Horse News

Part One: Friendship, Family and a Wild Horse Named Cloud

OpEd by R.T. Fitch ~ president/co-founder of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

A Week in the Pryor Mountains with Ginger Kathrens and Cloud: A Wild Horse Dream Come True

Cloud and FamilyIt is “Feel Good Sunday” and I ‘Feel’ like sharing several intimate and special wild horse moments with you supportive and loyal reader.

As most of you regular visitors are aware, I spent several days up atop the Pryor Mountains with Ginger Kathrens, in Wyoming/Montana, just 3 short weeks ago.

I am not going to beleaguer you with the details and the intimate encounters that both Ginger and I experienced, at this point, as she is in the process of wordsmithing an article that will be far beyond what I could do with my limited skills.

Instead; I would like to give you a boots-on-the-ground view from about 35,000 feet as to what the planning of the experience meant to a layman such as myself…as I am still attempting to catch my breath. (more details to follow)

First off, this was NOT a planned mission of photo taking or documentation.

In fact; it was not even on my calendar until Ginger left a bone chilling message on my cell phone as I was enroute to the U.S. from China.

Ginger detailed the fact that the good folks at the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center had witnessed a horrendous battle between Cloud and another band stallion, Doc (I know that is not his BLM name but I am hanging with it out of respect for TCF) and that afterwards Cloud could not be found and his mares were with his attacker.

Obviously this alarmed the folks at the Cloud Foundation and to further raise the volume on their concern…Cloud was not to be seen thereafter.

Ginger called and gave me the facts, we had to go and look for Cloud.

It’s been a long time since I was as depressed as I was to travel to meet Ginger and search for Cloud…being a veteran of both Vietnam and the Gulf War I do not remember being as “down’ as I felt knowing that I would have to search for the remains of the one and only wild horse that has given a face and a voice to the plight of wild equines of North America…I could not let Ginger endure this alone. So I readily agreed to join her.

It was a bad several days prior to departure, Terry was deeply concerned about my attitude, but the night before I boarded that 787 Dreamliner to Denver Ginger called and said,

“I don’t know how this will affect your plans or way forward but Cloud was sighted today, injured, but alive.”

My only words, and Ginger will verify, were; “Let’s go lay our eyes on Cloud!”

And so the journey began, one that was initially an expedition of doom and depression only to metamorphose into one of elation and the celebration of new life.

There will be more to follow as I am humbled to have been able to spend days on end with the world’s leading authority on wild horse behavior, alone, amongst the horses that we all know and love thanks to her tenacity and dedication.

Wild Horse Freedom Federation fully endorses and is in total alignment with the efforts of the Cloud Foundation (along with EWA, Front Range Equine Rescue, Equine Advocates, Respect 4 Horses and HfH to name just a few legitimate organizations that are attempting to better the plight of our American equine be they domestic or wild) and we will continue to work together to further enhance and ensure the future well-being and safety of one of our most precious natural, national resources; the wild equines of the United States of American.

Keep the Faith…more to come.

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17 replies »

    • He has healed fine–Ginger would be the first to say, “We are the watchers, and we must not intervene with what happens in nature.”

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  1. My fight for the freedom of wild horses and burros began up in the Pryor Mts. as I accompanied Ginger and several others, on horseback to a place called Dryhead, where I had my first real encounter with these beautiful equine. Without spending too much time, I can honestly say that Ginger, and the Cloud Foundation, from a human standpoint, were instrumental in opening the door for me to really see the issue. What I mean by this is that I had the beautiful experience of connecting with these wild horses, in the wild, untouched, and governed by natures mechanisms. It was indeed a very spiritual experience, as these beautiful creatures were very accommodating, and in essence, sort of took us in, or maybe I should say adopted us. I saw, not just with my mind, but with my heart, the peace and the harmony, and balance of their existence in the wild as they carried out their lives in the wild. At one location I found myself standing on a slope overlooking a water site as about 30 wild horses came running over the ridge towards me. I really had no time to move as they split up and ran around me. I would fall far short if I attempted to describe in human words the impact of this first encounter. What I can say is that I was on my knees with my head to the ground, trying to take it all in. I accompanied an individual to another location, and in a short period of time we found ourselves surrounded by small bands of horses as they were grazing, in very close proximity, again, with such a peace that seemed to permeate the air. We continued to experience the company of these wild creatures, for the next couple of days. At one point I found myself sitting on the ground as I remained still and continued to try to absorb all that was around me. The mustangs moved about others and myself freely and unhindered, and at one point I even found myself within a few feet of the famous Cloud. What followed, a few days later, turned out to be an example of the horrors of a Bureau of Land Management roundup. What was peace and harmony and balance, was quickly turned to total chaos, pain and sadness. The BLM continually asserts that it is striving to maintain a thriving natural ecological balance. Contrary to its arrogant statements, however, by virtue of its attempts to alter something that nature has been managing perfectly, it has continued to throw nature out of balance, and raped these wild lands of their natural beauty, including its wild horses and burros. This it has done through its continued adjustments of wild horse and burro numbers, along with the social disruption of these wild equine societies. The beauty and necessary components of balance seen in all wild creatures, including these ambassadors of the wild horses and burros, up in the Pryor Mts., can only be realized if we leave them untouched and unmanaged. The reinforcement of these truths, I continued to see and experience with countless other encounters with wild horses, untouched in the wild, and again along with witnessing the continued disruption and horrors of BLM roundups. These are the principles that are engraved in my heart now, which all began up in the Pryor Mts, not taught by man, but by a wild stallion named Cloud and the other equine representatives of that area.

