Dear Friends of Cloud and our Freedom Fund horses;
As many of you may or may not know, Cloud’s birthday is fast approaching! On May 29th, he will celebrate his “Sweet 16th.” It’s hard to believe that so much time has elapsed since I first saw him totter out of the trees with his mother! He has endured a lot over the years – harsh winters, predation, three helicopter roundups, bait trapping, and the loss of many members f his family. But he has survived and is still one of the top stallions in the Pryor Mountains, just like his father, Raven, was years earlier, and like his son, Bolder, is today. We hope you’ll take the time to wish him a “Happy Birthday” this Sunday!
On a separate, less celebratory note, our sweet Freedom Fund mare, Sierra, was injured and is now at the vet’s office in Billings. A tiny, quarter-sized puncture wound just above her hoof slowly turned infectious, and Sierra began limping. She had an operation two weeks ago to clean out the infected area, but she will need a second operation in order to clean out necrotic cartilage. She’s a smart girl and has been very calm throughout the whole experience. The vet techs are in love with her, and have taught her how to lead and to stay calm while the veterinarian changes her bandages. We’re very proud of how she is handling all this. As you can imagine, the cost for her treatment is quite high.
Because of your contributions, Sierra and the rest of the Freedom Fund horses were reunited after they were removed from their Custer National Forest Service home in the 2009 helicopter roundup. Our lawsuit against the BLM and the Forest Service aims to make sure this never happens again, and to force the Forest Service to take down the gigantic fence, which currently blocks all the horses from accessing crucial summer and fall sub-alpine meadows in the Custer National Forest.
We’re doing everything possible to help protect our national symbols of the West. If you are able, please consider a special donation in support of Sierra, or in support of our lawsuit to help Cloud’s Pryor Mountain herd receive legal use of Custer National Forest lands they have roamed for two centuries or more.
We’re on our way to the Pryors as I write this, hoping that the Montana monsoons will let us access the mountain so we might find Cloud and wish him Happy Birthday in person. As I always do, I will tell him how much he is loved by so many people and thank him for allowing me to bring his life story to a worldwide audience. In recognition of his birthday and his role as wild horse ambassador for all mustangs, Congressman Raul Grijalva of New Mexico submitted a tribute to Cloud in the Congressional Record. Congratulations big boy!