The day before the Pryor Mountain roundup ended, Tom and I made a quick trip down to the McCullough Peaks HMA to see the horses – their gather is scheduled for this month and I wanted to visit with them one more time before that took place. We didn’t get to spend nearly enough time there – only one evening and the next morning. We missed seeing several bands, but it was still so good to see the ones that we did manage to find.

This family was just off the highway in that wonderful late afternoon light.

This family was just off the highway in that wonderful late afternoon light.

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McCullough Peaks youngster

McCullough Peaks youngster

The first band we ran into the next morning was Indigo’s.

Indigo snakes a mare that had wandered too far away

Indigo snakes a mare that had wandered too far away

Band stallion Rerun is close by and watches Indigo bring his mare closer into the herd

Band stallion Rerun is close by and watches Indigo bring his mare closer into the herd

Indigo's band

Indigo's band

Indigo and his band

Indigo and his band

This is Kenya – a young stallion who’s family was disbanded when the stallion Spirit Walker went missing and presumably died. A photo I took of Kenya and his mother a couple of years back made the cover of the catalog Back in the Saddle last year. I was really pleased they featured wild horses!

Kenya

Kenya

Back in the Saddle catalog cover with Bourbon and Kenya

Back in the Saddle catalog cover with Bourbon and Kenya

Kenya next to his dam Bourbon taken a couple of years ago

Kenya next to his dam Bourbon taken a couple of years ago

Bourbon with the band stallion Spirit Walker - taken a couple of years ago

Bourbon with the band stallion Spirit Walker - taken a couple of years ago

Next we came upon a snoozing Bridger. Last year, Bridger had a family. I noticed he was hooked up with a small band of bachelors on this trip.

The big gray stallion Bridger

The big gray stallion Bridger

A backlit Bridger

A backlit Bridger

We left the Whistle Creek area and drove west to see if we could locate the Red Point Band. We did, but we never even got close to them as something had them “bugged” (literally – they were running from bugs I was told) and they ran back and forth across the range. Sometimes seeing a large band of horses running in the distance is the best way to enjoy them.

Part of the Red Point band

Part of the Red Point band

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This stallion popped up out of a waterhole area we were checking out

This stallion popped up out of a waterhole area we were checking out

A youngster with the black stallion

A youngster with the black stallion

And a young mare that was part of the family enjoying a good roll

And a young mare that was part of the family enjoying a good roll

A family on the eastern side of the range area

A family on the eastern side of the range area

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A gorgeous foal with this group

A gorgeous foal with this group

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I had run into Jen, (the USGS gal that helps monitor both the Pryor Mountain and the McCullough Peaks horses) at Britton Springs during the roundup. I asked her about the Peaks horses – Utah in particular. She told me all about Utah’s new babies (I never got to see them last year). She told me that one of last year’s babies was the spittin’ image of him. A black Sabino with four white stockings. I really hoped to see them for myself. Luckily, I was able to. Just a couple of distance shots, (minus last year’s foals unfortunately) but satisfying nonetheless.

Utah, facing away, and his family

Utah, facing away, and his family

Utah - third standing horse from the left - and his family

Utah - third standing horse from the left - and his family

It was strange not to see Hooter amongst all the colored horses. I even caught myself looking for him a couple of times. Whether it’s to a roundup or a death, losing the horses is the hardest part of getting to know them as individuals.

Hooter - never forgotten

Hooter - never forgotten

I just learned that a stallion from McCullough Peaks that I had come to admire over the years, is gone. Hooter, a red roan tovero colored horse, was approximately 15 years old. Not the most handsome boy or even a very big, impressive horse. What I admired so much about Hooter was just how scrappy he was in his efforts to claim a family. It seemed that almost every time I saw Hooter, he was either fighting to keep a family, or fighting to gain one. I always saw him as a bit of an underdog, but never lacking in courage. At least he died as he lived – wild and free with offspring that will carry on his legacy.

Scrappy little stallion, Hooter

Scrappy little stallion, Hooter

Hooter and Major - these two were always going round and round

Hooter and Major - these two were always going round and round

Hooter and Major

Hooter and Major

Hooter and the black sabino stallion, Utah

Hooter and the black sabino stallion, Utah

This was the last mare and foal I saw with Hooter as their stallion - 2008

This was the last mare and foal I saw with Hooter as their stallion - 2008

Hooter (far left) with some colorful horses of McCullough Peaks

Hooter (far left) with some colorful horses of McCullough Peaks

My favorite image of Hooter (with Major)

My favorite image of Hooter (with Major)

Meet Utah – a black, 1999 Sabino stallion from the McCullough Peaks Herd Management Area. I’m going to fess up and admit that Utah is one of my favorite mustangs from any area. There’s just something about him that both my husband and I love and admire. Well, and he’s a handsome fellow. He was part of the first group of horses that we saw on our initial trip to McCullough Peaks. He was a bachelor stallion at that time, trying desperately to steal a mare and start a family. When we saw Utah last spring, he was in the company of two young mares, Shakira (a black Tobiano) and Two Bears (a bay Tobiano). Though we were too early to see them, both mares had little Utah babies last year.

Utah

Utah

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Utah sparring with Hooter

Utah sparring with Hooter

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Utah with another bachelor stallion

Utah with another bachelor stallion

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Utah with mare Shakira

Utah with mare Shakira

Utah and mare Two Bears

Utah and mare Two Bears

Two Bears, Shakira and Utah

Two Bears, Shakira and Utah

Band stallion, Utah

Band stallion, Utah

Major is a gorgeous, grey band stallion from the McCullough Peaks Herd Management Area (HMA) just outside of Cody, WY. Born in 2000, Major maintains a large band that he keeps on the Eastern portion of the range area. Major is one of the very first wild horses I saw at McCullough Peaks as his band and several other horses were very near the highway when we arrived. They were pretty much oblivious to our presence as they were busy chasing or sparring with one another, trying to steal mares and change or maintain the pecking order. Being new to the wild horses back when some of these photos were taken, I wasn’t sure what to expect and regretfully, I didn’t know what an opportunity I’d been handed. I didn’t stay as long as I wish I had to continue taking pictures. Instead, Tom and I drove on to find more horses. As many times as I’ve been back to see Major, I’ve never had a similar encounter present itself. One of those live and learn lessons…

Major

Major

Major and another stallion, Hooter

Major and another stallion, Hooter

Major and Hooter sparring

Major and Hooter sparring

Major and Hooter

Major and Hooter

Major with one of his mares, Tiaga and her foal Running Bear

Major with one of his mares, Tiaga and her foal Running Bear

Major

Major

Band stallion, Major

Band stallion, Major

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