September 6, 2009 – Gather Day 4

Well, I had some other information posted here; but I think it would be better if we save these topics for later. If you read it, I hope you were able to understand it properly. If you haven’t read it, all I would like to convey is that each and every horse on the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range, and on any wild horse area for that matter, is important when considering their possible contributions to the herd’s genetics and thus the herd’s long-term survival.

Let’s get to today. We started out by heading up to Commissary Ridge as that is where things were supposed to be starting. By the time we got there, the helicopter had already landed; and we heard that Conquistador and his harem had been caught.


Conquistador’s harem was loaded into a trailer, and we all headed back to Britton Springs where they were unloaded.


After we had all left Commissary Ridge, the helicopter went back up to head toward the mountain horses. After we had been at Britton Springs for a while, the helicopter arrived with horses from the top. He had brought down Chino and Bolder’s harems. I had originally thought that traps would be used on the mountain some, similar to how they were used on Commissary Ridge, but these horses were pushed down the mountain. Below is Bolder’s harem as they enter a pen.


After these horses were brought in, they were brought through the chutes so that hair samples could be taken, PZP could be given, and horses scheduled for removal could be removed. This was just like had been done earlier.


When the helicopter went back up, I was able to find it with my binoculars and watch. Eventually he seemed to have found horses, but they came down Sykes Ridge. I’d say this was a longer way to go than Burnt Timber would be, but I don’t know the exact reasons why Sykes Ridge was used for these horses. It took quite a long time for him to get the horses down to Britton Springs, but they did show up eventually. (Chino and Bolder’s harems were brought in at about noon, this next group came in just after 3:00.)


This was a pretty big group of horses. When the horses are brought in like this, with different harems getting mixed up, they are first put into a big pen right at the end of the trap area.


At this point, the horses actually do a pretty good job of sorting themselves out into harems. The groups that came in here were Stiles, Flint, and Teton’s harems along with the young bachelors. The bachelors made it a little harder for the harems to calm down and split up. When these big groups are like this, I get to go back and tell them which horses go with which harem so that they can be split up and put into pens. We just don’t want to have horses from different harems get put with each other at this point. Each harem is isolated out and then walked down to their pen, as can be seen with Teton and Flint’s harems below.



Once we are ready at the chutes, they are brought through the chutes, which are near these pens. From here they go back to pens. The horses that are scheduled for removal and have been processed, which at this time are only the horses caught on Commissary Ridge yesterday, are split up by sex. Males are in one area while females are in another. Some of the younger males and females are together in their own area, though. The mares with foals are also in their own area.

Today, there were 36 horses brought in. Of these, 12 will be removed. I understand that tomorrow morning the helicopter will be going out to try and push more horses down to Britton Springs. I believe that some more horses who have been gathered but will not be removed will be released back onto the wild horse range. I will post more tomorrow.

Published in: on September 6, 2009 at 7:57 pm  Comments (33)  

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33 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thank you for the reports and photographs. It is amazing to have this resource for people to follow what is going on.

  2. I personally plan to build a web site to keep people from taking TOURS at Pryor Mountain. I plan to let everyone know that there may be some left but look at the ones that had to suffer and die??

    I started off liking you Matt and your BLOG but it seems there is a definite spin and you are almost as bad as the BLM. If they take Cloud and his family, I will take action from now and until the end of my life along with many others who will never EVER stop speaking out about this discrace. It is bad enough to take any of the horses but when they take Cloud and his family, they have started a WAR that will NEVER END
    Mary in Dayton Ohio
    -web designer with thousands of visitors a day!!! The truth will be told!

    • The people have to come together, not apart.

      Remember that old adage:

      “Divide and conquer” This is what can happen with this kind of thinking. This Mustang Center represents to me a very real and valuable effort at furthering the plight of the beleaguered mustangs.
      There is a scientific person calmly stating what he sees and providing us with beautiful photos of these beautiful horses (“pearls before swine” — the horse are the pearls, the helicopters are the swine)
      I don’t know who was banned from the “area” today — hopefully not this person who has been courageous enough to watch and report on this decimation process. Find a way to go forward, not splinter off into a million pieces.

      A website taking people to tour the holding pens would be much more instructive than a website to keep people from touring the wild mustangs, for heaven’s sake!

      I want these horses in the wild and for people to see them!

      • Janet,
        I have been trying to follow this atrocity as closely as possible and I share your views 100%. Am I reading your blog correctly by assuming that some people have been banned from the “area”? If so, do we know why? I was almosr starting to think that the BLM was actually starting to listen about the way this thing should be done if they insist on doing it.

      • If you go to this site you will see that the BLM has divided the good from the bad and will not allow anyone there unless a contract is signed You will see this is so they can be mean to the horses and not care for them properly. Anyone allowed to stay there at this time is working with the BLM and has agreed that all pictures are property of the BLM. Some of us are tired of being NICE.. they are NOT being nice to the horses.

