Pryor Mountain Roundup – 9/9/2009

October 4, 2009

We made it out to the McCullough Peaks HMA around 6:30 AM and saw many bands. It was like visiting old friends so it was hard, but we left the Peaks around 11:00 and headed back up to Lovell and Britton Springs. We were hopeful that we hadn’t missed anything but the morning briefing (which we knew we’d be updated about).

When we arrived at the facility, no one was around. It was about 12:30. One of the BLM folks came down to the covered area where we were waiting and explained that everyone else was watching/photographing the release of the horses. She told us that the roundup had been suspended. ??!! We were told before we left that releases would most likely occur on Thursday the 10th or possibly even Friday. What had changed we wondered? Tom and I felt a huge wave of disappointment that we missed witnessing the horses reclaiming their freedom, but that was followed by equally strong feelings of relief for the horses that were now going home.

About 20 minutes after we arrived, the BLM employee walked over to us again to let us know there was a break in the schedule of releases and the group of observers was headed back. Once they were back, we were filled in about all the changes.

The horses had been chased around quite a bit on top of the mountain and basically, the BLM feared they might have some (more) injuries if they continued, so the roundup up was ended early. Good and bad. Some horses slated for removal were never gathered. Some that were to be released, but were still in the holding pens, were substituted for the ones not gathered. In total, 57 horses were removed from their home.

Fellow observers also told us a little bit about the releases – how Cloud’s family didn’t want to leave band members behind. How heartbreaking that must have been to watch, but I was saddened that Tom and I hadn’t been able to. That’s why we had come back – to see the releases. Again, we took comfort in knowing that at least for many of the horses, the day had brought them back their freedom.

Ginger Kathrens prepares to film the last of the releases for the day.

Ginger Kathrens prepares to film the last of the releases for the day.

Ferdinand, Galaxy, and Fiesta are released

Ferdinand, Galaxy, and Fiesta are released

DSC_0484b-s

DSC_0490a-s

DSC_0498a-s

DSC_0502a-s

Fiesta

Fiesta

DSC_0507b-s

L-R: Galaxy, Ferdinand and Fiesta

L-R: Galaxy, Ferdinand and Fiesta

DSC_0524a-s

Galaxy

Galaxy

DSC_0536a-s

DSC_0538a-s

DSC_0539b-s

The last horses to be released for the day were Sam and Hightail

The last horses to be released for the day were Sam and Hightail

DSC_0553a-s

DSC_0563b-s

DSC_0568b-s

And then they were gone – headed back up the mountain to their home.

We all went back to the parking area. It was early enough that there was talk about driving up to the top of the mountain since restrictions had been lifted when the roundup had been suspended. Ginger Kathrens, Carol Walker and Ben Susman left and went on ahead while Tom and I stayed behind to catch up a bit with Matt Dillon and his Dad, Tom (from the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center). This “gather” had been tough on them as well. Matt knows every horse and monitors them year round. He did an awesome job of documenting and reporting the daily activities on his Blog. Half jokingly, I asked him when he slept (figuring he probably hadn’t – and I was right). I hoped this day had brought him some kind of relief.

Having said our good-byes, Tom and I left Britton Springs and headed up Crooked Creek. When we were almost at the top, we ran into a guy in a 2-wheel drive van who had wanted to see the horses, but felt he must be lost (as he never reached the top) and was on his way back down. We told him where we were headed and that he could follow us if he liked. We were about half an hour from the top. Out of his rear view mirror, Tom watched that poor guy bounce around like crazy in that van. I guess he was determined to see the horses.

Once we made it to the top, we ran into Carol who said Ginger and Ben were on foot looking for horses. Carol had driven up and down the length of the road (from Krueger Pond, to Burnt Timber and down by Penn’s Cabin) and not seen any horses. It was disappointing and worrisome. We wanted a closer look at the horses and we wanted to know that they’d made it back to the top safely after their ordeal. Mike (the very nice guy in the van who turned out to be a fireman and photographer from Michigan) was getting ready to make the drive back down the mountain when he noticed horses off to the left. They were headed towards Krueger’s Pond so we all grabbed our cameras and ran that way as well. (It was obvious Mike was thrilled by his first sighting of wild horses).

It was Doc’s band. They had managed to evade the helicopter and had not been gathered.

A member of Doc's band

A member of Doc's band

DSC_0591b-s

DSC_0592a-s copy

DSC_0593b-s

Band stallion Doc

Band stallion Doc

Doc's band at Krueger's Pond

Doc's band at Krueger's Pond

Just about the time that Ginger came walking out of the woods after searching for horses, we saw a band coming in from the Burnt Timber area. It was Bolder – such a wonderful sight. He’d made it back to the top of the mountain with his family.

Bolder and one of his mares

Bolder and one of his mares

Bolder's band on the way to the pond

Bolder's band on the way to the pond

DSC_0617b-s

Bolder's family at Krueger's Pond

Bolder's family at Krueger's Pond

DSC_0643a-s

DSC_0650b-s

DSC_0654b-s

DSC_0659b-s

DSC_0663b-s

After a dip, there's nothing better than a good roll

After a dip, there's nothing better than a good roll

Bolder's turn

Bolder's turn

DSC_0684b-s

And then the little filly

And then the little filly

Shaaake!

Shaaake!

