In September of 2009, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) removed an entire sub‐population of wild horses from the Custer National Forest lands in the Pryor Mountains. The older horses in four family bands were acquired by the Cloud Foundation (TCF) to prevent the horses from being permanently penned in feedlot style facilities, and to prevent the family bands from being separated and the stallions gelded.
TCF also acquired the horses as a genetic reservoir for the main Pryor herd, which is a small, isolated herd in danger of suffering irreparable genetic loss. The Freedom Family horses or their offspring could be released back into the Pryors to rejuvenate the main herd if needed. Conquistador, one of our four band stallions, died suddenly in May 2012, perhaps from a lightning strike. In June of 2014, one of our other band stallions Shane died, and it is believed his death was lightning related as well. Read more in "A Tribute to Shane."
Two bands led by Trigger and his son Pistol remain. 12 horses are in our care and they live on pastures leased by TCF north of Livingston, Montana.
The horses owned by the Foundation are representative of the small but sturdy, Spanish‐style horses of the Pryor Mountains, one of the only Spanish Colonial herds remaining in the West.
They include the flashy bay stallion, Trigger (first documented by Ginger Kathrens as a newborn for the 1997 BBC production “Spirit of the Mustang”), his mares Evita and Moshi, Sierra, Mystery, Josie (daughter of Trigger and Mae West), and Moshi’s older daughter, Chaulupa. At the moment, Pistol (born in 2010, son of Trigger and Evita) has nearly all the mares. The mares who have reproduced are on the one‐year infertility drug PZP. The vaccine is reversible unless applied remotely five to seven years in a row. It is over 90% effective.
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