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