I am still reeling from this past couple weeks. First the death of Blanca, then receiving the letter about the removal, and then the sudden and tragic death of Isadora and her foal.
I have been talking in depth with a couple friends (Abbie and Sarah), about the proposed removal, and we are carefully planning our in depth comments and will get them in writing and sent in before October 6. In the letter from the BLM, it did not state when the removal was planning on taking place. In order to properly comment, I did email them and was informed that the earliest would be the summer of 2018.
I made a ton of notes on my copy of the notice, so I am going to give you a link that Travel and Nature posted of it. PROPOSED REMOVAL LETTER. Thank you Livi for making a post. Here is a link to her post if you would like to read it. Travel and Nature
Remember your comments need to be in by October 6, 2017.
This is a very hard and heartbreaking post. I was told today that Isadora was found dead on the mountain top. It was determined that she passed giving birth, the foal did not survive. What a horrible and tragic way to go. I pray that she did not suffer long and that she and her foal passed quietly. I am sure that she is standing next to her sire Starman and her little foal, Lemi that passed in 2011-12 winter. Rest in Peace. You will be so missed.
Isadora is the 2008 daughter of Rosarita and Starman. The sire of the foal was Morning Star, he is the 1996 son of Washakie and Plenty Coup.
7 Foals have been born this year, 4 survived.
2017 has been a very difficult year. We have lost a lot of horses. This loss, coming off of Blanca’s death just 10 days ago.
For those of us that are so close to these horses, it is extremely difficult. Since Lakota’s death, I have tried to be a bit more distant, but truly, that is not who I am, or who I want to be, I feel each death and tragedy on the mountain. 2017 has been one of pain, and I pray that 2018 will bring us more joy.
Once again I am going to stress and ask that we not rush into another removal. The mountain is doing it’s own natural part right now to adjust the population. Sixteen horses will be over the age of 20 next year, that alone should be taken into consideration.
Rest in Peace Isadora and foal, we can not understand, but for whatever reason, this was your time to go.
Pryor Foal # 6 was born in August to Hataali and Morning Star. A Filly named Morning Reverie.
Hataali is the 2007 daughter of Sapo and Shaman, Morning Star is the 1996 son of Washakie and Plenty Coups. Morning Star was 21 this year, so this will most likely be one of his last foals.
Thank you Linda Dombeck for your great photos (taken on August 29th). This little filly seems to have a lot of personally and I am looking forward to seeing her grow up on the range!
This year, the effects of the PZP (birth control on the mares) seems to be working. With only 4 live foals for this year and the loss of at least 9 horses for the 2017 year, that leaves us with a negative 5 growth. This will be the second year where there has been negative or very little population growth. I am hoping that this will be noted and taken into account when the discussion of a removal comes around. We need to carefully watch the genetics and assure that a healthy amount of horses are allowed to stay on the range.
This year, I have decided to change the format of the calendar. Instead of the usual calendar with the recent year’s photos, I am dedicating the calendar to some of the horses that have passed, with past photos I have taken of each of them. Shown below is the layout, each month has an inscription of the horses birth year and their passing year.
There were many other horses I could have included in this calendar. As I looked back over the years that I have been visiting them, it is difficult to realize how many horses that I knew are now gone, some because of removal, some because of death. They all hold a special place in my heart, some did touch me deeper than others, but I will always remember each one and the time I spent with them. This calendar is in honor of these amazing horses.
To place your order, enter the number of calendars you would like, and push the PayPal button! Delivery will be approximately 5-7 days after you place your order.
The price includes shipping within the US. Please contact me for overseas shipping cost. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sandy has been camping in the Pryors for several years, spending weeks at a time with the horses. Abbie Branchflower will be joining Sandy for her fourth season as her assistant. Abbie has a vast knowledge of the horses as well. She will also be offering a photo book so you can make identification more easily once you are home. If you are interested in purchasing one of these, contact us and we will have it ready for you.
Whether you bring a professional camera, or just a cell phone to take photos, Sandy goes out of her way to make sure you leave the mountain with cherished memories of your once in a life-time camping trip.
The many stories that Sandy and her assistant share about the horses and the range, make this trip more than just a chance to view them, it makes this a trip more about knowing the horses, giving you a brief glance into the life of the Pryor Mountain Wild Horses.
