Should All Aquaintance Be Forgot…

I never understood why we’re supposed to forget aquaintances just because a number is arbitrarily increased. Really now!

So after writing up a blog post about foals for the second time today, I’m scrapping it and trying again. My life sometimes…

So, this is a sloppy attempt at symbolism or covenient timing or I don’t even know. There is a new year coming so talking about all the kiddos who came into the world in 2012 makes sense.  Mostly I want to show you pictures of cute babies. Any complaints? I didn’t think so.

McKeahnie

McKeahnie

Oh those darn precocious little foals! What mischief they can get into! I bet a foal could skip down the hallways of an office without getting chewed out by the VP of the Company. Unlike me, I should add. Lucky sods…

When I went up to the Pryors I was fascinated by the foals. I returned home and found 40% of the photos I took were of the little tykes. I checked in with my Dad by sending text messages like “Not dead. Holy Jackson the babies!!!” Thankfully he’s used to incoherency.

Babies Everywhere 2

Foals EVERYWHERE

Such a reaction was not merely the result of too much caffeine and too little sleep. The Pryors are a smaller herd so even with the PZP and the low birthrates, there are enough horses in a contained area that there are plenty of youngsters to be seen.

Foals are not so readily viewable in White Mountain. Bands with new foals are very protective of their little ones and I try to actively avoid anything beyond snapping a few pictures. My goal with any horse herd is to observe and share a part of their lives, not disrupt them. If a horse isn’t okay with a human’s presence then it is time to move on.

Even when a band is willing to accept my presence, I am always careful to make sure that the foal is the farthest horse in the band from where I am standing. I don’t want them to feel threatened.

Maclaurian. This photo is extremely cropped, yet it is still the closest Mom has ever allowed me to be.

Maclaurian. This photo is extremely cropped, yet it is still the closest Mom has ever allowed me to be.

Chasma's band allowed me to get close enough for photos once he got older.

Chasma’s band allowed me to get close enough for photos once she got older.

But the horses in the Pryors are pretty used to people and didn’t care. Lucky me!

Foals probably have some purpose beyond just being adorable. Or maybe they don’t. What makes them so irresistable?

1. They give stallions a purpose. Stallions are the primary protectors of a band. Their role is to keep their mare safe from predators. An adult mare can defend herself from a mountain lion attack, but a foal is a sitting duck. Stallions just seem more content when there is a foal around. I would like to think that foals help them fulfil a role that a millenia of evolution has ingrained into their being.

Bolder and Mesa

Bolder and Mesa

2. If foals are important to stallions, then how much more do the mares value them? It’s another one of those darn biological traits. Unfortunately, it’s one that I don’t understand despite being female myself. I’m guessing it’s something about nurturing or the wonder of creating life or something… Moving on!

Ragnell nurses Elaine

Ragnell nurses Elaine

Auntie Mariah would prefer to be left alone.

Auntie Mariah would prefer to be left alone.

She still can’t resist putting up with the squirt anyway.

3. They give the grown ups something to boss around. Think about it: all you want to do is relax and get in some grazing, but will your mares allow you do that? Of course not! It’s always nag nag nag. The mares want to know why a stallion can’t just ask for directions and why doesn’t he court her the way he did when she was a filly? Stallions get sick of always hearing that his mare is “too tired”. Would it kill her to lose a few pounds? (Poor Brumby)

Foals don’t start backtalking until they’re… what? Two months; maybe even more if a band is very lucky. That’s two months of having a little peace and control.

My two months of peace guestimate may be a little optimistic...

My two months of peace guestimate may be a little optimistic…

4. Foals sleep. They sleep all the time. This falls in line with point # 3. A foal may be a little hellion but they give their family relief in the form of naptime. If a mare doesn’t get along with another mare in the band then that’s just tough luck because they will be awake and near each other constantly. Twenty hours a day means a lot of time for snide comments and even more time to find somethiing to gossip about. No buneo my friends. No bueno.

This little lady was quite the little pistol.

This little lady was quite the little pistol.

Ragnell scared the ever living tar out of me when her little head popped up iduring a mid-afternoon nap

Ragnell scared the ever living tar out of me when her little head popped up iduring a mid-afternoon nap

Stand Up Time

Alas, the peace and quiet never lasts long.

5. They’re just plain cute. This may be a human reaction but I think wild horses would still agree. Seriously, which would you rather see: Mato Ska wandering through lupine or Starman?

Mato CPR

Starman in Lupine

Thought so.

6. I’d like to think that their love of life and all the new things they encounter is inspiring. It adds that little spring to a horses step.

Um, can I quit coming up with excuses to blog and post pictures of foals being adorable now? Thanks.

