Pryor Mountains of Montana
When I was younger, I was OBSESSED with horses. It’s dissipated a bit as I’ve gotten older, but the obsession is still in my veins. I jumped at any opportunity to be with horses, collected model horses, volunteered at a therapeutic riding center, and watched every horse movie out there.
So, when I discovered the popular PBS documentary about Cloud the Wild Mustang, I wanted to visit his herd and homeland in Montana.
Film-maker Ginger Kathrens discovered Cloud as a foal and documented his journey into adulthood– from scampering foal, to rogue teenager, to herd stallion and father. Cloud is special. Usually the horses are darker colors to blend in with the environment, and light horses like Cloud are targeted by predators (and BLM mustang herders) when they’re foals. Miraculously, Cloud has survived to adulthood, is re-released after BLM round-ups because of his coat, and still roams the Pryors today. In fact, Cloud will turn 19 at the end of this month!
Anywho, in 2009 while touring colleges in Wyoming, Colorado, and Montana, my parents and I decided to take a detour to the Arrowhead and Pryor Mountains!
After a long drive, we finally made it to the visitor’s center! Inside, there were posters and information on the mustangs and Cloud.
The guide informed us that our vehicle would require 4WD in order to get to the valley where Cloud’s herd resided. Although our rent a car was a Jeep, it was not equipped with 4WD and my dad didn’t want to risk blowing a tire or anything, so we couldn’t make the journey I’d dreamed of.
I was bummed, but we were still able to see some mustangs in the lower foothills!
We pulled over and ventured out on paths near canyons, lakes, and flowers. It was beautiful! And the mustangs were scattered across the plains.
Right before leaving, I spotted a determined, dark bay stallion making his way through the brush. We decided to pull over, get out of the car, and quietly observe his route. My mom stayed in the car, but my dad and I ventured carefully to a gully where he disappeared.
Turns out, his little herd was hiding in the bushes with a fairly new foal! We made sure to keep our distance, but it was so awesome seeing them 🙂
I hope to return one day and visit the higher mountains where Cloud’s herd and relatives live, but until then, I’ll cherish the mustangs we did get to witness!
Cool sidenote: While attending Colorado State, I had the chance to meet Ginger Kathrens when she visited the campus to speak on mustang preservation!
She shared photos, stories, and encouraged us to save America’s mustang heritage. Her friendly nature and passion for horses definitely re-ignited the desire to see Cloud. One day! 😀
To learn more about Cloud and wild horse conservation, you can click here to visit the Cloud Foundation! 🙂