Experience living with the horses 24 hours a day and in doing so, this can give you a better understanding of what it is like to live wild on the range!
All tours may include light to moderate hiking.
Below are the tour dates for the summer of 2018:
1.June 18-21, 2018 Full
2. June 24-27, 2018 Full
3.June 29-July 2, 2018 Full
4. July 5-8, 2018 Full
5. July 10-13, 2018 1 Space available
Contact Sandy with any questions: 406-360-8959
These trips will be 4 days/3 nights on the mountain top. While on the mountain, we will be in Montana. This trip includes: transportation up and down the mountain, all food, snacks, tents, and expert personal guiding. (last night dinner is on your own once we return to Cody).
There are many great hotels in Cody, you will be responsible for making your own arrangements before and after the trip. AirBnb is also a great source to find some lodging. I can pick you up at your hotel the morning of our first day, or you can meet me at my house in Cody.
All payments are considered non-refundable. Refunds may be made when cancellations can be filled. THERE WILL BE NO EXCEPTIONS, so please consider purchasing travel insurance on your own!! Here is a link to travel insurance purchase. This insurance is not through Wild In The Pryors. Please explore this link for cost comparisons of several companies. TRIP INSURANCE
Camping trips will be limited to 4 guests. Sandy will have an assistant with her who will do the camp cooking and help you with any camping needs. Sandy will personally be doing all of the guiding.
For reservations: Contact Sandy or click on the Paypal link to pay the deposit.
Wild in the Pryors is permitted by the Bureau of Land Management to conduct small group tours within the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range from January to December. Wild in the Pryors is one of a handful of businesses that have the federal permits necessary to guide clients onto this federal property.
Reviews from past guests:
My dream came true camping in the Pryor Mountains of Montana in July 2017.
I have always felt a pull to our American West, horses and the Native American culture and history. Sandy Palen (Wild in the Pryors) was recommended to me when I was seeking out information on how I could spend time with our wild horses. I could not have asked for a more perfect opportunity and guide.
I signed up for the July 15-18th , 2017 guided tour. How excited I was to be camping out in the beautiful Pryor Mountains with the gorgeous Pryor horses.
I was picked up in Cody by Sandy and her assistant Abbie. I truly did not know what to expect and was kind of a chatterbox I think asking questions on our way to the mountain. Sandy was so patient and attentive answering all my questions. There is much to seen on the ride up and it goes by quickly. And when we got there…..the horses and open country were awaiting. I couldn’t believe they were right there!
Finally, I was living a dream! Our campsite was in a fantastic location. We had horses walking by…..grazing nearby……and lots of wonderful viewing time just from the campsite.
The meals were amazing and the smell of fresh coffee in the morning so very welcoming. Everything was planned and thought out to make this an experience of a lifetime….and one to remember so fondly.
We would go out in the truck to search for some other bands and get different views. We took some great little hikes….to get different mountain views and search out other bands. The wildflowers were in bloom and some of the fields were just breathtaking.
There are no words to describe the fabulous scenes that are etched forever in my mind and heart. Sandy made sure that you get the photographs you are looking for and will go out of her way to make sure you are content with everything. Her knowledge (as well as Abbie) of the horses and the mountain is just amazing. It was just awesome to listen to them name the horses, their background and everything about that. I truly envied them that.
They truly do love their Pryor horses. We got to experience it all. From seeing a rainbow shining down on horses…..to seeing a one day old foal….gorgeous stallions standing on the hillside…..bachelors playing and strutting their stuff…..stallions protecting their mares…..gorgeous sunsets…..stormy skies…..unbelieveable views…and just experiencing what life is like in the day of our wild mustangs.
For me to finally be out in the open….in the mountains….24/7 with the Pryor horses, I got to live one of my wildest dreams. It meant the world to me. I highly recommend Sandy (Wild in the Pryors) if you are looking for that once in a lifetime experience of spending time with our wild mustangs. You will not be disappointed. It’s just the best!
Cathy Weeks, Albany, NY
Fields of Dreams
If you are searching for an adventure, if you’d love to see and photograph some of the oldest descendants in the founding of America, if you love horses, nature and the out of doors, consider a trip with Sandy Palen and “Wild In The Pryors”.
