Blondie’s Blues*

Since the Pine Nut Range is small, there are only a few main roads that go through it. One travels along a ridge, and is easier to see distant bands, the other travels down into a valley. Usually I prefer the former road, but the middle is getting over grown, and I’m starting to worry about the tough plants scratching my car or getting a flat tire on a hidden rock. I hadn’t been down the other road in a while, so I decided to test it out.
As I started down, I realized that although I could see the rocks better, they were bigger and there were more of them. As long as the vegetation did not get too much thicker or higher, I wondered if it would be a better idea to prioritize the other road on future trips.
Finally I made it down, and was surprised at how green it was. With so much tall grass, I might have missed seeing horses if some hadn’t still been standing. It made deciding where to park slightly more difficult. I always try to get as close as I can to horses before hiking, but all the grass could easily hide a rattlesnake if I wasn’t careful. Although the road looked clear of vegetation I still wanted to be careful where I parked so my exhaust wouldn’t accidentally cause a fire.
I decided to park closer to horses anyway, and evaluate where to hike when I got out. The section of grass meandered like a river, so I wondered if there was a seasonal wetland there. It was dry now, but the vegetation on either side looked more typical of the rest of the range. On one side was a hill, so I decided to try to approach on higher ground toward the horses.

Mystique's band

I always enjoy seeing this band.

It didn’t help make the grass seem smaller, but it did help to start make the bands seem more separate. True to form, Mystique’s band was a little apart from the larger group of horses. As usual when I see a group of sorrels, I deliberate between Shorty and Blondie’s bands.
When I saw Blondie, I deliberated no further. I was a little more excited. The last time I’d seen Blondie’s band Elisa was less than a week old, and the band was protective. I knew it would be hard to see a small foal in the grass, but I was hopeful the band would be a little more comfortable.
Trying to avoid the taller grass while still respecting the horses’ space, I tried to find a spot where it would be easier to see the horses. As I continued, I realized I was also looking at Shorty’s band. He was trying to woo a mare, and it made it a tough call do decide if I wanted to stay put or keep on going. I watched as he and his sons took turns courting, then tried to find a better spot for Blondie’s band.
In Blondie’s band, it was the yearling colts that were brazen. Although Cree stands out a little more than Joker, they spent equal amounts of time approaching mares. Normally it’s the band stallion’s job to discipline foals, but the mares were sending the colts to the perimeter of the band.
As the drama heated up in the other bands, Mystique decided it was time to move his smaller one slightly further away. Sydney is normally a little more independent, but even she didn’t seem to mind the change. She stuck close to Treasure while Mystique checked over his shoulder at the other bands.
With the bands so close, horses from Shorty’s band would mix with Blondie’s band. Finally starting to get the message that Blondie’s mares weren’t interested, Cree decided to say ‘hi’ to a mare that had wandered over.

Cree and mare

Cree greets a mare flirting from another band.

Step one: touching noses was a success, but Cree didn’t seem to know that you also have to talk to a mare to see if she’s interested. When she didn’t automatically let him mount her he stuck out, which of course, made her cranky.

Striking out

Cree gets a little impatient when the mare is not interested.

Despite her turning away and pinning her ears, Cree refused to give up. The reward to his continued persistence was a slight buck to the chest. The commotion caused daddy Blondie to come over.

Rejected

The mare warns Cree with a small buck.

Rather than come to his son’s aid, Blondie had finally lost patience. Chasing the mare, and Cree away she fled to Shorty’s band. That got Shorty’s attention, and he wasn’t interested in an adolescent youth that thinks he’s the greatest gift to mares, so Cree made the wisest move in those few minutes. Heading back to Blondie’s band, Cree took a break from antagonizing mares.

Blondie chase

Blondie chased both Cree and the mare away.

Most colts become bachelors at two, but once they develop an interest in mares it doesn’t take too long for the band stallion to take notice. Joker and Cree are both precocious, so I have no doubt they’ll transition well to being bachelors even if they do end up being a little young. The transition to being a bachelor is also a process.

Blondie chase 2

Cree tried to appease Blondie, but his sire was pretty cranky.

I have a feeling if there hadn’t been other bands in the area Cree and Joker would have been pushed completely out of Blondie’s, but that doesn’t mean it would have been a permanent change. Nor does it mean they would have joined a bachelor group right away. Being apart from the band but nearby can be a good first step to becoming a bachelor, and although it can be hard for people to see it, it’s a natural part of being a wild horse.

*Nothing to do with the band stallion Blue, more’s the pity.

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