Changes happen all the time – that’s nature. Because foaling season and re-breeding season in horses happens one right after the other (no separate “rut” like with deer and elk) – and usually (but not always) in the spring – ’tis the season of changes. I like to focus on the behavior and all the “other” going on. So you’ll rarely see “fight shots” on this blog unless I can use them to illustrate the behavior behind it (such as the play fighting with the youngsters awhile back). Also, because images of stallions fighting are so prevalent, some folks then have the idea that the stallions just fight constantly, and that’s simply not the case. Stallions do fight to protect their mares and families – but they don’t fight all the time – and what else is going on?
When I first saw Hollywood’s band last week, I was confused. Kestrel and Winona were nearby – that has been fairly typical lately – but not Comanche … and not Hollywood. This was all from a distance through binoculars, by the way – and then realization hit me: Comanche WAS there – WITH Hollywood’s band – WITHOUT Hollywood …
Comanche stole Hollywood’s band – minus Piedra and, as I found later that day, their new daughter. (So much for the belief of the visitor who was adamant Hollywood could “kick that grey stallion’s ass.”)
When I finally figured out what I was seeing, it looked like the band must have been new because there was a lot of chaos swirling – and Kestrel and ‘Nona were staying apart from it.
As it turned out, I found Grey/Traveler’s band with their new filly and, late in the day, Hollywood and Piedra and Bri, and I never walked out to Comanche’s new band until the next morning.
By then, Comanche was sort of bridging the continuing gap between “Hollywood’s band” – seen above – and his original girls, Kes and ‘Nona. And except for one brief bit of interest in Baylee, Comanche seemed to be leaving them alone – and I didn’t quite understand that, either …
I’ll skip the graphic details, but Iya was clearly in her foaling heat … and it was SAGE trying to breed her! The little guy is just 2 (end of this week), and he was pretty awkward. Add to that his “auntie” Baylee, who has now fully switched her allegiance from Sage and his brother Tenaz to Iya’s little boy, and it left this human feeling confused. Why wasn’t Comanche filling that duty?
They went round and round, and Sage still found gaps in her defenses and tried to breed Iya several times while I was with them. I don’t know whether he was successful … and we won’t know till next year!
Baby was NOT hurt, I want to make very clear, and he was never in direct danger from either Sage, his half-brother trying to breed his mother, OR from Comanche, who just stole his mother and the others. Anything can happen, of course, and have foals never been trampled by a stallion trying to get to a mare to breed her? I’m sure they have been. But I know the “cult rumor” has reached epic proportions that “a stallion will kill any foal that’s not his” (I have BLM as well as non asking me this all the time), and I want to make it clear: Even in his zeal to get to Iya, Sage avoided the baby, and, as I’ve said, Comanche almost completely ignored them altogether.
What really confused me was Comanche’s behavior.
He was completely calm. Other than following them and making sure Kestrel and Winona followed him, he seemed to mostly ignore Sage AND Iya. That was the most confusing part. With her so obviously in heat (she stood for Sage patiently every time he tried), why was Comanche ignoring her? Wasn’t that probably the catalyst for Comanche stealing them in the first place? (Hollywood did not emerge unscathed from their apparent encounter, but he’ll be OK.)
Comanche at right, Sage in the middle, Tenaz, Iya and the baby in front of him and beside Baylee. Sage is in a rather tentative “stallion” position here, between Comanche and his band/family … but in the next moment:
Sage then went to the mares, and Comanche went back to grazing. Comanche showed no outward sign of injury, though he certainly could have been bruised. His attitude – in very human terms – seemed to be one of just biding his time.
Kestrel seemed to ignore the new additions even more completely than Comanche did. Here, the horses are behind her and up to the right. She’s looking long down the hill, possibly at Seven’s in the far distance (very visible this week).
Tenaz tried to take advantage of the situation by sticking as close to Winona as she would allow, but she wasn’t too interested in playing with him.
I was so hoping ‘Nona would turn her head and present me with a lovely shot of Tenaz, her and Kestrel all in a row … but she wasn’t so accommodating. Comanche is just behind them, and the others are in the arroyo beyond.
Iya – the eye of the storm – seemed exactly as calm, taking everything in stride, focused almost completely on grazing and her baby.
No mistaking these two!
Comanche watched Iya, baby, Baylee and Sage in a wide arroyo before he led Kestrel, Winona and Tenaz down to join them.
Sunrise was almost completely cloudy (and storm-cloudy) except for this bit of softness.
Always changes … always more to learn … ALWAYS more wonder!