Dear Friends of Cloud:
Last week we spent three days on the Pryors with the wild horses and were thrilled to see so many of the 2009 foals. On top of the mountain we found Cloud’s stepson, Flint, with his mare and new son! Flint won the blaze-faced grulla mare, Feldspar, last spring. He lost Feldspar to Prince during the summer, but won her back this spring before the birth of their son. We named the darling grulla colt Jasper. He is a delight and reminds me of Flint as a baby.
Cloud has had a few changes in his family band as well. His daughter and granddaughter, Firestorm and Ember, are now with the coyote-dun band stallion, Jackson. When we walked out to get a closer look at Firestorm and Ember, we had our biggest surprise of the trip. Cloud’s dun mare was with Jackson, too. Beside the mare was a tiny foal that took my breath away. She looks like Cloud did as a foal, not necessarily in color, but in her lovely conformation and bright expression. We named her Windflower. Oddly, the pair has been wandering around on their own for nearly a month, and they weren’t even with Jackson earlier in the day, so we’ll see if this liaison lasts. Because of the cool, rainy weather many of the horses, including Cloud and his family, were far down the mountain. I’m hoping Cloud will try to win back the mare and little Windflower when he comes to the mountaintop. Stay tuned!
Our trip was bittersweet because of the BLM’s plan to remove nearly half the herd beginning on August 30. Many of the beautiful horses who grazed so peacefully in their green meadows could lose what they value most–their freedom and their families. The herd is around 195 horses (excluding foals) and removing nearly half of them would decimate their unique Spanish genetics and jeopardize their future survival. The BLM is going to be targeting not just the young horses but, dangerously, horses 11-15 years of age. This is Cloud’s age group, and over two-thirds of the band stallions fall into this age category as well. The BLM will not even guarantee that Cloud will remain in the wild.
We need national media coverage to save this little herd and so many others that face annihilation. I’m in Sacramento today (Monday, June 15) for the National BLM Wild Horse and Burro meeting. This will be an important meeting that follows the Western States Horse Expo, and we hope that both the public and the media will be there to support the horses.
P.S. The third program in the Cloud series, Cloud: Challenge of the Stallions, will premiere on NATURE nationwide on October 25, 2009. It is our hope that these programs continue to share the beauty of wild horses families and will help to keep them in the wild for many generations to come.
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