Meriweather streaks about, glad to be alive.

Meriweather streaks about, glad to be alive.

Maelstrom

Kaycee Foal eating

Sleepy Moriarty

And finally, here’s one last tale to bring in the new year right. The foal above had an annoying little sister who was removed later in the year. When I say annoying, I mean really annoying. She refused to accept that her brothers weren’t interested in playing with her.

Towards the evening, Jackson’s band was headed into the trees. It was on the way to my tent so I followed them. I didn’t expect to get any photos out of it, but boy were they fun to watch. Running seemed like a good way to get away from the brat.

Where'd he go?

Where’d he go?

It’s a good idea but it doesn’t work out so wel. He slipped and went down in grand style.

Down he goes!

Down he goes!

His name is Moorcroft. For personal reasons (mostly because I am an obnoxious person) I have been thinking of him as Moriarty in my head.

His name is Moorcroft. For personal reasons (mostly because I am an obnoxious person) I have been thinking of him as Moriarty in my head.

Every wild horse herd needs a good old fashioned villain (even if he is a klutzy one)

Every wild horse herd needs a good old fashioned villain (even if he is a klutzy one)

Jackson foal fail 4 4x6

Nothing to see here... He's still a boss.

Nothing to see here… He’s still a boss.

Betcha didn't know this, but when the sunset, foals have a tendency to take off and float through the air.

Betcha didn’t know this, but when the sunset, foals have a tendency to take off and float through the air.

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7 thoughts on “Should All Aquaintance Be Forgot…

  1. Great pictorial journey Rachel!!! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Deborah Prichard says:

    You’re absolutely right – foals are adorable and don’t need any good reason to be admired other than…they are adorable. 🙂

  3. Sarah Griffin says:

    Love all the foal pictures!! Like you said, they are just plain adorable! Haha loved the ones of Moorcroft skidding across the grass! All of the pictures are SO CUTE! That one of Maria sleeping in the grass is precious! I noticed that Maclaurian’s mom has brands on her hip and the top of her shoulder/neck. Any idea of that story?

    • The brands you see on Taylor’s (Maclaurian’s mom) are PZP brands, Sarah. I normally photoshop them out of the photographs I share since I feel the brands take away the feeling of wildness. White Mountain had a roundup in August of 2011. Every mare who was captured and released was given the PZP-22 which is the two year dose. The brands indicate that. A handful of mares had been given the drug back in 2009 as well, in which case there is a bar underneath the 2.

      Branding mares with the PZP marks is becomming a common practice in the Wyoming herds, since the BLM does not make the effort to track them the way herds like the Pryors or McCullough Peak are tracked.

      So far I have only been able to find and consistently track 24 of the 52 mares released. They also released 97 studs, 44 of which I have been able to track. I am hoping to be able to locate more in the coming year. It’s pretty tough though since large chunks of the range are inaccessible by vehicle. That’s more info than you probably wanted, but I hope that clear things up! 🙂

      • Sarah Griffin says:

        Thanks! I had no idea they were branding mares regaurding PZP. I guess it’s good that they’re trying to make sure the same mares aren’t always getting treated with PZP (I’m assuming that’s what the purpose is) but like you said it does take away some of the wildness feel. I hope you’re able to locate more of them and I look forward to your next post on your new kiddos 🙂

      • It’s my pleasure. To be honest, though, you probably have the reasoning backwards. Repeated doses of the 2 year PZP can make a mare permanently sterile, so they would be more likely to continue to dose the same mares hoping that would work. The White Mountain herd is infamous due to the BLM releasing a decision to remove every single horse and only releasing spayed mares and castrated geldings to form a “non-reproducing herd”. It was stopped by a lawsuit so they elected to use the second extreme – a sex-ratio adjustments and PZP for all mares released.

        I have yet to meet a BLM employee out of the Rock Springs office who seems to give two poops about the herds they are charged with watching over. The Wild Horse & Burro Specialist, Jay d’Ewart was not even planning on doing any type follow up to study how a herd of sterile horses managed after destroying their entire herd structure! He didn’t care at all, so long as he kept the horses at low AML by removing any chance of reproduction. I have never been as disgusted with the BLM as I was when speaking with Mr. d’Ewart over the telephone after that decision was announced. He had seemed like a mostly decent guy before then which made it worse. It destroyed all of the goodwill I ever had for the BLM. My attitude towards the BLM and their practices at large can be traced back to that debacle; that experience has become the lens through which I read all possible motives they may have.

  4. wildhorseterritorytribune says:

    Reblogged this on Wild Horse and Burro Territory Tribune.

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