June 02, 2013  •  15 Comments


Oh, I know how you have been waiting for this one!  He is a favorite of many of you, and me too. 



It’s been a daunting task to do a whole blog on Jack.  In fact, I’ve been pretty overwhelmed by the whole thing!  This is going to be mostly a photographic blog.  We have so much to say, photographically, that is. 



Where to start?



First things first.  I just learned today that Jack is, indeed, freezebranded.  Since he is white, it is very difficult to see, not to speak of his mane usually covering that area.  His brand indicates that he was born in 2001.  Considering how long he has been a band stallion and how beat up he is, I am still picking my jaw up off the floor! 



I can only start at our beginning – the first time we photographed Jack.



We saw him some time before we ever got a decent photo of him, maybe even a couple of times.  How could you forget such a different looking horse?  He was pretty laid back, but yet, I don’t think we could have walked up to him.  Back in those days, we took all of our photos out of the truck, never knowing we could get out with the wild ones.



I’m not even sure when this photo was taken.  The date has either “fallen off” the photo or it was a slide.  Since I’m not home, I can’t even check.



What I *do* know is that Jack had two ears.  He almost looks odd to me now.  I’m so used to that half ear on one side.



South Steens Wild horse herd on skyline Mcs




We continued to see him off and on but we didn’t have any opportunity to get close again until 2008.  It was just a quick glimpse.  However, it was clear he was missing a half of his ear.  No one knows for sure how he lost it, but likely it was in a fight.  It doesn't surprise me, does it you?




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When we finally saw him again in the fall of 2008, it was a splendid opportunity!



Like we often see now, there were many bands in the Hollywood Meadow.  I would guess maybe four or five, but it could have been more.  When horses are grouped together like that and moving around, it’s hard to tell who belongs to whom.



It was clear, though other stallions were present, that Jack was somewhat of a “big dog.”  The other stallions seemed to take their cues from him and he had them going all over that meadow!



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Though it was a bit messy with all those horses milling and running around, it did appear that several rather well known horses were with him at the time.



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Chinook (front) and Charm (behind Jack with her head down)














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Ranger (third from left)

I strongly suspect that Ranger was Jack’s lieutenant, though I had no idea at that time there was such a thing!













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This red dun stallion has been seen by other photographers.  Perhaps, Yellow Boy and Four Sox were in his bands as foals.  Their sire?  While Yellow Boy certainly resembles him, remember, you just can’t know for sure.










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Looky who is watching.  Golden Boy!















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It does appear there was a little tension between Jack and the Red Dun!














In 2009, it looked as if Ranger was still Jack’s lieutenant.  It’s a statement in itself that Charm’s foal looks so much like Ranger.  Remember, you just can’t tell who the sire is without DNA!




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Ranger, Jack, Charm and her foal















In the fall of 2009, the South Steens horses were gathered.  Jack and many others were released, however, the family bands were completely dissembled and when they came back together there were different players.



Jack lost his position as band stallion and was now lieutenant to Majesty.



We had seen Majesty for several years by then but were still surprised when he displaced Jack.



An uneasy alliance was formed between the two but in the spring of 2010, it was clear that Jack was doing what a lieutenant is supposed to do.



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That does not mean they didn’t still challenge each other once in awhile!


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Chasing away those pesky stallions that would like to pick off a mare!














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Jack and Phoenix















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Fighting those pesky stallions that would like to pick off a mare!  Jack and Cortez




Cortez took a particular dislike to Jack and was in his face constantly this spring.  This was the first time we could remember seeing Cortez and he came on strong!


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Watching out for the young’ens



















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The spring of 2011 was a peaceful one between Majesty and Jack.  They seemed to settle into their roles.


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Keeping an eye out for Cortez. Though he now had his own band and things had settled down, you could see that Jack wasn’t completely trusting.













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Checking for danger after leaving the waterhole.  A young Benson is just behind him.














Jack was still Majesty’s lieutenant in the Spring of 2012, when Majesty was mortality injured and humanely euthanized.  Since he was a fully accepted member of the band, with breeding rights too (comes with the job description), the transition was smooth.  Jack became the band stallion.



Sometime in the fall or winter of 2011/12, a stallion named Spitfire showed up.  He fought both Majesty and Jack and when Majesty died, he seemed to want to be Jack’s lieutenant in the worst way.



It was apparent that Jack was not keen on the idea.  While Spitfire did chase away other stallions as a lieutenant should…



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…he also continually challenged Jack.



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All in all though, things went along smoothly.  Life was even quiet and peaceful at times.




