Cloud: Ambassador of America’s Wild Horses
Cloud (the pale stallion on top of ridge), and his family enjoying the warm summer sun on top of Pryor Mountain, Montana. Pryor Mountain BLM area is on the border between Wyoming/Montana.
When standing on Pryor Mountain, which is sacred ground to the Crow Nation, one almost feels like you’ve stepped back in time… its almost magical and its one of my favorite places!
I was able to again travel to the top of Pryor Mountain in 2009, and it was a wonderful day! Later on that Fall, BLM had a Roundup, in which Cloud’s family (and many other horses) were pushed hard by helicopter 20 miles+ over very rough country, penned, handled, and forever seperated from their families. Several of Cloud’s mares & the two foals (they are his grandchildren actually) in this photo were targeted by BLM and removed. They were all adopted later, while Cloud and others were allowed to return to their mountaintop home.
Today, many of the mares on Pryor Mountain are darted with PZP birth control, but the BLM again has made plans to remove approx 30-40 horses from Pryor Mountain this year in 2012 via bait trapping, at a high tax-payer’s expense. That is a large number of targeted horses (approx 1/2 to 2/3 of the younger aged horses), and its dangerous for genetics. The BLM’s goal is to reduce the entire Pryor herd to 100 or fewer head.
The Pryor Wild Horse Range is comprised of nearly 17,000 acres (12,575 Montana & 4352 Wyoming). In 1971 when the Wild Horse & Burro Act was passed, there was actually about 31,000 acres set aside for the Pryor Wild Horses, but today, much of that land has been fenced off from the horses, and is unused. Advocates are asking BLM to remove the fence and let the horses return back on their native land and Custer’s Forest, that was originally theirs in the first place.
I hope that the fence will be removed soon! It is a shame to split their native land in two, not to mention that its an ugly eyesore on the amazing Pryor Mountain. Its sad watching the horses follow their old ancient trails to the fence, only to have to turn back around, or walk up and down the fenceline.
Many scientists, experts, and advocates say the BLM’s plans of continuing to remove so many horses is unsafe for genetics, and there should be at least 130-150+ horses left to preserve a good viable genetic group for future generations. By expanding their lands back to the original designated land, the herd could grow to a genetically safer number.
Pryor Mountain is Montana’s only Wild Horse herd. They are descendants of the Lewis & Clark expedition, and are living symbols of our nation’s history, and the wild west.
Cloud, sired by Raven (black stallion- deceased) & Phoenix (palamino mare), was born on May 29, 1995 on Pryor Mountain. Because of Emmy winning filmmaker Ginger Kathren’s wonderful movies, books, and interpretation of wild horse behavior, many people can now better understand horses. Her videos and narrations, which have recorded Cloud from birth to present, has made the pale Stallion famous, and the Pryor Mountain Horses are now the most photographed and documented horses in North America. Its amazing what one photographer can do!
Browse through more Cloud and Wild Horse Photos in the Wild Horse Gallery. (click on Fine Art Prints, & Horses). Partial proceeds from all Wild Horse Print Sales will be donated to … The Cloud Foundation, helping to preserve safe numbers of Wild Horses for future generations to enjoy.
THE FOLLOWING WAS READ INTO THE CONGRESSIONAL RECORD ON MAY 25, 2011 BY CONGRESSMAN GRIJALVA OF ARIZONA:
Hon. Raul M. Grijalva
In the House of Representatives
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
No other wild horse in United States history has had his life story known and shared throughout the world.
Filmed as a tottering newborn foal beside his mother, the citizens of our great nation watched him grown into a bachelor stallion living amoung other young males, testing his strength, honing the skills he would one day need to start his own family.
Eventually, Cloud became a band stallion, winning mares and fathering his own foals. Cloud’s history, captured on film and books by Ginger Kathrens, filmmaker and documentarian, has been shown throughout the United States on Public Broadcasting as part of the Nature Series, and throughout the world on numerous channels and networks.
Cloud symbolizes the spirit of the West and links us with our heritage. The study of his life has brought recognition and appreciation of wild horses and burros on our public lands. Cloud has taught us that what wild horses and burros cherish most is not so different than for all Americans, freedom and family.