The road up to the mountain top is a bit rough, however, once you get up there it will take your breath away. Your first spotting of the horses will cause your heart to skip a beat. And it just gets better from there.
Sandy knows these horses like the back of her hands. She knows the details of the stallions, their bands, their mares and their foals. She knows their history. She has a sense of where they will be in the mornings and where they might be in the afternoons. And she loves them!
Along with being a great photographer, Sandy is an expert at camping and has everything so organized it makes camping easy. All someone has to do is show up. I had never camped nor slept in a tent and it was the most amazing thing. I wish I had that view from my tent every morning when I wake up. Sandy cooked delicious meals on top of that mountain; and a sandwich for lunch never tasted better than on that mountain. The views of the country side, the Bighorn Mountains and the Bighorn Canyon were unbelievable.You can see miles and miles of both Montana and Wyoming from up there.
The horses in the Pryor Mountains are descendants of the horses brought over to America in the 1600s. They came with the original explorers who came to America. It is beyond words to be a part of these incredible animals and to be able to bring home memorable photographs of them. Advocating for and helping to save the mustangs running free becomes very real to you.
I had attempted to make this trip for several years, however, was unable to. So when I was finally able to go this summer I left all my expectations at home. What I found up there was beyond my wildest dreams and more than anything I could have hoped for. We saw a foal only a few hours after she was born. We had almost every horse on the mountain walk or run by our camp sight two evenings in a row. I had the privilege of seeing the oldest horse on the mountain, a mare, still loving her band. Photographing the horses against the sunset two nights in a row is still a vision in my memory. I hope some day to return and hope these horses are still running free.
If you love horses and you are looking for the trip of a lifetime which includes them, you have found it!
Foal # 4 Born to Washakie and Baja. Washakie is the 1994 daughter of Sitka and Shaman. Baja is the 1996 son of Tonapah and Looking Glass. UPDATE: Renegade was removed from the range in mid-October, due to the death of Washakie.
After witnessing the sad birth and death of the 3rd foal born this year (Hope Ryden), both Abbie and I were hoping to see another one with a happier ending.
For most of last week, we and our student guests were the only ones camping on the mountain. Each night Abbie, Beth (a return guest and friend of ours) and I would drive slowly around giving the herd a last look before we went to bed. On the night of the July 11, we saw Baja and his band. Washakie had not foaled. It is so hard to tell with her, as she has had a foal every year since she was 2 (she is now 23). She always looks so large and about ready to foal, but I have seen several years where she has given birth in the late summer and even the early fall.
The next day we spent hours with the bands, but did not see them, not really that usual, Baja is a wise 21-year-old stallion, and he has learned to stay away at times to in order to continue holding on to his band.
As we return to camp, BLM volunteer Don (what an amazing person, Don retired years ago and comes from Tennessee each summer to spend his time volunteering.) He doesn’t know the horses by name, but knows a lot of the history of the mountain and surrounding areas. He defiantly is a great presence on the mountain and I was happy to see him pull up at our camp. We talked for a few minutes. He had a young MCC worker (students) with him. It was her first time on the mountain. They had a break in the work they were doing down the mountain and Don decided to take her up to see the horses for the first time.
I happened to be at the truck when they returned. Don stopped and asked if I had seen the new foal! No, we had not!! I asked who had foaled, but he did not know. The young woman had a camera with her and showed me the first photo of this new little life. It was Washakie! They had no idea they were the first to see it. I can not discribe the joy that was in this young woman’s face when I told her she was and that she got to name it. Not only was it her first time on the range, but she had discovered a foal.
I was really happy for her. I have had my time to name foals, there are several on the range right now, and several have been removed. It was a special gift to be able to do it, but honestly, I am happy to pass that torch on to a younger generation. I saw that a simple thing of discovering a foal and being able to name it, could involve a younger generation to be involved, inspired and willing to stand up for them. That is what we need for this herd in order for it to carry on. A new set of eyes. As long as the name is not inappropriate, really, what does it matter what it is called? It is their joy and should be honored. Most people will look at the parents and go off that theme. But really, that hasn’t always happened, (the B’s had a theme of liquor of all things!! (Baily’s, Bacardi) ) and it has still been okay. We as humans need to learn to let go of power for the good of life and try see what can happen if we do.
