Horse News

Part Two: Ginger, Quinn and a Cloud with a Silver Lining

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

“For me, I was in heaven and the Queen of the Wild Ones was sitting right beside me…”

GingeratWork“Feel Good Sunday” brings me full circle and back around to where we were last week when I wrote Part One of my week in the Pryor Mountains of Wyoming/Montana with Ginger Kathrens on our quest to find Cloud, dead or alive…and I need to stress that, it was not a happy-go-lucky excursion into LaLa Land to observe the ‘Yellowstone’ of wild horses, it was a trip of trepidation that, luckily, turned out for the best.

Again, the real story teller will be Ginger and due to the untimely passing of the stallion Shane of the Cloud Foundation’s Freedom Family her attention has been rightfully deviated.You can readaGinger’s tribute to Shane by clicking (HERE).

Cliff note version:

GingerWorking_1On our first day we searched for Cloud from where he was last seen on the desert floor all the way up to, almost, the crest of the mountains where we DID locate him and his family, late in the day, calmly grazing in a small valley. I CANNOT tell you how relieved we were…and for me, it was pretty much a dream come true and I will tell you why.

As Ginger and I sat and observed it occurred to me that I had really, truly, never seen our native wild horses in their pure natural state. I had only witnessed them being driven into traps by money crazed BLM helicopter contractors and had only experienced the trauma, stress and total depression of watching our Federal government intentionally destroy and ruin the freedom and family of these most magnificent icons of our country’s freedom and independence. I was stunned.

Gingerand Quinn_1Here we sat, on day one, calmly watching the interaction between not only Cloud’s family but the dozens of other wild horses that call the Pryors their home. For me, I was in heaven and the Queen of the Wild Ones was sitting right beside me, in the sunshine, in shirt sleeves with Quinn the Magic Irish Terrier. Life just does not get any better than that.

The topography and geological beauty of the mountains is breathtaking. Terry and I travel around the world to document and view horses in exotic environments. Outer Mongolia, Tibet and this year Tanzania on the African continent but I experienced more than one moment wondering why we travel so far when there is so much magnificence right in our own backyard…something that we may need to consider.

MeandQuinn_1Ginger, my new doggie buddy Quinn, and I ate lunch among the horses as the week progressed. Ginger kindly made us custom sandwiches and always found a band of horses for us to break bread with and I returned the favor by making dinner, by purchasing it at the only restaurant in Lovell, Wyoming in the evening. I think that Ginger got the short end of the stick.

I would like to share with you some parting moments as Ginger and I left Cloud and his family on the last day of our expedition in another installation, but in the meantime I am going to stop right here and simply state that I have seen the bright light, I have been to the mountain top and my soul is secure in knowing that we, meaning YOU and I, are on the right path and doing the right thing in attempting to secure the future safety and well-being of these beautiful and magnificent American wild horses and burros. It is our destiny to secure theirs.

Keep the faith, my friends.

R.T.

21 replies »

  1. Thank you, RT. I was wishing I too could be privileged, honored, to see the magnificence atop the Pryor Mountains.
    I can only imagine the feeing. Beauty. Spiritual. Love. The drive to continue saving our wild ones.
    Bless You & You are a Happy, joyful Dad to the horses.”
    Amazing Grace.

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  2. Personally I think part of our battle is a perception problem. Cloud and his family look too much like horses you’d see anywhere grazing in a pasture. There is no visible physical difference like folks see between a tiger and a house cat. It is only in their behaviors which so few ever get to witness in person. Ginger has done a great job exposing wild horses and their lives on the range to the public, at least those who watch public teleivision. Others are attempting to expose even more via the big screen.

    How many Congressional members have the same misconception as the general public. To them Cloud looks like so many other palominos they see in parades or just grazing in a neighbor’s pasture. It is this mountain we have to climb. We must find even more ways of educating the public to the differences. Our society relies so much on ‘visual’ concepts and don’t know anything about behaviors. I believe this to be why it is so easy for the novice to believe the BLM’s propaganda machine promoting them as aliens and pests. The general public see horses so often either in person or on TV they do not understand when we say we are worried about extinction.

    I don’t have the answer. I don’t have the means or the expertise to help educate the public in mass. But I do believe one of the first steps has to getting more members of Congress to visit the HMA’s without a BLM guide bending their ear. They should travel with independent experts who have no connection with government.

    It is my belief the wild horse and burro folks in the BLM have learned, like the VA, how to manipulate the system for job security. We all know the more they round up the more they produce to be rounded up in the future. Can you say “RACKET”?

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    • I was talking to someone last night about this. They knew of Mustang Monument. But they didn’t understand the concept of family bands vs gelding herds. So I explained that. Between that and the price of an overnight stay they lost a couple of people I know.

      On one hand I do get eco sanctuaries need for same sex animals and not breeding yet more animals. But the reality is there are so few horses.

