Hickok’s Ever Changing Sometimes Band

Sometimes when visiting a horse range, bands keep themselves more visible than others. On my latest trip, Hickok’s band was near the entrance of the Dryhead for most of our visits, but there was a different dynamic each time we saw them.

On our first day, we arrived in the Dryhead late. Despite going everywhere I could think to find horses, the light was low, and we decided to head to the motel.

As we were leaving the range, movement caught our eye. A dun horse was grazing along the side of the road, and it didn’t take me long to recognize the matriarch Hightail. She was alone, and showing her age, but otherwise looked content. As we watched she scratched her rear on a tree, so we called it a day.

The first time we saw Hightail.

The first time we saw Hightail during the trip.

When we next saw Hightail, she was reunited with Hickok’s band. It was an exciting find for me, since it was my first time seeing Hickok up close, and my first time seeing Kitalpha and her daughter in person. The band stayed by the road for a few minutes before following a stream. Then, they disappeared behind a nearby ridge and we left in search of more horses.

Hickok didn't seem to mind us at all.

Hickok didn’t seem to mind us at all.

Kitalpha nuzzles her daughter Nova.

Kitalpha nuzzles her daughter Nova.

When we saw them later, Hickok was not with the band. However, the four mares didn’t seem to mind. Instead, they stayed close to one another, and walked around the river.

Seneca rolls in the dirt by the water.

Seneca rolls in the dirt by the water.

Kitalpha leads her daughter to better grazing.

Kitalpha leads her daughter to better grazing.

Our last day in the Dryhead was possibly the most intriguing. At first, we saw a bay rear, but by the time we hiked to the area all we saw was fresh stud piles. Clearly Hickok was around, but we couldn’t see him.

Nova stands near her mother.

Nova stands near her mother.

Nova and Kitalpha seemed to take turns watching.

Nova and Kitalpha seemed to take turns watching.

As we continued to hike, we saw Kitalpha and Nova alone. It confused us, but they seemed content. We continued to hike in the area, but we did not find more horses. Them, as we left the range, we saw a dun near the two mares, but we passed too quickly to tell if it was Hightail or Seneca.

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