I learned that she wanted to name the foal Ma’heo’o Reiki. She had put a lot of study and thought into it. The Mustang Center decided that the name would be Renegade.
Washakie is the 1994 daughter of Sitka and Shaman. Baja is the 1996 son of Tonapah and Looking Glass.
Washakie still had some after birth attached to her more than 24 hours after the birth. She did finally expel it and after almost a week, both mom and baby seem to be doing fine.
Foal # 5. A colt, born to Jacinta and Garay. Jacinta is the 2009 daughter born to Rosebud and most likely Tecumseh. Garay is the 2006 son of Mariposa and Conquistador.
I have said for several years, that I believe the new foal will appear to the person that is meant to see it first. And so it was that Abbie and I would be the first to see Jacinta’s foal in the early morning of July 17, 2017.
Abbie and I have spent many days studying the horses. We would sit for hours and make notes on their behavior. Every evening, we would drive just before dark and check to see how everyone was doing. We knew Jacinta was close, and noted that we did not see Garay and his band on Sunday the 16th. We had a feeling that Jacinta had either foaled or was close.
The mountain was unusually quiet. For the last week, we had spent many nights being the only ones camping. During the day there were the usual flurry of day-trippers, but they were gone by 5 pm, leaving us alone with the horses. I love that time and cherish the quiet of the mountain.
Our small group was the only one on the mountain the morning of the 17. I woke early as I always do and stepped out of my tent. There were several bands of horses around our campsite, making this one of the best cups of coffee I’d had this summer. Just sitting and enjoying the presence of these special beings.
Either Abbie or myself would step out and look down the road to see who else would be joining us in this constant parade. We were both out there when I thought I saw Jacinta in the distance. Was that a foal at her side! It was, and both Abbie and I were ecstatic.
Abbie has been hoping to discover a new foal, and I wanted desperately for her to experience it. I can’t describe the pure joy of seeing a new life for the first time and my joy became even bigger knowing that I was able to share this with Abbie and watch her discover her first foal.
They were taking their time, but it was clear that they were going to walk close by our camp. What an honor for these horses to feel that comfortable with us, that they would decide to parade by us.
Abbie had a well researched name picked out for this little one. Rue. Rue is a flower as is Jacinta. The name Rue also pays homage to Rosebud who is Jacinta’s mom and little Rue’s grandmother. I had texted the Center to let them know of the birth, and Abbie asked me to let them know of her name choice.
The Mustang Center has decided to name the foal Rio instead.
UPDATE: I just got a note from Abbie that the Center has recognized her as the official discover and have added the name Rue to the official record. Proud of you Abbie for keeping on this in a very positive manner. One small step towards a good change…
The first known foal of 2017 was discovered on April 4, 2017. This little filly is the daughter of Nova and Hickok. Nova is the 2013 daughter of Kitalpha and Bristol. Hickok is the 2007 son of Belle Starr and Starbuck. Her name was picked by the Mustang Center to honor her grandmother Belle Starr, who has been missing, and also to stay with the theme of her other grandmother, Kitalpha. Kitalpha is the brightest star in Equuleus and Rigel is a star in Orion.
Welcome beautiful, sturdy little one! May you live your days wild and free!
Many thanks to Nancy Cerroni of the Pryor Mountain Mustang Center for allowing me to use her photos!
A couple of weeks ago, there were some photos posted on the Pryor Mountain Mustang Center’s Facebook page. These photos, were taken by Dennis McCollough. It showed three dark-colored horses, two of which were easily identified as Orlando and Oglala. The third was not as easily identified. Another wild horse follower, Dawn Ness, was also in that area and took some photos.
This black horse appeared to be solid black. There are only two horses in the Dryhead that are solid black. Seattle and his son Issaquah. Issaquah has not been officially seen for a couple of years now. But not surprising, the Dryhead is a huge and vast area, and anyone that would see him from a distance would possibly make the assumption that it was:
1. Seattle, the son of Tacoma and Three Bars, was born in 1997. He was reported to look very thin this past fall and also has a very distinct swollen knee on the right side. This horse was not him.
