Howdy 'n Welcome to JKs Rough String Ranch

Thanks for stoppin' by!! Grab a hot cup of coffee, and enjoy the ride! You can contact me at gtyyup at wildblue dot net. See ya on down the trail!
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Friday, July 3, 2009

Searching for the Wild Ones~Part 1

Here we are again with another year at the annual inventory of Wild Horses in the Big Summit Herd Management Area (HMA). The Big Summit HMA is located in the Ochoco National Forest east of Prineville Oregon. There are only 2 HMA's inside of a National Forest. The rest are on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands.

As Central Oregon has had a huge increase of population in the past 10 years, it's increasingly difficult for the wild horses of the Big Summit to find peace in their territory. It's close enough for people to take day trips to the area and with Off Road Vehicle use almost running rampant in the area...the horses are having a challenge.

I've been on the Board of Directors of the Central Oregon Wild Horse Coalition (COWHC) for many years now. We focus on promoting and protecting the wild horses in the Big Summit HMA, as well as assist anyone who had adopted a wild horse and needs help. We sponsor a training clinic and mustang show every year. This year we are working with Oregon Equestrian Trails and the Oregon Back Country Horsemen groups to put on the first annual Wild Trails Expo in Prineville Oregon.

But, the annual inventory is to assist the Forest Service (FS) in determining whether the herd is within it's optimum number; approximately 60 horses maximum. No, that's not very many when you think of the genetics. So, DNA testing has been an ongoing thing for the past 3-4 years. There will probably be some new blood brought into the HMA in the near future.

My boy Duncan was from that HMA and even though he was not the prettiest to look at, Kate, his new owner, is TOTALLY THRILLED with him. He is a natural at packing and trail riding. He officially a working horse now! Duncan even has a fan club with the Search & Rescue group that Kate works with. They all want a horse like Duncan!

We've been doing these inventories since 2003, and this the first time that the quantity of horses is large enough to warrant a gather. That will probably be late summer or early fall this year.

Approximately 80 people are divided into units and are assigned a territory that they ride through for 3 days documenting the wild horses they find. The terrain in the area is either up or down...canyons, draws, ridges, tall pine's very beautiful, but not easy riding.

We arrived Wednesday and set up camp. Horses
are high-lined and a hotwire fence is set up
around the perimeter of camp.

My Man will ride Coyote and I brought Rohan; both are mustangs themselves and have participated in many past inventories. In fact, Coyote has done all of them since 2003 when he was just a 3 year old.

Thursday's riders in our unit. L-R are Debbie, Pate,
Kris, me and My Man.

Riding down into Fisher Creek. It's pretty much a dead
end and we have to climb back out. Only sign was
a stud pile about 2 days old.

Gotta give the horses plenty of breaks with those deep canyons.
My Man and Pate are having a Cowboy Pard talk.

Then, after climbing out of Fisher Creek...we found what we were looking for...

Coyote, the former wild horse, watching two bachelors.
I wonder if he was reminiscing about his younger days...
running free in the wilds of SE Oregon?

Are they handsome or what???

"The Blubber Boys"
as Gayle Hunt, COWHC President
has affectionately named this pair.
No lack of feed in this area!!

It still amazes me that, until 8-9 years ago, I actually didn't know that there were wild horses in America. Yep, I was right there when the Wild Free-Roaming Horse And Burro Act in 1971 was passed...and was a horse-crazed child that hadn't a clue. I'm so in awe of the legendary Wild Horse Annie who gave her all to save the beautiful wild horses that ran free.

But, what would a trip be without lil' Cindy Sue. She is one heck of a trail dog I tell ya...totally in her element...catching squirrels along the way too!

Lavender flowers and Cindy Sue's lavender bandana.

One "done dog" at the end of the day!



Kathleen Coy said...

Beautiful photos, and way to go Cindy Sue!

Andrea said...

Wow what a great thing to be able to be a part of! Thanks for sharing it with us. I love the pictures!

Shirley said...

Bet it was a good day of riding and visiting, the very best way to spend a summer day, and in pretty country too!

Bruce said...

What a wonderful way of life you have! I am so glad that there are people looking out for the wild horses!
your friend,
Bruce the cat:)

the7msn said...

Wow wow wow wow wow. How stinkin' cool that you're a part of this effort, and that those wild guys look SO healthy, and that Cindy Sue got to go along. What a great way to spend a few days horseback.

Reddunappy said...

Awesome post! cant wait to see more! Looks like a great trip!

Anonymous said...

I'm going with you next time......I can count too you know:) Great pictures, thanks for the trip.

Ed asked me to tell you he's still reading your posts but can't comment for some reason.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

That's beautiful country to be riding in.

Country Whispers said...

Beautiful pictures!

Jocelyn said...

LOve it ! I wish I couuld come along sometime!

Miss Star tried to kill me last week as she had never seen a cow before.

Not sure how good of a trail horse she is going to be if she freaks over a COW !

Maybe I'll trade her in for a Mustang :) Got any?

gtyyup said...

prairierunner & Jocelyn ~ you bet! We need more good, reliable riders. June next year, about the same time.

Jocelyn: Ha, actually Coyote is for sale, but he too was afraid of cows at first. I took him to a penning clinic and he fell in love with cows after that. Star just needs more exposure and actually a horse that does what Star is doing can make a really good cow horse...she sounds cowy to me! And, that's not a bad thing!!!

Paint Girl said...

Absolutely gorgeous there! Love it!
Cindy Sue is too cute in her bandana!

thecrazysheeplady said...

Just love the picture of Coyote looking at the the two horses. I really would like to know what he's thinking.

Andrea said...

Those bachelors are pretty handsome!! What an amazing ride!!

Celeste said...

Those really are some 'chunky' young bachelors! Looks like you all had a great time, especially Cindy Sue :)

ZTIG said...

I noticed on Cindy Sue's page she was 6 and only has been with you 2 years. You wouldn't happen to have her papers would you? She's a good looking Rat, and I am in the process of searching for breeders. If you happen to have that information I would greatly appreciate any assistance. You can email me at

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