Bolder and his filly

Bolder and his filly

Handsome Bolder - son of Cloud

Handsome Bolder - son of Cloud

DSC_0708b-s

DSC_0709b-s

We went back down to the pond and Two Boots had brought his family in for a drink - they hadn't been gathered either

We went back down to the pond and Two Boots had brought his family in for a drink - they hadn't been gathered either

And then we heard more hooves running in our direction. We went to the top of the hill, waited and watched to see who would come through the trees next…

It was Cloud and his family making their way to the pond

It was Cloud and his family making their way to the pond

DSC_0716a-s

DSC_0720b-s

DSC_0722b-s

DSC_0724b-s

DSC_0725b-s

Cloud called out several times looking for his missing family members

Cloud called out several times looking for his missing family members

DSC_0738b-s

Two Boots' band moves off as Cloud's band arrives

Two Boots' band moves off as Cloud's band arrives

DSC_0750a-s

DSC_0761a-s

DSC_0762a-s

DSC_0765b-s

DSC_0773a-s

DSC_0782b-s

Cloud and his band walk by Ginger Kathrens as she films them

Cloud and his band walk by Ginger Kathrens as she films them

Two Boots leaves the pond area with his family

Two Boots leaves the pond area with his family

Shoulder striping

Shoulder striping

Phoenix - Cloud's mother and a member of Diamond's (aka Teton) band

Phoenix - Cloud's mother and a member of Diamond's (aka Teton) band

Band stallion Diamond - his family showed up shortly after Cloud's

Band stallion Diamond - his family showed up shortly after Cloud's

Lovely Phoenix

Lovely Phoenix

War Bonnet, Diamond and Phoenix

War Bonnet, Diamond and Phoenix

Phoenix

Phoenix

DSC_0852b-s

Diamond (aka Teton)

Diamond (aka Teton)

DSC_0863b-s

Diamond rolling

Diamond rolling

Turns out, seeing the horses back on their mountain top home is what Tom and I really needed. Bittersweet for sure, but it also provided us with continued/renewed motivation to see an end put to these roundups. I have shared the pictures and stories in hopes that the public will feel the same way. It’s time to come together to save these amazing wild horses before they are completely removed from our lands. We just can’t allow the photos and stories to be all that remain of these magnificent animals.

Note: All of the captured horses were adopted/saved. You can read more about the adoption at the links below:
From The Cloud Foundation
From The Pryor Wild Blog (click on September 26th on the calendar at the right)

14 Responses to “Pryor Mountain Roundup – 9/9/2009”

  1. Sandy Elmore Says:

    Beautiful Pam. Thank you for sharing. Bittersweet for sure, but keeps us reminded of what we need to keep working towards……Their freedom and lives without these roundups…

  2. R.T. Fitch Says:

    Great shots, Pam…I am now very sorry that we did not ride up to the mountain top with you guys, that day.

    Just beautiful shots!!

    R.T.


  3. That is so fantastic!!! It is still disappointing for the others… All of your pictures are breathtaking and tell so much! I LOVE the up close picture you got of Cloud!! I agree there has to be something done to stop this from happening!!!

  4. Dot Benedict Says:

    Pam, your pictues are breath taking beautiful. Thanks for sharing them with me, Love, Aunt Dot B


  5. […] new blog post from Pam Nickoles- lots of beautiful photos Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)the WORLDWIDE event: Oct […]


  6. Awe-inspiring photos Pam – great job. It amazed me to see horses just rounded up by humans walk right by Ginger as she filmed them…speaks volumes.

  7. Margaret Says:

    Thank you a million times for sharing your wonderful photos with us. I feel so bad for Cloud and all his family being “gathered”. I wish there was some way we could tell him how absolutely handsome he is.

    Maybe the truth of it is we have to leave well enough alone and that is all the thanks and well wishes he needs from us.

    Still having Ginger there and Cloud not really acting all that spooky considering what he had just gone through–maybe he knows that Ginger isn’t the enemy.

  8. Morgan Williams Says:

    What a joy it will be to actually see the Mustangs in real life with my own eyes.

    Thanks for the photos.


  9. Yes, Thanks Pam for sharing all this beauty and sadness. It is amazing that Ginger is in there taking pictures and the horses just know she is not a threat. These are lovely to see, I never tire of hearing new names, seeing new horses. This is a saga for a lifetime. Stopping the roundups is necessary, now. Mar


  10. Thank you so very much for the pictures – and words. When you are so far away it’s pictures more than words that sooth that replace the horrible images of this terrible time with the balm of horses free again as they should be.

  11. Donnie Says:

    Sure love the pictures of Diamond.He is really nice looking Stallion.Fiesta is nice looking too.Hopefully one of these days I can see these ponies.Hopefully the BLM will get their heads out of their rears and start mangeing these horses the right way.


  12. Never mind the question about Bolder I left on a previous page – SO happy to see him and his family free. His resemblance to my Morgan gelding, Indy, is truly incredible!

    All the pictures were absolutely awesome. I don’t understand how anyone could look at them and remain unmoved.

    Thank you so much for sharing.

  13. pnickoles Says:

    Thank you all for your thoughts and comments. I wondered if Cloud (and all the other horses for that matter) would be as tolerant of people as they had in the past. Of course, they know Ginger so well and they know she’s no threat. The photo makes that pretty evident thank goodness.

    Sandy and R.T. – I so wish you could’ve share in those moments on the mountain…

    Donnie – Diamond is Cloud’s brother. He is a handsome boy isn’t he?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: