The Newborn

June 10, 2010

Back in mid-May, Tom and I made a trip to the Piceance Creek/East Douglas HMA near Meeker, CO. This was our fourth visit to this range. In the three previous trips, we’d been skunked twice. On our very first outing, we saw our only Piceance Creek horses and it was a grand total of three. A small family – a gorgeous stallion, his mare and a young foal. Below is a picture from that trip in 2006.

Piceance Creek family - 2006

We were absolutely determined to see horses on this trip. Some friends who live in Meeker provided us with a few good maps of the area that we felt sure would increase our chances. (Thanks Danny and Ginger). There had been recent sightings within the HMA, but our day began with lots of rain. We were relegated to the paved roads that skirted the boundary. Still we were hopeful that we’d find some of the wild horses that had eluded us over the years.

Jackpot – I couldn’t believe it. We’d gone as far as we could go on a paved road and as we were turning around, I noticed a band that had been hidden from our view when we drove past going the opposite direction. I spied a tiny creature in the grass with an anxious mare standing nearby. He didn’t even look completely dry (but hard to be sure since it was/had been raining). Probably only hours old – a newborn. I was so excited, but knew I needed to be extra conscious around the new mother. I kept a respectable distance – grateful for the opportunity to observe this remarkable new life.

The mare paws the ground attempting to encourage the newborn to try to get up

And so the little stud colt tries to get those long legs underneath him

He weaves and wobbles quite a bit

He finally manages to work his way towards his mama

She moves away from the little guy so that he'll continue his efforts to get to her. Wild youngsters need to be mobile as soon as possible to avoid predators.


The other band membes are anxious to check out the new addition, but the mare wants no part of it. She keeps the other horses from getting too close to the newborn.

Back off!

It was interesting to watch the little one - he had no idea where to go for nourishment and made circles around the mare searching for what instinct told him he needed.

Another band member wants to check out the youngster - the mare sends a warning via her pinned ears to stay away

The band members circle the mare and foal looking for their opportunity to get a closer look.

The mare nudges the little one in an attempt to guide it to its first drink. The vital colostrum - a milk-like substance that jump-starts a newborn's immune system.

Another warning

The mare keeps the youngster moving

Still searching...

The band stallion - isn't he something?!

Going around in circles

The mare decides to lay down for a minute...and that's all she gets.

The bay makes a move towards the foal, but his mama is a watchful one.

And she's up as quickly as she went down

These two seem to have established a truce

The little guy dozes off - it's hard to tell, but there is a dribble of white on his lower lip. Paydirt - a good start for this wild youngster.

The most amazing thing about this whole encounter? The mare and stallion felt “familiar” to me, so after coming home, blowing up and carefully comparing images, I realized that they are the same mare and stallion that I photographed in 2006! Both have lightened up a bit over the years, but it’s them. That whole morning with the family and their newborn was worth all those years in between…

(There is a roundup scheduled for this Herd Management Area beginning August 1st. I hope I haven’t seen the last of this family and they their freedom).

(Photos are for viewing purposes only. Images are copyright protected and owned solely by Pam Nickoles Photography. No reproduction or downloading permitted. Feel free to share the link, not the images. To share, click on the blog entry title. The permanent link will be displayed in your browserโ€™s address bar. Copy this address to share.)

31 Responses to “The Newborn”

  1. Laura Evans Says:

    So sweet, Pam. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Well they are beautiful indeed but I’m afraid that their days are numbered if our government has its way.It is totally deplorable that they are not stopped. I am trying to get everyone to vote pro animal and pro planet candidates in all elections. That is the only salvation that our wild has, God watch over and save them from the fools that are in charge and their stupid indifference to other lives. Thanks for sharing your photos may be the only thing with other photographers that the future generations will be ale to see the beauty and magnificense of the wild mustangs. It’s sad and ashame.

  3. She’s a lovely mare, and yes, that stallion is something!

  4. Kim Michels Says:


    Your images are so touching and intimate.

    Thank you so much for sharing.


  5. Barbara Warner Says:

    Wgat gorgeous horses and how lucky you were to have seen the foal when he was just born. I sure hope he finally got a good drink. It would be a shame these horses are rounded up. CO hardly has any and this foal would be so young to be put thr. such an ordeal.


    How very touching and beautiful. It is very rare to be able to film a scene like this one with wild horses. I feel that this government is going to be zoning out most of the herd areas, destroying our free lands with cattle, gas, oil, etc. Last week Obama took the endangered whales off of the list and open it up for them to be hunted. Now Canada and Mexico declare that they will be doubling their slaughters this year. What does that mean to you? If we intend to save these horses we must open up more santuarys in the West with or without BLM support. We are paying for the horses welfare so the BLM must give us some of our own tax money to do this. The cattle are not our concern. Pam, keep your beautiful pictures they will be a reminder of what we had and thank for letting us be part of them.

  7. Jerry Cook Says:

    Very cute to be able to watch those beginning moments of the foals life and to be able to record it was nothing more than extraordinary. I still haven’t located your Nub Ear stallion out in the Fifteen Mile area, but have witnessed some of the bands that are there. One of the small herds with about 35 head I watch for quite awhile and saw they have 8 new foals with them. Monday, the 7th, I noticed that two of the colts could not have been more than a week old, but one of them was limping and not able to put weight on its right front leg. Hope it is not a permanent injury. I am still searching for your Nub Ear and will let you know. Jerry

  8. Karen Says:

    Thank you for sharing this moment with us. Truly a wonderful set of shots Pam!

  9. TJ Says:

    Fantastic photos, Pam! What a great sighting! Lucky you! Beautiful!

