Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range Visit, 2013 Linda Dombeck

I asked my friend Linda Dombeck to do some posts on her recent trip to the Pryors.  I really love reading and seeing others photos.  It is great to take a look at the horses through another pair of eyes and here their thoughts.

I will be doing a series of posts from Linda.  This will be the first.  I may be able to get out at least one more before I leave, if not I will continue these posts in the near future!  Thank you Linda!


Liesl and Kiabab
Liesl and Kiabab

I arrived at Lovell early in the afternoon, June 16, after coming across the beautiful Bighorn Mountains on 14A, and my first stop was at the Mustang Center on the edge of town to see Liesl and Kaibab.

They were both looking good and were busy picking up every last fragment of the hay they’d been given in the morning. We got acquainted over handfuls of grass and they were both as sweet as could be.

After visiting them and meeting the new staff members who were at the Center at the time, and picking up the newest maps, I hurried on out to see what was new in the Dryhead. As I approached the entrance to the Range, I could see a lone dark horse on the top of a hill to my left, a LOOOONG way off, but saw no sign of the “greeters” as I eased along thru their normal ranging area that would bring them near the road.


As I continued on the way out and began approaching the area known as Mustang Flats (one of my favorite places on this earth), I caught sight of a grullo and a dun. My heart skipped a beat as I knew this was to be my first up close sighting of Pryor Mustangs this trip! It had been a long year since I was here last. This had to be Kemmerer and Fiero or Merlin. I wasn’t sure who I hoped it would be because I’ve become very fond of Merlin thru some interesting and touching encounters with him, but Fiero is almost a mirror image of his dad, and he’s quickly earning a spot in my heart, too.

Fiero and Kemmerer
Fiero and Kemmerer

Turns out it was Fiero, and he had a very long tangle of mane reaching to his knees—the result of an altercation with another stallion, I presume.



I was hoping to see Kemmerer while I was here this time, and was impressed at how mature he’s beginning to look. He is a fine example of the old bloodline, primitively marked dun. May he live a long and productive life here on the Range and continue to contribute to the characteristics that make this herd unique.

After a bit, Fiero began looking off into the distance a lot, and then grazing farther from the road among the junipers and soon was out of sight. Kemmerer was content to have the open area to himself. I decided to move on a bit to where the Mustang Flats park sign pull-off was, and climb up the rise that was there that might give me an opportunity to spot Fiero again, or maybe other horses as well. You can see a long way from there, especially with binoculars.

It wasn’t long until I heard gravel crunching and caught sight of Fiero moving up an arroyo nearby. It didn’t take long for him to spot me, too, and I know he was disappointed that I wasn’t one of his fellow mustangs. He just gazed at me for a bit, sniffed the air and then found a good spot nearby to survey the Flats. He just stood there looking off into the distance for a long time.


After a while, Kemmerer made his way around the rise. Fiero whinnied a welcome, they sparred a little, behind some bushes where I couldn’t photograph them, and then they went back to grazing.


About that time I went back to checking the Flats for any other activity with my trusty binoculars. Way off in the distance, near the very foot of the mountain, I saw a flash of reddish color that was out of place in the junipers and very light colored open areas. Aha! Since I soon also saw four grey horses nearby— from a distance one can’t be sure if it is a grulla or grullo, so they were greys—I figured it was Blizzard and the ladies, but couldn’t be absolutely sure. I watched from afar for a while, but they didn’t appear to be headed down toward the area that I was in, so I reluctantly left them to their business and trekked back to my truck.

I wanted to go the rest of the way thru the Range in this area before heading up the mountain, and also hoped to see the greeters on my way back out. It was getting on in the day and I figured there were probably only about 4 hours of daylight left. And, I had a long road ahead of me to get up to the top of the mountain so I could spend ALL of tomorrow with Sandy, Amber, Lori and Brianna. What a fun day that was going to be.

My plan was to take Crooked Creek Road, since it was closer than to go to Bridger and across thru Custer National Forest. Improvements had been made to it since the last time I was on it, so I was pretty confident about it.

I was glad I had my map from the Center, as my memory from riding with someone else on that route the last time wasn’t doing me a whole lot of good. Anyway, to make a long story short, it was a very good ride until I got to where the one-lane gravel road goes along the very edge of Crooked Creek Canyon—for miles! I had white knuckles, clammy palms, stiff neck from leaning to the uphill side of the truck and a knot in my stomach—but I still had to laugh when I thought about how the locals would say “What? That’s a GOOD way to go up.”

And I did see some gorgeous lupines at a spot where there was enough “good ground” for me to stop and get a picture. Phew! Now only a few more miles of truck rattling, bone-jarring mountain road to go. It was going to be good to see that Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range sign soon, and Sandy’s and Lori’s vehicles parked at Sandy’s favorite spot!


And I did see some gorgeous lupines at a spot where there was enough “good ground” for me to stop and get a picture. Phew! Now only a few more miles of truck rattling, bone-jarring mountain road to go.  It was going to be good to see that Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range sign soon, and Sandy’s and Lori’s vehicles parked at Sandy’s favorite spot!


