Pryor Foal…Ryden

There is such excitement in the Pryors when a new foal is born. In 2017, this has been especially true as there have been only eight foals born and only five surviving thus far. All summer the question would come up, “Is Jasmine pregnant?” And we waited…and waited…until October 5 when Anh Nguyen sent this text, “Good morning Nancy, Jasmine has a foal. I am not sure if is a boy or girl. Looks just like her. But more black. This foal has a star exactly like hers.” This isn’t the first time Anh has been the first to see and report a Pryor foal. She generously devotes much of her time from her life in California observing and photographing the horses. A day later I got the next text from her, “This baby is a boy.”

Steve was able to see the foal the first day of his life, but it was two days later when I was able to go up to see him. It was a simple, quiet moment in his life, but very special for me. As I watched the newest of the Pryor foals, my thoughts turned to the importance each one of them brings to the bigger picture of their place in the Pryor world.


Jasmine watches around her to make sure all is well with her foal.

This colt has been named, Ryden. At the beginning of the summer Ginger Kathrens had expressed a desire to name a 2017 foal after Hope Ryden. In 1968 Hope had come to the Pryors for ABC to investigate the BLM’s proposed plan to remove the wild horses from the Pryors. Billings Gazette reporter, Allison Battdorf reported, “A group of Lovell townsfolk (led by Reverend Floyd Schwieger) bucked, saying the horses belonged there.”


Little Ryden show affection for his mother.

Hope came to Lovell  at that time to investigate, and thus began her lifelong interest in the Pryor horses. Battdorf spoke of Hope’s influence on the preservation of the Pryor horses, “The broadcast on the plight of the Pryor horses attracted the county’s attention.” Yes, Ryden is the perfect name for this foal who was born nearly 50 years from the time when a woman named, Hope Ryden, greatly contributed to the preservation of a wild horse herd in the Pryors.


Ryden and Jasmine share meal time together.

The excitement of Ryden’s birth was heightened because of the heritage of both his mother and father. This is Jasmine’s first foal. She is a beautiful blue roan mare and the daughter of Cloud and Aztec. You would never know it was her first foal because of her protective and tender care of the little one. She knows how to be a great mother…partly from instinct and partly from lessons learned in the last eight years of her life.


After his meal, Ryden did a little exploring…never far from his mother.

Jasmine’s father is legendary and well-known. Although Cloud is gone now, the mountain is full of family including his mother, Phoenix, who happened to be grazing right near Doc’s band.


Hernando and his two mares: Phoenix and War Bonnet grazed near Doc’s band.  Did Phoenix have any idea that the newest foal on the mountain is her great-grandson?

Jasmine’s mother, Aztec, was originally a Dryhead horse born to Beauty and Black Beauty. Aztec is the only living offspring of Beauty. Aztec has two daughters on the mountain, Jasmine and her older sister, Hailstorm.

Ryder’s sire is the stallion Doc. Doc’s lineage is a small one that goes back to the foundation mare numbered 72-204. That was from the identification system set up by Lynn Tayler of the BLM back in the early days of the horse range. Friend, Alex, calls her Black Star which is a pretty sweet connection with Ryder who right now is a little black horse with a big white star!

Winnemucca's Mother 204

Mare 72-204 is the paternal great-grandmother of little Ryden. Photo by Lynn Taylor

She had a daughter, Winnemucca who died in 2016 at the age of 28. Doc is Winnemucca’s only living offspring and the only living descendant of mare 72-204. This is yet another link to this new foal to the herd’s genetics.


Doc grazed near to Jasmine and the foal. His other mares were just up the hillside. Doc stayed attentive to his surroundings.

Doc is so striking with his good looks. He has a dark bay (or seal brown) color with a thick wavy mane and tail. Doc looks much like his sire, Littlefoot/Matteo. While it appears that the foal will carry on Jasmine’s blue roan color, he may be showing signs of his sire’s “waves.”


The little tail shows a hint of “waviness.”

Soon it was time for the foal to nap again. He dropped down into the dried October grass. Jasmine stops to take a look to ensure that things were safe for her napping son.


The other mares grazed nearby. Jasmine has a great support system with mares Brumby, Firestorm, and Heritage.


Jasmine resumes her grazing while Ryden rests. Jasmine’s half-sister, Firestorm, grazes nearby.


This is such a sweet moment between Jasmine and the foal.


As I prepared to leave, the foal was resting peacefully under the protective watch of his mother and the band.

Life in the wild certainly isn’t easy for the Pryor foals. In fact, this very night brought a change in weather. Morning dawned with it a fresh coat of snow for the mountain-top. Time will tell about the next days, weeks, months, years of this little one’s life. We will see whatever awaits….

Published in: on October 8, 2017 at 1:35 pm  Comments (8)  

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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. very good story the mother looks in good shape so the little will get a great start before winter good job tks ross

  2. Ryder may have a tough winter being born this late in the season. A product of the birth control techniques being applied by the BLM.

    • There have always been fall births regardless of PZP use. It is part of nature. Ryden has a strong mother, a protective band stallion, and other experienced mares in his band to help him through his first winter.

  3. I always enjoy hearing about the history of the horses! Ryden and Jasmine both look great, so hopefully he’ll do well as the seasons change,

  4. What a fabulous post! First of all I love the tribute to Hope especially with the upcoming 50 anniversary of the Range. The photos are so tender. And I love the explanation of the foal’s lineage dating back to the black mare and the original naming system that is now based on the alphabet.

  5. This is a wonderful write-up. Thanks so much for sharing all this information.

  6. So excited to finally be able toplace the *black star mare* with the numbers on the old lists and see a picture of her, too! Additionally, I’d always heard that Winnemucca family was Konik and the “black star mare”, which also makes makes her a half sister to Velvet, Mystery, and (I think) Felina as well! Do you know if this is correct? and when the black star mare, her mother died?

  7. I’d also wondered who the parents of Beauty were? and also of Bristol (I used to think that Beauty was his mother, but now I don’t believe that is correct)? The wavy mane gene pops up in Matteo, Doc, and Grumpy Grulla and a couple others; (isn’t it in Galaxy?, or 1 of the stallions of that generation…I don’t have my listed descriptions handy.) Are these horses directly related, or just a fluke recessive gene carried throughput much of the herd?

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