  3. I was surprised about the comments regarding Cloud that are now removed from the sight.I agree with Mary. If anything happens to Cloud , I will fight along side of you. Cloud stands for all of our wild horses, His beauty ,courage, his life struggles are known world wide. He is “BARBARO” of the wild. It’s too bad more people aren”t aware of what is happening. Everyone I have spoken with is horrified. But no matter how many letters and phone calls we far nothing changes…Hopefully that will change soon. These are our horses , on our land. They have surived for hundreds of years without our help… Hoping now our help will keep them on the Pryors.

  4. Cloud will not be removed. Unfortunately, some other harem stallions will be.

    • I have never thought much of the tactics of the BLM but one thing for sure is that they are “wiley like a fox”. They know that Cloud has a huge following all these years on PBS and they are not going to touch him for this reason. Unfortunate, though for the beautiful animals with no name recognition on the public stage. And very unfortunate for the long term genetic health of the herd.

  5. Thank you for keeping us informed with all that is going on out there. Since you are taking photos and posting them–you are probably keeping those folks “honest”. They know that everything that goes on will be sent out all over the country.

  6. I heard it’s the “little brown ones” nobody wants.

    They end up being “sold down the river.” (a midwest term I grew up with)

    Adopters want the flashy ones.

    There should be a tax deduction or subsidy for people to adopt “the little brown ones.”
    Come to think of it, our great nation has never been too kind to “little brown ones..” in general!

  7. I am relieved to learn Cloud will not be taken but that doesn’t lessen the impact of taking the other herd stallions! I think it is criminal to take these older horses off the range!! The older wise mares and the older stallions should be left on the hills to live out their lives. All of them, not just the Brand named Cloud, who we all love so much!Losing Conquistador or Bolder is just as big a blow as Cloud in terms of teh herds unique bloodlines. I know you are treading a hard line here working for the horses with the BLM but still I say Shame on the BLM! betty

    • Conquistador is fighting with Trigger now and if you go to the web site you will see the atrocities that are going on there and how the vet will not seperate these 2 even when they were asked to before one is seriously injured. You will also see that they want to use a cattle prod to get them through quicker … Cloud is not being removed but will he die before they put him back? Absolutely sick!!!!

      • Oh Lord!

    • There’s something about protection, too. I believe the younger horse gains the mother’s status in the herd or something. If she is high up, so is h/she (foal).

      • this comment goes with Betty, above, not Mary’s, subject.

  8. pyrorwild,

    Since you seem to think the removal of some horses was necessary, what do you think of the BLM’s decision to remove nearly 1/3 of the herd as well as the BLM’s change of heart on putting those removed up for adoption. Now we are told they won’t be adopted, but instead sold. Is this true? And we are savvy enough to know that this makes it much easier for the removed horses to be sold to slaughter.

    By the way, the BLM may have told you that Cloud will remain on the range, but if the BLM lied about these horses going through the adoption process, why would you believe anything they say?


  9. Matt,
    We all appreciate how hard this is for you. You must be feeling pretty frustrated at this point. I know those of us who feel our views and opinions have not even been considered are. It would seem that if the BLM really wanted to come up with a plan that is best for the land and the horses they would have asked your opinion. As far as most of us that know you are concerned you are the only person qualified to make an intelligent assessment of what should be done.
    From what I have heard the BLM has a list of the horses it plans to remove. Is there any way that list could be posted? I think we have all been forcibly cooperative up to this point. You have to feel that your hands are tied, but you are doing all that you can to see this thing runs as smoothly as possible.
    At least from all that I have read there have been no major injuries that we have heard of. At least not physical.
    We are all there with you and our horses every minute. I know I go to bed worrying about them every night and can only imagine what it must be like for you having to witness this travesty every day. Try to keep your sanity for all of those who care. Take care of our horses and yourself!

  10. Matt,
    I for one and many people appreciate all that you and everyone involve do. The important thing is that you focus on your strength of conviction and know in your heart that what you do is important and is the right thing to do, unfortunately a few “sweekey wheels” can could both you like a burr under your saddle. We have been counciled that there will be oposition in all things, and especially when there is good in what you do. Keep up the good work, it’s about the good of the herd/horses.

  11. Teresa,
    There was a statement on the The Cloud Foundation blog about someone being banned from “the area” who had until then been allowed up by the horses for observation and reporting. Somewhere on that blog is where I saw this stated. . . it’s so busy you can hardly find stuff when you go back, but if I see it again, I will make a post here to let you know. I was just hoping it wasn’t the person writing this blog (from the Mustang Center — Matt I guess is his name.) Probably if you follow that Cloud Foundation blog (you can get to it from the home page of their website) you will eventually see something about it on the most recent “official” posts by the person from The Cloud Foundation who is doing the reporting and fotos. Good luck.

