Winter in the Pryors

February 2, 2012

Dear Friends of Cloud and his herd, and all our wild horses;

Cloud Foundation board members, Ann Evans (Denver) and Anni Williams (S. CA) and I traveled north for a quick, two-day trip to the Pryor Mountains. Despite less snow so far this winter, this is still the toughest season to spot horses. The most valuable pieces of equipment we carried with us were our spotting scopes. The most valuable trait in using them is patience.

Anni and Ginger scope for horses

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2012 Equine Ideal Online Photography Contest

January 26, 2012

Equine Photographer’s Network is sponsoring the Equine Ideal: Winter 2012 Photography Contest.

New to this year’s contest is the “Wild Horse” category!

“This class is for any horse living in the wild anywhere in the world, or a horse that was born in the wild but now lives in a sanctuary or holding pen. Photos for this class should depict the spirit, nature and challenges of horses living in the wild in the modern age.”

50% of the profits from this submission category will be donated to The Cloud Foundation. You can help TCF and earn recognition for your photos of wild horses at the same time!

Submissions are due by February 1, 2012. You can learn more information about the contest, including guidelines and entry forms by clicking here.

Shane - one of our Freedom Fund band stallions (Oct. 2011)

“The Wild Horse Conspiracy” New book out by TCF board member, Craig Downer

January 23, 2012

Proudly announcing the publication of a pivotal book for America’s wild horses and burros that has been over 4 years in preparation

THE WILD HORSE CONSPIRACY

by Craig C. Downer, Wildlife Ecologist and Author  (Date of Publication: 1/18/2012)

This stirring and amply illustrated, 300-page book fully justifies America’s magnificent wild horses and burros while countering the biased machinations against them. Written by an ecologist who grew up observing these animals in the West, it presents new evidence concerning their history and evolution in North America then describes their many positive contributions to soils, plants, animals and people. Though true restorers of this continent’s ecosystem, they have been unfairly targeted for elimination. Over the centuries, they have borne our burdens and helped us along life’s way—which makes it doubly unfair that they should be blamed for what we humans have done. As always, they stand ready to help us do the hard work now so desperately needed to restore our shared home. Read the rest of this entry »

Action Alert: Cloud’s Echo

January 6, 2012

Erasing the Memory of Cloud

Dear Cloud Friends;

I know many of you have already sent in your comments to the BLM regarding the planned permanent removal of 30 young Pryor mustangs, but I’d like you to consider adding a special plea for Echo, Cloud’s little grandson (BLM name is Killian).

In April 2010, Bolder’s black mare, Cascade, gave birth to a pale colt. It was early May before Makendra and I could get up on the Pryors to look for the colt that supposedly looked like Cloud. We spotted Bolder and his family far out on a still snowy, finger-like ridge on Sykes. We could see a little colt lying in the snow under a juniper tree. He looked snow white but, on closer examination, I could see his stockings and the blaze on his face. On the tip of his nose he had a pink snip, just like his great grandpa Raven, his grandpa Cloud, and his father, Bolder.

A young version of a familiar sight

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Comment Period for Pryors Extended

January 5, 2012

BLM Allows Comments Through January 20th

Dear Pryor Wild Horse Defenders;

We’ve just learned that the BLM Field Office in Billings has extended the comment period for the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Preliminary Environmental Assessment (PEA) until January 20th. Emailed comments will be accepted (BLM_MT_Billings_FO@blm.gov), but physically mailed comments are encouraged (Jim Sparks: BLM Billings Field Manager, 5001 Southgate Drive, Billings, MT 59101).

Little Lynx in Cloud's band could be removed if bait-trapping proceeds.

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Help Protect the Pryor Wild Horses

January 1, 2012

BLM Now Accepting Email Comments

Dear Cloud Friends;

The Billings BLM has decided to accept emails (BLM_MT_Billings_FO@blm.gov) and faxes (406-896-5281) for comments on their Preliminary Environmental Assessment (PEA) which calls for the permanent removal of 30 young horses (ages 1-3 years) from the Pryor Wild Horse Range during 2012. Comments are due by close of business (4:30 pm MST) January 6th.

