April 28, 2010 – Circles

It is my pleasure to write a blog for the Pryor Mountain Wild Horses. First off, let me introduce myself. I am Matthew’s mom, Nancy. I’ve been an avid watcher of the Pryor horses for the past five years. Back in 2005 Reverend Floyd Schwieger encouraged my involvement of the horses and quickly fueled my passion for these magnificent animals. Due to my busy life, I don’t get up on the mountain as often as I would like. However, I rely on Matthew to keep me well informed of life on the range and make sure I get up there when I can. I took the opportunity to go up on Sunday. The purpose of the trip caused me to initially title this post, “The Thin Line.” The events of the day and the links from the past serve as a reminder of the thin line between life and death. But as the day progressed, I was realized a better title would be, “Circles.”

On Saturday, I got a very sad text message from Matthew that simply said, “Flicka is dead.” It hit me hard and immediately I thought of the noble mare that was so easy to spot, even from a distance, because of her distinct sorrel color with her beautiful flaxen mane and tail. Flicka had been with the dark bay stallion, Doc, for some time. The news of her death had come from Tom, Matthew’s dad. He reported that Ferdinand had been challenging Doc all day for the band. Apparently Ferdinand succeeded in taking control of the family and left the area. Doc stayed behind which caused Tom to move down closer to see what happened. That’s when Tom discovered Flicka’s body. It seems Doc just didn’t want to leave this mare.

All that day I thought of Flicka and her story. Each one of these wild horses has a story. Flicka’s story was my very first on Cheyenne Flats. For me, her story began on May 1, 2005 when she was grazing peacefully with Bo, a beautiful black stallion. It didn’t take an experienced eye to realize that this mare would soon deliver a foal.

The grazing would soon come to an end when Bo nickered loudly and raced across the Flats. Another stallion and his family had come too close for comfort. Bo quickly moved the family out of the area.

The faithful, Flicka, followed behind Bo. Her pace was a bit slower than Bo’s because of her swollen belly. But she was persistent and very determined to keep up with Bo.

This Sunday morning dawned with clouds and a cold wind. The weather wouldn’t stop us from heading up to further check out Flicka in her final resting spot. I wasn’t sure how we would be able to find her. Matthew told me that his dad had marked the spot with a rock cairn.

Sure enough….right near the road was a circle of stones; each rock carefully placed in a manner similar to the rock structures built by the native people of the area to mark important places.

It didn’t take long to find Flicka’s body. She was lying on an open grassy slope. We could see no clues that would help us discover a cause of death. Matthew pointed out that there was no sign of a struggle at all as the dirt around her feet and legs was untouched.

Flicka lived a long life. She was born in the Pryor Mountains and she died in the Pryor Mountains. Most of her story is a mystery to me. But from what I know about her and what I know about wild horse life in the Pryors, she lived a good life. As a wise, lead mare her lessons to the next generations will carry on. I will miss seeing this golden colored horse, but I can be content knowing that she lived the full circle of life as a Pryor Mountain Wild Horse.

We decided to head up the road just a bit before we turned around and headed for home. Matthew’s well trained eyes quickly spotted a horse over on the next ridge over from the road. With binoculars I could see a single dun horse, all alone. It’s unusual to see a lone horse, so I scanned the area, looking for others. And then we knew what had happened. Matthew spotted a foal lying near its mother. The adult horse was Gabrielle, the 2006 daughter of Jackson and Brumby. She had moved away from her band to have the foal. With enthusiasm, we headed down the rugged slope to get closer.

As we walked, Gabrielle’s story came to my mind. During the winter of 2006, we spotted Jackson and Brumby on the lower edge of Burnt Timber. They were alone. What had happened to little Gabrielle who had been born earlier that year? And what had happened to Broken Bow, Jackson’s dam, who had been with them since summer? It would be easy to assume they had not made it through the cold spells of winter. But by summer, the incredible story emerged. Somehow Broken Bow and Gabrielle had gotten separated from Jackson and Brumby. The two were inseparable. The two are nearly identical with their dun color, solid faces, and black markings.

Currently they are with the bay stallion, Santa Fe.

We found Gabrielle along with her foal in a secluded meadow. We kept our distance and watched this brand new Pryor horse start his life.

First he wobbled behind his mother.

He stands alert…always keeping in close contact with his mom.

Then it’s time for a little lunch.

Soon the little guy lies down on his rocky bed of limestone rocks for a little rest. Gabrielle never gets too far away.

The final story for today is yet another circle of life. The story begins with Teton. Teton is an inspiration for me with his strength in overcoming a very serious shoulder injury. Teton looks great! His blue roan color is moving into a silver phase as he sheds off his dark winter coat.

Teton was grazing near the forest’s edge with his mares Phoenix and War Bonnet.

War Bonnet is large with her pregnancy.

