Archive for ‘Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range’

August 1, 2011

BLM wants Public comments on possible Pryor Mountain 2012 roundup

Please write or fax in your comments TODAY!  

The BLM is proposing possible bait trapping and removal of more horses from Pryor Mountain in 2012, which is the ONLY WILD HORSE HERD left in Montana!  Remember there was a large round-up in late 2009, and many horses were removed from the approx. 38,000 acres.   There are approx 150 adult horses on Pryor Mountain and 17 foals.

Reply before the August 31, 2011 deadline!!!

Read BLM’s Report here

– There should be 150+ adult wild horses in each herd area for safe genetics, and yet the BLM wants 90 or fewer
– Say no to a possible future roundup or bait trapping of any kind!

SEND YOUR COMMENTS TO:
Jim Sparks, Field Manager, BLM Billings Field Office, 5001 Southgate Drive, Billings, MT 59101
or by fax (406) 896-5281.
-The BLM is not accepting emails or phone calls

http://www.blm.gov/mt/st/en/info/newsroom/2011/august/pryorscoping.html

May 30, 2011

Cloud on his 16th Birthday on Pryor Mountain – video

 

October 13, 2009

Wild Horses as Wildlife

Raven, one of the few images I have of him before he passed on...

Raven, one of the few images I have of him before he passed on...

Do wild horses deserve their place in America?

  • Wild Horses were established and evolved in North America long before Man arrived.  They were here first and should have always been considered as ‘wildlife’.
  • About the time ancient Man arrived, the Wild Horses disappeared in North America.
  • When re-introduced to America by Man horses were long used as one of Man’s greatest tools, were dependent on horses to survive, and for human transportation until recent Railroads and Automobiles were invented.
  • When you think of the ‘Old West’ or ‘Wild West’, you think of horses.
  • Both Cattle Ranchers and the BLM control much of the Land in the Western US, and both consider wild horses as pests.  Cattle Ranchers work closely with the BLM, and want cheap grazing land.
  • Since the 1971 Wild Horse & Burro Act was establishd, over 50% of the original land set aside for horses by Congress has been removed from the horses by the BLM.  The numbers of horses have been greatly reduced by the BLM.
  • No other wild species in America has realized such a huge population decrease since 1900, but especially in the last 20 years.  Yet the BLM still falsely tells the American Public that Wild Horses are overpopulated.
  • At the rate the BLM is removing the horses by the thousands from Public Land, it won’t be long and the Wild Horses will again be extinct in North America because of Man and greed.

Meanwhile, Cattle originated in Asia.  It was the horse that moved cattle into the American West by cattle drives.  It was horses that were hitched to the front of a wagon, pulling settlers into the American West, while a milk cow was tethered to the back of the wagon.

You decide.  Do Wild Horses deserve to live in America?

Be sure to see Channel 8 Las Vegas News Report…
I-Team Special: The Stampede to Oblivion

October 3, 2009

Third Cloud Movie, Oct 25th, on PBS

NATURE
‘Cloud, Challenge of the Stallions’
Click to watch Preview Trailer…
http://video.pbs.org/video/1226379302/feature/96

Program: Nature

Episode: Cloud: Challenge of the Stallions

The continuing saga of Cloud, the wild, white stallion of the Arrowhead Mountains of Montana. Now a confident band stallion in his prime, Cloud rules the mountains, gathering mares and expanding his reign, as the story turns to his two sons: Bolder is his by birth and Flint, sired by another stallion, who Cloud raised. Will nature or nurture produce the next great stallion of the Arrowheads?
Premiere Date: 10/25/2009
TV Rating: NR

Conquistador

Conquistador. Rounded-up & adopted in Sept 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do not miss this wonderful episode on the Pryor Mountain Wild Horses by Ginger Kathrens!  I know that I will love this movie, but will be sad too when watching and knowing that several of the horses are now gone.

Cloud: Challenge of the Stallions premieres Sunday, October 25 (check local listings).

If you missed the first two installments, watch Cloud: Wild Stallion of the Rockies and Cloud’s Legacy: The Wild Stallion Returns online.

September 24, 2009

ROAM ACT

Contact your Senator to vote YES for the ROAM ACT (S 1579)!

Think about this in a financial way if you are not a fan of America’s Wild Horses…

1> A main reason why so much land has been taken away from the wild horses is for cattle.

2>  Ranchers pays $1.35 PER COW/CALF pair PER MONTH to graze on BLM Land. – a very small amount of income.

3>  The percentage of beef that Americans consume from the cattle fed on BLM land is something like 5% per year. – a very insignifigent amount.

