July 31, 2011 – Updates

Today is the fourth anniversary of my blog. On July 31, 2007, I did my first post “Durango & Medicine Bow“. This year, Durango has been elusive. Sightings of him were rare through the spring, and he hadn’t really been seen thus far in the summer. His sons, Hidalgo and Jalisco, are now full time bachelors; they are often seen out on Mustang Flats. Earlier in the month, Jared came upon the remains of Durango’s mare Buffalo Girl. We assume that their 2010 foal has also died. It was getting to the point where I was starting to wonder about Durango. However, this week, as has often been his style, he has reappeared. To make it even better, Durango has the yearling filly Kerry with him. You’ll recall that she went missing earlier in the spring; her parents are Prince and Ireland.



Kerry and Durango

In the past days, these two have been frequently sighted out on Mustang Flats. Sightings out there continue to be great. Along with Durango, Blizzard, Merlin, Corona, Fiero, and Fool’s Crow’s harems can often be seen there. Also, many of the bachelors (Seattle, Hidatsa, Issaquah, Hawk, Jalisco, Hidalgo, Hickok, and Jesse James) can often be seen out there, though not all necessarily together. This is almost all of the Dryhead horses, and it isn’t impossible to see the majority of these horses on a trip into Bighorn Canyon. Sitting Bull is still in the lower Sykes area while Bristol’s former harem has gone up the mountain. Hightail and Seneca are still together in the Crooked Creek Bay area, though they are often sighted a distance from there.

Last Saturday, while on the mountain, I was surprised to find that the former Forest Service bachelor Inali (son of Eclipse and Inverness) was with some of the mountain bachelors.


Later in the day, I found two more of the Forest Service bachelors – Conquistador’s sons Grijala and Garay. It looked as though Grijala had stolen Lakota’s harem. Garay was hanging pretty close while Lakota was also fairly close. A few of the bachelors were also present.

Grijala and Lakota's harem


Horizon, Jupiter, and Fiesta

Lakota, Grijala, and Garay all had quite a few fresh injuries. There was obviously quite a fight between these horses. Garay was even missing the top of his left ear.


To see these three Forest Service bachelors on the Range was pretty exciting for me. As you’ve probably noticed in past posts, I have wanted these boys to be back on the Range since they weren’t removed in 2009. These boys are the only representatives of the Forest Service horses removed then. There are five of them, and they had been sighted off of the Range a number of times this spring. At some point in the recent past, these bachelors were able to get on the Range. Last week, I heard a couple reports that two more horses had come onto the Range from the Forest Service lands. I assumed that they were Hamlet and Hernando. Yesterday, I went back on the Range; and seeing what was going on with these horses was a priority for me.

Grijala still had Lakota’s harem. However, Lakota seemed to be acting as a satellite bachelor. Lakota is kind of hard to see in the photo as he is in the shade of a tree.

Grijala's harem (Kohl, Knight, Grijala, Lakota, Jenny, and Quelle Colour)

Three Forest Service bachelors were nearby when I saw them – Inali, Garay, and also Hernando. I didn’t see Hamlet, but I also didn’t see the other bachelors yesterday. If these bachelors did something Lakota didn’t like, he would charge out and make sure they knew it.

Lakota, Garay, Hernando, and Inali

Hernando is a full brother to Grijala. They are often mistaken for each other, but there are a few easy to see things to set them apart. Hernando is darker than Grijala, and his star is smaller. Also, his back left leg still shows an injury he got a couple years ago.


It is definitely hard seeing Lakota in this situation with his harem, but I am very excited to see these Forest Service bachelors showing more interest in being on the Range than they did when they made their visit last summer. I’ll be very interested to see how they further integrate into the herd; it is very important that they do.

I also thought I’d post some photos that may be of interest to some of you. First, here is a photo I took of Baja’s mare Washakie yesterday. She still hasn’t foaled, and she is looking very round and uncomfortable.


Since I did my last post, there have been a few more foals born that I haven’t shown yet. (I have now found 15 foals on the Range this year.)

