I figured she’d had her foal … but I haven’t seen the pinto band since before I went on vacation. I don’t know where they’re finding water – somewhere obviously. I couldn’t find it.
Chipeta, Ty and Mesa were visible from the Disappointment Road on my way out with the fire management officer, but the other horses were not. We watched them for several minutes, but if the other horses were in the arroyo, out of sight, they were there longer than we were there watching. Makes sense if there was only a little water, and they had to wait for it to seep to the surface then take turns.
I climbed Round Top to look for the pintos (check), for David and Shadow and Wind (nope), for Poco and Roach – and Bruiser? (nope). Nice and windy – and windier from there – gnats were few. Ty and Chipeta were close to the pintos, which again makes me think they may have been close earlier. They had followed a drainage – and Ty and Chipeta had climbed a hill – and were only partially visible to me: Mesa, looking very, very dark in the very, very bright sunshine, and Copper, and, for a few moments, Milagro, and Corazon, I thought.
I had seen most everybody else – mostly from a distance – so I drove out and around and hiked in at dysfunction junction – maybe my first serious hike in from there since the summer before last when it seemed like I was hiking in there every other visit to visit the pintos on their hill. Made a decision at a confluence of arroyos near their heads … picked a hill to climb … and there they were, napping in that bright, hot (96?) sunshine – Ty looking down on them from a nearby hill. As it turned out, that brought the short visit to a quick end. Copper added to the stud pile nearby, and Mesa came over to investigate that, and Ty trotted down to investigate them, and Corazon, standing sentinel against the cloud-studded horizon, pretty as a picture, trotted over to warn him off, meanwhile, Chipeta used the diversion (clever mare) to make a run back to the band (aka Kiowa), which caused Ty and Corazon to break off their manly event and go racing off after her, which caused the whole band to decide nap time was over – long over – and they should be far away. Copper snaked and lunged – at the mares, at Milagro and Spook – at Mesa and Ty – at Corazon – and Kiowa led her baby – and the rest – to the grey far hills, away – naturally away – from my long walk back.
I usually fill my cooler with Gatorade and then put half the bottles back in the fridge upon my return … I drank them all this visit. Hot and warm and dry and dehydrating was the wind and sun – the hottest of the summer, so far, by my visits. And how must the horses fare, with temperatures so high, water so scarce?
I thought of the news of the Tuscarora horses, dying of dehydration, running in the summer heat ahead of the relentless helicopter … no relief at the capture site. I know someone who wants a return to the “good old days” of mustangs. You mean, where they chased them from pickups, roped them with lassos knotted to tires at their ends? Was that less inhumane than what occurs now? I’m not there. I don’t know the details. Common sense seems so scarce …
“Well, *I* wouldn’t drink that water.” Said with a laugh. Talking about our horses. Spring Creek Basin horses.
Unforgettable deeds and words. Unforgivable.
There are plenty of sites dedicated to wild horse and burro news – I read them – my purpose here is different. But my heart is crying … even while I celebrate the gift of another life.
Welcome to your delicate life, little one, Maiku (“my-kuh,” “a friendly greeting” in the Ute language). Be strong and swift and fearless. I will help you until I can’t.
The story in pictures:
Spook, Kiowa, Milagro, Maiku (see him?) and Copper; Corazon on the ridge.
Zoomed in – see the baby on the ground?
Reya, closer, looking up from grazing.
Ty, on the hill, looking down at the band. Mesa has left them and walked down … Chipeta is behind Ty, out of sight …
Copper prepares to add to the stud pile (see how massive it is – I guess I know where the pinto band has been hanging out!) …
Copper (kicking) and Mesa discuss their territory.
Corazon watching … just before Ty decided to join the discussion, which led to Corazon’s involvement.
Corazon thought he’d take advantage of the diversion and head toward Chipeta – Ty is in pursuit. Corazon, so chunky and stout. Ty, so spare and long-legged. Sleek. Going about the business of being wild.
Their discussion reaches its peak and provides its own diversion, which Chipeta (close … so close) takes advantage of …
And which brought their “discussion” to a near-immediate end as they fastened their attention back on Chipeta – too late.
Maiku – just barely a pinto pony – and mama Kiowa
Milagro looking back … See Maiku’s legs through Milo’s? Kiowa, and Spook past her.
And then up and over the ridge … I walked to the top of it and watched Copper snaking his family to, snaking the boys fro, Kiowa with baby tight to her side, leading her family this way and that to escape the snake.
Kiowa is the only mare with babies this old all still with her: Reya, 3, was released with her after the roundup (nearly a weanling at the time), 2-year-old Spook, yearling Milagro and baby Maiku.
Isolated, this band – segregated by geography – not without family drama.
Chipeta is due to foal the end of this month. I hope this year has a happier outcome.
I hope for happier outcomes …