4> This is the same land that BLM claims cannot support wild horses, and they ‘may starve or are starving’.

5> We taxpayers are paying someone $100,000 PER DAY (around $3 per horse everyday) for the BLM to maintain the 33,000 wild horses that have been captured and removed from their designated land, and are being held in long-term holding facilities.  (Then there is the costs of the roundups – read below)

What the BLM is doing, does not make financial sense, and its poor land & animal management –  with our tax money! 

The proposed ROAM ACT will allow the captured wild horses to be able to roam again on some of the 19.4 Million Acres that have been taken from them since 1971 when the Wild Horse & Burro Act was first passed.

Not only will it give the captured Wild Horses their deserved freedom, but it will save us money!

Again, please contact your Senator & Congressmen to VOTE YES on The ROAM ACT (S. 1579)!

* The BLM is having a ‘Public Advisory Board Meeting’ on Sept 28th in Arlington, VA.

* Advocates are meeting September 29, 2009 in Washington DC for ‘MUSTANG ON THE HILL’ to support passage of the ROAM ACT, and Press Conference.

Call 719-633-3842 to learn more about attending!

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September 24, 2009

Pryor Horse Auction Photos

The BLM’s photos of the horses up for auction & sale on Sept 26, 2009 near Lovell Wyoming

http://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medialib/blm/mt/field_offices/billings/adoption.Par.71138.File.dat/adoptionlist.pdf

 

UPDATE  09/27/09
from TCF

All 57 either adopted or sold to good homes!

4 bands of Forest Service horses, 15 total including Floyd and Conquistador and his mare will be kept together at a ranch near their homeland.

Ember and Image get to stay together, have a great home, also adopted into great homes were Arrow, Rain, Helena Montana, Stiles, Cassidy, the lame foal with his mom, who is looking better, and Ginger got Sax.

Conquistador had the record bid – $2500

Huge thanks to all the Freedom Fund donars and all the supporters who made this possible – this is a big win…. TCF

On a sad note, Ginger and others visited the horses on Pryor Mountain, and they are reporting that many of the horses are still foot-sore and lame… even Cloud, the most famous living Wild Stallion.   It was difficult to watch them even walk over to the watering hole.

It is so sad what this roundup has done to these horses.  The BLM has over 31,000 horses it is holding and could be sold, yet they just had to torment this herd to gather 57 more horses at a huge taxpayer’s expense.

September 23, 2009

Wild Horses on CNN

Click the link below to see the CNN News Report on Sept 23, 2009!

I Just Saw This on CNN.com: Wild horses sold to slaughter?

Although CNN Suggests that these 57 Pryor Horses could very well be sent to slaughter, I feel very positive that they will be adopted out, and the older horses will be purchased outright thanks to Ginger Kathrens, The Cloud Foundation, and all of the media on this story… I hope that they get good homes!  The adoption is tomorrow!

-Kathy

September 22, 2009

Why are Pryor Horses Important?

They are beautiful and we love to watch or read stories about them… but why are Pryor Mountain Horses so different?

Let’s go back in time to before the conquistadors’ arrived in America…

It was said by Roman authorities that the Spanish horses were the  world’s best;  though after the time of the Romans innumerable crosses with brood stock from other countries,  has made the homogeneous Spanish horse group of whatever type exceedingly rare.  One circumstance, however, the occupation of the Americas  significantly furthered the preservation of the purity of blood of the indigenous Colonial Spanish horse.

These small Spanish horses with its Iberian breeding could sustain the cold and humidity of winter in the Iberian woods along the rivers,  were accustomed to the north wind; the dryness of summer with its south wind from estrammadura, Alentejo, and Andaluz;  having endured temperatures from well below zero to 104 degrees Fahrenheit in the sun of open country, without shade or shelter;  having lived only on plants that were few and rotten in the winter,  straw dry in the summer, have undergone intestinal worms, parasites, and flies that kill Arabian and English horses;  and having worked hard and patiently in the hands of man;  in all seasons, with all weights;  they furnished the Spaniards with their best instrument for the occupation of the Americas.

While extinct on their native homeland, and the Carribean, and although rare,  there is still to be found,  in this America of the North, small numbers of the ancient Colonial Spanish horse…

 Although horses evolved and are native in North America, (fossil records prove they are a native species!) when Spanish soldiers invaded in the 1500s, horses had been extinct in the Americas for thousands of years. 

When re-introduced, the Spanish horses must have seemed like monsters to the Native Americans.  The Spanish made the most of this advantage by spreading rumors that horses were magical beasts. 

