The Cloud Blog
The BLM, Grandkids, Mountain Lions

July 3, 2008

Ever since we finished Cloud’s Legacy, the sequel to Cloud: Wild Stallion of the Rockies, over five years ago, I continued to document Cloud’s life. We’re still in the field filming more remarkable events in the life of this powerful stallion. The new show is being referred to as Cloud III right now. . . until a better title comes to us.

Cloud has captured more mares and now commands the largest band on the Arrowhead Mountains of Montana (a.k.a. Pryor Mountains). The past five years of filming will reveal a story as unpredictable as the earlier programs. This time we’re focusing not just on Cloud and his family but the young stallions you met in Legacy — his birth son, Bolder, and his step-son, Flint, and their attempts to start their families in unusual and even reckless ways.

During this time period, I grew more concerned about the ability of the herd to survive the very agency that manages them — the Bureau of Land Management. The BLM has been darting the mares with infertility drugs and bait trapping the horses which resulted in the untimely death of Cloud’s little son in 2006. Now the BLM is threatening to remove nearly half the herd, which would render them genetically non-viable.

Range with horses

“the horses are regarded as ‘trespassers’ in their own home”

The reason the BLM gives for such a drastic removal is lack of forage, but the agency does not count the many thousands of acres that the horses use in the adjacent Custer National Forest. This historic range of the wild horses was not included when the range was designated and so the horses are regarded as “trespassers” in their own home.

In an attempt to preserve the herd we started a non-profit in 2005, The Cloud Foundation, which is dedicated to educating the public about wild horses and why they deserve a place on our wide Western landscapes. Our mission to preserve the herd is becoming quite a tall order as you will see by visiting our Web site, where you can learn what you can do to help keep Cloud and his family forever free.

There are solutions to preservation which certainly don’t seem like brain surgery to me. Legally expanding the range is the best solution for allowing a truly viable herd of at least 200 to 300 wild horses to roam. This could be done by the Custer National Forest Service at the request of the BLM or it could be done legislatively. We are and we have been expressing our concerns to the BLM and Forest Service that they are in violation of the Wild Horse and Burro Act (a 1971 Congressional Act that governs wild horse management) by not recognizing the legal right of the wild horses to occupy the forest service lands, which were clearly areas they were using when the Act passed in 1971 (and for over 150 years before that — before there was a Forest Service!).

The Cloud Foundation is also supporting wilderness designation for the area, most of which is now a Wilderness Study Area. We know that the very popular mustangs would help in getting the area permanently protected.

Bottom line, we are working to keep the horses on the range where they are the safest and where nature has a chance to regulate horse numbers, not humans.

Case in point: On June 30, 2008, the BLM announced plans to euthanize the mustangs because it was costing too much to feed the thousands they have so unfairly rounded up and continue to round up in the West. This is a pretty scary thought because the BLM wants to remove horses later this summer from the Pryors.

In the meantime, the wild horses seem oblivious to these dangers. Cloud’s range is really looking gorgeous after a tough winter and lots of snow right into May. I know the mustangs were looking forward to spring and looked a bit thinner than usual, but are beefing up nicely. There are lots of new foals. Cloud is a grandfather this year, three times over!

Image, Rain, and Cloud

Image, Rain, and Cloud

So far the grandkids, “Image,” “Sage,” and “Summer” are thriving, although “Summer” had a huge claw rake on her shoulder which was healing nicely when we left the mountain last week. She had obviously been attacked by a cougar, but perhaps it was a juvenile as she likely would have been killed quickly by an adult. These big cats are incredible hunters. Three foals and two yearlings are missing so far this year, so the mountain lions may be making a comeback in the area after intensive hunting the past few winters.

Mountain lion predation is good for health of the herd. Regardless, it is hard to get to know the new foals and then realize they are gone. As you know, there are no guarantees in the wild, and this is a wild, spectacular place.

I’ll let you know how everyone is doing after our next filming trip late this month.

- Ginger Kathrens

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  • Joanna

    Thank you for that!!

  • BRENDA H.

    PBS-THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE UPCOMING DOCUMENTARY ABOUT CLOUD AND THE WILD HORSES-SUN. JULY 6
    STILL NEED SIGNATURES ON “Save Cloud and His Wild Herd” PETITION PLZ:

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/save-cloud-and-his-wild-herd

  • BRENDA H.

    signature
    goal: 5,000

    2,057
    signatures!
    “Save Cloud and His Wild Herd” PETITION: DEADLINE: JULY 11

  • Morgan Griffith

    Thank you for continuing to follow this herd and to update us. Look forward to seeing additional documentaries hopefully it won’t include the BLM and a mass slaughter, o please o please!!

