Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Triumphant Return Of Blaze

(2011.OCT.29) -

The story of Blaze is the stuff local legend.

(2011.OCT.28) The Triumphant Return Of Blaze - and Co.

 In August, the BLM arrived in this peaceful valley, intent upon removing ALL of the wild horses living here.

Blaze - taken a few days before the round-up.
I feared it would be the last image I would ever get.
Blaze, a three-year old bachelor, was photographed running behind a string of mares and foals destined for the trap.

Later, I heard that a stallion had escaped from that trap – and that a palomino foal had tried to follow suit. The stallion got away, but the foal was killed after her injuries from the barbed wire were deemed too serious for treatment.

When I went back to survey the area days later, I saw a family of nine horses. A rancher told me that the band had sneaked off into a canyon while the helicopter was chasing the escaped stallion, and that after the trucks left with their haul (25 mustangs), the stud had gone back to reunite with his family in hiding.

Although I was glad to find this band alive and well on their home turf, there was sad disappointment when I discovered that the stallion was not Blaze, but his old sire.

Advocates that went to Gunnison prison told me that no horse fitting Blaze’s description had ever come in. I did not dare to hope. I wondered what had become of my friend. Had he been an undocumented casualty of the stampede?


2011.OCT.28 - Blaze & Friend
On a recent jaunt through the valley that this herd calls home, I noticed two mustangs off in the distance. I thought they must be young stallions driven off from the “Cherry Creek Nine” - now, the only remaining wild band in this valley. They were too far away to get a clear shot, and I had people with me, so I went on my way without trying to get in closer.

I returned the next day alone. The two horses were a little closer to the road, and I was able to approach them, a BIT. When I got close enough, they bolted and headed for the trees. My heart was leaping, for I was almost certain that the lead stallion was my friend, Blaze. Couldn’t wait to get home and magnify my images … and what I found there, was confirmation that one of my wildest dreams had come true: Blaze was home!

Putting all the pieces together, I realize that the old stallion with the Cherry Creek Nine had never been in the clutches of the BLM’s machine, but had remained with his mares the whole time. The valiant escapee had, indeed, been Blaze.

I don’t know where he has been, these past two lonely months, but I am over the moon to see him again, back where he belongs. Happier still, that he has a companion, now. I am not yet 100% sure that’s a mare by his side, but OoooH! Is he ever protective of his beautiful young friend!

The reason for the name: Blaze

The first time I saw Blaze alone.

Blaze's first family: The Cherry Creek Band (stallion not shown)  --  2011.OCT.27

Wasted Sorrow

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