Cows just outside the range (In Custer National Forest) in the area where the horses used to be allowed to go.
Cows just outside the range (In Custer National Forest) in the area where the horses used to be allowed to go.
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell


19 thoughts on “Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range Visit, 2013 Linda Dombeck

  • Kemmerer really does look very grown up! I’m happy to see him doing well with the other bachelor boys. Fiero is definitely handsome too. I wonder if the long hanging mane was a result of him trying to get some of the “grulla girls” back from Blizzard. It seems though that Blizzard has stepped up and become more responsible with wanting to keep his girls together and with him. Liesl and Kaibab look great too! I look forward to reading the rest of your posts Linda! 🙂

  • Thank you Sandy, for asking me to do this. I love sharing what I consider a wonderful experience with your followers on your blog because I know not everyone who loves these horses can get there to see them. I do hope sharing my experiences will help some of them make the decision to spend some time there, because I know they’d never regret it. I’m really enjoying writing the posts, and you can use what I send you however and whenever you wish.

  • Thank you Linda for sharing your memories & photo’s with us. I, as Sandy stated also, absolutely appreciate reading another person’s experience’s with the wild horses & their home. The photo’s are beautiful! It was great to spend some time with you on the mountain, and as always will look forward to seeing you again next year!
    I also share your feelings about Kemmerer being so gorgeous (another hunk), and hopefully will be allowed to stay wild and free to pass along his fine bloodlines!
    I saw Blizzard with his two girls today. Not another soul out there that I could find.
    It has been storming and dumping some serious rain on the WHR, and here in Lovell.
    that is great for the range, but not as good for traveling the back roads. There were even some wash-out places out on the DH, with rocks, dirt etc. on the road. Well the range and horses will certainly benefit from this moisture!
    Thanks Sandy for asking Linda to do this post. I enjoyed it!

      • That is interesting. There were 4 greys with him when I saw him that first day way off at the foot of the mountain. Maybe Seattle has gotten Sacajawea back, and maybe Bakken along with her. 🙂 That would be super. I’ll be watching for new reports, for sure. 🙂

      • Well they were far away in a spot where there could have been more mares down the other side of the canyon, (mountain). There was no way of me getting over to where they were.
        I will send a picture and you will see what I am talking about.

      • Thanks Lori! I will hopefully see them tomorrow. I am sure things are changing now that he is down off of the seclusion of Sykes. He will have to stay on his toes (hoofs) to keep those girls now.

    • You’re welcome Lori. And I’ll bet you especially enjoyed the part about the “white knuckle” ride up Crooked Creek Rd, since it’s not much of a challenge for you. 🙂 I do hope to see you again next year, and maybe that route will get easier for me IF I do it again…

      I’m glad you’re getting rain. The health of the range, and all the land around there, is the most important, but I hope there aren’t too many problems for the visitors to the area. Guess I lucked out to get there when I did. 🙂

      • Yes Linda, I did enjoy your account of the ride up Crooked Creek! HA HA I guess since I have never been afraid of heights this ride does not bother me at all and find it a totally awesome ride full of breathtaking sights!! It sure makes one feel like a “speck” in the wilderness!
        I do look forward to a visit from you next year. Until then you take care and hold close those wonderful memories and experiences on the Pryor’s with the wild ones, (human and horses). I know I will ! Love the “group” photo!

  • Linda,
    We met when you were there on your third day – nobody with me got out of the truck for long since the wind was cold. It was great chatting with you. I didn’t expect to see you guest write on the blog, but it’s good to read more about your visit. After talking with you, I wanted to go spend a night up there, too! I did get to spend a day up there last week and it was such a great experience just to watch the horses for a few hours. My family is planning on camping there for a couple days next week, and I really look forward to spending more time with the horses, and eventually even be able to identify them. I hope your whole trip went well. Take care!

    • It was cool talking with you Sharon. I really enjoy “sharing the wealth” with folks who are interested in all the horses—on the net and on the Range. I’ll wager that the more time you spend out there, the more you’ll want to. Happens all the time. 🙂 It’s always good to have more folks know about the herd and be supportive of them.

      I really appreciate Sandy having me contribute to her blog, and will be doing more snippets for her to use, when and if, she wishes. It was such a great experience and I have such wonderful memories! Other than losing a day with pretty bad sunburn and a moderate allergic reaction to a bug bite, and another day and a half with something blown into my eye by that big wind you mentioned, everything went great! It would take something way more serious than any of that to discourage me from getting back there as soon as I can. 🙂 Maybe I’ll see you out there again. Be sure and check out the “drama in the Dryhead”, too. 🙂

  • Hi Linda, thanks so much for sharing all the wonderful pics of the Pryor horses and for your blog, enjoy it as I so enjoy Sandy’s account of the Pryor Horses,

    • Thank you, Jeannie, you’re so welcome. I think most of us “can’t get enough” pics and info on these horses and I’m very happy to share what I’ve experienced. I think it’s really great of Sandy to take the time to put others’ stuff on here for her followers to enjoy. 🙂

      THANKS, Sandy!

  • Great blog! Thank you! I am hoping to visit this area in October this year but am having trouble figuring out where Mustang Flats is exactly. How far in is it? I do not have a 4 wheel drive & am not sure whether I’d be able to drive Canyon Creek (maybe some of the way?)…Or would it be best to stick to Hwy 37? Do I have any hope of seeing horses from the highway? Thanks again!

    • October is not the best time to head up to the top of the mountain. Depending on the year, there could already be snow up there and the horses will have most likely started to move down the mountain by then. If you stay in the Dryhead area, it is a paved road and would be a safer choice this time of year. If you drive down 37, there is a sign that tells you about Mustang Flats, right across from where it is located. I have never clocked the exact milege to MF, but it is just up the paved road, guessing maybe 10 miles. Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions.

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