Friday, September 3, 2010

The Fun has just Begun


The corrals are normally closed on the weekend, but if you time it just right you can slip through the gate in the early morning during feeding hours, which is exactly what we did on Sunday morning before heading up to Stinkingwater. Yeah...I said Stinkingwater. What sort of name is that? I'd love to learn the history of it (though it sounds rather obvious, eh?) Among the many horses at corrals was this lovely pinto and her stunning bay filly. The morning was brisk and play was the name of the game. We all wondered just how closely this mare may be related to Dibs. Sister? Cousin? Certainly a resemblance.

We'd been told by our Harney County friend, Andi, that there were a couple of entrances into Stinking Water; the first was an unmarked dirt road just past the rest area, and the second was yet another dirt road, but this one marked. The marked road, she said, was the backside, so we were pretty intent on finding the first road.

But we didn't.

We did find some cows.


And we found a ridge with a beautiful view over the Stinkingwater Reservoir.


The road was long and dusty. And long and dusty. And long and dusty.

And long and dusty.

And bumpy.

Tater wonders where the Stinking horses are?

After traveling for several hours (I kid you not), we finally found ourselves faced with a sign (BLM land has signs in the middle of flipping nowhere, telling you how far you are from the next nowhere) that told us we were just 12 miles from the highway. I was never so happy. I didn't care if we didn't see a horse. I just wanted off the long, dusty, bumpy road.

Along the way we'd seen several campsites with twenty plus foot travel trailers pulled in by hunters. It was insane, as windy and nasty as that road was. Farrel had put the truck into 4WD more than once, and we weren't pulling anything! Hunters are crazy. And as we drove out of the HMA, we spotted one ahead of us, hauling his trailer out, and before anyone really realized what was happening, that trailer's dust blocking our view, suddenly a lightening bolt of movement as a dozen horses galloped wildly across the path of the hunter, leaving their water hole and making their way up the hillside. And we were stunned. This is the image we often think of when considering wild horses, not the peaceful, tranquil sight we often see on the Steens.

We found a place to pull over and ventured up across the lava beds that the horses appear to make their home. As we climbed the hill, we spotted the stallion.


The terrain here was so different than South Steens. Lava was everywhere beneath our feet. How do these horses survive?


Eventually we caught up with (sort of) the band of horses.



This was our first trip to Stinkingwater, but now that we know where it is? We'll be back.

On Monday before heading home we stopped once more at the wild horse corrals. City Boy had told all who'd asked, "We're not bringing a horse trailer and a wild horse won't fit in the car," when people wondered if we'd bring something home.

Um...but did he forget that we could go back and pick one up?



PaintCrazy said...

I'm just marveling over your pictures - there is such a huge variety of colors and markings on these Mustangs it's just incredible!! What color would you call the on on the far right in that last picture?? I'd have said red roan but with that gray!!! You have my paint loving blood boiling!

jane augenstein said...

Wow what an adventure you were on! Great pictures (love Tater saying where are the stinking horses!) LOL He is almost the color of the landscape, don't lose him!
I too am wondering what the horses eat, such a desolate landscape.
great post!

Anonymous said...

Those sure are nice looking horses!

Breathe said...

I bet you could have fit one in the car. :)

Stunning horses. Good thing you had Tater there to keep an eye out.

Tracey said...

Yes, quite the adventure to be sure! And mustangs come in so many colors, shapes and's that diverse background of theirs. True Americans!

The horse y'all are questioning is an appaloosa. He is roaning a bit, but you can see the appy when you look at the head (and if you were to see the entire body.)

The landscape is indeed desolate in many areas. I love showing people what it looks like in the summer, so they have a better idea of what isn't there in the winter to eat. So many think if the cattle were gone, the horses would have more food than they needed. Obviously, not.

Paint Girl said...

Now I know where I am going to find my next Mustang! Lovin' that first bay pinto mare, and that last black and white pinto!!!
Oh, and did you say Appaloosa Mustang? Shall we call up Pony Girl?

Crystal said...

Wow that looks like a super long trek, but you found some pretty nice horses there!

JennyB said...

Every single time you take pictures of these horses I find at least one, and this time several, that I just have to bring home!! Now to just convince everyone that we could fit a few more into the budget. We might have to sell the house and live in the run-in with the horses but that wouldn't be so bad, would it???

~~ JennyB, Horsefeathers

Unknown said...

How much is known about the ancestry of the Stinkingwater horses? I'm very taken with them, especially this one: and for some reason this one: