All the Pretty Ponies

Oh the Irony! I wrote my last post thinking I needed a break from a typical wild horse topic. While true, it was short lived. I’ve been meaning to write about this topic for a while and I finally figured out how to go about it. The down side is now I really need a Pryor fix.  Luckily, there are lots of photographers out there with lots of pictures. Before I digress too much, I should probably get to the point.

It’s a new year, which means new worries about the horses that might not reappear come spring. Spring, May especially in my opinion, is when the horses tend to look their worst. There are a few reasons for this, winter either just ended or is ending depending on the year, winter coats are in the process of shedding out, and it’s the start of foal season. It’s really easy to get concerned at this time, but it doesn’t take long for them to pick up weight.

Since picture are worth 1000 words, I will be posting a series of pictures of different horses. I tried to pick several demographics, but I won’t reveal them until the end of the pictures. To help keep the pictures straight, the pictures will be numbered. Many of you already will know the horses in the photos, but please try not to let that bias your reactions to the photos. (Remember, click on the photo if you want to see it bigger. Click again if you want to zoom in on a portion of the picture.)

1.

1.

2.

2.

3.

3.

4.

4.

5.

5.

Now, time for the demographics. As per usual I’m using TCF names. BLM names are listed in the About section of this blog.

1. Jewel. She’ll be 5 this year and is with He Who and Fiddle. She lost her foal this year.

2. Tonopah. She’ll be 28 this year. She was with Duke, but is now with He Who and Fiddle.

3. Morning Dove. She’ll be 2 this year and is with Red Raven. Younger horses tend to keep their winter coats longer than adults, and the process of shedding tends to look more awkward in my opinion.

4. Cloud. He’ll be 19 this year and continues to be a dominant band stallion. This isn’t the most flattering picture of Cloud. I have others from the same trip where you can’t see ribs. I also thinks stallions have a tendency to bring it upon themselves. Cloud has the ability to move his band away from other stallions, he just chooses not to.  Thus, I usually don’t worry too much about stallions.

5. Lobo. He will be 3 this year and is still in Bolder’s band. While this is another example of young horses hanging on to their winter coat, Lobo was likely weaned sooner than some of the foals in his cohort. This happens when mares have foals year after year.

All the above photos were taken May 2013.

The next group of photos was taken July 2013 of the same horses in the same order. Jewel and Tonopah are in the same photo as Tonopah had joined He Who’s band. In only a couple months, the horses looked a lot better. I think it’s safe to say that by the end of summer the horses look even better. Which means by winter, the horses are always ready. Sometimes they loose weight, sometimes they gain it, it’s as it should be.

Jewel and Tonopah

Jewel and Tonopah

Morning Dove

Morning Dove

Cloud

Cloud

Lobo

Lobo

That doesn’t mean people can’t worry about the horses. As objective as I consider myself to be, I do have my moments. However, I think it’s important to look at the whole pictures, not just one part of life on the range. I’ve already mentioned time of year, age, and a little on gender, but sometimes there is more than even that. Sometimes, the horses that coming out of winter thin says less about the horses ability to survive than their build (Halcyon and Firestorm come to mind.) Some are recovering from somehow having foals year after year despite being over 20 (Madonna).

The point is this is how life on the range works. No, it’s not always fun to watch, and, yes, we do tend to worry, but the horses are far better at dealing with it than we sometimes give them credit for. It’s part of what makes the horses special. Domestic horses can’t survive on the range, but our wild ones have been doing it for generations.

Then there's this guy. No matter what time of year I swear Kemmerer looks good in every picture I see of him.

Then there’s this guy. No matter what time of year I swear Kemmerer looks good in every picture I see of him.

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2 Comments »

  1. Joy Said:

    This is very good… I read somewhere recently that “worrying about the future takes away the peace of the present”. Maybe it was on Kim’s site — I don’t remember. But you’re right, we humans need to have more faith in Mother Nature’s way of caring for them and their ability to know what they need to do 🙂


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