  10. J Sinclair Says:

    Phenomenal photos, just phenomenal!!! Wish I could have been out there with you. Thank you so much for sharing all of them with us.

  11. Joey Says:

    Awww! Can’t believe you were so fortunate to witness something so beautiful, amazing and truly wild!
    I called my son Sammy in before I even started to look at all the pics!
    We both just oooh-ed and awww-ed over them all! I was explaining to him what Mamma, baby and other family members were doing.. He loved it too!
    Dad is soo handsome! (Mom too!)
    Thanks so much for sharing all that you see with us. It’s an experience that, without you’re ‘eyes’, we would never see.
    Always waiting for the next ones!
    Take care!

  12. Maggie Frazier Says:

    Thanks so much for sharing all these beautiful
    pictures with those of us who arent able to see them in person. (I live in NY)
    Keep up the great work – we are all grateful for it.
    Maggie Frazier
    Windsor NY

  13. Nancy Babcock Says:

    What a wonderful story these pictures tell–thanks so much, Pam. I pray we can get these roundups called off somehow some way–can’t bear the thought of this family being broken up…and all of the others like them.

  14. pnickoles Says:

    Thanks everyone for taking the time to read and comment. I love sharing these photos and stories with folks who love the wild horses as much as I do, but I never want either to be all that we have left of these incredible animals. I have to believe that change is possible and that it will be in time to save our wild ones through the efforts of so many.

    Jerry – we will be out your way next month. Please let me know if you spot Nub Ear before then. I’d love to know where to look for him. Thanks for the updates!

  15. Morgan Griffith Says:

    Thank you Pam. Talk about being in just the right place at just the right time. Beautiful family of horses.

  16. wendell w. stockdale Says:

    Hey Pam, this is awesome photography and keep up the great work for all of us to enjoy. I feel it is an atrocity what our Gov’t is doing to our Mustangs and should feel ashamed about what they are doing, but when Greed is your motivating factor is life and not respect for life and freedom of the last part of our western heritage the result is devestation of a species of equine that deserves the right to live their lives in freedom.

  17. pnickoles Says:

    That’s exactly how I felt Morgan. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks for your kind comments and thoughts Wendell. It is an uphill battle to save the Mustangs for sure, but certainly one that many feel passionate about and more folks are learning about the situation every day. It’s hard to stay positive about their future, when there’s so much heartbreak along the way. I’m grateful for these special glimpses into their lives – it’s what keeps me motivated and I hope it has the same effect on you all as well.

  18. kasien Says:

    I feel so lucky – like a fly on the wall – to be able to witness this relationship. What a perfect, timeless family, the pretty fair mom and the dashing darker, dappled dad just trying to figure out what this little clumsy guy is all about. Beautiful and timeless. Hopefully with enough exposure and education about what is happening, this perfect family can continue to be timeless, and not just one particular point in time.

  19. Lynn Bauer Says:

    Wow, Pam, what a FANTASTIC sequence! Such luck is truly a miracle – I know you treasure the “gift!”
    Lynn & Kathy

  20. betty Says:

    They are not ony going ot be rounded up but isn’t this one of the areas to be zeroed out? What a crying shame!

  21. Barbara Warner Says:

    We must keep demanding that there is a moratorium on the roundups. Call Obama at 202 -456-1111 . Salazar needs to resign.

  22. pnickoles Says:

    Kasien – beautifully said. I don’t want this to be just a memory for this wild family. I hope for so much more through exposure and education. Thanks for your comments.

    Hi Lynn – you know how much I treasure all the gifts the wild horses share. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have been witness to some incredible experiences for sure!

    Betty – it’s the West Douglas HA herd that the BLM is attempting to zero out. These guys are in the Piceance Creek/East Douglas HMA. The roundup is being conducted to meet AML within the HMA. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    Barbara – agreed.

  23. Pam, I just found this among emails from when I was out of town. The mare is beautiful. Wonderful sequence. I do hope the roundups are stopped before these horses are threatened. mar

  24. […] January 10, 2011 This is a follow-up to a post I made in June about a newborn from the Piceance Creek/East Douglas HMA that I was privileged to photograph the day he was born. (That story is here: […]

  25. sharonpacker Says:

    Thank you for the fascinating photos, Pam. The gray horses are so Spanish in their appearance. Always a joy to read your blog!

  26. pnickoles Says:

    Hi Sharon – thanks so much for stopping by. Hope you’re doing well! ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. sandra longley Says:

    Pam do you know whether this family was gathered?-We were able to save Ben, the beautiful bay stallion from this HMA to be released @ wild horse mesa..scheduled tentatively for the 20 and 21..barring any complications.with 60 SA mares and around 10 Adobe stallions..I am sorry to say all the old stallions and young have been gelded now but we spoke for the stallions before that process..Ben and dust in the wind the cremola stallion have become BFFs I suppose until they are released with the mares and then they will become competitors..

  28. pnickoles Says:

    Sandra – no, I did not see any of these horses at Canon City (thank goodness).

  29. Jan Says:

    What a great story, and how very fortunate for you and Tom, Pam, to be in the right place at just the right time. Rain is never fun, but what luck for you that you could go no further, else you may have missed this once in a lifetime sight to behold. Oh – and what a sight indeed!

    Do you know – did the round-up take place in this HMA as scheduled in August? I worry about all our Wild Ones in holding pens…but especially the Mom’s with Little Ones.

    Thanks, Pam, for reposting this one ~ Jan

  30. Jan Says:

    OH – I see you just answered my question!

  31. horsejd9 Says:

    wonderful and amazing.

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