Welcome to the blog by Marylu Weber

This blog contains dozens of posts and photos of the wild, feral horses from the park and some of the people involved with them. These horses are owned by the park and not managed by the BLM. To see most of the photos, scroll to the bottom of this page. To find earlier posts of interest go to Blog Archive on the right and follow this guide:

For some of the history of the horses and people involved:

Wild Horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Tom Tescher's Story
The Boicourts
The Roundup

The Sale

For some of the special horses' stories:
Fire's Story
Whisper's Story
Our Boys Come Home
Dancing with a Wild Horse
Whit's Story

The Dance Continues
Training Update

More Dancing with Hawk
More Training for Hawk
Bashful, the Steps of His Life

Post of Interest:
Four Stallion Fight
Hazards, Did I Mention Hazards?

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Since I don't have a photo yet of Paddock, or Paddy for short, the last foal to introduce now is Buck, in Little Sorrel's band. He is another cute bay from the mare, Trouble's Girl. Since Grandma Roan lost her foal this year, he in the only one so far in that large band. He appears to be doing well, and I would expect him to roan like his mama and his older brother, Butte.

The Little Sorrel band has been interesting to watch as Little Sorrel ages and loses some of his youthful vigor. He has been successful in running off all his stud colts as they get old enough to challenge him except for the four year old, Cruiser, who is also one of Trouble's Girl's colts. Trouble's Girl is from the mare, Trouble, who was the thorn in The Chestnut's side, as she was always dragging her family away from his band to join other bands. Trouble's son, Double Trouble was also very hard for The Chestnut to chase away, as he would stay on the other side of his dam whenever The Chestnut tried to get near him.

Cruiser has been irritating Little Sorrel since last year. When we first located the band to do the behavior study, Little Sorrel had just run Cruiser off, but by the time we were done, he was back. The odd thing is that we have seen Little Sorrel leave Cruiser in charge at various times.

For an example, the second day we found the band by the old entrance to the park. At first we had not seen Cruiser. A blue roan stud that appeared from the east, turned out to be Shadow, one of Grandma Roan's stud colts. Shadow was taking his time to approach the band, so Little Sorrel had not yet seen him. About the time Little Sorrel saw Shadow, Cruiser reappeared. Little Sorrel left his band to Cruiser and went out to meet Shadow. We were prepared to witness a fight or at least a good chase, but what we saw puzzled and amused even Jason, the wild horse behavior expert the Park had brought in to train us. Little Sorrel went to meet Shadow, they pranced and circled in a show of strength, squealed and stomped at one another, and then Little Sorrel trotted off in the opposite direction from his band with Shadow following obediently behind. Little Sorrel led him across the valley, over the butte, and out of sight. (see series of photos below) We were not able to stay for the rest of the story, but we were determined to find out what would happen.

Later that day when we checked on them, Cruiser had claimed a mare, her two offspring, and a couple young stud colts. Not far away were Shadow and Granite's Boy, another young bachelor looking for trouble. On the last day of our visit we ran across Shadow with a mare and two young fillies. Yes, they were the ones Cruiser had claimed. Cruiser was back to hounding Little Sorrel. We left them in another game of "catch me if you can". It will be interesting to see the saga continue over the rest of the summer.

The last band we were to collect data on that trip was Mystery's. We had been seeing him and his three mares periodically throughout the six days of our visit. Looking for bands from the top of Buck Hill on the last day, Jan, our new friend and data collector from CO, saw Mystery with a new mare. She saw him mount the mare, but then they all dashed away toward the east end of the loop road. We had almost given up on finding them when I spotted them across the road to the east, just north of Talkington trail.

I was excited to see that the new mare was Lacey. I had not seen her since last summer when she disappeared from Embers' band. It was clear from her behavior that she was in estrus, but the curious thing was that whenever Mystery would show interest in her and come her way, the old mare, Gray Lady would threaten him or kick at him. We watched them for an hour and every time Lacey tried to approach Mystery or he showed interest in her, Gray Lady ran interference, herding her away. We had a good question for Jason, our trainer; how do we report harem tending by a mare?

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Will it never end? That must be the question going through the heads of the wild life and horses who have survived one of the longest, coldest, and snowiest winters in the last 30 years. Just last week the Park received another 12 inches of snow. I don't know what the total is for that area, but Bismarck has had over 99 inches this season. We are 1.8 inches from breaking our all time record of 101 inches in the winter of '96-'97. One advantage is that it will ensure a good growth of vegetation once the snow melts off and the sun warms the frozen ground.

We like to make a trip to the Park for our Anniversary in late December, so after Christmas we spent a couple days in the Park enjoying a fresh blanket of snow. We had seen High Star's band in the SE corner of the park on our way to Medora the first morning. It was pretty tough going through the deep snow, but we were able to get close enough to them for a few photos. All looked as if they were faring well, even with the deep snow they had to paw through for every bite. Baldy and Bashful trotted over for a visit while we were there, but High Star was not interested in neighborly niceties and ran them off.

Since the Park had so much snow, the loop road was closed; we spent the rest of that day skiing the Little Missouri. The snow was excellent for cross country skiing and the weather was perfect with bright sun and very little wind. It is always a thrill to see the buttes in their winter dress, like something from a Bev Doolittle Painting. The next day we hoped to see some more horses when we skied up the loop road on the north side of the Park. We got about two miles in before the weather turned cold and windy, so we high tailed it back to the car before we got caught in a storm. The only wild life we saw on our skiing trek was a very cooperative Cotton Tail, but there were numerous deer, bison, and elk along the main road.

In early March I was able to return to the Park with some friends. We missed the first break up of the ice on the Little Missouri by about 12 hours. From what we heard, it was quite impressive. ( read about this on Ranger Nathan's blog. http://rangernathan.blogspot.com/ )

The loop was still closed but we found Brutus and his fillies, Dolly and Autumn, near Wind Canyon. Dolly appeared to be in foal, but it is probably Embers' foal, since he had her in his band from May until September. Further up the road to the east we found Cocoa, Busy Blue with her yearling, Amigo, and Stormy with her yearling, Rusty. The two year old fillies, Maggie and Maddie were missing. Along the road, against the warm south side of a high river bluff, we found Curious George. Though he was thin and shaggy, he seemed to be well.

On April 3 we were able to go out with Mike Oehler, the Park Biologist. From the Fryburg road we saw Thunder with his mares, Rain and Winter, and their offspring as well as High Star with his band and a couple additions. Sweetheart and her two year old, Oreo, were with them. We were surprised to see that Sweetheart had been taken from the double band of Singlefoot, Red Face, and Satellite.

On the way back to town, we spotted four young bachelors on the south bluff, overlooking Cedar Canyon. Farther west, we crawled under the fence to get a better look at Little Sorrel's band. He was missing a few, some of which we found later with Gray Ghost and some we suspected were with the young stud, Cruiser.

Being with Mike, we were able to take the loop road deeper into the Park. Much of the road was still covered with 6-8 inches of snow and one drift on Boicourt Ridge forced us to turn around, but we were still able to find several more bands. Red Face, Singlefoot, and Satellite had four new foals with them. Two foals had been sited earlier, one with Copper and one with a young stud, Cloud, who had acquired the old mare, Flicka, so the count is five stud colts and one unknown for now.

It is a wonder how those tiny foals survive the cold and storms that still rage through the breaks in the spring, but the horses of the Badlands are made of sturdy stuff. For their sake and our own, we will pray for warmer temperatures as we look forward to another trip to the Park in two weeks.