2-year old Adelina, granddaughter of Blue Sioux & Red Raven

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Surprises in the Snow

December 30, 2011

An Update on Cloud, his Family, & All the Pryor Mustangs

Dear Friends of Cloud and the mustangs;

On our three-day trip to the Pryor Mountains this month, Lauryn and I saw only 76 wild horses. Most of these were dots through the spotting scope. But the ones we saw up close and personal were pretty spectacular—Cloud and family, his son Bolder and family, and Flint with his band! It is a thrill to see any wild horses, but these three bands are what I consider the “trifecta” of Pryor wild horse viewing!

Day One: December 15, 2011—the 40th anniversary of the Wild Horse and Burro Act

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Action Alert: Your Help Needed to Protect the Pryor Mustangs

December 21, 2011

BLM Sets Sights on Cloud’s Herd Once Again

Dear Cloud and Pryor Wild Horse Defenders;

The BLM is proposing another significant removal of wild horses on the Pryor Mountains. I know. Just when you thought it was safe… they’re back!

BLM’s recently released Environmental Assessment (EA) seeks to remove via bait trapping and potentially water trapping,30 young Pryor mustangs, ages 1-3 years. Bait and/or water trapping could begin as early as mid-January. Comments are due by January 6, 2012. We urge you to comment and to support the NO Action Alternative, the only alternative that keeps a viable population of horses on the mountain.

Cloud's yearling daughter, Breeze, is just one of the horses that could be removed in 2012

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Park Service Puts Up Pryor Signage

December 1, 2011

Park Service Puts Up Pryor Signage

Dear Supporters of the Pryor Wild Horse Herd;

I want to share the following letter we received this week from the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area (BCNRA) regarding signage which they have erected along the paved Park Highway. It alerts motorists that there are animals on the road. We appreciate your emails and letters encouraging this action by the BCNRA in response to the hit and run deaths of the band stallion, Admiral, and his yearling son, Climbs High (Kapitan is his BLM name) along the park highway last summer.

Climbs High, May 2011

As you may recall, the driver of a truck, Adam Finn of Germantown TN, was intoxicated when he ran them down at 2 am  on July 24th. His case is being heard in the Lander, WY U.S. District Court and, as yet, no decision has been reached. Mr. Finn drove away from the accident, but his truck broke down about a mile from the crime scene. Authorities found him still drunk in his truck the next morning.

We appreciate the signage which the BCNRA put up this fall to alert drivers that animals may be on the road. It is common to see not only wild horses, but bighorn sheep and deer as well as smaller animals along the highway, hence the generic nature of the signs.

Photo Courtesy: Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area

Thanks for speaking up. Your voices made a difference!

Happy Trails!
Ginger

 

Winter Ready Mustangs & A Longshot

November 23, 2011

An Update on Cloud and the Pryor Herd – Happy Thanksgiving!

Dear Friends of Cloud, his family and herd;

Our trip to the mountaintop late last month was a difficult one. At least six inches of snow had fallen several days before we began our drive up scenic Crooked Creek Road, just reopened after summer-long repairs. Our late start found us in the dark as Lauryn and I passed the Big Ice Cave. Within minutes, we were in snow following the tracks of at least one other vehicle which gave us hope of reaching the horse range. Then the tracks ahead stopped and turned around, and so did we. There was no getting through the wet drifts so we backtracked. Halfway down Crooked Creek, our headlights lit up a little red fox as it dashed across the road. It’s only the second fox I’ve seen on the mountain in 17 years.

We both agreed if we were to find Cloud and the rest of the mountaintop horses, it would not be on the “easy” road.

Bighorn ram & ewe

The next morning we made a trip out to the Dryhead to see if we could find Climbs High’s mother and the band. No luck. But we did see 15 Bighorn sheep including 7 that were foraging on mountain mahogany near the Devil’s Canyon Overlook. A young half-curl ram joined the ewes and lambs, clearly interested in one female in particular. Back on the main road we rounded a curve and came face-to-face with the young grullo band stallion, Fiero, and his little family as they strolled down the roadside. Read the rest of this entry »