“Shaman” of the Pryor Mountains

September 1, 2009

Yesterday I read on the Pryor Wild Blog that they lost the gentleman stallion Shaman last week. Shaman was approximately 21 years old and at the time of his death, the oldest stallion on the Pryor Mountain range.

The gentleman stallion Shaman

The gentleman stallion Shaman

Shaman spars with Bigfoot with Custer in the background

Shaman spars with Bigfoot with Custer in the background

I call him the gentleman stallion because he was such a kind boy. His mares seemed to adore him, even after they were stolen by Bolder last year. (Shaman was a secondary/satellite/lieutenant stallion to the band for some time before Bolder finally pushed him out of the group entirely). I watched several mares mosey up to Shaman when Bolder was distracted for some mutual grooming. The bonds were still strong between the longtime band stallion and “his” girls.

Shaman at top right with Bolder's band at Krueger Pond

Shaman at top right with Bolder's band at Krueger Pond

Bolder and Shaman

Bolder and Shaman

A disagreement between stallions - Bolder and Shaman

A disagreement between stallions - Bolder and Shaman

Later that same season, I saw him hanging out alone or with Flint. Shaman had become a bachelor…and I felt for him.

Flint and Shaman - bachelor stallions

Flint and Shaman - bachelor stallions

Early morning on the mountain

Early morning on the mountain



The saving grace regarding the timing of his death? Shaman will not be subjected to the gather scheduled to begin this week. It appears that he may not have survived it. He was able to stay on the mountain where he had lived all of his days. That's the best conclusion to the life of any wild horse.



Please go to my Wild Horse Information page on my website for updated/current information about the Pryor Mountain Roundup and how you can help.

21 Responses to ““Shaman” of the Pryor Mountains”

  1. Lona Says:

    speechless….happy and sad all in one emotion. Run free forever across the Heavens Shaman!

  2. That his soul will stay on the mountain is heartening. And you, Pam, are a treasure to have shared images of a Mustang that most of us reading your blog would not have ever otherwise “met”. Thank you. My heart sings and aches with the same breath.

  3. Barb Says:

    The gather’s been postponed for a couple of days for a Hearing, folks. Go to TheCloudFoundation.org for info on how you can help keep these gorgeous creatures wild and free! Please! Act Now!!

  4. ellieroo Says:

    Bless him you are so right he won’t have to endure what May be coming! Perhaps he went ahead to whisper in an ear for a small miracle? Loved the pictures Thank You so much!

  5. A very touching tribute with beautiful photography…thank you.

  6. pnickoles Says:

    Thanks everyone for your comments – it is sad and happy – at least he was always a wild horse.

    I’d heard about the postponement of the gather while I was writing this entry. I had hoped for some type of intervention – here it is – and now I’m feeling cautiously optimistic about what may come of it.

    Shaman has also been immortalized through Ginger Kathrens’ Cloud documentaries. I fully expect to see him in her new film due out in October.

    Shaman also appears in my DVD’s.

  7. TJ Says:

    Beautiful memorial to this handsome, long-lived boy.

  8. I’m so thankful that you are sharing these stories with us…It breaks my heart what is happening to these mustangs…I’m glad Shaman got his final rest in the place he knew and loved…I hope something good happens with the postponement…

  9. Vicki Freiberger Says:

    I had never realized how much I’ve taken for granted, the beautiful horses we have. Their life is good, they work hard when they work, and enjoy life. Without your words and photos of so many horses, I may have never realized the magnitude of the mustang issues, and the urgency of need they have thru people like you, Pam. Thank you for bringing them closer than I would ever have had the chance to be. Vic

  10. Laurie Hein Says:

    Thank you for sharing again. I was so fortunate to see him this summer and to have know him too. I love seeing your photos and reading your blog.

  11. Sonya Says:

    … and now he has wings.

  12. Lynn Bauer Says:

    What a beautiful creature – sad to know he’s gone but, at least he was FREE to die in the only home he ever knew! Thanks, Pam for the photo tribute!

  13. Dr. Bill and Pat Rice Says:

    Hello, again, and thank you for more of ‘the story’ that so many do not know. We share the hope and feeling that the word is spreading, and offer the question, “Are there any ‘horse-folks’ within the BLM to prevent potential tragedies generated by those charged to ‘manage’? So much to learn and know . . . so few to care! Keep on Keepin’ On! L & P, Doc and Pat

  14. On the days when the saddest thoughts enter my soul, I wonder if someday a photographer will get the last image of the last wild horse. That we all are fighting so hard to see that this never happens is what helps me to see a different, kinder, more hopeful vision.

  15. Hi Pam,
    I very much enjoyed reading about Shaman and especially seeing his photos. I am thankful he could finish out his life in the wild where he spent his years.
    Thank you,
    Karen Day

  16. Phyllis Says:

    When thunder rolls in the Pryors Sharman and the rest of the Indian ponies will be running free…

  17. I hope his spirit stays by his family. Lucky he was not to hear the helicopter..

  18. CStone Says:

    Pam, THANK YOU so much for presenting this touching and meaningful tribute to the Noble “King of the Mountain”–SHAMAN!
    I understand that he held the “title” of Dominant Herd Stallion, far Longer than any other horse is known to have done!
    I, too, learned of his Peaceful Passing–2 days before the roundup was to start… I also thanked God, the Great Creator for THIS peaceful intervention– he Never had to witness these latest atrocities, nor EVER view “His Mountain” as a Prisoner from the bottom!
    I wrote on several Blogs (somewhere) that perhaps…. Brave and Gentle Shaman has just ‘gone on ahead’- to intervene when he could- to represent & ‘plead their case’, where he can- perhaps to ‘smooth the pathway’ a little, for those who might follow– AND to Lend his Unwavering Loyal Comfort and his last Strength–to those who needed it most on those next days!!

    {during my posting of this & similar statements, the email was delivered announcing the 2 day postponement of round up!–I took this as an omen}

    During all the days of great, informative reporting & witnessing of the Roundup/removal; and through all the Tears shed for loss of freedom & family, and “tearing of hair” in fear & frustration; all the ideas & planning….
    I admit– I did wonder If I could be the only one that was remembering to SO sincerely WISH for an Appropriate Tribute for this Grand Gentleman!

    So, THANK YOU, again!
    I wonder if some sort of meaningful Tribute could performed and placed ON TOP of the mountain for him? –Something that would be Meaningful for the Herd Horses, would be best! {even IF they don’t know what it is “for”– I suspect that they WOULD know, & Feel the Comfort of his Spirit shining through the thoughts of humans helping/attending!}

    I dunno, maybe just a silly ‘sentimental’ idea?!? But it makes the TEARS feel a little less bitter!

  19. pnickoles Says:

    CStone – I embrace sentiment and I’m glad the tribute was able to comfort you a bit.

    Thanks again to everyone for your comments. Shaman will be missed by many.

  20. hunter Says:

    I hope that his spirit will forever and always be as free as he was

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