Archive for ‘Pryor Timeline’

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

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May 30, 2011

Cloud on his 16th Birthday on Pryor Mountain – video

 

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

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 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 1, 2009

Native Crow Elder speaks out for the Pryor Mountain Wild Horses – video

 

May 19, 2009

Pryor Mountain Timeline

Indian Rock Art with Horses, Moab Utah
Indian Rock Art with Horses, Moab Utah

** Copied from my Mustang Page that was written in 2006 ***

HISTORY & TIMELINE

-The Crow Indian tribe used to refer to the Pryors as the “Arrow-head” mountains. Much flint rock is found there.

– No one is able to document how the horses were introduced to the area. It is suspected that they may have been captured and put in place by the Crow Indians as early as the 1700s.  The range is on the major migration routes of the Crow and Shoshone Indian tribes. The area is very rough and inaccessible, which has kept the herd isolated and prevented interbreeding with domestic stock turned loose by the Army and ranchers.

-The Pryor Mountains were named after Sergeant Nathaniel Pryor of the Lewis and Clark Expedition which traversed through the area and nearby Yellowstone River Valley in 1806.

-Its uncertain how they arrived, some say the Crow Indians stole horses from Lewis & Clark, others say they just escaped… anyway wild horses made Pryor Mountain home.

The late Bessie Tillett, whose family homesteaded the area, recalled seeing the horses when they arrived.

-1900 ; there was approx. 2 million wild horses roaming wild and free across the USA.

-1950’s ; only about 25,000 wild horses remained in the wild. Most were poisoned, shot (aka target practice), abused… thousands were captured and tortured only to be slaughtered for dog food. The wild horses were widely considered as ‘pests’ by ranchers in the western states.

Wild Horse Annie – In the 1950′s Wild Horses began to get National attention because of Velma Johnston (1912-1977). It began one day while she was driving to work, she saw blood running from a trailer hauling horses and followed it to a slaughter (1950 Reno Nevada). Sarcastically named ‘Wild Horse Annie’ by her strongest opponent and soon BLM employee Dan Solari, she insisted that her friends call her Annie.  She then affectionately became known as ‘Wild Horse Annie’. She fought (often her own life was in danger), raised awareness, and explained to Congress their conditions. Congress listened, and voted for laws to help protect the wild horses from horrible capturing methods, abuse, shooting, and to stop the poisoning of water holes ….. She was an advocate of the Wild Mustangs until her death in June 1977 from Lung Cancer.

-The Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range was established in 1968. Interested individuals and groups convinced Interior Secretary Stewart Udall to set aside approx. 32,000 acres in the Pryor Mountains as a public range for the wild horses. This was the first of its kind in the nation.

Rev. Floyd Schwieger, who moved to Lovell in 1962 as pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church, fell in love with the area.  Rev. Schwieger is known as the preeminent “lay expert” on the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Herd, but he is also an enthusiastic ambassador for not only the horses but for the Pryor Mountains, Big Horn Canyon and the Big Horn National Forest. “In the 40-plus odd years, he has probably shown more than 1,000 visitors around our area.  He has made hundreds of trips with people to the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range on his own and worked as a greeter volunteer for the National Park Service at Devil’s Canyon Overlook for the last three years.  He helped form the Pryor Mountain Watch Group, which helps protect the horses and the range, and provides information for visitors there in the summers.” Schwieger has helped many video and filmmakers over the years from as far away as Germany, France, England, Japan and major United States networks, the nomination points out, including an early film narrated by Chet Huntley. He also helped Bill Grunkemeier of Sheridan and Ginger Kathrens of Colorado Springs with their films about the horse range.

Schwieger served St. John’s for 16 years, then moved on to Lander in 1978 and Evanston/Ft. Bridger in 1982 to start new churches there before retiring to Cody in 1985. He moved back to Lovell in 1988 and has been here ever since. During his early years in Lovell, Schwieger began to explore the Lovell area, and as a man who had grown up with horses on his family’s Minnesota farm, he quickly fell in love with the mustangs of the Pryor Mountains, learning about the horses from people like Lloyd and Royce Tillett and Emil Doerr. “I was looking for a diversion, a hobby, and the horses became my interest,” he said.   Schwieger became actively involved in the effort to protect the Pryor Mountain horses and establish a wild horse range.  He soon began keeping records of the different bands and was one of the first to begin naming the horses. That practice evolved into numbering the horses according to band and naming individual members of the bands. He helped establish the Pryor Mountain Mustang Association and, later, the Pryor Mountain Breeders’ Association, which is dedicated to preserving Spanish mustangs.   In 1978, the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management presented him with a plaque for his “untiring efforts to promote the welfare of the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Herd.”   He has also received recognition from the BLM for his help with herd adoptions and the Watch Program, and from the National Park Service for his help at the Overlook. He is currently serving on the board of directors of the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center, and his dream is to see the center completed and in operation. “I’ve always felt this was an important part of our western history,” he said in explaining his interest, “a part of history that should be protected, just like the buffalo. The wild horse is part of the image of the west. People receive a great deal of enjoyment from seeing wild horses, and tourists enjoy them, too. “To make a long story short, I began to notice primitive markings of the Pryor horses that were different than domestic horses, and I wondered why. I did a lot of reading and research, and the Park Service provided $25,000 to do blood work, which revealed to us that the horses have a lineage that goes back to the old, European, Spanish horses.”