Jacinta’s foal is a colt. I thought he looked like he may be a sorrel when I first saw him, but I am thinking he may be a bay now. I haven’t named him yet; I am still going back and forth between a couple choices.

Jacinta's colt - July 2, 2011

Jacinta's colt - July 23, 2011

Isadora also had a foal. She had a solid bay filly that I am calling Lemhi.

Lemhi - July 02, 2011

Lemhi - July 23, 2011

Last weekend, I found that Hataalii had a brand new foal with her. It is also a solid bay filly; her name is Lenape.


Also, there have been requests for the missing horses. Here they are with some descriptions:

Ferdinand, Havana, and Kalista: I last saw these three together in the late winter of 2010. I haven’t seen them yet in 2011.

Guinevere: Guinevere wasn’t looking good going into the winter. It is likely she died when the weather started getting really bad, though her colt Knight somehow made it through before being taken in by Lakota’s harem.

Beauty: I last saw Beauty going into the winter when she was with Fool’s Crow. She wasn’t looking great then. She was also the oldest horse on the Range.

Rosebud: I didn’t start seeing Tecumseh’s harem until the really early spring of this year. At that point, Rosebud and Helenium weren’t with him. I found Helenium with Duke later on, but I still haven’t seen Rosebud.

Kitalpha: She is Durango and Buffalo Girl’s 2010 foal. Given that she was in very poor body conditions, it is unlikely she is alive (especially because Buffalo Girl died).

Kalispell: This is Blanca’s 2010 colt. He went missing when Blanca got stolen by Cappuccino this spring. I just don’t have any guesses about where he is.

Cabaret, Duchess, Kalika, Jericho, and Fortunatas: Cabaret’s harem was seen by Jared during his flight earlier in the year. At that point, it looked to Jared like Fortunatas was actually controlling the harem. He has spent time looking around the area he saw them in, but he hasn’t seen any sign of them; and I haven’t seen or had any reports of them being seen either.

I currently believe that the Pryor population is 158 adults (one year of age and older) along with the 15 foals. We’ll also keeping trying to locate these missing horses; I wouldn’t be surprised to see the missing list grow smaller in the future. I’ll be sure to provide any updates about this and other interesting things I see during my next trip to the Range.

Published in: on July 31, 2011 at 8:37 pm  Comments (45)  

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  1. Hi Matt, Karla and Ross here. Thanks so much for the terrific blog with usefull information and beautiful pictures. This captures all the missing links to these amazing horses. Thanks again for all your updates and hard work.

  2. Matt, I am still very upset about Admiral and Climbs High. As tough as it sounds I really hope they went quickly and didn’t suffer.

    For me anyway it would helpful if you could tell us where this accident happened using the Center as a starting point. I’ve tried to see this online mapping it but have been unable to.

    Please keep us abreast of news as it comes to light. I sincerely hope this man is held to the fullest extent of the law.

  3. Matt,thank you for the update.I just got so happy for Kerry, and bamm.Buffalo Girl and Kitalpha are dead.This winther claimed so many lifes.I hope Grijala won’t take Lakota’s harem in the Forest Service in the fall.This is also the year of the bay foals.Lemhi and Lenape are like twins.Keep us in touch about Damsel when she foal.Meanwhile,do you have photos of her 2009 filly that died.And did Cloud’s daughter Rain(Hurricane) had a foal in 2009 that died?And where is Jenny?Last time she was with Santa Fe but she’s not with him anymore.

    • Sorry,I just saw Jenny is with Lakota’s former harem

      • Actually, at least it was like this one week ago, Lakota has Jenny and Knight back:) If you go to wyoman photography on Flickr, you can see some more recent photos.

      • Hi Anne, Could you provide a link to your photos? I can’t seem to find it. Thanks!

      • http://www.flickr.com/photos/29618368@N08/ =)

  4. As Always, your updates are so awesome and informative. Thank You!

  5. Thank you Matt for the great update. Some happiness in finding Kerry, but then sadness for the lost of Buffalo Girl and her daughter Katalpha. I hope that Cabaret’s band turns up. Do you think it is possible that they went back on the Forest Service land somehow?

