My Background, Part 2

It wasn’t until I was 16 that I started associating names of wild horse ranges to location. My parents were planning a trip to Yellowstone, and it made me realize that there are wild horse ranges in that area. I started trying to figure out where the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse range was. Some smart people might be reading this and wondering why we didn’t go to McCullough Peaks instead of the Pryors. There are just as many horses in McCullough Peaks, and in some ways it’s more accessible. The truth was, are goal was to go to both, but in a twist of fate, we took a wrong turn. Thus the next paragraph is about the Pryor Mountains.

It was late June when my parents and I flew into the Billings airport. We rented a small car and made our way south. Our goal was to stop in the Pryors on the way to Yellowstone, then go back on the way back to the Billings airport. By then, I had found the Mustang Center’s website and blog, so we decided to stop their for information. It turned out to be a good thing. It turned out that unless we had four-wheel drive the mountain top was off-limits.

Slightly discouraged, we headed to the Dryhead where our first wildlife sighting were Bighorn Sheep. Our first view of wild horses was from a distance, and I was reminded by my parents that we were lucky to see any horse sign at all. Despite this, we still hadn’t seen all of the Dryhead and I had to admit my excitement was peaked.

Then around a curve, we saw horses walking along the road. At the time I knew we had seen something extra ordinary. The young stallion Fiero had acquired Blizzard’s mare Strawberry, Strawberry’s yearling Jemez, and her one month old colt Kokopelli. Young stallions stealing mares is nothing new, but even I could tell there was something special about the two youngsters Kokopelli and Jemez. They were both the rare color apricot dun roan. We only saw them briefly, but it was enough to get, everyone excited.

For the rest of the trip we saw the horses we first saw from a distance. Admiral’s band. They two had a one month old colt, named Kapitan by the mustang center, and Climbs High by TCF. Their yearling colt, Jesse James was his brother. The mare Seneca had been with Admiral for years, and Hightail was the colts’ grandmother. We Admiral’s band was the only band we saw for the rest of the trip, but he allowed us to see his family each day, and remained quite close.

After that first introduction of the horses, I wanted to get involved. I persuaded my parents to get me a good camera, and joked that they had to take me back to the Pryors so I could use it. I knew I wasn’t going back any time soon, but I kept up to date on the information I was getting through TCF and the Mustang Center. 


This is a baby picture from 2010 Kokopelli is currently a two-year old and was the first to be removed in this year’s bait-trap gather.

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