Teton’s legacy will carry on with this new foal. Later in the day we saw another example of how the circle of Teton’s life will continue. His 5-year old son, Fiesta, is stunning with is unique bay roan color.

He was in a higher meadow with his bachelor companions, Galaxy and Gringo. Galaxy is the son of Lakota and Quelle Colour. He is a beauty with his shaggy black mane and tail.

Gringo is the son of Duke and Madonna. He, and the other two bachelors, come from fine stock and are destined to make their mark as stallions.

The day on the mountain started out with the death of Flicka. It continued with the birth of a foal. The day ended with the stallion story of Teton and the bachelors. Deep in the woods one more sign of new life was shown to us. The pasque flowers are one of spring’s first signs on the mountain.

The circles of life do, indeed, continue on the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range.

Published in: on April 28, 2010 at 11:24 am  Comments (45)  

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  1. Thank you so much for this. i do hope you will write here more. Your family has been a wonderful to these horses for so many. I am sad for the loss of Flicka. It is the nature of life in the wild. The foal is a celebration. Life does not stand still for any. mar

  2. nancy, thank you for this news, how wonderful to be able to go to the Pryors and visit these horses. While Flicka’s death is sad, that she lived and died wild and free on her home range is to be celebrated!
    And that new baby, what joy that is for the pryors, as well as all the other young ones soon to come,
    take care,

  3. Hi Nancy,
    The pictures are wonderful. The cycle of life is amazing. Sad one moment and joyous the next!

    Your family is providing such important information that will help keep those horses in the public eye.

    Thank you.

  4. This is what it’s all about. Wild horses living as nature intended. Flicka’s circle has been completed, but life continues. Thank you and Matt so much for representing us, and beautifully documenting their stories.

  5. Nancy, thank you so much for your update and photo’s of our wonderful Pryor Mustangs! You and Matt are my link with the “circles” of their lives while I’m unable to visit right now. Bless you both!

  6. Hello, Nancy –
    Probably by now, your son, Matt has told something of my posts. I never did get an answer about my last one. That’s perfectly OK. I understand how busy he must be. Still, I’d like to know what’s really going on up there and where the adopted “Pryor horses” end up. A question: the Crow People call these mountains the “Arrowheads” – do you know anything about why they became know as the “Pryors”, other than Secretary Stewart Udall’s designation (?) so many years ago?? Do you folks have any connection with the Crow People as to the outcome of these horses? And, again, who are these two ranch outfits that claim to raise/breed “the original Pryor Spanish Mustangs” from those mountains? What is “Image’s” current medical status/evaluation?

    L. Bauer

    • Lynn,
      Sorry for my delay in writing. I’ll handle these questions for my mom. Following is a section taken directly from the Montana Place Names website (http://mtplacenames.org/).

      The mountains are named after Pryor Creek, which was named in 1806 for Sgt. Nathaniel Pryor of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The Crows knew the mountains as Alu’utalaho, “Arrow mountains,” a sacred place and source of spiritual renewal tied to the offering of arrows.

      I haven’t come across any written references to “Arrowhead Mountains”, but it is possible that this was another name for the mountains given its similarity to “Arrow Mountains”. The mountains were known as the Pryor Mountains long before the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range was established.

      I have had a chance to talk to some of the Crow and hear some of the interesting oral histories they have on the Pryor horses.

      There are actually a few different horse breeders that specialize in Pryor horses. Which ones were you talking about? The history of this breeders association dates back to the early 90’s, when a group of people interested in the herd thought it would be a good idea to have a Pryor population in the domestic world so that there would be pure Pryor horses available if any new horses needed to be brought to the mountain due to some catastrophic event.

      I am unsure of Image’s current status at this time.

      Hope this answers your questions!

      • Dear Matt –
        I already knew about the Crow history on the mountains’ name. I appreciate that you’re trying to do the best you can for the horses, but I do feel there’s something “not quite being said.” Anyone on the Internet looking up “Pryor Horses” can find the two breeding ranches I referred to. I was just wondering HOW they got the horses they got – just dumb luck in an adoption? Maybe, but when you’re staking your livelihood on what you present to the pubic, you’ve gotta back that up with “the best of the best”, right? Now, on to Image. He’s Cloud’s son and grandson, so inbreeding has apparently happened. You and I know that could lead to physical problems. I “heard” that Image had possible problems with his spine (via adoption vet at site) so, that’s why I asked. The only reason to “adopt” Image would be to lay claim to the “ultra-media circus” surrounding Cloud. If that person who adopted Image did it for the WRONG reason, then how sad for the colt. I just wanted the TRUTH. It’s important for folks everywhere willing to adopt Mustangs from the wild. Is what goes on in the Pryors (Arrowheads) the same as what goes on in other adoptive round-ups??? I don’t think so, do you??