    • It isn’t impossible given the area they were last seen in. We’ll definitely keep trying to locate them.

  6. Thanks for the update Matt! So many names – you do a great job of keeping them straight! Love your pictures and blog!

  7. There is a Beautiful photo of Buffalo Girl & Kitalpha at:


    • That is a nice photo of Buffalo Girl and Kitalpha. Thanks for sharing!

      • I was able to spend a great day on the Range with John and Tracy in December. They do some great work. The Mustang Center actually has notecards available that were made with that photo of Buffalo Girl and Kitalpha.

  8. Hay Matt.
    Great news about kerry!! How she ended up down there i dont know.Is It posible that Jacintas colt is a chestnut like Quelle colour?
    Did dancer foal?Will you make a post about Greta and Garcia on the mountain?

    • I guess it is maybe possible for him (we’ve named him La Salle) to be that color. I’ll be curious to see for sure. I didn’t see a foal with Damsel (Dancer) Saturday, but I didn’t see Cloud’s harem. On the Saturday before, I did see them; and she didn’t have a foal then. I will do more with Garcia soon too.

  9. Has Dancer(Damsel) given birth yet? Did Velvet(Scarlett) return to Cloud’s band yet and did Feldspar and her yearling filly go back to Flint yet?

    • As of Saturday, Scarlett was still with Bolder and Feldspar and Krystal weren’t with Blue Moon. (See above for the Damsel question)

      • I heard that Velvet(Scarlett) and Feldspar couldn’t accept Ingrid and Sequoyah but I hope they forgive Cloud and Flint and return to them. Did Diamond(Teton) win any new mares?

  10. Hi, Matt. Thanks for your continuing commitment to bring us info and photos of the Pryor Mustangs.

    I’m sure you know that the WH&BP’s Scoping Letter (7/26) has created a firestorm on various blogs. I’ve read most of your Management Series. To me, it’s one of the most important sections of your blog. IMO, understanding the evolution of the HMA, how the Pryor horses are managed, and why is vital.

    Questions: What’s the current population estimate, including 2011 foals? How many adults died and how many pregnant mares lost their foals since the 2009 gather?

    And please provide the names of Wilderness Study Areas and locations (including acres, if possible) of these and any other withdrawals that have impacted the HMA since 1968.


    • Yes, I have definitely noticed the impact the scoping notice has had. I appreciate that you have looked at the management series here. It’s very relevant to the discussions of this gather.

      Right now, I put the population at 158 adults and 15 foals. I’ll have to get back to you on your other population question after I look through my charts. The WSA’s up there include the Pryor Mountain, Burnt Timber Canyon, and Bighorn Tack-on. This is a good starting resource for them: http://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medialib/blm/mt/blm_programs/planning/billings_rmp.Par.70118.File.dat/ROD_chapter2_m.pdf. As for the withdrawal areas, I’d have to look through some of the texts for the specifics. Basically, the whole PMWHR is in withdrawal area, though.

  11. Matt,I just saw BLM’s plan to remove horses in 2012.Do you have more infto about it.How they actually choose which horses to be removed.I also read that there are 17 foals born this year.Do you know who are the mothers of the 2 new foals.Probably Washakie and Damsel?

    • Maria, here’s a link with the information from a blog in Colorado:


      I just became aware of it, too. What is the problem here? Why won’t BLM leave this herd alone. Look at all the losses they have suffered this year. Look at all the PZP that’s been administered. This seems to be resulting in more rather than fewer gathers.

      • As you can see this gather isn’t posted on their website.

        Also to reply to the comments, you need to send fax or letter by mail THEY WILL ACCEPT NO EMAILS.

      • Also you may note, per the above link, that the fence, at a cost of $300,000 will keep them off their summer pastures and force them to move closer together, thus using more grazing resources than they would have.

      • It is posted on their website.


