Friday was one of the worst experiences I’ve ever had in the basin – up there with not finding Slate after the winter, worrying about Duke when he was lame and I couldn’t find him and wondering about Jif when she went missing. Read the next post for more information, but suffice to say I had the misfortune to come across a guy so clueless about wild horses he not only chased away the two bands (Poco’s and Seven’s) I was photographing by approaching them too close on foot with a short lens and a cell phone (a cell phone!!), but later I watched through binoculars as he chased Seven’s band, Grey/Traveler’s band, Steeldust’s band AND the Bachelor 7 down the road ahead of his pickup.
Before he chased them away, I did get some nice pictures of Seven’s band, and particularly Molly’s filly. Although I waited almost an hour before I drove on after the guy left, I saw only Steeldust’s band and the B7 from a distance – and they ran as soon as I stopped to look at them with the binoculars – and Seven’s hiding under some trees way back past the dry water hole east of “east park.”
Roach, Poco and Bones watching the guy approach them. At this point, he hadn’t gone back yet for his cell phone. I thought about including pictures of him but decided not to. I did send photos to the BLM herd area manager.
Seven, the filly, Molly and Roja, who apparently has been to the Wildcat Springs Spa for her mud bath! The filly doesn’t have a name yet; I’m waiting to see if David Glynn, who saw her first, wants to name her. Isn’t she a cutie? They all are, I know.
Until the guy showed up, I was counting my blessings to see Seven’s band like this. Molly, bless her old heart, is a very protective mama, and I haven’t had very many chances to take some good identification photos of her baby. This day, they were very calm, and I stayed a good distance away from them across the road and an arroyo – I’ve learned that in a lot of cases, the horses seem to regard arroyos as protective barriers. You can see Molly’s very prominent withers in the picture, but I think a lot of that is her basic conformation. She does seem to have gained a little weight, and she’s obviously feeding her filly well.
Poco, Roach and Bones after they ran past me and on south (behind me as I had been taking pictures). They paused momentarily, and I told Roach how sorry I was, then they galloped on down to the arroyo that runs along the base of that long hill. I never saw them again Friday or Saturday; at least they didn’t end up on the road with Seven’s and the others.
This is Seven’s band a few minutes later. After the guy chased Roach and Co. away, he turned his attention on Seven’s band, but those horses are not NEARLY as accommodating as Roach, and they immediately ran away. Unfortunately, they ran down farther to the road, and the guy ended up chasing them with his truck.
I didn’t see Bounce, Alegre or Gaia that day, so I hope they escaped. It has taken a long time to gain Alegre’s trust that I can drive by her without making her run. I did see them Saturday, up in the low hills a little farther south from where I photographed Seven’s and Poco’s on Friday.
Threatening skies and rumbles chased me back around and out of the basin, and as I was leaving, I saw a single column of dark smoke away to the west outside the herd area. By the time I got to the county road, it was raining nicely, and I had a cell signal, so I called the public lands office. How cool are those guys?! The woman I talked to was pretty sure they (Forest Service, BLM, etc.(?)) were already on it.
Based on the tracks I saw leaving, I’m pretty sure he went out ahead of me (his tracks in, my tracks in; a third set as I was leaving).
One of my biggest disappointments – aside from the obvious – was that I still didn’t see Grey except from a very far distance. That’s two weeks I’ve gone without seeing him close enough to check his condition and that of his mares, the yearlings and Iya. I’m leaving the end of the week for vacation, so it will be a month of weekends before I see him again, and that’s hoping I see him when I go back out after I get back! I don’t worry too much when I don’t see the pintos or the southside boys, but it surely helps my soul to see my favorite boy regularly and know he’s OK.