      • Lynn,
        I’m unsure what you mean by things “not quite being said,” and so I cannot respond to this. I would be happy to, though, if you’d elaborate a bit.

        I am also unsure of which breeding ranches you refer to as I do know of more than two out there. As I understand it, many of the Pryor horses being bred privately are the descendants of horses adopted in the 90’s (a lot in 1992 and 1994, and some in 1997). Thus, many of the Pryor horses in today’s private breeding operations weren’t born in the wild; they were born on those ranches. Because these modern horses were bred selectively, you do see some pretty typey horses among them. As for the founder stock for these horses, the adopted animals, these were all adopted out through normal adoption procedures during these aforementioned gathers. Selection criteria varied over time back then, and there were just under 50 horses removed both in 1992 and 1994. That said, there were a lot of horses, some of whom were likely “the best of the best” you refer to; and these horses were adopted through the competitive bidding process like those adopted in September 2009. Some of the breeders I know of actually were at the 2009 adoption; and they adopted horses there. So, to return to your original question, there are some people who have spent a lot of time and money trying to privately breed high quality Pryor horses. (There are people that do similar things with horses from other herds.) As to the success these people are having today – Well, I think that they are probably having to deal with the current horse market situation like other breeders.

        We aren’t 100% sure that Image is actually a White Cloud son. We only know 100% that he is a White Cloud grandson. Image was found to have some developmental problems by the vet that worked at the adoption. Image went to a very good home; and he is being taken care well. As far as I know, he is with someone who likely doesn’t have any interest in having him to be popular.

        I can tell you that the managers at the Billings Field Office would never do anything with the Pryor horses that is against policy or is illegal. These people are very by the book; this is very important. So are adoptions at other herds like they are in the Pryors? Some may not be, but I would say the Pryor adoptions are run like many of those others should be. In fairness, there are a number of other areas I have heard of where adoptions are run so well; this isn’t exclusive to the Pryors.

        You bring up some really important points that relate to adoptions and the fates of adopted horses. I hope my information has helped to clarify things in the Pryors a bit. Let me know if I can further help out!

      • Lynn, if you’d like more information and updates about “Image” you can go to The CLoud Foundation’s webpages, to their blog, there is a blog from Image’s new family. They send out regular information about he and Ember, whom they also adopted last fall, are doing. Looks to me like they are living a good life.

    • Great pics, Nancy,,, I especially like when you-all include the colors of the horses. I know that they change during the year, but I try to keep up. Nice article, and I hope to hear more soon,,, Hazel

  7. Once again the updates are so appreciated. Matt has given us all such beautiful pictures and news about the horses. Nancy, your post was so touching and beautiful. It took me through the whole range of emotions from tears, to joy seeing the new babies and expectant mothers etc. Thank You so much to you both for letting us all be part of these wonderful horses. I hope to be able to get up to see them one day.

  8. LYNN, if I were looking for info on the adopted Pryor horses, I would check the BLM websites and/or contact them directly. They are the ones who are responsible for the gathers. If I’m not mistaken, they are supposed to follow up on the adoptions to make sure things are as they are supposed to be for the adopted horses, (I doubt that there is money, time and manpower to do that really well, but they must have the particulars. Maybe you can get the info you want on Image that way. Or, maybe the Cloud Foundation is following his story, since he is Cloud’s offspring.

    NANCY, it’s great to know you’re still in the observation crew, and I’m looking forward to any posts you have time to do! You were very much a part of the wonderful experience I had on Cheyenne Flats in October 07, like the story you related to me about Brumby’s foal and her dam being so close and being gone from the family TOGETHER for some time. It helped me to understand the depth and complexity of the ties and relationships these horses experience.

    I distinctly remember, and have photos of Flicka standing near the tall pines that (I believe it was the filly, Halle), “thought” she was hiding from us in. Flicka seemed amused by the filly’s antics when she realized she’d been spotted and came flying out and sprinted past Flicka and around the meadow to her mother, Demure’s side. (THEY got that wrong in my story in Country, by the way.)

    Anyway, Flicka truly was a “beautiful” part of the Pryor mustangs’ story, in more ways than one. I salute her for her beauty and endurance, and her contribution of descendants that have helped keep the herd going.

    And I salute YOU for your part in the story of these horses, as well.

    Thanks again to everyone involved in the PMWMC for their individual roles in helping save this small part of equine history.

    • Linda, there is an update blog at The CLoud Foundation’s blog that provides regular updates on Image and Ember’s new home and transition from the Pryors to their new life.
      thanks for responding to Lynn, I wanted to, but have not been on this website long enough to feel comfortable to do so.
      In general, there are also Kiger Mustang breeders, they are trying to preserve their favorite type of mustang. Up until this year, the wild horse rescue in SOuth Dakota, another NFP, was also breeding and selling mustang and Spanish Sulfur horses, as a way to keep the sanctuary going and perpetuate the breed.