Spanish Conquistadors

Spanish Conquistadors

 

The Incas were not allowed to ride horses for centuries after the Spanish occupation began. The Spaniards wanted to keep the power of horses for themselves—and with good reason. When Native peoples acquired horses in Chile, Argentina and across the US Great Plains, they quickly became superior riders and used them to fight off the European invaders for years.

  

 

Now lets skip to the year 1806…

The Lewis & Clark Expedition (1803-1806)

In 1806, the Expedition was on its way back home from the Oregon Coast.  By summer they had entered the Yellowstone/Montana area.  They had picked up Spanish horses from the Natives along the way…

Clark had seen smoke when they were traveling down the Yellowstone Valley and thought it was from Crow villages.  Clark had prepared a speech to give to the Crow.  He never met with the Crow to give this talk. 

During the night of July 21, 1806, twenty-four (about 1/2) of their horses where stolen.  When the camp awoke that morning they searched for the missing horses and did not find them.  The next day tracks were found going east and moving fast, Clark then surmised that the Crow had taken the horses.   (The Crow captured horses as a feat of honor.  One of the four things a person had to do to become a Crow Chief was to Capture a horse from within an enemy’s camp.  They did not consider horse thievery a dishonorable thing to do.)

East of the Yellowstone Valley lays the Arrowhead Mountains, known for its flint rock.  Within these mountains is the Pryor Mountain area, named after Sergeant Pryor.

Clark had canoes built and parted with Sergeant Pryor on July 23rd.   That prior evening, Pryor met with Clark at the mouth of the Clarks Fork River and told Clark he needed more help to drive the remaining horses as they wanted to chase buffalo and he could not control them.  The next morning Pryor and three men left with the horses to take them to the Mandan.  On the second night out from the Rochejhone River,  Pryor camped on a dry creek and awoke in the morning to find that all the horses were missing. After a search, he concluded that the Crow Indians had captured the remainder of the horses that were to be taken to the Mandan.  He then traveled down this dry creek to the Yellowstone River just below Pompeys Pillar and concluded that Clark had already gone down river.

When Clark had re-visited the pillar he noted that there was Indian art on the rock near where he carved his name.  

Lewis & Clark were  in Crow Country and they had lost about 50 horses.

No one knows just exactly how or when the Spanish Wild Horses began living on the Pryor Mountain area, it is however, a very likely possibility they are  of the Lewis & Clark Expedition Horses!

 The Pryor Horses still show many traits of the old Spanish breeding including;  zebra-like stripes on the legs, across the shoulders, or a dark dorsal stripe down the spine.  

Much of the original colors are found there too including;  dun, gruella, black, brown, roan, & buckskin.   Recently, DNA tests confirm these horses trace back to the Colonial Spanish Horses with a rare gene.

Because of the remoteness and ruggedness of the Pryor Mountain area, and having very few ‘white men’ inhabiting the area, (thus also keeping very little developement out of the area) has mostly kept other European horses out of the area. 

In most of the other Wild Horse Ranges scattered throughout the Western US, the hardy Colonial Spanish horses have been mixed with various other breeds that have escaped or were released into the wild by farmers, travelers, & military.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the history of the little Spanish Wild Horses and why the Pryor Horses are so unique!

-Kathy

September 18, 2009

Pryor Roundup Sept 3-9, 2009

The costs of the recent Wild Horse roundup on Pryor Mountain….

The BLM rounded up most of the Wild Horses, processed, and will put about 57 Pryor horses (+3 foals) through their adoption program on Sept 26, 2009 leaving only around 120 horses on approx. 32,000 acres.

The helicopter roundup started on Sept 3rd, and many horse bands (families) were driven 10+ miles (one way) from the grassy meadows at the top of the mountain (elevation 8700 ft) to the lower desert elevations, captured, & penned at the Britton Springs Corral where they were processed one at a time.  Some of the horses that had been designated to be removed were not captured because the roundup ended early.  However, others that had already been captured will be taking their place.

A newborn foal at the top of the mountain, and footsore horses are just a few reasons why the roundup ended earlier then planned.  But I have to wonder if the BLM received a phone call from a higher authority to stop because of the intense media coverage and public outrage.

BLM Goals:
Genetic specialists say for safe genetics, a properly managed herd should be closer to 200 head, meanwhile the BLM wants less than 100 head on Pryor and the other Wild Horse Herd Ranges.   Did the BLM authorize and pay for the study yet are ignoring the results?

What did this one roundup cost us?
It may run as high as $150,000 according to Jim Sparks, BLM Field Manager.  (Billings Gazette)    Usually, each roundup only runs around $60,000.