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                       Hattie with a very interested

Benson checking her out











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A hint of things to come…



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Benson was a two year old and as full of himself as any two old colt can be!











2013  Under Siege


I think we were not alone in how surprised we were to see the chaos in Jack’s band this spring.  He was under siege from within and from without.



Benson, now three years old, should have been run out of his natal (birth) band by now.  He has all the raging hormones of a young stallion and is constantly stirring things up from within.



I suspect (but don’t know) that Jack has his hands so full with four mature stallions trying to take over his band that he doesn’t dare take the time to run Benson off.  If he were to be gone from the band that long, he would likely come back to it and find his band divided in four sections; one part for Blue, one for Dibbs, one for Four Socks and one for Casper!



Jack’s band.  You can see all those “extra” stallions in and among the band.



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                                                                                                                      Four Socks


















And last but not least…




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Of course, the object of everyone’s attention when we were there were Chardonnay and Hattie, the two mares with foals (at that point).



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 Jack, Chardonnay and Hattie with foals, Jackie (Chardonnay) and Jester (Hattie)





There was nearly constant chaos in Jack’s band.  Jack is thin from constantly chasing the other stallions.  We watched the band trying to rest at one point and saw Blue walk over to each horse that was laying down and nudge them up on their feet.  It was difficult for anyone to really rest and relax.




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Casper and Jack














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There was always so much chaos that it agitated other band stallions.  Now Jack had them to contend with…


Arrow & Jack












Spitfire was having a hard time.  He tried to help off and on, but he lost an eye this spring.  He seems to have lost a lot of his spunk, for good reason.  He did try though.



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Spitfire chasing Blue












As much as I don't like it, I do believe that Jack is likely to lose his band this year.  I don’t know many stallions who could fend off four stallions from without and a feisty young stallion from within. 




What has saved him so far?  The fighting between the four stallions – which is almost constant.




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                          Casper and Blue
















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Blue and Dibs














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Even Blue and Cortez



Are you sensing a theme here?












So, for the moment, Jack is holding his own.  Now that they are in the high country, perhaps other stallions in the area will provide distractions for the four bachelors.  We can only hope!



No matter whether Jack keeps his band, loses part of it or even all of it, he has won our hearts.  He will always be a favorite!




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Now for your videos.  Since I didn’t get the one loaded last week that went with South Steens- Part 2, I offer it at the end of this week’s blog.



First, something to smile about.  Hattie and her foal, Jester.  What a little pest!  LOL



What a little pest_Hattie's foal for blog_complete



And the video that should have been in your blog last week...




Bo, Yellow Boy & Arrow's bands_South Steens Wild Horses video B130002



The next blog will be in two weeks.  Since one of the hardest things about creating a blog is deciding on a subject, I am gladly accepting suggestions!


There may be errors in this blog.  I apologize if there are.  I have the done the best I can do to research relationships and horse's names.



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If you liked this blog, you will likely like our DVD on wild horses; Wild Horses: Understanding the Natural Lives of Horses by Mary Ann Simonds, Marty and I.  If you love wild horses, this is not to be missed!  Photos and text are accompanied by the beautiful Native American style music by Grammy nominated musician, Diane Arkenstone.  You can view a trailer and purchase the DVD ($14.95) at http://wildhorsesdvd.maryannsimonds.com/


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I would like to give special recognition and thanks to Mary Ann.  Through the years, she has been an invaluable resource for understanding wild horse behavior.  Without her knowledge, expertise and willingness to teach, we would only be guessing at much of what we see.  Thank you Mary Ann!


If you would like to learn more about horse behavior, both wild and domestic, visit her website at http://maryannsimonds.com




Sandy Esterly(non-registered)
Thank you for the wonderful pictures and videos. Charm is also one of my favorites.
Diane Fox(non-registered)
Thank you for taking the time to post and blog these amazing bands of horses!! Have you sent any of your work to the Mustang Monument in Nevada??? These should be on National Geographic or at the very least PBS special!! Thank you again for allowing me to view your beautiful work!
Robyn Mullhausen(non-registered)
That "little pest" was so adorable, but Momma finally got enough and stood up. No rest for the weary Mom.
I see this year you are using lots of names for these horses. Guess you've picked it up from others and, in self defense, decided if you can't beat 'em join 'em. ;) I don't know how on earth you can remember all these individual horses let alone their names.
Enjoy your trip.....it looks like you are doing that.
Thank you Barbara..I thought the other ones couldnt be topped BUT this is the best one yet!!! Thank you so so much....
Gill Dixon(non-registered)
Another wonderful blog. Thank you
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