Life Goes On

Today’s blog is a shared effort by Matt and his mom. Nancy wrote the post that resulted from a lot of discussion with Matt.

Two recent Sundays on the Horse Range served as a reminder that life goes on. Last Sunday was hot…unseasonably hot. I drove out to the Red Hills with the goal of hiking out to Turkey Flats both for a beautiful place to hike and the possibility to glimpse wild horses.

Red Hills

Red Hills on the east side of Turkey Flats

Instead of heading west out to the Flats, I followed a fresh set of horse tracks to Cottonwood Springs.

Wild horse trail leading to Cottonwood Springs

Wild horse trail leading to Cottonwood Springs

Lots of sign led me to the cool shade of Cottonwood and a filled-to-the-brim water catchment, but no horses.

Sunday, May 19: Today’sweather was in stark contrast to last week. The old adage, “if you don’t like the weather in Wyoming, wait five minutes” is definitely true! A trip to Big Horn Canyon is the perfect way to spend a windy, rainy day. On the way to the Range, a pair of courting sandhill cranes among a group of geese provided great entertainment.

Sandhill Crane courtship with an audience of Canada Geese

As soon as I entered the Wild Horse Range, I carefully scanned high and low with my binoculars, searching all the old familiar spots of the Canyon area. But not a single horse was to be seen.

On both days, I had lots of time to contemplate about the wild horses and the nearly ten years that Matthew and I have spent with them. Even though I didn’t actually see horses, there is no question in my mind that they are there somewhere out there. This confidence comes from two sources. First, there were signs of horses everywhere. Following their well-worn paths up and down the rugged terrain was a sign. Fresh stud piles indicative of recent activity were signs. Secondly, there aren’t many spots out in these lands that I haven’t observed horses using. Images from the past filled my mind as I wandered through the lands. One of the most dramatic scenes I had ever witnessed happened in 2005. It involved Cortez and Lone Wolf battling it out for Strawberry and her foal, Fools Crow. The two stallions raced for hours on Mustang Flats. Sadly, this event ultimately ended Cortez’s life and forever changed young Fools Crows existence on the horse range. I don’t drive past that spot without thinking of Cortez.

Cortez and Lone Wolf have a battle of endurance as they race across Mustang Flats.

Cortez and Lone Wolf have a battle of endurance as they race across Mustang Flats.

The mighty Cortez stands proudly after the battle with Lone Wolf. Sadly, this event left him injured which led to his death nearly a month later.

The mighty Cortez stands proudly after the battle with Lone Wolf. This event left him injured which led to his death nearly a month later.

Each wild horse has a story that gets etched in my mind. Even though the horses weren’t visible on this day, the lives of the Pryor horses indeed go on, both on the Range and in my memory.

My two Sundays on the Range gave me plenty of time to think about Matthew’s and my “life” with the wild horses, with the Center, and with this blog. He gets questions on why the blog has supposedly “ended.” We get questions on whether or not we are still involved with the wild horses. The entire Board of the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center gets questioned on what is happening at the Center.  Speaking for the two of us, our commitment to and love for these horses has not diminished. Trips to the Range are still a part of our lives. Matthew stays active with the activities and decisions of the BLM to ensure the best possible solutions. I enjoy giving wild horse presentations to the local school children. We continue to be a part of the Board of Directors at the Center and seek solutions to maintain that organization. We appreciate and value others such as Ginger Kathrens and Sandy Elmore for their work out on the Range monitoring the herd dynamics. Perhaps our visibility with the wild horses isn’t as noticeable as it has been in the past. But let me assure you, that much like the wild horses on the last two Sundays, lack of visibility doesn’t mean lack of existence. Life goes on.

Published in: on May 21, 2013 at 9:46 pm  Comments (14)  

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14 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thank you Matt and Nancy! I was so happy to see a new post in my email box! 🙂

  2. Reblogged this on Wild in the Pryors and commented:
    A beautifully written post from Matt and Nancy. Thank you.

    • Thanks so much, Sandy! Glad you enjoyed the post. We do appreciate your work for the horses!