      The Freedom Fund family is a perfect example of why you don’t geld every single stallion. They had to remove one when he lost his mares and yet continued dogging the other stud. Now we lost Shane. We do have Trigger but for now he has no competition for the mares. They’re his. Trigger needs to watch Pistol cause he may challenge for a mare or two soon.

      I have asked this question before and I will again. With what animals will you restock the HMA’s with if there is a bad winter and all the animals died? Mares? Geldings? Geldings can’t breed. So what will restock with when those horses die?

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      • There is no shortage of horses in holding and there are some breeding facilities for some of the HMAs. Rather than wonderding what might happen if all the HMAs are zeroed out, why not work to prevent that from happening?

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      • Margaret, I have to say I agree and share your concerns. I think we are both seeing the future. There’s too much gelding with no genetic research going on. I think concentrating on controlling female fertility would be better. Gelding is forever…We lose a precious piece of history, i.e. Kigers and horse populations are dwindling fast. Sadly, the future may be captive breeding programs and I hope the plans are being made. I thought stallions were gelded in holding facilities.

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    • Emphasizing the horses in the Pryor herd who have the primitive coloring and markings (duns, grullas, grullos) more would probably help. Their characteristics are what makes this herd unique, atho the Kigers and a couple of other herds also have a predominance of the look of very “old bloodline”. It would make it a little easier for lot of folks to make the connection between today’s wild horses and ancient Eohippus, and say the primitive Przewalski horse. Just a thought.

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  3. Thank you R.T. for sharing your story and for striving to explain what it is like to sit quietly in the presence of a magnificent wild being and share a piece of your life with a piece of their life. I heard a new term the other day – new to me, anyway. The term is “sharing the air”. It simply means being in the presence of a wild horse or wild burro. There is nothing like it in the whole world … nothing.

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  4. R.T. I so totally understand, upon seeing my first horses at the Pryors, “The Greeters’ I was overcome with tears of joy. A lifelong dream was realized. As I wrote before I got to spend time with Bolder, who was an absolute joy to watch. We also got to see one of the recent foals with her band. Observed Hightail.
    You are inspired that these creatures live in the wild, struggle with drought, snow, predators, etc. We are coming back in the spring of 2015 and I can hardly wait.

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  5. I was so concerned for Cloud when I learned he had gone missing…I was so relieved to see him again! I think that it because he has come to symbolize so much to me…the West-the Mountains-Wild, Clean Places unpoluted by Human intrusion-Freedom-Love-Family. All things worth fighting for! Thank you, RT, and of course Ginger, for allowing me to experience this with you! I was lucky enough to spend several years of my life with wild horses as neighbors and I will never forget them! They enhance the natural beauty of any landscape with their mere presence…and I have seen firsthand that they also bring enhancements to the native plants and animals. It is a great honor to “share the air” with them!♡

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  6. I’m so relieved Cloud was found grazing…. he sure looks like he needs fattening up though… perhaps, that is the way he is every Spring after a long hard winter, idk. Happy Father’s Day to all the Sires and of course the one and only Cloud. We love you!

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  7. R.T we are so blessed to have experienced through your thoughts and eyes that Cloud was found unharmed. I know he must be hurting but he is a strong wild horse. So sorry to hear about Shane. Awh another one gone. We must continue to fight for the freedom of all wild horses. So many in trouble and we have to come together and release so many back into the wild if we can. Of course the BLM has done so much damage to the family bands. The destruction is huge and we have so much to repair if we can. I pray that we will continue to stand for their rights of freedom and wild nature. We must stand with them and help them all we can. Down with the fences. They need to roam and graze on the land. The videos are great and so meaningful. I feel like I am right there with you and Kathren. I love all of you and looking forward to seeing you again at the 3rd Equine program. God Bless our wild horses. We must save them and help them be free again. Kathren has been such a wonderful photographer and the documentation is priceless, Thank you and the wild horses thank you. We must save all of them everyone. We must.

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  8. I meant Ginger Kathren, Ginger. I am half asleep, so sorry. Love you all R.T. and Ginger. you are the best, thank you for all you are doing, Oh so much.

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  9. So happy that he is still with us and thankful for the work you all do to better there lives and ours as well! God will bless you for this! B

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  10. I get (and read every word of) Ginger’s email updates. Reading about the two of you watching the different bands and being reminded of the family and generational ties they all had to each other was … awesome! Watching your short video made it all the more real!

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  11. Happy Birthday Cloud- Heres to 19 more- you have survived CRUEL BLM ATTACKS – you have defended your family- the BLM HAS STOLD YOUR FAMILY, cut you off from rightful pasture & I AM HEARTBROKEN the BLM WELFARE CATTLE CO & THE USDA/USFWS CATTLE CO.’S have broken their vows, lied, cheated, colluded, & murdered, harassed & made your life hard- WE WILL NEVER FORGET WHAT THEY HAVE DONE TO AMERICAS NATIVE WILD HORSES WHOM EVOVLED IN AMERICA OVER THEY LAST 55 + million years!

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