I’ve listed some problems, now it’s time to hear some solutions. My main idea is raising the Appropriate Management Level (AML or the number of horses allowed on the range to 160. To those of you who know that the current AML is 90-120 this may seem extreme. However, as I mentioned before, it was noted that the land had the potential to support 170 animals. There are two reasons I picked the number 160 rather than 170. My first reason can be best explained by a document that the BLM wrote in their study of the horses, “ Since 1996, the Pryor Mountain wild horse herd has averaged 160 horses.” (BLM web) I would like to point out a very important word from that quote: average. If this is the numbers that the horses are around enough to create an average, then something must have worked. You could call it nature’s way of determining carrying capacity. Another reason I thought an AML of 160 would be better than 120 or 170 was 160 is above genetic viability, but if the level were at 170, it might be too high for the land to support them. Of course, if you’ve been paying attention you’ll notice that I mentioned resources have been taken away from the range. 

That brings me to my next point. In order to add more to the AML more land needs to be added to the horse range. I already brought up the point about the north boundary fence, so I won’t go into more detail about that. However, there is also more land that could be more readily available to the horses. According to a document written by the BLM, “However, there is no current proposal to open the Administrative Pastures or Crooked Creek Natural Area, and there is no proposal to acquire or lease private lands or to use additional areas within the BCNRA.” (BLM web) At one point there were administrative pastures open to the horses. My understanding was that they closed them to the horses due to resource concerns. I’m not sure what that means, considering that it is also to my knowledge that the horses didn’t use the areas as much as expected. My theory is these places should be left open for the horses. Even if they don’t use them as much as expected I think it is important for the resources to be available for them.

Three of Cloud’s mares. The one in front is Breeze and she is one of the horses that may be removed.

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