      • Well, PZP doesn’t lead to a whole population effect immediately. Such a program takes time to work; this has been demonstrated in the areas where it has been done for a while. PZP’s strength isn’t so much in decreasing a population’s size as it is stabilizing it. It can lead to a decrease in population size if used at a certain level. However, this takes time. Thus, to me, it looks like this proposed gather is a step toward bringing the population closer to a level that the BLM would like the numbers to stabilize at. Given this, there would be three options for achieving population goals. First, PZP could be used alone. This one isn’t likely given what the relevant planning documents describe as far as population and range goals go. Second, there could be gathers that are more spaced out but are larger (i.e. helicopter gathers). Third, there could be gathers that may be more frequent but are smaller and wouldn’t require the use of a helicopter. This scoping notice seems to be exploring the third option.
        Hope this helps.

      • Also, in regard to the fence and forage – There is not a shortage of forage on the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range per se. The largest area of the Range, the midslope, has a lot of forage right now that is virtually ungrazed. This is the area that the new (and future) water developments were installed in so that the horses could better inhabit this important part of the Range. The next month or two will prove very important as we will see what the horses do – Will they continue to graze the relatively unproductive upper meadows or will they travel down the mountain to the productive midslope? I hope it will be the latter.

    • The scoping notice says that the proposed gather would be tied into the HMAP – The HMAP describes how decisions will be made based on kinship, phenotype, and age. I don’t know which foals there may be in addition to the 15 I have confirmed, but I should be up on the Range this weekend and will post what I see. Those two are very possible, though.

    • Lastly, don’t let the fact that only faxes and letters are being accepted stop you from providing advice on this document. We are lucky here to get the opportunity to have scoping notices to comment on. Notice the headline of the press release: BLM Seeks Input to Develop Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Gather Environmental Analysis. I do not doubt that comments that are fact-based and relevant will be considered in the development of a gather plan and its alternatives. Please do comment.

      • Who decides fact-based and relevant. We don’t all have a degree in wildlife management but we all pay for all of this with our taxes. Is there some exclusive right to BLM’s ear only if you have deep understanding, facts at your fingertips, and the magical fairy wand of relevancy?

        Sorry to spout off, and you, Matt, certainly provide copious amounts of insight and excellent information in your blog, but this gets very disheartening when you see video evidence of BLM bullying downed horses, flipping them with helicopter skids, running them to exhaustion, ruining hooves of foals and euthanising them; and the like. There is a giant disconnect here between American public’s desire to see this all done more humanely and fairly and the IVORY TOWER BUT NOT REALLY hautitude of the BLM Upper Management, I daresay!

      • I really understand what you’re saying here. It’s definitely hard to deal with situations like this after taking a step back and looking at the big picture. Given knowledge of the bigger picture, you do have a good bit of knowledge about this – You have ideas on what works and what doesn’t work, and you can probably back that up with further information. When you do this, then you’ve been able to compose a successful comment letter on something like this.

  12. How about Laramie for the new colt? Would love to know what 2 names you are considering.

    • I think Laramie would be good for Washakie’s colt- because if memory serves me right Washakie is the main food place at UW in Laramie.

  13. Matt,
    Why do we need to take more horse off of the range? It seems like we lost as many horses this year compared to the number of foals that were born. Sometimes I just don’t get it. Can’t we just leave them alone? Between the PZP and the “gathers” aren’t we getting there? I hate the thought of taking more horses off the range

  14. We all know that the possible number for the horses on the mountain is not 90-120.I think that tha Range is quite vast.It is a place for 200+ horses.Here in Bulgaria we have smaller Range and there are about 350 horses and they are all looking fat.And our horses are on the mountaintop even in the winter besides the snowdrifts.I think BLM will remove young horses born in 2009,2010 and 2011.There are some rare coloured horses that must stay on tha mountain like Killian,Juniper,Kierra,Kayenta and couple more and i hope they will not be removed.

  15. Matt, “Description of the Project” (the third option) gives me great hope. I’ve included something similar in each of my comments to Scoping. IMO, it’s the way a responsible rancher would manage his or her personal herd. I also suggested it in my comments to the BLM earlier this year, along with (to the best of my ability) a cost/benefit analysis.