2. Chief Joseph, son of Bakken and Seattle, born in 2009. Without spotting his back right hind, he could easily be thought to be his full brother Issaquah. But this horse had no right back hind, (as seen in Dawn’s photos below).
3. Inniq, son of Sitting Bull and Ceceila, born in 2008. Several people thought and think it was Inniq. But Inniq has a very destinctive star, and this horse does not have one. (Thank you Dawn for taking that photo of this horse with a clear shot of his forehead with out a star!
The first person to make the comment that it was Issaquah, was Alex Pitterman. Alex has followed this herd for many years and is virtually a walking encyclopedia with what he knows about this herd. At first I thought maybe it was not Issaquah, but then I began to think about the vastness of the Dryhead and how he could easily be misidentified for one of the other black horses. I am convienced that the horse that was spotted is indeed Issaquah. Thank you Alex for bringing it to our attention!
As a young bachelor, Issaquah was almost always seen with his 1/2 brother Hawk (they share the same sire). In fact I would call them HawkandIssaquah, because they were rarely apart.
But when Hawk gained his own band, Issaquah was not allowed to join him and so this most likely started the mix up of his identity and the assumption that he was no longer with us. Issaquah may also have decided to go off on his own and was not as visable. I saw him once along Burnt Timber Road, about 3 miles from the bottom, by himself in August of 2014, and I am betting that once others start to think about their sightings of black horses over the last few years, especially at a distance, we may all realize that Issaquah was there all along.
Whatever the case, I am convienced that the horse that was spotted in late February is indeed Issaquah. And with all of the death and disappearances of the many horses over the last few years, this news of yet another survivor is very welcome. It’s great to see you Issaquah!
Mares within the Pryor Wild Horse Herd, are given PZP (birth control) every year. Each year there is a group of mares that are in the “window” of possibly being able to foal, meaning that they have not been given PZP. And every year, there will be some surprises from some, despite being vaccinated, and even though the below horses have not been vaccinated, it is not a guarantee that they will foal. Some have never conceived.
We must be careful with this special herd, in 2016, there were 10 deaths, and 11 births, leaving only a population increase of 1 horses. You can click on the post I did in October 2016, ( The Horses that have Passed) if you would like to learn more about that. Since I wrote that post, the death of Quivira (Moenkopi foal) increased the deaths to 10. Keeping a close watch on the population gain and adjusting the PZP accordingly, will make this herd healthy and viable to carry on into the future. We must carefully watch which mares are vaccinated and what horses are removed and make sure that we keep an equal balance of representation for all of the horses on the range, regardless of color, or favorites.
I anticipate that 2017 will be a low birth year. Below are the mares who may foal.
Dry Head Horses
Halo, 2007 daughter of Waif and Corona, currently in Fools Crow band.
2. Jewel, 2009 daughter of Waif and Corona, currently in Fools Crow band.
2. Kitalpha, 2010 daughter of Buffalo Girl and Durango, currently on her own, with her two daughters, but was with Hickok.
Mountain Top Horses
Hataali, 2007 daughter of Sapo and Shaman, currently in Morning Star’s Band.
2. Hailstorm, 2007 daughter of Aztec and Cloud, currently in Morning Star’s band. She has never foaled.
3. Hera, 2007 daughter of Audubon and Morning Star, currently in Galaxy’s band.
4. Heritage, 2007 daughter of Warbonnet and Lakota. Her only living offspring was removed in 2012, she has not foaled since. She is currently in Doc’s band.
5. Isadora, 2008 daughter of Rosarita and Starman, she has not foaled since 2011. (the foal is deceased). She is currently in Morning Star’s band.
6. Jacinta, 2009 daughter of Rosebud and most likely Tecumseh, she is currently in Garay’s band.
7. Jasmine, 2009 daughter of Aztec and Cloud, has never foaled, currently in Doc’s band, but moves around frequently.
8. Juniper, 2009 daughter of Sapo and Bolder, currently in Horizon’s band. She has never foaled.
9. Ketchikan, 2010 daughter of Gold Rush and Two Boots, currently in Jasper’s band.
10. Kohl, 2010 daughter of Quelle Colour and Lakota, she is currently in Garay’s band.
As with every year, I will keep you posted on the new births as soon as I learn about them.