About The PMWHR

The Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range was the first public wild horse range established in the United States. The original range was created in September of 1968. The range’s area has changed over the years, and it now covers about 39,700 acres. The range straddles the Montana-Wyoming border, though most of it is in Montana. The range covers Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and private land; but the BLM oversees horse-related activities there.

Though the range was established in 1968, the horses have been there for a long time. The earliest account of their presence comes from one of the early ranching families of the area. They have verified that the horses were here when they arrived in 1895, but it has been estimated that they have been in the area since the late 1700’s or early 1800’s. Furthermore, early inhabitants of the Bighorn Basin recognized that the Pryor horses had unique colors and conformation. If it hadn’t been for the local recognition that the horses were special, they wouldn’t be here anymore. In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, the BLM planned to remove all wild horses from the Pryors. Luckily, a group of local citizens was able to prevent this from happening until the range could be designated.

Since then, many of the horses have been genetically tested; and it is now clear that the herd descended from the horses brought to the New World by the Spanish conquistadors. As the Spanish colonized the Southwest, many of their horses escaped or traded; and so Native Americans were able to get them. Through trade and escape, the horses eventually reached the Pryor area. They likely came with the Crow and/or Shoshone tribes. The Pryors have many natural barriers that keep them isolated, and so those horses that did live there were able to live in the area with very little contact with other non-Spanish horse breeds that escaped from area ranches. Thus, the Pryor horses of today still exhibit the colors and conformation that reflect their Spanish heritage.

Published on August 17, 2007 at 11:43 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. After traveling many miles to actually see these reminders of our past, I was really impressed with these horses. After all, how many humans could exist in the conditions that these horses have not only survived, but flourished. I must say that if it was up to me I would be tempted to help with the survival of these horse by interefering with their natural way of life by feeding and administering veterinary care where needed. But I also realize that if that happened, they would no longer be “wild horses”.

  2. Matt,
    Just wondering if everything is ok! No postings on the web since last October.

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