The horses had some extra visitors Friday. The Ute Mountain Mesa Verde Birding Festival was being hosted at all kinds of places around the southwestern corner of our fair state, and a dozen or so people lucked out and went to Spring Creek Basin.
Most of the Bachelor 7 were hanging out with Steeldust’s band, and Grey/Traveler’s family was fairly close. Not long after someone asked if it was normal for them to be so close, Grey went galloping over to challenge! We were still a distance away, but it was quite a show through the binoculars.
I realized that the last time Grey was hanging out so close to Steeldust’s band, he ended up with a new family member …
Steeldust and his band and hangers-on moved away, closer to the road that goes by the base of the north hills. That’s where we stopped to watch as they napped. After the birders left, I sat in the Jeep for a while and made notes until the horses moved around the hill. I thought they were leaving the road – until I drove on and realized the road also went around the hill. Some folks say vehicles make good blinds. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Some of the horses really hate vehicles – Duke, in particular.
Speaking of Duke, I think I confused them last weekend. They both have stars, but Duke has a left hind fetlock. Duke is a rich, mahogany bay, and Aspen … is shedding out a rich, mahogany bay. In his winter coat, he looked red-bay. While I was watching the horses with the birders, one of their guides, Mike Jensen, who used to manage the herd, spotted Duke up on a hillside just north of the group. We could easily see his fetlock. I didn’t see the three bachelors I thought were Duke, Hook and Chrome real close last weekend, and now I wonder if “Duke” wasn’t Aspen. Things like this remind me identifying wild horses isn’t an exact science!
Da boys. In this photo, definitely, are Comanche, Hook, Mouse (his ears), Aspen and Chrome.
Chrome, left, and Kreacher. Chrome is shedding out lighter this spring.
At one point, Kreacher went flying by with Hollywood hot on his heels. Their interaction ended with flying heels – Hollywood’s – but no connection. In this image, you can clearly see by their body language that Hollywood is the dominant horse and Kreacher is submissive.
Meanwhile, Grey snuck up again, and here he’s having words with Comanche, who immediately turned and went back to his boys. Grey went right back to his family.
Place your bets now on this girl’s due date! She has gotten round in just the past couple of weeks.
Who can resist this little sweetheart? When I first aimed my camera in her direction, she wasn’t looking at me. A few seconds later – with her still in my viewfinder, she looked my way. Cute!
Mouse seems to be doing OK. I saw him go into a trot only once, and only for a few steps, but he doesn’t seem to be limping. It was his right front and here, he looks pretty solid on it.
Grey/Traveler checking out his “stepkids.” Twister is still doing the baby chewing, but I didn’t see Two Boots doing it this time. He has some new scars, so I’m sure there have been some encounters between him and the bachelors, at least. I haven’t seen him interact with Steeldust – or vice versa – which may be just timing (mine) or something else.
Two Boots hanging out with Jif. It seems like the young horses take the longest to shed out.
After his confrontation with Comanche, Grey settled into guardian status, and although Steeldust ended up crossing the road not far from Grey, they stayed in separate groups. I took advantage of their proximity to take some pix of Houdini and Iya – and confirmed Iya as a filly.
All the horses in a band seem to take special care around the foals, and it was really cool to see Hollywood demonstrate that care.
Ember had laid down to take a little nap, and Hollywood seemed to watch over her as the rest of the band moved off a little (they’re just beyond the left side of the frame). I think one of the most important things to remember about wild horses is the strong bonds they share with each other. For them, there’s nothing more important than family – even when it’s “adopted.”