August

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 This old stallion is very dear to me. It was the year 2010 and we had just recently discovered the wild horses of The Little Book Cliffs. We were eager to explore new territory and he was one of the first wild horses we had encountered on a hike we had taken one very cold morning in November up Coal Canyon. 

 He was an old stallion then….today even older. He is special in the sense not because I have known him for many years, but because over the past few years that I have known him and as Bill and I have hiked and explored many other areas in the The Little Book Cliffs, it seems he always makes an appearance…..he is always there. It would feel at times as if his wild spirit was our escort into this beautiful wilderness. He always seems so proud and sure of who he is. The wisdom he possesses of his home and of the vast country he roams is evident in that he travels great distances between the lower canyons in the winter to the upper ranges in the summer. This has always intrigued me.    

 

 We had walked quite a ways up the canyon that morning and saw no sign of horses…..we didn't really know where to look….this was all new territory for us. Not too much farther on our journey though, we came upon some fresh tracks in the snow in the stream bed we had been walking in. They veered off to the right up the side of a  hill into some thick sage and cedars…..we followed them. After just a short distance, the trail opened up into a large spacious area on the side of the canyon.  Huge boulders and expansive areas of flat slick rock were what made up this landscape. In the middle of it all was a very large pot hole filled with water….but on this frigid morning the water was frozen. Standing just above was a beautiful bay stallion and his family. 

 

L to R….Choca, Choca's mother Beauty, and Beauty's little filly Bonita….and of course, Diamond Rio.

 

 We did see Diamond Rio and his family a couple of other times that winter when hiking, and it seemed like each time we saw them the connection grew a little deeper. I would love spending time just sitting,…. watching them peacefully move along the sides of the canyon.

 

 

Early Spring….March, 2011….Diamond Rio was still down in the canyons with his family. Another winter behind them…..

 

 By late May, 2011, Diamond Rio had brought his family to the upper ranges of the Book Cliffs…..a much different environment from that of the canyons……open sage fields with grass, thick wooded areas for shade and cover. Diamond Rio knew how to take care of his family and where to bring them for the warmer Summer months.

 

 Each of our visits up there throughout the summer always meant a visit with Diamond Rio…..he was just always there….where ever we ended up. But it was our visit in late September that a change had taken place…..something was different. Diamond Rio had lost his family…he was now alone.

 

 On a following visit, we discovered that Choca was still hanging out with Diamond Rio…..quite the "side kick"….but no doubt Diamond Rio enjoyed his company and Choca would still be learning skills from this valuable, wise, old stallion for still awhile longer.....

 

 As was his custom,  Diamond Rio journeys down to the lower canyons in the winter. This winter though, he didn't have his family….only young stallion Choca whom he had helped raise alongside with his now lost mare Beauty. Another young bachelor of the canyons joins this group….black stallion Ajax. The three were seen together most of that winter.

 

 Spring 2012….Diamond Rio migrates back to the upper ranges for the Summer and the endearing Choca is still by his side….yet another winter behind him and he's still hanging in there…..and looking good for an old man!

 

 Late summer 2012….Diamond Rio has been all over the upper range and we've ran into him each time we've gone up there. Choca and Ajax have become his constant companions most of the time, but they would wonder off occasionally to join a group of younger bachelors for awhile…..they would always return to Diamond Rio.

 

 Once again, Diamond Rio has migrated down into the canyons for the winter. Oh how things have changed for him over the past couple of years. It was this very spot where we had first met him on that cold November morning with his family.

 

 Choca and Ajax are still with him….full of spunk and ambition and still learning from Diamond Rio's years of wisdom. They will be on their own someday and the things they learn from him now will prove to be invaluable.

 

 All join together at the "Pot Hole" for a drink.

 

 Early Spring 2013…..Diamond Rio makes it through yet another winter…..he is still keeping company with Choca, Ajax and a couple other bachelors at this time. The other stallions had quickly worked their way down to the bottom of the canyon as there was another band of horses down there and some sparks were starting to fly over some mares…..Diamond Rio, the once upon a time "King of The Canyons" holds back……

 

 But after only a couple moments of contemplation, Diamond Rio decides to go for it!….He's still in the game! He probably knows he won't end up with any mares, but it's that one last rush as a stallion he needs to feel……the "thrill' of the chase!

 

He joins in with young black stallion Ajax sorting out a couple mares from the other stallion these girls were with.

 

 He circles and makes his moves and gives it all he's got…. for a brief time one would have never guessed he was the stiff old stallion that he has become…..he's living the moment!

 

 The mares end up back with their original stallion, and although none of the bachelor stallions scored, it was this thrill and display of testosterone that brought Diamond Rio back to life for awhile……he gallops off down the canyon floor with the other bachelors with a lightness in his step and a renewed spirit as if to say   "I can still do this!"

 This was our last sighting of him this year, although others have seen him through out the summer and verify that he is still around. A most recent sighting from Marty Felix reveals that he is already back down in the lower canyons….by himself …..and looking pretty old.

 I hope to be able to see him one last time before he"disappears"…I would love to be able to look him in the eyes and tell him "Thank You" for all the beautiful places he has taken us…….and to say good bye.  

 

 

 THANK YOU Marty Felix for sharing your wonderful

photos of Diamond Rio with all of us!

 

May 2008

 

 

September 2008

 

August 2009

 

September 2009

 

February 2010

 

June 2011

 

September 2011

 

January 2012

 

January 2012

 

August 2013

 

August 2013

Wild Horse Anthology

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Project Credits

RECORDED, MIXED AND MASTERED AT:

www.AspenLeafRecording.com

 

CINDY LOOS

Acoustic Guitar, Lead and Background Vocals, Vocals Engineer, Songs, Stories, Photos (Unless otherwise noted) Artwork, Web Design

BILL LOOS

Slide and Lead Acoustic Guitar

KEN DRAVIS

Producer, Arranger, Engineer, Electric Guitar, Keyboards, Bass, Woodwinds,Strings, Percussion

ROBERT "TREE' CODY

Native American Storyteller in the songs of "Child Of The Wind/Legacy" and "Illusion"

TROY ENGLE

Banjo and Mandolin

ROB LABIG

Drums

KEN DRAVIS & DANIELLE DYER

Additional Background Vocals in

"Bandits Ballad"

 

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