  9. After taking a look at the current wild horse plan, any reasonable person would conclude that it is a failure, and wild horse preserves in their traditional, historical areas are the only answer.
    Once a preserve is established, the cost of roundups and boarding the animals for adoption is eliminated. Visitor use dollars would help pay for maintenance, wildlife biologists, managers and staff. The cost to the public is then reduced to 0 and the horse populations can be kept in check.
    This does mean that wild horses from all other areas would have to be removed and dispersed amongst the preserves to compromise with the cattle ranchers.
    In areas where there are no predators, animals that are sick, old or runts would need to be removed. If the horses were ever in danger of starving in a severe winter, air drops of hay would be necessary.
    Wildlife biologists may need to neuter stallions or give the mares birth control if necessary for population control.

  10. Nancy, you have written a beautiful eulogy for Flicka. But as you pointed out, nature wrote the best eulogy possible; life continuing on elsewhere. The photos are beautiful, but I love your writing more. Thank you!

  11. To Linda D: I did exactly as you suggested. I also have other information that should and will remain confidential. I’m only after the truth and the best possible outcome for ALL the wild horses of America, not just those that come from the Pryors. I study, read, question, write, examine, email, etc., etc., and am not likely to stop until the best that can be done for ALL the wild horses of America is done. Does that help explain my comments? I hope so. If not, please contact me via my personal email lynn.bauer@q.com
    I’d be interested in talking to you further, at your convenience.

    Thanks for the input – it shows you care – that’s good!!!

    • Lynn, you don’t have to explain your comments to me in any form. You are entitled to your opinion, as I am to mine, and since you brought this stuff up HERE, I’ll answer HERE. If there is something you’re wondering about with the “mustang people” in and around Lovell and the PMWMR, read everything on the website, read the articles in the local newspaper pertaining to the horses and the Center, etc. Do whatever research you need to satisfy your curiosity, and if you have PERSONAL questions of Matt, the breeders or the Center Board of Directors, ASK THEM directly. In my experience in life (and, lets say I’m “not young” so I’ve had a few experiences), it isn’t a good idea to believe everything you read or hear from indirect sources. It’s always best to go directly to the source, rather than “beating around the bush”.

      You might be surprised at what you’ll find out if you really get down to the nitty gritty of the Pryor Mountain Mustang and the local people’s story from the time when the local rancher’s daughter (Betsy Tillet, I believe, 2 or 3 generations ago) became enamored with the herd of mustangs she encountered on the mountain, the period when Rev. Schweiger spent his free time observing the more recent horses and fought to have the Range declared “for the horses”, thru today with all the efforts of the local people now dedicated to the preservation of the herd.

      I get the impression that you think something “bad” is going on there, and it is my belief that you just don’t know the whole story…or maybe we just see the same facts in our different ways. My opinion of the breeders’ involvement is this: I am THANKFUL to them that they are helping to preserve the traits of the early mustangs, however they have to do it, and I hope they make as much money doing it as possible, so as to maintain the effort. I applaud their knowledge of the horses and respect their ability to know the best way to go about their business. That sort of thing is the mainstay of any activity…be GOOD at what you’re trying to do. And, it’s not like ALL the good blooded horses have been eliminated from the Range. I don’t know all the technical terminology, but I can SEE that the true mustang blood still flows in the veins of the horses on the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Range.

      And as far as the very personal question you asked about how much money Matt makes, and how, I’ll just say this: I’m sure with the education he has to his credit, he could be making a whole lot more in some other position than whatever he is making working for the Center, but I believe the horses have reached into his soul, too, and now he belongs to them. I hope that he will be able to continue in his position there for a long time, unless he can move on to a place where he can do even more good.

      I’M not in a position to save ALL the wild horses everywhere—that’s not MY reality. I’ll be deliriously happy if you, or someone can, but until then, I’m going to try to be a contributing member of the PMWHR supporters and continue to be glad that at least the wild horse roundups, etc., are not nearly as cruel as they were 40 or 50 years ago. I’m not too sure that things have improved as much for some segments of our society where human abuse and neglect are still running rampant. There are things that need doing for domestic animals as well. As you know, we each have to choose our battles, and I’m glad you have chosen to HELP the wild horses. I just hope you channel your considerable energy in the right directions, and I’m not so sure “investigating” the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center staff is a good investment of your time.

      • This seems to be a classic case of, pardon my expression, “kill the messenger”. We’re all casting around for an example of wild horse management as a model for other HMAs. It seems to me the Pryors may be the best place to start.

