To honor a couple of the wild ones that are, unfortunately, no longer with us…

Bones was from the Spring Creek Basin, CO herd. She died while trying to bring a new life into the world. Bones had broken her pelvis at some point – the reason she was not able to deliver. I observed for myself her strong will to live (despite the damage to her body) on a visit to Spring Creek in 2008. She was a tough little mare which won her a soft spot with many. It’s a shame that these will be the only images I’ll have of her.

(You can follow this herd through TJ Holmes’ Spring Creek Basin Weblog).

Bones - mare from Spring Creek HMA, CO

Bones - mare from Spring Creek HMA, CO

Bones

Bones

Bay stallion Poco with Bones

Bay stallion Poco with Bones

Bones with her stallion, Poco

Bones with her stallion, Poco

The Little Book Cliffs, CO herd lost a member this Spring as well. Phantom was just 12 years old. According to Billie Hutchings’ blog (Wild Horses of the Little Book Cliffs), his mares were found with another stallion and some horseback riders found Phantom’s body several days later. There was no obvious cause. Again, I was fortunate to have photographed this big, handsome boy with the unusual face marking (that earned him his name) in 2006.

Band stallion Phantom from The Little Book Cliffs

Band stallion Phantom from The Little Book Cliffs

Phantom

Phantom


Phantom

Phantom

The memorable face of Phantom

The memorable face of Phantom

They live on in our photographs and memories…

The Little Book Cliffs

March 25, 2009

Our first wild horse trip of the year couldn’t have been much better. We visited The Little Book Cliffs just outside of Grand Junction, CO. We were fortunate that Billie Hutchings (who has the “Wild Horses of the Little Book Cliffs-Billie’s Space” blog) offered to show us where the horses winter in the lower canyons near Cameo. Tom and I left home around 4:30 a.m. on Saturday morning (wanted to beat the ski traffic) and arrived at the range just about 9:00 a.m. where Billie was waiting for us. The weather was perfect. In the 70’s with a slight breeze. It doesn’t get much better than that for hiking.

The first horses we came across were Spin, a Palomino colored stallion and his mare Fish.

Fish

Fish

Can you see how she got her name - her star is in the shape of a fish!

Can you see how she got her name - her star is in the shape of a fish!

Spin was quite entertaining throughout the day as he dashed down the side of the canyon, sparred with band stallion Magnum and later, stole one of Magnum’s mares and her foal. All within a span of 5 hours!

Spin and Fish

Spin and Fish

Spin charging down to spar with Magnum

Spin charging down to spar with Magnum

Magnum and Spin

Magnum and Spin

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All the activity probably made Spin thirsty – he and Fish headed down to the creek.

Fish and Spin at the creek

Fish and Spin at the creek

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Coming up and out of the creek

Coming up and out of the creek

Spin and Fish

Spin and Fish

Magnum and Tonopah watch Spin and Fish run off

Magnum and Tonopah watch Spin and Fish run off

We saw a total of 4 bands – Spin’s, Magnum’s, Diamond Rio’s and Laramie’s (who I’m told is the most photographed horse on the range. Well, he was pretty cooperative and could strike a lovely pose). 🙂

Laramie at the creek

Laramie at the creek

Laramie

Laramie

Laramie rolling

Laramie rolling

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Handsome boy Laramie

Handsome boy Laramie

Laramie

Laramie

I marveled at what I saw the horses eating. What looked like prickly sagebrush! I don’t know how they got around the barbs, but they seemed to enjoy the new green on the bushes. Amazing what they can get by on. I thought all of the horses looked pretty good.

Beauty eating from the prickly sagebrush bush

Beauty eating from the prickly sagebrush bush

Choca - Beauty's foal

Choca - Beauty's foal

Choca

Choca

Band stallion, Diamond Rio and Choca

Band stallion, Diamond Rio and Choca

We were also lucky enough to see a small herd of Bighorn sheep. A ram and 2 ewes. The ram had a crippled rear leg, but he seemed to get along just fine despite the handicap. It’s amazing what animals can learn to adapt to.

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Bighorn ram jumping down to the creek

Bighorn ram jumping down to the creek

Female Bighorn jumping into the creek bed

Female Bighorn jumping into the creek bed

Another ewe jumps down into the creek

Another ewe jumps down into the creek

I could certainly tell by the next day that we’d hadn’t had a wild horse adventure in much too long (since last September). After climbing up and down and hiking all around that range area, my feet and calves were pretty dang sore! Hopefully, we’ll be able to go more regularly and I’ll once again become accustomed to the long (painfree!) walks into the horse ranges that I enjoy so much.

At least I was able to relax and recover not far from the horse range at “Nick’s B&B” in Whitewater. That’s how we describe my father-in-law’s place. He spoils us each time we come over so it’s always a treat to visit him.

There are many more images that I took while at The Little Book Cliffs. I hope to have them posted on my website soon.

Thank you Billie for sharing your horses, knowledge and time with Tom and I. It was so much fun to go with someone who has such a connection to the area and the wild horses that live there.

Calling for his mother - Ajax

Calling for his mother - Ajax

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