mess with his mares!
DSC_8375Lobo then comes over to help out.
DSC_8376The three stallions do a little posturing. Miocene does the classic “scratch in the dirt” gesture to show his strength.
DSC_8379Then Miocene and Nickle go head to head.
DSC_8382Then up they go. Notice how the rest of the band has pretty much lost interest as these two interact in the “dance.”

Finally, Orlando heads over to check things out. The sequence of photos tell the story far better than my words could!

At that point, Hailstorm took the lead again and headed down into Big Coulee. One-by-one the others followed her.


Hailstorm leads the way and checks out her surroundings.




Morning Reverie close behind her mom.


Nickle and Lobo stop for a bit of snow. Hard to believe this snow can keep these large animals hydrated through the winter months.

Jack and I took this as our cue to head to the next bunch of horses.

Part 4: The next two horses were not far from Miocene’s bunch and it didn’t take long to figure out their identity: Mica/MatoSka and Gaelic Princess. Mica is just stunning with his darker than normal winter coat. He has matured so much and seems to have settled down in the company of this mare. Gaelic Princess lives up to her name with her regal demeanor. She is simply stunning.

Mica/MatoSka and Gaelic Princess take a glance at us, then return to their business.

Gaelic kept a close watch on the other horses in the area. I was curious to see if she would be tempted to try to join her former mare companions, Hailstorm and Hataalii, after their many years together in Morning Star’s band. But she was more interested in the horses to the south of them.


Gaelic and Mica keep a close watch to the south.

The two horses started moving against the beautiful backdrop of the landscape. Gaelic Princess took the lead and she was followed by her handsome stallion!


Gaelic Princess looks just lovely against the colorful backdrop of the area. This looks out in the direction of  Burnt Timber Ridge Road.


Mica is the 2012 son of Cloud and Feldspar. He entered the bachelor world in May 2014 after the battle between his sire and Doc.

We took the same opportunity to head south just a short distance to the next band. How exciting to find Hamlet and his band of three mares: Sapo, Maia, and Niyaha. This was my first glimpse of Niyaha with this band. Dennis McCollough had reported the change a couple weeks ago in one of his wonderful FaceBook posts. Now we were seeing it firsthand! Maia and Niyaha were together with the stallion, Jupiter, up until last year when Niyaha ended up with Inniq. She remained hidden on Sykes Ridge through the summer. Not long ago, Inniq was seen without the mare. Her whereabouts were unknown until she was discovered with Hamlet.


Hamlet looks amazing! This might be the best I’ve ever seen him.

The mares were skittish and stuck pretty close to each other.


The stately mare, Sapo, stands between the two dun roan look-alikes, Maia and Niyaha.

The band was nervous and started moving away. We left them as they sure don’t need additional stress at this time of the year. Jack and I turned back to the north to check out the one remaining band in the area. The size and color composition of the band made them very easy to identify. What a thrill to see Irial’s beautiful band!


Our arrival was well noticed!

I did a quick head count and found all members present and accounted for..nine in all, still missing Pilar from this group. Dove was the sentinel. She is a great identifying horse in the band with her wide blaze and very distinctive dark buckskin color. She is a shy, beautiful mare who did not take her eyes off of us.


Dove peered up at us through the sagebrush. She is such an elegant beauty!

Right up front with Phoenix was Adona. She is one of the “blues” in this band. Luckily she has a star which makes her more identifiable.


Adona is the 2000 daughter of Shaman and Sitka.

Irial’s band is one of mares and daughters. This, I believe, is one reason that he has been able to maintain such a large band. Fool’s Gold and Pele are examples of the mother/daughter pairs. At the age of three, Pele is still nursing. She had and lost a 2018 foal that was named Sparrow. Fool’s Gold and Pele look stunning together in the winter with both coats bright shades of dun.


Pele loses her roan appearance in the winter. She and her mom, Fool’s Gold look so beautiful together!

Another of Irial’s mother/daughter pairs is made up of Blue Sioux and LaBrava. Blue Sioux is an absolute legend. At the age of 25, she is finally showing some age…but still a blue roan beauty!

DSC_8549 Blue Sioux

Blue Sioux

La Brava, daughter of Blue Sioux and Coronado/Red Raven is a spectacular bay roan mare. Her story of 2018 still causes ache in my heart with the loss of her foal, Santiago. In addition, Pilar moved onto Chief Joseph’s band. Thankfully she still has her mother and other mares to provide companionship.


La Brava

Lovely Manuelita/Mourning Dove shares her color with her mother, Dove. Manuelita was quite the “poser” today and gave us lots of good photo ops!



Manuelita/Mourning Dove and her mother, Dove, share the same unique shade of dark buckskin. Manuelita displays the roan gene of her sire, Coronado, which is faintly visible on her winter coat.

Scarlett/Velvet gave us quite a surprise….she looks amazing and certainly does not look to be 23 years old!


Scarlett/Velvet is the 1995 daughter of Konik and Feather.

Last but not least is Irial himself! This handsome stallion stood at the north end of the rest of the band. He was not particularly interested in us, but kept a good watch on his band. Like his full sister, Gaelic Princess, Irial is a wonderful representation of both Prince and Ireland.


Irial took one quick look up at us!

Irial turned 10 in 2018. He has maintained a large band for several years, despite a relatively young age.


Then he turned to look at his band.

Our day didn’t end here. We continued on up into Big Coulee. This is a land that Jack knows well, but if fairly new for me. We only saw one horse up in the Coulee as we met Oro coming and going. The rest of the trip was filled with magnificent beauty and points of historical interest.

Published in: on December 10, 2018 at 8:08 am  Comments (16)