El Mariachi & Hope – February, 2011 (Part 1)

March 7, 2011

We caught one of those really late flights into Tucson on a Thursday night, signed for our rental car and drove to the hotel nearby. We were beat. It had been a work day for both of us. Now it was past midnight, but I had a hard time falling asleep knowing that in the morning, we would be driving to the ranch to see El Mariachi, Hope and Michael Blake. I was like a little kid – so excited.

We were up early and on our way. We figured the horses would probably still be eating breakfast by the time we arrived.

(Click on the images for a larger/sharper views)

We're almost there - the road to Michael's ranch.

And there he is – enjoying his breakfast and wondering who the visitors are. SO good to see him!

Not comfortable with strangers, the horses leave the barn area for the acreage where they keep a constant eye on us.

I decided to follow them to see about some photos, but they made a big circle around me and went back to the barn. 🙂

We spent a bit of time saying hello to the other horses and then decided to go up to Wolf House to see Michael. We parked next to his old truck and I cracked up when Meowski popped up from inside to greet us.

Hello Meowski!

It’s always great to see Michael too. We caught up a bit and then went back down to the horses so Michael could work.

Something has Hope's attention

The horses were headed down to the creek area, so Tom and I decided to tag along, enjoy the cool air and scenery.

I noticed this freshly chewed cactus plant. Wonder what was dining on this just before we showed up?

I think whatever it was might live under this rock ledge

We heard some whistling so we started back towards the barn. It was Michael letting us know it was time to put the wild ones in the arena and let the other horses out for the afternoon.

The horses know this routine pretty well. El Mariachi and Hope went right into the arena.

Michael has more horses than he did the last time we visited. He rescued three Mustang mares that were slaughter bound. They live with Tomas and Little Boy and seem to be adjusting well to their new lives and home.

L-R: Gypsy, Little Boy and Tomas

Michael with Gypsy

Shelby has really distinct markings

With the horses penned up for the afternoon, Tom and I decided it would be a good time to hike into the national forest and back up to the grotto.

Looking down at the horses and yes, El Mariachi is still watching us. Ever alert that boy.

No water in the grotto this time, but with those clouds, maybe there will be.

We’re joined by Diana and Timid.

And Scout came along as well. Tough old girl she is.

Diana is a beautiful Belgian Shepherd - a rescue of course.

Big, gorgeous landscapes all around

The afternoon flew by and it was time to feed. Back to the barn.

This is Smudge. I got very few pictures of her. Smudge is really distrusting and didn’t want anything to do with us. I hate to think what she’s been through.

Time to put the girls, Tomas and Little Boy back into their paddock area for the night. They seem to get along well, sharing stalls and eating together. Both Little Boy and Tomas seem happy with the female companionship.

L-R: Tomas, Gypsy, Shelby and Little Boy in the back

Michael says goodnight to Shelby

One more photo of El Mariachi.

We spent the evening listening to more of Michael’s stories and chatting away until we all called it a night. Tomorrow we were looking forward to guests at the ranch.

I slept like a baby…

Part Two of this series: https://nickolesphotography.wordpress.com/2011/03/13/el-mariachi-hope-february-2011-part-2/

Part Three of this series: https://nickolesphotography.wordpress.com/2011/03/25/el-mariachi-hope-february-2011-part-3/

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24 Responses to “El Mariachi & Hope – February, 2011 (Part 1)”

  1. Julie Smith Says:

    Love reading about the trip. Glad you got to go see El Mariachi. Handsome fella with a sweet eye.

  2. sandra longley Says:

    snowbirds and love birds..they look great!

  3. Joy Jones Says:

    Wonderful story and BEAUTIFUL photos !! Thank you for sharing !!

  4. Jim Westin Says:

    You guys totally rock. What an adventure. Beautiful photos, as always.

  5. LIsa Flood Says:

    Great picts and testimonial! You were blessed to have been there!

  6. Gayle Says:

    Thank you and I’m glad some more of our wild ones were saved. I wish I could be at the rally in Phoenix on Thursday and Friday. I hope it gets a lot of media coverage.

