For the Love of the Horses

I love horses.   I especially love the Pryor Horses.  I wish I lived closer, I would be there every day, or at least every other day.   I love learning about each of their personalities and how they interact with each other.  It has really captivated me and touched my soul.

When I am not there, I spend several hours a week studying their photos.  So then when I do go, I can recognize them quickly.  I found on my last trip that I was able to identify all of the horses I saw right away.   It was like I was seeing old friends that I instantly recognized.  It felt good.

The most challenging part of my last trip to the Pryors was the “how to get up the mountain” part.

Sign at the bottom of Sykes Ridge Road. Believe it!!

The roads are bad in the summer without snow, but the roads with snow would be even more challenging.  So I decided that for this trip I would take our ATV.  I am a person who likes the quiet of “non-motorized” travel, so I had never taken our ATV off of our property before this trip.  When I leave our property to enjoy the outdoors,  it is always on horseback.  The ATV is simply a tool at our place and not something we would use otherwise.

So deciding to take it was something I thought about for a while.

We do not have a trailer for the ATV, so it would have to ride in the back of the truck.

The getting-it-off (and then back on) of the truck part was what I was worried about.  But, for the love of the horses I decided it needed to be done.

Yes, trust me it is as scary as it looks!  Luckily it does not take very long to do.  But there is one part that always takes my breath away no matter how many times I do it.

I had the help of my friend Brigitte.  She made sure the ramps were lined up with the tires.  Thankfully she has very good eyesight!

Once I was down, we packed up the ATV with our camera gear, scope, binoculars, water and lunches.  Then took off down the road in search of horses.

The roads can be a bit intimidating, but I actually felt better navigating them in the ATV then in my big truck.  The roads are one lane (if that) and turning around a big truck or any vehicle is a challenge.  As you read in the sign above, my truck would not be able to travel this road safely, it is just too big.

Heading up Sykes Ridge Road, March 2012
More Sykes Ridge Road

I have driven up Burnt Timber in my truck once before, but I will not do it again.  My way to the top in the summer is Crooked Creek Road or Pryor Mountain Road (from the Montana side).  I quickly realized that the ATV was the best mode of transportation for the winter.

Part of the Pryors would be coming home with me on the tires!
View from Sykes, March 2012
View from Burnt Timber Road, March 2012

I feel a sense of urgency to head back to the Pryors again, soon.  I realized as I was studying the horses today, that if the BLM goes ahead with their plan to remove half of the 1-3 year olds, that I won’t be seeing some of the horses that I have gotten to know over the last few  years.   Alex and I talked today and tried to compile a list of who we think may be removed.  I don’t like the results.

For the love of the horses, I will pack up the ATV and back it up and down the ramp as many times as I can before that happens.  Then after that I will still keep going, keeping record of those that remain free.

As I was looking through my photos today I came across several that I thought I would share with you.  Some of them are ones I passed by when I first looked at them.  Today, they just seemed to jump out at me.


Kayenta, March 2012
Warbonnet, March 2012
Kitalpha, March 2012
Lander and Galena, October, 2011
Starman and Rosarita, October, 2010
Isoadora, Rosarita, Lemhi and Polaris, a week or 2 before she had Lincoln (Longshot). October, 2011
Kaycee, October, 2010
Bolder, July 2011
Breeze (Kierra), October, 2010
Breeze (Kierra), July 2011
Fiesta (Fiddle), October, 2010. Right after the new fence was installed and the gates were closed.
Jupiter (Jasper) and Horizon (He Who), August, 2011

16 thoughts on “For the Love of the Horses

  • Oh yes! I remember that trip up Burnt Timber in the truck! Nice photos of the “kids” on the mtn. and I love seeing the mountain in the winter. One of these days, we’ll get up there in the winter too. Thanks Sandy.

    • Yes, that was quite a first trip up the mountain. Thought about that I was heading up in the ATV. How we ever made it up without scratching the truck is amazing! Many thanks to Vic for his navigation on his side of the truck! 🙂

  • Hi Sandy~
    Understandable, sense of urgency and determination to get there as often as you can…gee, the thought of any being removed, literally turns my stomach…Won’t go on about that…Love the ATV and for sure a bit nerve racking taking if off and then back on but they certainly are fun! Oh the pics of the landscape are so amazing….It is so breath taking but to see it in person as you do, well it must be such a peaceful feeling that comes over you, something that never gets old and then there are the horses….Sandy, Breeze has a such a unique look…I see his eye (s) are blue and the shape of his nose is different unless it is just the angle? So pretty!!!! I will have to look for a newer shot of Breeze….Hope the weather works with you and becomes unseasonably mild…Thanks for sharing, 😀

  • Thank you for sharing this very special place with me and writing about it so others may experience the magic as well, even if they never get to be there in person, reading your posts is the next best thing!

  • I find it so troubling that they will ‘remove’ some of the horses. Are they adopted or slaughtered? I’m not sure I want to know. The law seems to go back and forth on the matter.

      • I can’t imagine how sad it must leave you. But I’m certain that they will all go to good homes. They are so lovely, I’m sure they will win their new owners’ hearts.

  • When is the last time you went up on Crooked Creek Rd? That’s the one they were working on last fall when I was out there, I think. They were supposed to be widening it in a few places, I believe. It was closed most of the time I was there. When I did go up that way in 09, it wasn’t too bad most of the way, but I got really nervous on the part where you were only a few feet from the edge of the VERY DEEP canyon. I’d rather have been walking thru there. Maybe that’s where they widened it. Otherwise, I figure on going up by way of Pryor Mt. Rd next time. Is it road 2849 that you take when you’re on the Custer National Forest land to get to the Range? It had just rained hard the day before when I was there last, and I was advised not to travel it because it gets dangerously slick. I got as far as the intersection of 2092 and 2849. I don’t have any problem with my big truck out in the red dirt hills that you show in your pictures. But higher on the mountain is another story, as you say. I can hardly wait for my next chance to challenge the mountain and see the horses. I’m really anxious to see how Kayenta’s coloring comes out as she matures. She is so unique looking—and, of course, there are so many other beauties…like ALL of them! : )

  • These are such beautiful photos, and soulful stories of each of these beautiful horses. I am thankful for you really caring enough about them to go and make sure their lives are immortalized. Thanks for liking and following my blog also.

  • I love that shot of Bolder on here. He is another truly unique character, and so beautiful. Once again, thanks for sharing!

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