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  2. I didn’t get past “worried about your attitude” and I lost it. I had heard oud was injured and whereabouts unknown. Something in those words above brought my own grief back. We all love that boy, thanks in no small part to Ginger’s lOving stories published on PBS, prottraying his life in the bits and pieaces we are allowed to glimpse of this wild horse and the horses that lve on the mountains with him. I’ll finish later, got to get myself together. Thank you RT for taking us where we don’t want to go but have to. Debbie too. Happy Sunday.

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    • My Blackberry is having its own issues this morning. had heard Cloud was injured … Bits and pieces… horses that live on the mountains with him

      Okay, we’re going to go find a hankie.

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  3. how wonderful to hear your trip was all it can be , i love cloud i grew up hearing and reading about him. one question : did he get his herd back ? the articile didn’t say.the blm and the doi need to quit being so greedy

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  4. If only we could have a few people on the board of BLM who share the heartfelt feelings toward our wild icons as those who’ve commented to RT’s piece, they wouldn’t be in such jeopardy as they are now. But somehow our equines will win.

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  5. I have to comment, due to the films about Cloud, I longed to see the horses of the Pryors. We were lucky to go 2 years ago.Upon seeing my first horse, I burst into tears. We didn’t see Cloud, but I got to spend some time with his son Boulder. Since visiting there, I’ve become active in signing and passing on petitions, donating to the various Mustang groups. Telling anyone who will listen the plight of these treasures

    Cloud and his story truly were an inspiration and I hope to get back there next May, hopefully, I’ll get a chance to see him.

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  6. As Chris said, If only we could have a few people on the board of BLM who share the heartfelt feelings toward our wild icons as those….. *AND that’s the MAJOR point!! They, the so-called Board, mostly (if not all) are N0T required, encouraged, inspired to GO SEE even 1, one, wild horse HERD !? nor a single HMA, nor any Holding facility….._upon which They are charged to ADVISE! I don’t get this at all… How can this be adequate / appropriate / ethical ? ? Even with0ut a Requirement* I do not know of ANYONE who would Not *take such a trip upon themselves* in order to fulfill his /her important role ON an Advisory Board ! Much less at least BE (somewhat) Interested in these Issues where their expertise is associated? Would that BE so unreasonable / unrealistic to ask of each and every member ? (Whether their initial investment / interest 1eans F0R or AGAINST the welfare of the horses and burros). I suspect also that such Visits would open Eyes and Change a lot* of Hearts !?

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  7. Thank you also, Robert for your extremely Inspiring comment. it is truly an amazing addition to this post ! and made me Cry (again) when I. read it. Hopefully some day, I will get an opportunity to see it. for myself, in the flesh, boots-on-the-SACRED-ground +of the Pryor mountain Range ! (that is my favorite biggest full time DREAM). therefore yours and RTs sharing* is all the more relished and important – to SO many of us. Thank you both !

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  8. Thank you Robert and R.T. for sharing your beautiful experiences. I remember a time when I went to see my horses in Washington State and Kathy that owns the farm said Judy you have got to see them sleeping. I walked out into the pasture and all of them were in different positions surrounding Denali and Freedom. The little ones Denali at the time was the baby and being protected by the older ones. They know, family and adopted family members. They have their ways, special they are. I cried when I saw them protecting one another. I was so amazed how smart they are.
    The fences must come down. The BLM must take the fences down. So many issues to fight and their freedom is at stake. No more fences and NO MORE ROUND UPS, PLEASE NO MORE. Thank you for sharing your experience with Ginger and God Bless our precious Cloud and his family band. God bless all the wild horses. We must continue the fight for their freedom to roam. Carry on. Freedom for our wild horses and burros, yes. Freedom must come.

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  9. Thank You for the update, I to like you was very saddened by the news the Cloud had been hurt and not seen. Was a total relief when he was spotted. I live in California was told my husband I want to go on a road trip. He said where and I said the Pryor Mountains between Montana and Colorado. Maybe not this year, but I hope one day soon. Thank you for everything all of you do to keep us informed on a horse who I feel is even more LOVED than California Chrome.

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  10. I got Ginger’s letter today (on the 18th) telling about Ohanzee. I felt as happy and relieved as any of you more closely connected to the wild ones!!

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