Profile: A Heart, a Camera and the Spirit of a Pioneer

written by R.T. Fitch ~ Author/President of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Reprinted from the June issue of ‘trueCowboy Magazine…it’s Sunday, wash your mind out with this:

The Voice of our Native, American, Wild Horse

Often times, as we travel through time living out our lives, we happen across someone who ignites a life changing event or an epiphany of sorts that turns our perception of the world upside down and launches us into another direction that was not even on our prior radar screen.  I must say that I have been blessed with such an event as I was lucky enough to meet someone who is so special, so rare and so beautiful on so many different levels that it is difficult to put down into simple two dimensional text.

Of course, I have these thoughts when I think of my wife, Terry, and I will not go into the profound impact that she has had upon my life, here.  Rest assured that I would not be around if not for the positive influence and energy she has poured into my salvation and the resurrection of my soul and life.  No, I am speaking of someone else, someone who has not only changed and uplifted the lives of Terry and myself but through her eyes, ears, heart and soul has enlightened countless millions of individuals and in so doing vastly improved their perception of the natural and beautiful world around them.

This gentle yet tough as nails female is probably one of the last true “pioneer” women who walk the forests and mountains of our great western states.  She camps and trudges through snow, sleet, rain and sweltering sun.  She fears little in the unspoiled wild as she hunts with only the best mirrorless camera and binoculars.  Tales of wild ones and their families are captured and shared as she endures their same hardships of inclement weather, altitude, predators and human interference.  For over a decade and a half she has documented from the very beginning of his life the trials and tribulations of a particular, pale, wild palomino stallion that lives in the Arrow Head mountains of southern Montana.  The name of that special stallion is Cloud and the proper name for his human benefactor is one; Ginger Kathrens.

Ginger Kathrens has, through her documentary films, done something that no one of late has ever managed to do; she has given a name and a face to the plight of the magnificent American wild horse and that name is forever Cloud the Wild Stallion of the Rockies.  I am certain that on that fateful day of May 29th, 1995 Ginger had no idea of what would lie ahead as she excitedly filmed the new born baby lying in the pines next to his attentive and beautiful palomino mother.  In fact, neither of them had a clue that they would both be propelled to the fore front of one of the most vivid and clear battles over man’s inherent desire to destroy all that is natural and the dark and dank corruption of our federal government and associated agencies.  If Ginger knew then what she knows now she might have turned off her camera, shooed Cloud back into the woods and gone into filming reality shows about inane people who clearly display that their linage has a very shallow gene pool and that pool is in dire need of massive doses of chlorine.  Nope, Ginger pressed on and kept it all in the upper loop.

Three major productions of Cloud’s life have graced the world’s televisions via PBS’ “Nature” series along with a string of books and DVDs whose proceeds go to fund the benevolent Cloud Foundation.  Ginger sits as the Volunteer Executive Director of the foundation which has pledged to ensure the safety and future welfare of Cloud, his family and his herd…and herein is the rub.

Although scientific evidence belays it and photographic evidence speaks against it the Bureau of Land Management has twice stampeded Cloud and his herd into traps so that they could tear his family apart under the lie and untruth that the horses were starving and there was not enough forage for them to survive upon and through all of this, Ginger has stood strong.  Likewise, so has Cloud.

You cannot think of wild horses without thinking of Cloud and in so doing the image of Ginger comes to mind; strong, dedicated, focused and resolute.  I am proud to call her a friend; she stands as a true American attempting to protect the very icon on whose back this nation was founded.  I am likewise inspired by her vision and am thankful that both Terry and I have met Cloud and Ginger and in so doing our lives have been forever uplifted.

We thank you, Ginger, for all that you have been, are and forever shall be; you are a rare gem in the desert and the horses and humans are lucky that you are here.

Be safe.

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Photos by Nancy Babcock, Pam Nicholes, R.T. Fitch, Ann Evans and Barb Rider

18 comments on “Profile: A Heart, a Camera and the Spirit of a Pioneer

  1. Beautiful…she is a true hero of the American Wild Horse.. and I really enjoy reading about Cloud and his family…thank you

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  2. Thank you RT for putting into words all of our feeling for Ginger, there are many heros here, no need to mention names for all of us know who they are,and it would take up to much room on here Huge Thank yous also to all here, each one here fights for Our Horses , and will continue in the capacity that they can……..These absolutely awesome beings will be returned to their Land and will Roam Free again , no one here will stop until this is a reality, who would have ever thought that we would gather together for one Beautiful cause, we all learn from each other, I have gained so much knowledge about Our Mustangs , all out of love for them, the Mustangs have touched all our lives with their beauty, poise power, trust courage,and in many other special ways that we are all willing to do what ever we can to protect and preserve them forever here with us……………Their Plight is Our Plight, they have right to be , just as we have a right to without question……………………..All here are amazing people, Long Live The Wild Wild Mustangs, they are the Royal American Ambassadors of Freedom ………..they give to us ,their Strength we will all use it for them…………………………………This is how special they truly are, all these people believe in them, they need not say a word, here we are…………..all for them…….

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  3. Many of us would not have had our eyes opened to the wild ones – if it wasn’t for Ginger Kathrens and CLOUD. They are both more important than either of them will ever know.

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  4. from Debbie Coffey –
    Thanks so much RT, for putting into words what most of us feel one minute after meeting Ginger. For any of you who haven’t had a chance to meet and talk with Ginger yet, the first time she smiles at you, you know you have a friend. And, she will remain your friend over whatever rocky roads you pass over on this journey to save our wild horses. I have much respect, admiration and love for Ginger. Yes, RT, Ginger has touched our lives in a very profound way.

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  5. I have been a devotee of Ginger and Cloud since I watched the very first PBS special – finding myself alternately in tears at the mare whose foal could not stand and the stallion drove her off to go with the herd, and sheer joyful laughter as Cloud found his feet and continued to grow and go through the years. I was thrilled by the visuals and listening to her tell her story. She has been an inspiration to me since then. One of the greatest thrills of my life was being able to meet her at the protest in Phoenix this past March – and to personally say, THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU HAVE DONE AND ARE DOING!
    She combines the fierceness of a stallion with the calm wisdom of a lead mare as she sets the bar for everyone of us who are involved in this battle to save those we love so much.

    Thank YOU, R.T. – for once more putting into words what so many of us feel about this historic battle that we’ve become engaged in the last 2 years and honoring Ginger and Cloud so eloquently. I only wish I could do the same with my words about you, Terry, Laura, and all the others who have chosen to be on the front lines of this confrontation for so long. We are better for knowing all of you and being a part of this incredible army. Blessed Be!

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  6. Hear hear RT. Beautiful words for a beautiful stallion, and a lovely lovely lady, Ginger. I may be lagging way behind her in knowledge about wild horses and their needs but Ginger never thinks down about us–she teaches and educates. It is my privilege to have met her several times and each time be able to walk away knowing that I have been empowered that much more.

    It has also been a TOTAL privilege to have met Cloud. To have him accept me maybe not part of his band but as two legged who he knew was there to learn about him, and not hurt him or his family. In his presence you become that much more empowered by the majesty of these amazing animals. What man has put them through and their resilency to survive.

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  7. What more could I possibly add to this wonderful tribute, other than Ginger is ONE CLASS ACT. Our Wild Horses and Burros could not have chosen a better ambassador. I truly believe that she was chosen by Divine Providence. In listening to Ginger on one of the radio programs, I think that she believes that, too. As R.T. said, she could have walked away when things got tough, but she didn’t. She is the epitome of Grace under Fire.

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  8. Ms. Kathrens has and still does contribute to this cause.

    She has focused on the issue with the beauty of the Cloud series and the Foundation’s tireless work that ultimately helps all wild equines. She is also committed to the beauty of life and other issues.

    Thank you Ms. Kathrens….thank you for showing us Cloud and all the wild equines. Thank you for continuing to try to right wrong.

    Everyone…get that Grijalva letter to your reps and senators….demand it goes to the Prez!

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  9. RT you can give tribute like nobody else. beautiful. We love our Ginger Katherines and Cloud one of the great American treasures to still be proud of.
    Thank you for saying it with such passion and perfection.

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  10. As long as we have people like Ginger and magnificent creatures like Cloud around , this country will continue to be the Land of the Free and the home of the Brave ! God keep both Ginger and Cloud safe for years to come !

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  11. I feel as if I know Ginger’s heart for horses by watching the Cloud series on PBS, by reading her updates on encounters with his herd, and now, by discovering her through the eyes of each of you on this blog. I thank one and all for your word pictures of her. And I join Deborah in saying, “RT, you can give tribute like nobody else. Beautiful.”

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  12. Ginger Kathrens is one in a million!! She is probably the last of her kind, although we all hope someone else will be able to fill her shoes someday! As for Cloud, no one can ever come close to filling his “hooves”!! We can all hope his legacy, spirit, beauty, memories, & his life, will be remembered & cherished for all time, for life! Hopefully, he will be able to pass his title of “Mustang Ambassador” down to one of his family members. Hopefully, our government won’t make them all a thing of the past, & that they, along with the rest of America’s mustangs, will accompany us into the future, & beyond! 🙂 Thank you Ginger, for sharing Cloud with us & the world, &, thank you to everyone who works so hard to help, save & protect all of America’s wild horses & burros.

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  13. Horses evolved in America for over 55 MILLION YEARS. No not in China, Right here- & they never went extinct here either- OM blesses u all for all you do- we will be WIN despite the BLM cattle co’s lies, dirty tricks, greed & inhumanity.

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