Wild horses are really something you only read about, hear about, dream about as a kid. You see photographs of scarred stallions battling with sharp teeth and hooves, you watch films of large harems galloping across the plains. It looks so far away from civilization, like only a few people have ever been amongst these untamed Equines. You envision huge, never-ending herds reminiscent of those of the great buffalo in early America. In reality, these herds are small, approchable, accessable, and true mustangs are an even scarcer breed. Many, many years ago, the Spanish Conquistadors brought their compact and hardy horses to the New World in the conquest of the uncharted Western continents. These horses were bred to be strong, versatile, able to fit (in large numbers) on the small ships carrying Spaniards to the mysterious distant lands. The horses came in beautiful colours like dun, grulla and grullo, roan, and jet black. Short, thick legs, hard hooves, distinct sloping croups, low-set tails, and muscular necks defined this Spanish stock. Escapees and releases from this minute original band formed the beginnings of the modern-day Pryor Mustang herds. Blood testings and study of the conformation of the Pryors have confirmed this story. Genetically unique and running rich through the veins of American heritage, the Pyror wild horses are a breed like no other.
While larger herds of escaped domestic horses of all breeds roam Nevada and other states of the like, the Pryors are no random bunch. While all horses are special in their own ways and rights, the tough little Pryors hold a distinct place in our nation's history and environment. Dwelling in the first ever government-designated wild horse range, they are protected by the Beureau of Land Management (BLM). Under threat from lawsuits, radical animal rights activists (ironically), their [the horses] own decision to stay in areas of low food availability, inadequate public education, and of course predators, these mustangs have a lot to worry about (but they have great people working for their well being!).
The BLM and related mustang protection representatives use PZP's, a contraceptive drug, on select-aged mares to help control the population. Because the range is only so large, it can only support a certain number of horses. The PZP's don't work 100% of the time, however. Small roundups are necessary to assist in the goal of subdueing the effects of overbreeding, thus keeping the herd at a healthy and sustainable level.
If you've ever watched the documentary 'Cloud: Wild Stallion of the Rockies', you would know of the Pyrors. Although, the facts and names displayed and shared in these films are not all correct. I don't take sides, and don't wish to represent either side, but please, if you'd like to know more about the horses visit Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Website. Lawsuits have previously prevented water catchments, roundups, and contraception drugs for the herd and have maimed the Pryor conservation efforts. Since the horses stay by the only available water in the range, they consequently are in the area of the lowest food quality. By placing water catchments strategically throughout the lower hills of the Pryor mountains, it is hoped that the horses will stay there with the better food supply. This will allow there to be fewer roundups. It's a nice thought to want the horses free from any human contact, but unfortunately it's necessary for their health. The Pryor horses are currently in good hands and things are going well!
The list of what needs to be done is a long one, but first and foremost is to educate the public. They need know the critical situation that these horses are in and how to help.
So how can you help America's last wild horses? GET EDUCATED!
*Donate to or visit the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center in Lovell, WY*
*Tell others of the mustangs and how they can help*
*Do purchase literature with proper information (like America's Last Wild horses by Hope Ryden or Among Wild Horses by Lynne Pomeranz)*
For Further Information:
And now for a small tour of the herd! These photos were taken with a 500mm lens and cropped.
Mescelero and Fortunatas after a tense 'discussion'.
Two Boots leads his family away from Doc (another stallion).
Dove is chased by Mescelero.
Flint's yearling prances around.
Blanca leads her new (female) foal!
Cloud, looking weary with age, grazes.
Two stallions fight in the distance.