  12. Wild Horses Ain’t Free

    Old Wild Horse Annie would not like to see what has transpired with the wild horse in the West in the past thirty five years of wrangling and helicopter round ups. When it comes down to cow versus wild horse, cows always win. The wild horse is looked upon as the biggest pest in the West.
    The big argument has always been that because wild horses reproduce so quickly, they must be eradicated. Or, it costs too much to corral them and not enough of them are being adopted. God forbid they should be harvested for dog food.
    The question then becomes why don’t the wildlife biologists sterilize some of the wild horse stallions to reduce the population size to a tolerable level? The answer is they are neutering too many animals to the point of extinction. A balance has not been achieved. It’s war on the wild horse!
    There is only one way, dear reader, to solve this problem-wild horse preserves in America. If they can do it for burros, they can do it for horses. An America without a wild horse would be like Roy Rodgers without Trigger. Ride on!

    • Matt & Nancy, I just felt I needed to thank you again for all the lovely photos and updates. I so look forward to them. I have no idea who you are or how you are involved, as I am fairly new to this site. I just know it takes a lot of your time etc., to bring this lovely site to us who are not as able to follow them ourselves. But is it my imagination or are the posts seeming to be getting more political, debatable etc.
      I’ll just keep enjoying and keeping it simple. Oh, don’t know if you remember back when I told you of an adopted mustang ‘neighbor’ in Paradise Valley? Well she had an adorable baby just last month! So cute. Keep the updates comin’!

    • WindyScotty,

      Have you even read previous posts on what’s being done at the Pryor Mountain? As Matt explained in a very large blog series about AML and PZP back in January, lots of good stuff is already going on here.

      Here in the Netherlands they have made a big mistake by putting horses on a limited amount of land. Every year 20 percent die of all sorts of unnatural causes. I am currently informing dutch politicians and biologists about how things are done up on the Pryor Mountain and so far they are all interested! In the next political debate on this subject, the Pryor way will be considered.

  13. Matt –
    Are you a member, or do you “answer” to the Pryor Breeders’ Association up there in ANY way?? How do you make a living with a non-profit? If I could do it for groups I know, I would. That’s why I asked the qustion.

  14. Matt and Nancy and Tom,
    Isn’t it amazing how life can be summed up so eloquently within a single trip up the mountain. Birth, Death, and the valleys in between. All of life is a circle, from dawn until dusk, spring through winter to spring again, the phases of the moon. Tears of sadness and tears of joy are similar, and such a post about Flicka’s death and the birth of a new Pryor foal engage the full spectrum of emotions.
    Even stories are circles. And there is another circle that comes into play whenever we consider an emotional and controversial issue, such as wild horses. It depends WHERE you sit in the circle as to how you view the issue. How I may see it, and how the person next to me views it can be quite different.
    The Pryors are fortunate to have such caretakers as Matt and his family. The herd size is such that the horses remain fit and healthy. Such is not the case in all herd management areas.
    Is it right to allow a herd size to double and triple in areas where food and water are scarce, so that they suffer and die under horrific conditions? No rancher likes to see that happen. If these horses were free to wander wherever they wished to find sufficient food and water, that would be one thing, but they are not. We have built fences around the West, removing the romance of wild and free-roaming mustangs. The Pryors are about as good as it gets.
    There is never one side to a story, and in most cases, there are more than two sides. In reading the recent bio book on Wild Horse Annie, her intention was to put a stop to cruelty. She was not out to save every mustang. Cruelty can come with a poorly managed roundup, or from the forces of nature and limitation of resources — scarcity of water and food.
    If one wishes to view other sides to this controversy, I suggest the book Honest Horses, by Paula Morin. It depicts the situation in Nevada and the Great Basin, where most wild horses remain.
    Not only does the book give another view of wild horses kept in a restrictive arid environment, but it will make every reader appreciative of the care and honest work done by the Pryor Mountain Mustang Centre, and the relentless efforts by its director and volunteers.
    The photos appearing on the Pryor web site show horses in good condition. That is in part because their numbers are in keeping with the carrying capacity of the land. No one wants to see horses injured or killed in roundups; and I am sure no one wants to see horses starve to death from lack of forage and water. What is kind about watching horses fight over a mud puddle?
    Wild horse management is a fine balance, and one that the Pryor Mustang Centre has maintained to the best of its ability. I agree with Matt, that lines should be kept based on kinship. That too keeps the herd healthy.
    I for one commend their efforts, and the more I learn, the more I realize what an exceptional job they have done in protecting this herd, and maintaining its health. There is no perfect answer to a less than perfect situation. They are doing the best they can, with limited funding, and with a federal law that protects the horses, but offers little as to how to manage the growing herds. It is easy to add to the problem; it is difficult to be part of the solution.
    Thank you to those who donate funds to the Pryor Mustang Centre, so that they can continue their work. Thank you to all those who have adopted a mustang, extending its life with good care and feed. Thank you to all those monitoring the Pryor herd. You have a noble seat within the circle. You are part of the solution.
    And finally, but foremost: Bless the mares, the foals, and of course, the stallions. A spectacular and wondrous life circle in itself.
    Alberta, Canada

    • Wendy,
      I really appreciate the fact that you and I have the same appreciation for the remaining wild horses. I have learned that I have a lot of Native American blood in my background and can only think that this has a lot to do with the way I feel about the wild horses.I really love animals as a whole. I live on a farm with horses, dogs, and cats and love tham dearly and am always looking for more animals here. Fools Crow is my favorite horse on the mountain. Please let me know who your favorite is.

    • YES! You made so many good points! I hope others read and absorb.

  15. My reply above is to Wendy, Alberta, Canada.

  16. Matt — Very nice post by your mother. Definately sad so see a generation of horses pass that I knew so well and loved, but what wonderful memories! Keep up the great work you do! I am very appreciative as well to the breeders that I know who love and cherish their horses. They do such a wonderful job of showcasing their horses and educating the public on such a fantastic breed. Big pat on the back to the Hartman’s and the other breeders for their decades of hard work!

  17. In reply to those who “may” have questioned my motives by asking some simple questions: 1) I’m considerably older than you might think; 2) I’m not necessarily influenced one way or the other about the “Cloud Foundation” and its work; 3) I’ve learned a great deal about the *politics* of the WH&B situation so, I’m not uneducated, nor am I naive. I’ve seen too much *politics* when it comes to saving those that deserved to be saved. The more PR you have going for you, the more likely those you care for could, perhaps, get some sort of “preferential” treatment. I have always asked direct and perhaps unwelcome questions because I know about the PR and the politics and “who gets what because of who/what they know.” What I’m hoping for is an EQUAL, FAIR and JUST policy by the BLM for ALL wild horses, including those of the Pryors/Arrowheads. That’s not happening and that’s why I’m interested. No offense meant. I just want to know how best to influence the BLM WH&B group to do the right thing by ALL the souls out there, not just the ones that get the “prime-time PR.”
    Hope that helps to explain my questions…

    • Sadly, “politics” HAS become a dirty word, hasn’t it?

      I guess, partly because of all the politics that goes on everywhere and in every aspect of life (except my family life), I have become somewhat cynical (or maybe “realistic”) in my view of what’s possible and what’s not. I see an environment where people generally are more involved in DESTRUCTIVE criticism and actions than in CONSTRUCTIVE activities. I guess maybe this explains my response to seeming criticisms of the constructive efforts that have been going on in relation to the wild horses on the PMWHR by the PMWMC supporters since long before most of us expressing ourselves on this website were even born; or, at least, since before there were websites like this to share info and observations on.

      And, it bears mentioning that some of the good things that have been done for the wild horses on this range have been done by “boots on the ground” BLM personnel who have been truly interested in the welfare of the animals under their care. Like with everything else, not everyone has honorable motivations for what they do…but some do.

      I share those feelings of frustration with the lack of equality, fairness and justice in our world, and the role that politics plays in all these situations. But, as I’m sure you realize, it is not limited to the BLM and the treatment of animals, and it has been going on as long as human history has existed. I know I’ve encountered it in every aspect of MY life; social, education, employment, etc. Knowing it doesn’t make it OK, tho, and I fight the injustices wherever I can. So, when I see somewhere that those fighting have been somewhat victorious, like on the PMWHR, I JUST FEEL VERY THANKFUL THAT THEY HAVE FOUND A WAY TO COME OUT SOMEWHAT AHEAD.

      I can only hope that the people working in other areas for the benefit of wild horses can get some workable ideas from how the people around the area of the PMWHR are doing things that will help with a positive outcome for the herds they are concerned with. And I totally agree that PR (including the “Cloud” movies), but mostly the community involvement (boots on the ground) can be the key. There needs to be more of it, and I’m hopeful that there will be. All the people behind the PMWH and the Range are the reason these horses are still holding on. They have done a great thing by preserving this particular herd because of the proven genetic links to the early bloodlines, even tho other herds are made up of equally as lovable animals.

      It IS sad that not every horse (animal)can be spared having to live lesser lives, or worse. (And, altho I don’t agree with everything they’re doing, it is sooo great to know the Forest Service horses are living together not all that far from their homeland, thanks to The Cloud Foundation and its supporters!)

      I’ve come to the conclusion that we can work toward our IDEALS, but it’s not failure to only make it part of the way. Every victory, no matter how small, is a VICTORY to be rejoiced in ON THE WAY TO THE ULTIMATE GOAL.

      And there is strength in numbers, if we’re all moving TOGETHER toward the same goal.

      Lynn, I’m glad you care and I wish that you could always have the wind at your back in your efforts to help the animals you care about.

  18. I think I can safely state that we are all already aware of all the “politics etc.” of which we rarely hear about but know is out there. Personally I just don’t feel this is the site to start political controversy. Personally I follow more sites that I can count on those issues. I enjoy the updates and beautiful photos of our local horses. Gives some hope and happiness to see how well they are doing. I am personally very Thankful to the administrators of Pryor Wild for all the wonderful work they do and how much it means to me that they share their information with those of us who can’t get up to see them ourselves. Hopefully someday. I hope to someday thank them personally.

  19. Matt, in rereading my 5/5 post, I realized that in my enthusiasm I may have been a bit presumptious in my expression of feeling that you “BELONG to the horses”. Hopefully, the readers all know that was just my somewhat romantic expression of my observation of what is actually a more “down to earth” reality. I guess I just feel like that about myself since I’ve come in contact with the horses, and transfer it to others I encounter who seem to feel a real connection with these animals. And I feel that about you from the way you talk about them and ALL that you have done for them, which requires more than a 9-5, 5 days/wk commitment.

    I’m just really hopeful, for the sake of the horses (and not just the ones in the Pryors), that you will be able to make your position with the Center and Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Assoc. “work” for yourself and your family, for a long time. And if that doesn’t “work”, I hope that you will be able to move forward to a position that will afford you even more opportunities to implement your education, expertise and experience with the horses for all their benefit.

    Looking forward to the next post of beautiful pics, news of the PMWHR and its inhabitants, and as Nancy so aptly put it, the “Circles” of life there.


  20. Hello All,
    Yesterday Matthew and I headed up to the Pryors on a cold, windy, snowy day. Despite the weather conditions, it turned out to be a very successful day of horse watching. While much of the information will be reported in a future blog, I did want you to know that Gabrielle and her foal are now with the dun stallion Cappuccino and his mare, Guinivere. Also, War Bonnet has not yet had her foal. We did have the pleasure of seeing two new foals…life does, indeed, go on in the Pryor Mountains.


  21. To All- Those folks who have taken an interest in my questions/comments and concerns: I’ve received a few direct emails that 1) have not really answered my questions/concerns 2) have been in one way or another somewhat *uncomfortable* in tone towards my individual feeling as one human, concerned citizen that’s just looking for the real facts and 3) are somewhat “surprising” in their approach and vocabulary. I believe I now have enough input to know where I should go from here. Thanks to all who contributed their views and opinions – I appreciate it. I’ll leave you all with one thought: It’s been my impression that most, if not all of you care about the Pryor/Arrowhead horses – period and what becomes of them. I get that. What concerns me is the national, public approach to this issue. I believe my efforts are probably best spent elsewhere. I just wanted to be sure everyone following these magnificant horses KNOW that others are out there in other HMAs facing a pretty crappy end to their lives. You’re fortunate in that EVERY horse (my opinion) in Pryor adoptions gets a home, somewhere, just because of “who” they are. I hope for the day when every wild horse, everywhere gets the same kind of help/treatment/etc. Bloodlines are just that, bloodlines. I have to ask, is that really that important (unless you’re making money from them?) I’m concerned about living beings that are being mistreated and abused. If everyone of you who support the “Pryor Horses” had the same passion/monetary support, etc. for others out there, maybe we could get somewhere. As it seems to me now, the right hand is fighting the left (for reasons that remain unknown). Your efforts to save the wild horses in this country is too fragmented to succeed and you know why – sad, extremely sad. You all need to work together, even if it involves ideas you might not have thought of or supported before. If you don’t, I fear there’s not a lot of hope… Please DO NOT CONTACT ME via my email. I have nothing more to offer at this time. I’m actively working on another wild horse project. My apologies if all that folks want from this blog is “beautiful pics of horses and their new babies.” Please think outside the Pryors. Thanks.

    Best of Luck to you, Matt and those who care…
    Lynn B

    • Lynn, I got involved in helping the wild ones mainly because of the Pryor roundup last fall, please don’t assume that those of us who comment here are ONLY interested in the Pryor horses. I have been following the Calico roundup and Fallon updates since it happened. I believe that giving these horses names, as of course all the pryor have, and a lot of other bands do have, makes them more than mere numbers and helps get people involved and caring about what happens to them.
      HerdWatch is a program that is being started to negin collecting and organizing data about ALL the horses, including those in long term holding.
      All of us are trying to work together and save all the horses. Yes, we comment here about the news from the mountains, because we celebrate the circle of life, and I certainly love to see the babies and horses looking so happy and healthy. WHyever Matt is invloved with these horses, it is good for them and the Pryors.
      There are a lot of people trying hard to get beyond divisiveness and work together to bring about real change. SOme of us have adopted or bought mustangs, otheres are journeying out to NV to witness for the Calico horses and check on their care.
      Still others document other wild herds throughout the west. The links to their work are on many blog sites.
      I hope you find a place to continue helping the wild ones. They need all of us to continue to be their voice.