  • Sandra I

    Ms Kathrens—I have been writing on behalf of these horses, since I first saw your Cloud. Altho our numbers are great for the horses, it seems that we are not heard–as we are the voice of these wild mustangs, with you, it is sad that their fate is driven by the ranchers, who are using “our lands”,as well. Maybe this yr we will be heard!

  • Linda MIra-Bateman

    Please may your work stop senseless culling. We as human beings are doing an abysmal job of managing earth – we should leave what is left to those who can live in harmony.

  • Jocelyn

    Beautiful creatures, with Peace & harmony. They could teach humans a thing or two. Yhank you.

  • Susan

    This blog is such a good idea; it will encourage others to become involved and voice their concerns about the Pryor Mtn. horses. Thank you.

  • Lin

    I have been calling and writing since I found out what the BLM plans for Cloud’s herd. Your site and your work is beautiful. Think postive thoughts,we will save them Lin

  • Gale

    Thank you for your hard work and dedication. We have cross posted the petition site on our forum. The BLM needs to wake up and realize they cannot slip this through the publics’ eye like so many other things.

  • Debbie L.

    Thank you for your wonderful work-may it help our fight to save these majestic creatures.

  • Kathy

    All the money wasted on their pet projects and the trillions spent (our tax dollars) to kill and maim. We deserve a say on our tax dollars for I’m sick of taxation without representation. I vote we drop hay for these horses, they’re so skinny. Note none of the politicians look like any of them have missed any meals.

  • Katherine

    I have enjoyed the program on Cloud and the wild horses. I do not have much knowledge on the wild herds or the BLM and park service and how our govt. blends the programs and services together. I would hate to see the horses kept from roaming for food due to the lack of much needed laws to protect them. I hope someone with more knowledge than I will be able to contact the right people in Congress and make sure there is some legislation passed to protect the horses so they can continue to roam. Thanks for a great program and film for my local PBS station.

  • Mark

    I watched last night, July 6th, and while some footage seemed new, it appeared to be mostly a combination of the 2-parts that played a few years ago. this is not a complaint, as this is a BEAUTIFUL show. Cloud, et al.

    however, I need clarification, it says ‘western Montana’, the earlier shows had reference to the Arrowhead Mountains and I believe “Pryor Horse Range” which is definitely not ‘western Montana’.

    so where exactly in the Big Sky of Montana is this series filmed?

  • catherine

    hi that wa s awsome i love it thankyou everybody

  • Teresa Chin

    Thank you for continuing the information on Cloud and his wild herd. I have been sending emails and letters to try to get the wild horses the protection they deserve. The BLM is more political than scientific in its management and I think that is a problem. I hope the American public continues to stand up for the horses.

  • Cheryl Roemmele

    I saw Cloud for the first time on July 6th and was deeply moved. Please, someone tell me what I can do to help stop the government from interferring in onw of nature’s most beautiful stories, documented so beautifully by such a talented lady. What can I do? Thank you.

  • BRianna

    I want to help the herd! Where do I sign the petition? Ginger, thanks for your service in documenting the wild mustangs. Please continue to keep us updated on the progress of the herd.

  • sharon comer

    Your work is commendable and you are truly an angel….as a resident of Wyoming I want to see these horses remain in their homeland and I see them as an example of true freedom. But just as the last of the free range buffalo herd, their days may be numbered.
    I will stay with this topic and look forward to your next program release in 2009.
    Long live Cloud!!

  • Karen L.

    Cloud is a precious symbol of all that is American. To save the herds you can sign the petition at the site shown earlier in the blog and go to the Bureau of Land Management site (you can just Google it). The BLM is actually asking for feedback on the horse and burro issues. If only they will seriously listen…

  • christy reed

    I would love one of the mustangs. The Blm requirements are so difficult. I would like to save one of the babies or the mother horse. I have a trailer and can pay a small amount for a horse. I want to save a part of history. Can anyone help me. I live in Missouri. Please help me to get one of these horses to save a life!! I will sign any petition please let me know how. I want to help!!!

  • Susie

    I have just learned about this site. I have want a burro for years. I grew up with them and have had horses ever since. How do you go about adopting one?

  • Karen Grabianowski

    Ginger, what a legacey you have been leaving for children of all ages by letting us know Cloud and all the wild horses in his area of the Pryor Mts. We enjoy your beautiful filming of all wildlife and we pray for the horses safety and freedom.

  • Lyn McDaniel

    As I read all your entries,Ismile,and get teary eyed,I am ever so grateful to God for these incredible animals,and for you. Thankyou for helping!!

  • Randolph

    that was one of the most,realistic shows of what happens in the wild,both the still silence and the sudden aggression of what some may wish not to see or know about.thank you for showing that show.