  7. I love your style, Pam, not to mention your content. What a wonderful haven Michael is providing for these animals who can live a peaceful life now. His haven extends far beyond his acreage because he gives me a moment’s peace knowing at least those few horses have found a solid safe loving home. Michael Blake, Oasis Maker. Big love and heartfelt thank you to him, although he gets all the thanks that are important from those horses every day.

  8. Wonderful update. Amazing adventure. The horses just look wonderful. Michael is so kind to allow you these visits and a place for the horses. What a great heart he must have for horses and people who love them. Thanks for sharing with us Pam. ~L

  9. what wonderfull news to wake up to Pam!!! Im so happy for both you and the horses!! just want to jump in to the pics and hug and kiss them!!!!

  10. Trish Lee Says:

    Excellent Photos & Excellent writing, Thanks for sharing!

  11. Mar Wargo Says:

    El Mariachi is robust! Hope looks lovely. mar

  12. […] https://nickolesphotography.wordpress.com/2011/03/07/el-mariachi-hope-february-2011-part-1/ Posted in Wild Horses | 121 Comments »Tags: "Twelve The King", 3-Strikes Ranch, Alliance Nebraska, BLM, BLM adoption, BLM gather, BLM roundup, Bureau of Land Management, Dances With Wolves, El Mariachi, International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros, Karen Sussman, Michael Blake, Morrill County Nebraska, Mustang rescue, Nebraska horse rescue, Nebraska Mustang rescue, Nebraska Mustangs, Pam Nickoles, Pam Nickoles Photography, White Mountain HMA, wild horse legislation, wild horse protection, wild horse sanctuary, Wild Horses Like2 bloggers like this post. […]

  13. Poor Ginger Says:

    Pam, thanks for taking us along on your wonderful visit. El Mariachi sure is stout and appropriately alert. And the other horses look healthy and happy. Hope is so feminine! Cudos to Michael for saving those mares from certain death.

    About the cactus. Are there Desert Tortoises in the area? Our Ornate Box Turtle (actually a tortoise – and a “rescue”) loves prickly pear as a special treat, and delicately eats right around the spines.

  14. Maggie Frazier Says:

    Great pictures & as always, the descriptions really take me there with you.
    Michael certainly provides a good home for all of these horses (& dogs & cats)
    How fortunate they are.
    Thanks again

  15. puller9 Says:

    Hi Pam,

    Thank you for sharing your visits with El and Hope, Michael and the rest of his menagerie. El reminds me of an Old Masters painting, with that Botticelli hair. While trying to find the exact painting/sketch I was thinking of (unsuccessful), I came across this observation on Michelangelo and smiled in the similarity of Michael and his horses: ‘Michelangelo made a habit of painting horses without bridles’.

    Maybe living with them as well?

  16. debbie panaretos Says:

    Pam,thank you for sharing this inspiring trip and life of this majestic horse. Mr Blake, you’re awesome! You didn’t have to take on this task, but obviously you love the animals and have the means to take on this task. I know a lot of us wish we could. God bless you and the horses.

  17. Janet Carabello Says:

    He is still the most beautiful mustang I have ever seen, and you his best photographer!!!

  18. Darcy Says:

    Wonderful images, what a beautiful part of AZ that Michael lives in, nice that he has more rescued mustangs also! Looking forward to part two & your beautiful images Pam! I just love the desert!

  19. patricia field Says:

    Thank you Pam! Every animal is a blessing and knowing that they are in good company makes me very happy!

  20. pnickoles Says:

    I thank you all for sharing your thoughts and comments. It’s so gratifying to see the horses (all of the horses) doing so well. I’m very grateful to Michael for all he’s done and continues to do. Part 2 to follow… 🙂


    I could stare at that handsome boy for hours!! Thanks for sharing..they are all so precious!

  22. TJ Says:

    The horses look fantastic! I can’t imagine what all this continues to mean to you … Thank you to Michael for his obvious care of all these horses and to you for the peek into their lives. They’re all gorgeous!

  23. connie Says:

    the photos are so beautiful i felt like i was there with you. thanks you for sharing such wonderful memories.

  24. Olivia Sievers Says:

    El Mariachi is such a beautiful stallion ♥
    All horses look happy and healthy!! Thank You

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