  22. As always, I enjoy the photos and updates on Pryor Mountain. I like many others, are involved in many of the complex aspects of wild horse advocacy, but I relish this website for relaxation, and my visits to Pryor Mountain are a revitalizing experience This post, however, has been taxing!

    I also wanted to relay to you, Matt, that perhaps because of people like you, we have more and more herds that have someone following them, naming them, recording band activity, etc. The Sand Wash Basin Herd (a little known herd) is fortunate to now have Nancy Roberts who has jumped in with both feet. Please check out her blog.
    I was there last weekend, and loved visiting this colorful herd and discovering a new foal! We are working to get all our herds under someone’s wing here in Colorado as are the Pryor herd and McCullough Peaks herds, to bring them more into the public eye.

  23. Nancy,
    I can only hope that you are really proud of your son Matt. After reading your posts I know that you are. I don’t know if you instilled the love of the Pryor Mountain on him or vise-versa, but any way I know that the love of these horses lives on. I have to say that the blogs from you and your son have enlightened more people than you can know. So keep up the good work.I very rarely leave my county but I love coming out there when I can, to see what I like to refer as our horses. I would love to come out in August and would really love for you to take me out on the mountain. We could actually leave the boys behind. The way you describe our horses lives liitle to the imagination. The photographs only help in letting us know what is going out there.

  24. Hi Matt,

    So sorry to hear about Flicka. I love seeing your posts. I would like to tell Mrs. Bauer that myself and a friend adopted two horses from September 09 and they are doing great. Hombre the grulla colt and Ione the grulla filly. I think the people at that adoption really wanted the best for these horses and they people who got them are taking great care of them! 🙂 Hombre is awesome..will have to send updated pics of him.
    Thanks, Rebecca

  25. Farewell, our Sweet *FLICKA*!!
    and Farewell, Majestic *SAM*!!
    I’ve always Loved You both 😦 But all our Inner-hearts envy…the Fine, Noble, forever-FREE lives You were blessed to live…
    *FLICKA* always reminds me of a mischievious freckled schoolgirl, with her flying red & flax…& her tell-tale “Flash-blaze”! She broke many-a-stallion’s heart in her days 😉
    …and *SAM*, the Valiant ‘Doorman’–Enticing all to “come In’!-‘Enjoy our spectacular ancient Home”!
    …and only Now, do I get to hear some More of Your beautiful Life Stories !!
    I’ve no doubt–that *Hightail* & *Doc* MISS You, still
    … (we do, too 😉
    so…”Noro-, noro go hûl, vanimalvar !”
    [run, run with the Wind, our beautiful ones!]
    __thank you, Nancy, for a lovely, tearful + hopeful tribute AND reminder–of Nature’s great CIRCLE of Life ! …………..Matt or Nancy? Do you know Who were the Parents of SAM?? and can you Tell us, If *Hightail* is doing OK, now? & *Doc*, too?

  26. Was Doc born in 1998 and is his parents Winnemucca and Mateo? What happened to Mateo?

  27. Rebecca, how Are Hombre & Ione ???? I’ve
    Seen you mention *Hombre-06 1-2 more times,
    (Topper Too-95 X Chino-91)
    But wondered about the gorgeous *Ione*??–
    (dd of Cascade-grey-97 x Seattle-97)-
    –I Thought she was SO BEAUTIFUL!! 🙂
    *Doc was 1 of 6 survivors born in 2003!
    But you are correct, his parents are
    *Winnemucca-88 X *Mateo-92!
    **I have been wondering, too…what
    happened to feisty *Mateo [Littlefoot]???
    Seen no mention of him, for a long long
    time 😦
    {BTW, I think the other class of 2003 are:
    *Demure (Broken Bow-93 x 2-Boots-89)
    *Dove (Phoenix-91 x Diamond/Teton-94,3rd dd)
    *Duchess (Mystery-95 x Pierre-89–09)
    *Cloud Dancer/Damsel (Sitka 89-06 X Cloud-95)
    *Delilah (Cavelitta-99 x Conquistador-90)
    *grulla son {I call *Dusky}, lived 2-3 yrs
    B4 jul 2005–then “missing” (Exclaim-96
    X Merlin-97)
    –> perhaps, you were thinking of Mescalero,
    ? Born 1999, a brown roan, looks ‘dun-ish’
    (Sitka-89-06 X king Shaman-85-09)
    ***PS-if I’m incorrect on the above, please
    Tell me 🙂

    • I’m glad that Dancer, Dove, Demure, Duchess, Delilah, Doc and Merlin’s foal survived 2003. Did Merlin’s 2003 foal had a name?

      • What was the name of Merlin’s 2003 foal who is one of 7 lucky survivors?

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