  • Cecilia

    I was so moved, I laughed, cried and was compelled to the screen with anticipation. I can’t thank you enough for your love of commitment to document for all to learn and enjoy an incredible presentation of natural life. – My parents, sons, grandchildren and great grandchildren will all share in my sentiments to you now, where 2 little words like ‘thank you’ can’t convey. We’ll cherish it. – cecilia

  • Michelle

    I caught Cloud: Wild Stallion of the Rockies on PBS last night. This is a documentary that I was not aware of so I’m glad I was able to catch it. You are a remarkable person and I wish you the best of luck with Cloud and his family.

    I saw the petition and I signed it, just under the wire I guess. I’m grateful I was able to do so.

  • charlie iosco

    I will gladly sign petition to save the
    Mustangs in Montana and will do anything else to help save these awsome wild treasures of ours!

  • http://-- Sleellflaks

    this topic for tests cars

  • chris

    I live in Cody, WY, and go to the Pryor’s as often as possible. They will not “get rid” of Cloud! I own a wild mustang, and these great creatures are the most loving animals there are. I have never been up there and not seen cloud. Normally will see 40-80 in any given visit. Have stayed many a night in Penns Cabin. Nothing better in life than being up in such a beautiful place with all these wonderful creatures…even though I have one in my own pasture, along with my other three horses

  • Sharon Collins

    Cloud is in good condition, as far as wild horses go. He has a rugged beauty only belonging to wild horses. I’ve always wanted to go to Montana… Oh well. Image is the spit image of Cloud! Someday I’m going to have a farm and adopt Mustangs to influence novels I’m writing!

  • Ellen

    I think Image and Rain are beautiful!They look superb in Cloud’s band.It’s sad that Sitka died, but she’s been replaced by a real sweet pair!

  • Cayce

    Please tell Cloud that I said congratulations on being a granddaddy. The BLM should just shut up and set Cloud, his family, and his herd free in The Arrowhead Mountains. I hate The BLM.

  • Mae

    I think, to help with funding, Ginger should try to air a television show (animated) about the stallion and his adventures. That would be amazing. :)

  • Madalynne S

    i was thinking that like mabey u could like tell ur friends to like send the BLM a letter to have the round-ups only every 3 years.i love cloud by the way he is sooo awesome.

  • Dee

    Save our wild horses. The BLM must rethink what they do. Horses have rights also. Thanks.

  • Terri

    What a beautiful documentary. Please let us know what to do so that Cloud and his Dynasty can continue to thrive and live. I know there are hundreds of people who feel as I do and would be willing to help!

  • dungal

    They are NOT wild horses. Why can no one get this right. They are FERAL horses, an INVASIVE species not native to this county. Horses that got loose and cross-bred at random no different from feral dogs, feral cats, feral pigs, etc. Somehow just because they are horses people want to romanticize them. Save them if you like but call them what they are not some fantasy that you want to live in.

  • LYNN

    if think these horses are pests you are wrong. they are an image, whats left of the west, we need to protect them. i believe that these horses need to have more space to freely roam.i have a kiger mustang that came from the BLM, i took at trip to new mexico where the new mexican horse project is under way. they are saving actual spannish mustangs.i saw these beautiful horses and i am looking forward to saving more.i am more than a horse girl, i am one with all horses. they seem to understand me, and i understand them. CALL ME CRAZY if you want, but these horses need to be protected from humans for ever!!!!!!!!! if the light disapears and after image is all you will see. that light wont ever be seen again by anyone because it is gone. STOP THE BLM!!!!!!!!!!

  • hannha g

    i love image i am geting him in breyer form

  • Pam Thompson/Canada

    I just watched the television show on Cloud and his family in the Arrowhead Mountains. I had heard of these wild horses but it was interesting to find out how they make their own families and survive in the wild. With fewer and fewer true wilderness areas I believe it is important to keep your foundation going and support wildlife in the wilderness. Spreading the knowledge is important.

  • Debra Fraser

    Ginger, my husband and I are from Nova Scotia Canada and we visited the wild horses of Pyror Mountain in June of 2008.

    We fell in love with them, their story of survival and their plyte. We immediately became of member to protect them.

    We continue to follow these amazingly beautiful animals and our hearts go out to them and to you and your groups that are trying desperately to save them. We pray you will be successful in this mission you personally taken on and we are truly grateful to be able to follow Cloud’s story through you.

    God Bless you Ginger and your horses!

    Millan and Debbie Fraser

  • Greg

    I have watched every episode, of the Cloud saga. Just watched the most recent one on p.b.s. this past week end,6/24/2012. I am shocked that the BLM would even consider destoying such a Noble creature. Why is it that with all that land, wid and open, that BLM feels it must destroy this wonderful horse (Cloud) and his family?. Im praying and begging, if everybody would just e-mail your congress person and senetor, we could put and end to this BS from the BLM. Please, leave Cloud and his family alone to live Free and wild. like God intended for them to.

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