Please give Cloud some Closure

Earlier this spring I wrote this post about giving Cloud the benefit of the doubt. Since then, there’s been a few false reports, a few unconfirmed possibilities, but as of now Cloud has not been seen since November. At the time, the prognosis was hopeful. In theory, it would be hard to tell what was going on with Cloud until all the horses were using the mountain top. Now it’s August, most of the summer is gone, and we’ve seen all the mountain top horses. Still no Cloud. No one wants to say it, but I think it’s time we accept the possibility that Cloud is gone. However, there have been some instances where bachelors have shown up unexpectedly, so maybe there’s still potential for Cloud to show up.

Things in Cloud’s Favor:
As a young bachelor Cloud would go entire winters without being seen. Since older bachelors have a reputation for even more elusive Cloud may be with his brother Red Raven.
The range is vast, and there’s plenty of places where people can’t go. Even for the most experienced spotter, there are a lot of different ridges, valleys, and trees to find cover in the range. It’s possible every time someone’s looked, Cloud’s been in a different spot.

Things not in Cloud’s Favor:
Cloud’s a mountain top horses. Every once in a while he’d make it to the Dryhead as a band stallion, but that was in winter. Water and grazing is limited, eventually he’d have to make his way to higher elevations. All the mountain top horses have been seen, so it’s a bit problematic that Cloud also hasn’t been seen.
Cloud’s a social dude. True he settled into the role of bachelor, but even bachelors are social creatures. Cloud’s also one of the sassier stallions. As a young stallion he worked at a young age to win a mare, and as a band stallion he never backed down from a fight. It’s possible he settled into bachelorhood well because he realized the limitations age brought, but I have a hard time believing he would have changed his personality completely. Sure he’s not vying for a mare anymore, but I doubt he’d spend all his time away from the mountain top.

Things that could go either way:
Cloud’s 21. He has the knowledge to survive, but it’s also a remarkable age for a stallion. At this stage in the summer I’m starting to wonder if he found some where to live out his life on his terms.
Other bachelors haven’t been seen in a while. It’s possible they’re all together being elusive, but the only other mountain top bachelor that hasn’t been seen yet this season is Red Raven. Personally, I think the Dryhead horses have a better chance of showing up than Cloud and his brother. The range in the Dryhead is more varied than the mountain top, so there’s a lot more places for the horses in that area to hide. Like I said, I am very surprised Cloud hasn’t been seen on the mountain top yet this season.

Recommendations for Supporters:
Pick a date and stick with it. In past years if a horse doesn’t show up on the mountain top by now, they are presumed deceased. Although I understand people’s reluctance on the subject, I think it’s time to pick a similar date for Cloud. That way we will be able to move on to more pressing management needs.
Let’s stay positive! I’m writing this post because I’m a realist, but there is a lot more going on right now in the Pryors besides Cloud. Like I mentioned in my other post, it is important to know the context of a post before commenting. There are a handful of advocacy pages that have already expressed dedication to post as soon as Cloud is found, and I believe them. If they haven’t posted about Cloud in a while it doesn’t mean they’ve forgotten about him, it means he hasn’t been seen. If they post about something different, let them. Rather than fixating on Cloud, consider learning about the rest of the horses in the Pryors.
Before commenting, think about if it will help the situation. Unfortunately, asking about Cloud won’t help the situation. Similarly, all of the palominos in the Pryors are related to Cloud, and from a distance it can be tempting to get one’s hopes up. However, with any sighting it is important to make objective, accurate posts. Unless the source is reliable, and has a picture that clearly IDs the horse, it might not be helpful to repeat what they said. If people are still compelled to say that Cloud (or another horse) was seen, then they should also provide the original source.

While I understand that people have their own opinions,  hopefully this gave an objective account of the situation. Cloud’s a remarkable stallion, as are all the horses in the Pryors. I know some of my points are similar to my first blog post about Cloud, but I think they are worth repeating. It feels a bit that some are going through the stages of grief when they think about Cloud, with denial being the first one. Maybe Cloud will surprise me, but I think it’s time we take comfort in the fact that Cloud lived out his life in the wild, and has a strong legacy on the range.

Cloud with his former mare Ingrid. (2013)

Cloud with his former mare Ingrid. (2013)


  1. Once again, well said Livi. I couldn’t agree with you more. I understand the love people across the globe have for Cloud, but he is, after all, not immortal.

    • norene smalley Said:

      Hi everyone, I am probably wrong. There was a time caught a picture of ahorse who was caught by those killers and was putting them in a run-the stallion looked like Could and was fight to get to protect his mares????? They zap him with their electric sockers and he fell on ground all most made it out. He was whining out loud and wore out. Couldn’t believe it. Norene Smalley- that was just this 4 mos.

      • Although Cloud has been in a few roundups, he has always been released due to his color–no matter what, Cloud will live out his life in freedom. The last helicopter removal in the Pryors was in 2009, and the Billings BLM only removes select horses ages 1-3 using humane bait trapping. Where did you hear about the stallion you mentioned?

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