    It’s VITAL that everyone respond to the Scoping Letter! It puts you on public record as an “interested party” (a sort of “stakeholder”) in the welfare and management of the Pryor Mountain horses.

    This is our one and only opportunity to express (in an emotional, but respectful manner) our personal connection to this special herd, how long we’ve followed them, what individuals we hope will remain, etc. Each response must be unique to be seriously considered.

    This is how I do it, but, of course, your own response should be just that … your own.

    My opening (not too long) is the “connection” stated above. Then I directly comment to the EA in the order given … including headings and subheadings. When I support something, I simply say I support it. When I oppose something, I state why and suggest alternatives. I also include further suggestions and recommendations (not demands!) right before closing. I close with something similar to my opening. In this way, my comments aren’t “boiler plate” or simply a signature on a petition.

    Again, this is how I do it. The most important thing is that each of us (and many others) take the time to comment in a way that, hopefully, will ensure our thoughts and ideas are considered.

    • OOPS! I may have goofed again! I think you’re supposed to reply to the the Scoping Letter first to be put on the list to be mailed a copy of the Preliminary EA. General comments to Scoping, then specific to the PEA.

      I sent my Spring Creek Basin Scoping comments by email, and requested and received an email conformation. Asked for a copy of the PEA through the mail so I wouldn’t have to print it at home, and made notes in the margins of each section and subsection, so it all went pretty fast. Sent that by email as well, and requested/received another confirmation.

      I’d like to know why emails aren’t being accepted for the Pryors, and whether that’s already or will be BLM’s communications policy going forward. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see!

      Matt, would you please clear up the correct procedure re: Scoping’s relationship to the PEA? Do you know if the PEA comment period will be 30 days from BLM notification?

  16. I suggest everyone go to the Spring Creek Basin, CO, link Matt has provided in the right sidebar, and open the June 6, 2011 post. It explains not only the vision for future management, but also the inevitable frustrations of the past and present. Please be sure to read and understand why it’s imperative this September gather be done.

    The BLM just released the SCB Decision of Record. It contains a few, but certainly not all, the things we asked for. Hopefully, it leaves the door open for serious consideration of our suggestions for future gathers. The intent is, by using the management techniques mentioned, the “future” will be at least 10 years down the road!

    The SCB Management Model was inspired by the success at Little Book Cliffs (also in the sidebar). LBC was slated to be gathered in September – 60 horses rounded up and removed. It’s been postponed until 2012, when, hopefully, the range conditions and census will be balanced, and the gather postponed again.

    As I remember, the LBC head count (conducted by volunteers) showed the number of wild horses was very close to or below the high AML. I believe the BLM considered the expense and disruption of a gather for so few horses unwarranted at that time. IMO, The LBC population control program (conducted by trained volunteers in coordination with the BLM) lead to this positive outcome for the LBC Mustangs.

    • CORRECTION! The date of the Spring Creek Basin post is 6-28-11, “Thoughts on the preliminary EA for SCB Roundup”. Thanks to Janet Ferguson for pointing out my error. Sorry …

  17. CONGRATULATIONS, MATT, on the anniversary of the blog! It was your unique way of presenting these very unique horses, and the info about them, that resulted in my choosing the PMWHR as the first place I would visit in my quest to find, observe and photograph (for my own enjoyment), a herd of wild horses. You began the blog just a few months before I began my internet search, and I am soooo thankful that you did. I truly treasure my experiences on the Range and my connection to the PM mustangs thru the Center. I can’t say THANK YOU enough. I hope you can keep up the good work for a looooong time.

  18. Is there a name yet for Jacinta’s colt, Washakie’s colt or Fiasco’s foal?

  19. Congrats on the blog anniversary! I just got a chance to read back on all of them. Such interesting information and knowledge. We all appreciate the hardwork it takes in keeping us informed. Thank you!!!

  20. Where was Buffalo Girl’s body found and did you find the body of her filly? Im glad that Prince’s yearling filly is ok

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