      • Nancy, I would really love to spend a day on the range with you sometime. I hope I get that opportunity one of these days.

      • Hi Sandy! I didn’t see this until tonight. I agree that it would be great to spend a day with you on the Pryors. Maybe sometime this summer? We’ll keep in touch.

  3. Thank you, Nancy — there was no doubt in my mind you were still visiting the range! But I do miss the posts here. I know things have changed, but there are no observations or comments like Matt’s when it comes to herd dynamics. Thank you, Matt, for all you do and have done. Hope we will still see an occasional post now and then with your thoughts.

    • Thank you also for the photos of Lone Wolf and Cortez. What a sight that must have been!

      Oh, and I hope you know Shawn Ivie is also a major visitor to the range and can usually find horses where others can’t. He also updates us through his FB page (Wyoman Photography) and now a blog. (

      Thanks again 🙂

      • Thanks for your thoughtful comments. And I really appreciate the reminder about Shawn. The Pryor horses have many people who truly care about their well-being.

  4. Like Sandy and Joy mentioned, it is great to see post and know you are out there. It was from a 2010 conversation with Tom and reading the Pryorwild blog that the horses moved from some beautiful horses that I had visited a handful of times to family units with dramatic lives. You have allowed so many to not just see these horses but to get a glimpse into their society and dynamics. Thank you and I wish you countless future visits to the range.

  5. When you get as old as I am, one thing you’ve learned is that the only constant IS change. 🙂 And one must learn to “roll with the flow”.
    I treasure the memories of the time I was so very fortunate to have spent with you Nancy, Matt, and Tom, and I treasure what memories and knowledge of the horses and the Range that you so generously shared with me. My only regret is that I didn’t become aware of all this sooner in my life, but “better late than never”. I can’t change the past.

    I have great respect and admiration for you guys, and for all the local people who have done so much for this herd of horses, and for those who continue to support and work for their good. It is comforting to know that you are still working for them even if you don’t “talk about it much”, because I do truly care about them, and about the wonderful place where they live. I feel privileged to be, as a taxpayer, part-owner of all that magnificent land and all the beautiful things one can see there. The horses are the most precious to me, of course, but the natural beauty that abounds there in that environment is boundless, and one needs not be disappointed if the horses don’t happen to be available for viewing. We just have to be open to it. 🙂 I do envy those of you who can partake of those treasures more easily than I, and am thankful for everyone who shares their experiences there with the rest of us on the various websites. (I LOVE the internet!)

    Thank you for sharing the story of Cortez, Strawberry, Fools Crow and Lone Wolf, and the pics. I was fortunate to see Lone Wolf as an “elderly bachelor” with Tony, on one of my earliest visits, but never got to see Cortez. He was another beautiful animal. RIP, Cortez. Life does go on. I do hope I get to see Fools Crow on my next visit, but he can be very elusive—at least when I’m there. 🙂

    So, anyway, kudos to you and Matt for everything you have done, and for whatever role you are able to play in the present and future for the horses. And a special thank you to Matt for his knowledgeable input when issues arise. His sharing of his point of view is truly appreciated by someone like me who cares, but doesn’t know a lot. 🙂

    • Oops! Its “row” with the flow—not “roll”. Proofread, proofread, proofread! 🙂

  6. Thanks, Linda, for your comments. I definitely agree that the only constant in this world is change. I actually like the “roll with the flow” idea…sometimes we are just along for the ride, rather than doing the “rowing” ourselves. Anyway, you are so right…this is a magnificent land! It’s made even more special having people like you to share it with.

  7. What a great post Nancy & Matt! Like Linda, I wish I had moved here sooner and gotten involved with these horses years ago, but it is what it is. I am thankful and feel blessed that I am here now and have this opportunity to spend more time with the wild ones. Thank you for sharing those photos, and I am happy to see a new post from you!

  8. It has been so long since I checked this site, though I still tell others about my marvellous trip down there several years ago, when Matt and Tom took me up the mountain. So I was thrilled to read this blog, and know that you guys are still part of the mustangs, and like them, perhaps not always visible. You did great work, and am glad you are still there when it matters. Thank you!

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