This land is God’s creation. It was given to us for our sustenance and our enjoyment including the creatures and everything else. “My natural interest is in the canyon and everything else, the scenic beauty of this country. I’ve lived in some pretty good tourist towns, and I couldn’t quite understand why the people in Lovell never got excited about the tremendous history, Indian artifacts, wildlife and everything else they have in the area.” Schwieger said he has told the National Park Service and often tells visitors that the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area and adjacent areas have “everything Yellowstone doesn’t have” – a canyon more spectacular than any in Yellowstone, authentic wild Spanish mustangs, Indian artifacts “all over the place” including the Medicine Wheel, the Bad Pass Trail, teepee rings and petroglyphs, and historic places like the M-L, Ewing-Snell and Lockhart Ranches and Hillsboro. To Floyd Schwieger, spreading the good news comes naturally, whether it be from the pulpit or while giving a tour. “It flows out of my deep conviction that this is important because it is God’s wonderful creation and man’s history. To be able to share this with people – what greater purpose can you have in life?”

-Management of the horse herd has long been a source of controversy.  Some advocate more of a “hands-off” approach, and others would like to see all herds drastically reduced.

-In BLM Roundups, horses have been injured or have perished during the stressful ordeal.

-BLM’s first Wild Horse Adoption took place in Montana 1973.

-BLM’s National Adopt-a-Horse Program was implemented in 1976.

-The 1977-78 winter was so nasty and harsh on the Pryor Horses that 100% of all aged horses and foals did not survive, cutting the herd about in half. – a natural ecosystem.

-In late May 1995 Cloud (named White Cloud by BLM) the light colored Stallion was born (by Raven, out of the Palomino Mare Phoenix), a major subject of Ginger Kathrens’ documentaries on Pryor Mountain.

-Mares normally foal around May or June, giving the foal time to grow and prepare for a harsh winter. However, some mares that have been darted with the controversial birth control drug PZP (The PZP Program began in 2001), are still foaling, and their cycle is ‘unnatural’. Some of these mares are foaling in late summer, September, or October. These late foals & mares do not have a decent chance to survive the harsh winters.

-In 2004, only one spring foal on Pryor Mountain (out of 28) survived the Mountain Lion predators. Usual foal crop is 20-30. In many other years around 30% of foals are killed by Mountain Lions – a natural ecosystem.

-Its a fact, some of the captured Wild Mustangs have eventually ended up at slaughters, after they are sold again from their ‘adopters’ and out of the control of the BLM. Some recent cases sprung up more action.

-Horse meat is a delicacy overseas.

-In 2006 ; there are approx. 27,000 wild horses roaming free. There are more than that being held in long term government holding facilities and at long-term ranches, where private individuals are being paid a daily fee to pasture these horses.

-McCullough Peaks – The existing BLM Appropriate Management Level is set between 70 and 140 animals. Current scientific studies suggest a minimum benchmark herd size of at least 150 animals to maintain health and genetic diversity……www.freindsofalegacy.org

-McCullough Peaks – In the fall of 2004, about 80% of the McCullough Peaks horses were removed by the BLM. About 390 head. Many of the remaining mares are on PZP…..Billings Gazette 11/05/04.

-In 2008 there are more than 33,000 wild horses being held in ‘long-term holding facilities’ in which the BLM pays per head, to ‘pasture’. Meanwhile, the BLM claims that funding is low.

-Around 06/30/08 the BLM announced they are considering euthanizing some wild horses, or sell them ‘in bulk’ which will only allow killer buyers to buy and ship the horses to Canada or Mexico.

-Visit www.thecloudfoundation.org for the latest news.

The horses need help!

-The scientific name for the domestic horse is Equus caballus. The name of the genus, equus, is Latin for “horse”; the name of the species, caballus, is Latin for “riding horse.” The word feral comes from the Latin fera, meaning “wild animal”; mustang is from the American Spanish word mestengo, meaning “stray animal.”

-Fossil records show that horses lived in North America thousands of years ago but died out – so in reality they were just reintroduced by the Spanish. Perhaps someday they too will be classified as ‘wildlife’!

References & Resources:

The Cloud Foundation
Taurus Productions, & especially Ginger Kathrens.
BLM 2003 Survey 2003 Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Survey, Britton Springs 10-31-2003
Cody Wyoming Chamber of Commerce
Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Center, Lovell Wyoming
Lovell Wyoming, the town
Lewis & Clark journey and notes
BLM Bureau of Land Management
Billings Gazette
Black Hills Horse Sanctuary, founded in 1988 in South Dakota