Yet because the BLM refused to change their plans, and they fought hard against the huge public outcry, petitions, flooding of callers, even letters from senators, & lawsuits… it may cost us something like $150,000!

Citizens are still wanting the BLM … to play a better role and properly mange the horses.

We taxpayers, are in a pickle!  We foot the gov’t bills while they refuse to listen to us, and the BLM again depends on the public to adopt these horses, because they may starve in the wild on our public lands!  (Starvation & poor range conditions are the BLM’s biggest excuse for so many roundups)

So according to the BLM, you and I should adopt these poor, unfortunate, almost starving, & overpopulated horses and pay for their lifetime of care.

But wait a minute…
Although I do not live on or near any of the Wild Horse Ranges, I have always been around horses, and I personally have never seen a starving wild horse because of poor range conditions while photographing them. I have seen thin horses due to injuries & old age, but that is how Mother Nature works when you are living wild and free.

Many people claim that the Pryor Mountain Range is in better condition in 2009 than the last several years.

But lets remind the public that horses have died while in the direct care of the BLM!  I can recall one time reading about when the BLM ‘forgot’ about a small herd they had put in a ‘holding area’ that had NO WATER!

The number of adoptions is way down, (was their program ever really successful?) yet higher than normal roundups have been reported in the last few years and many more are planned.  Even 100% elimination for some areas.

Why 100% elimination and large removals?  Hmmm, does greed, gas & oil, even cattle, or just plain bad judgement ring a bell?

Doesn’t this horrible cycle really make you mad, even if you are not a true fan of Wild Horses, and do not appreciate their beauty and the fact that they are living symbols of America’s Wild West and History?

In 1900 there were 2 million wild horses roaming and now there is around 25,000. (some say more like 15,000)

The whole issue and my story here is not just about the horses… its the poor management skills of millions of acres of public land, abuse of power, greed, the over- spending of taxpayers’ money, & not listening to the public outcry.   And now they have authorities at the roundups allowing the public extremely poor & limited access, or no access at all, during roundup activities – on our public lands!  So we too are loosing our freedoms with the BLM!

The BLM is a disaster! A regular business could never survive or exist if they worked like the BLM.

The BLM hires and depends on a contractor to ‘do the dirty work’ and conduct round ups.

There are two helicopter contractors in the US and one of them is Cattoor.

Oh, did I mention that the hired contractor David Cattoor, (Cattoor Livestock Roundup), is a 1992 convicted felon for illegally capturing horses in one state, trucking over state lines, & selling them to a slaughter in Texas? He’s been in the business since 1971, so he knew what he was doing in 1992.

It pays well to be a horse contractor for the gov’t, because Cattoor has reported more than 12 MILLION dollars earned from 2000-2007 and the BLM is his primary customer.  Some say he has earned 20 Million+ rounding up horses.   Really?

Oh, did I mention that felons arn’t supposed to get jobs working for the federal gov’t?

I just do not understand why he has been able to earn so much money from the government if he is a convicted felon.

For the few days that the Cattoor Contractors & Wranglers were ‘just sitting around’ because of the court delay on the roundup, they collected a cool $7,000 per day.

Yes, they even rounded up Cloud, the most famous living Wild Mustang Stallion, despite a huge international uproar.

When many of the horses were released a day or so later, they were still limping & footsore, even the famous Cloud.  Isn’t there a better way to work together on this?

Because of the high media attention (most documented in history) on this recent Pryor Mountain roundup, the amount of injury & round-up related deaths was way lower than the usual.   So what exactly does that say?



Conquistador (Stallion) in 2008

Since Pryor Horses are famous, they will probably all be adopted, (even the older ones like Conquistador, who is 19), instead of being held in the long term holding facility that is already holding 33,000+ head. Well, I hope they will be adopted!

Long Term Holding Costs:
The program’s direct costs for holding animals off the range increased from $7 million in 2000 to $21 million in 2007.  For 2008, these costs could account for 74 percent of the program’s budget.

Now for some good news!

Ginger Kathrens’ third Cloud PBS Movie Series,  “Cloud, Challenge of the Stallions” airs Oct 25, 2009 on PBS!

The movie will be fabulous!  But sadly I already know how upset I will be when I again see many of the horses in the movie, as I know that they have already been rounded up and are forever gone from the mountain.

Visit www.thecloudfoundation.org for more info

Cloud’s Image & Ember, (Cloud’s grandchildren) both 2008 foals were removed.

I have had the privilege of photographing and ‘hanging out’ with these beautiful horses.  If you ever get the chance, please visit a wild horse herd – before they are all gone.

-Kathy Weigand

September 5, 2009

Wild Horses Video