  12. Passionate support for the wild horses is a great thing, but I believe that allowing people who don’t care about the horses to DIVIDE the ranks, like Janet said, because of a relatively narrow-minded and uninformed conclusion is a dangerous attitude.

    Only someone who does not know the WHOLE story of the Pryor Mt. mustangs—about the LOCAL people from the Lovell, WY area who fought for saving the herd long before any of us were even born, who are responsible for the Pryor Mt. Wild Horse Range becoming a reality in 1968, who have watched over the herd over the years, and now the current generations (including Matt) who have created the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center for the good of the mustangs—would accuse him of anything that isn’t in the best interest of the horses.

    NONE of us wants to see ANY of the horses disturbed, but the REALITY, due to numerous factors, is that they are, and I thank God that someone as educated, experienced, and caring as Matthew Dillon, is there to make the best of a bad situation.

    Matt has been, literally, the “boots on the ground” for these horses and working for their benefit for some time. He isn’t just in and out once in a while to see his favorite horses. He knows the WHOLE story—the good, the bad, and the ugly. When he makes a comment, you can be sure that it is well thought out, based in reality and not an “off the cuff” remark.

    If you are unhappy about this action, place the blame where it belongs, with the BLM and whoever is behind the rush to action on this herd, whether it’s cattlemen, the mining industry, or whomever. As a matter of fact, the cattlemen who want the Forest Service land to themselves will not be selling any beef to me.

    Hang in there Matt. We’ve got your back.


    • Linda,
      Love the “boots on the ground” analogy. You hit the nail on the head perfectly. I have only been following the mustangs for three years but in that time I have come to repect and admire Matt for what he does each and every day. Without him there would be a lot less people informed as to the plight and sheer majesty of the Pryor Mountain herd. He has enabled me to feel as if know each and every horse personally because he does.
      I have to wonder what this fiasco with the BLM will do to the geneology Matt has worked so hard on.

    • Matt, you keep the above letter in your scrapbook for your grandchildren to read!

      • this goes with Linda’s blog, above. sorry

    • If you want the real truth you will probably not find it on this site. You need to go to the cloud foundation or the forum here

  13. Re: Beauty

    did Beauty ever show up

  14. If anyone is wondering if any of this is “new” read Anthony Amaral’s ‘Mustang’. (book published in ’70’s I think).

  15. Matt, I answered your e-mail on the wrong date. I am not the one who wrote that I didn’t like you. It was Mary and this page. I agreed with someone else about taking Cloud. I spoke with you last week and you gave me some good information and directions. You just work and have no control who is taken. You said this would be a very hard week because you know these horses, and see them all the time. Sorry about the confusion

  16. After rereading the e-mail it was Mary”s comments the I agreed with . Not anything about you


    • Sorry I keep getting interrupted I agreed with Mary on her feelings on Cloud. Finally I think I got this right. I sam sorry you missunderstood me I have no problem with you. Hope your holding up ok

  17. I met Matt briefly (I think it was him in the office) about three weeks ago when I stopped into ask directions to the Mccullough peak horses. I was on a quick trip with my grand daughters and wanted to see wild horses. He directed me to the Pryors and we got to see Sam and his little band. My heart was happy, just to have seen those three. Nothing I have seen on this site leads me to believe Matt is in league with the BLM. the facts of life are these, they (BLM) control our wild horses and if we want to have any say about how the wild horses live and die, like Matt, we have to find a way to work with in the system. even Ginger Katherine’s, who is an outspoken critic of the BLM is working with in a frame work defined by the BLM. When the independent observer refused to sign on as a temporary BLM employee, giving BLM the rights to her writings and photos, she was moved back away from the chutes. If you think they don’t control the playing field think again!
    I think those of us who love horses can be grateful there are Matt’s and Gingers to help us know what our horses are facing. Without Wild Horse Annie there would not have been a wild horse protection act,and without the Pryor Mt mustang center and the Cloud foundation the BLM could destroy these horses and most of us would never know, so my hat is off to you both, who in your separate ways are fighting to save these beautiful horses.

  18. Just a reminder to those who feel they could be doing a much better job with this—Matt is present at this gather to help with the identity of the horses and family groups, (probably partly because of a genealogy study which he has put MANY hours and miles into), and various other volunteer activities to try to make things go as smoothly AS POSSIBLE. He is NOT just standing there taking photos and cannot possibly see and hear, and object to the things going on over the entire area, and he certainly cannot order people around. Just be darn glad he can even be there, for reasons which may not even be apparent at this time.

    We need to join TOGETHER, pool the knowledge, (there are many good websites with factual information)and let’s not let this happen this way again.

    Linda D

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