Had to share these pix of lovely Winona. She’s such a doll – clearly pampered.
In case anyone else wondered about a comment left recently about Comanche being alone – not to fear. It was a case of mistaken identity and both horses are quite well. Comanche, Kestrel and Winona are still their tight-knit little family, and the last time I saw them, they were close to Steeldust’s band, which really is Luna’s band (!) and her hangers-on. Luna, of course, is Kestrel’s mama and baby ‘Nona’s grandmama!
Doesn’t she have the most beautiful eyes? And that early morning light is just heaven on buckskins … and duns … and greys and bays and blacks and sorrels and pintos …!
Possibly one of my all-time favorite portraits – total “glamour” shot!
Stepdaddy Comanch had quite a lead on getting to the pond for the morning drink, and baby-girl was lagging behind mama … I think they do that on purpose because I’ve seen several foals lag behind … then BURST into a gallop! They always tease mama on the way past – and mama always continues on her deliberate way – then thunder on toward daddy or the others.
Backing up …
Family portrait. There’s some grass in there, but the rain this summer had the effect of boosting the Russian thistle – tumbleweed – population this year, too. I talked to a couple of Forest Service folks a few weeks ago who were doing a plant survey in the basin, which they said is done about every five years. The notes from five years ago indicated “Russian thistle has disappeared.” Argh. Is it an indication of overgrazing, a lot of rain making EVERYTHING grow … both? I don’t know enough range ecology to know. This area has seen a fair bit of grazing because it’s fairly close to the one consistent water source – the catchment.
A little bit of “background” on the way to the pond – the La Sal Mountains of Utah at upper left, closer hills crowding into the upper Disappointment at upper right – the continuation of our north boundary hills/ridges (outside the herd area there in the photo).
The easily identifiable rimrock above Spring Creek Canyon. And bringing back the “tumbleweed” theme … Last year, I met some folks bringing their cattle down from the high country for winter pasture. The patriarch of the family rides a mustang – a Spring Creek Basin mustang – whose name is Tumbleweed. This man and Tumbleweed were at the adoption in 2007 after the roundup, riding around the fairgrounds as an ambassador for mustangs. Tumbleweed is a big boy – probably16 hands or pushing it – and has the stocky build and tremendous bone that pins him right away as an American mustang. His adopter is quite obviously proud of him. He’s about 7 now, I think, and his adopter said he really started to put on muscle – and grey out – earlier last year. When I saw him at the adoption, I remember him being very dark – like Ty. But what struck me when I saw him last fall was his incredible resemblance to Comanche – in color, certainly, but also in build/conformation and that long-long mustang stride. Just another feel-good story about someone who loves his mustang.
Kestrel was following along – slower – and Winona was behind her at this point.
The invitation to play.
And then at the pond. Mama Kestrel went right for a drink while Comanche performed the all-important survey of the perimeter, checking to see who had made a recent visit. I found it very interesting that Winona didn’t drink at the pond at all.
She played with toys found at water’s edge … she walked back and forth between Kes and Comanch …
Then it was her breakfast time after mama had drank her fill.
Comanche, meanwhile, drank and drank and drank and drank and drank. Even accounting for the fact that Kestrel started drinking immediately when she reached the water and Comanche first patrolled for stud piles, I bet he drank at least twice as long as she did. I have seen bachelors that hang on at the outskirts of a band – the Bachelor 7, when there were so many of them following Steeldust’s band – NOT drink when the band went to water because by the time the main horses had finished drinking and it was the boys’ turn, the band was leaving … and the boys didn’t want to be left behind? Even in tiny bands like Comanche’s, the stallion is more likely to drink last, and I have noticed that, all things being equal and them feeling like they have the time, they will drink like the proverbial camel while they have the opportunity. A holdover from bachelor-day habits? Mama is producing the milk … why doesn’t she drink so very long? Just something else to wonder about.
After breakfast and yes, she is grazing with the adults (but how much at this point is nibbling and how much is actual nutrition?) :
Happy baby-girl on a full stomach, skipping her way back to (step)daddy (she doesn’t know any difference).
Leaving only memories on the water as they followed Comanche off to graze.