Companions in Life

I had the honor to visit the Pryor mountain wild mustangs for a few days and wanted to share my experience. At the base of the mountain the temperatures were showing signs of being in the 100s and the promise of cooler temperatures motivates anybody to go higher up in the mountains.

You start off on a dirt road that seems adequate for any car, you pass a few cattle guards and get to a sign that in summary says, if you don't have a high clearance vehicle DO NOT venture.

Before continuing, you must make an offering to the "Little People of the Pryors", yes it is a thing, (known as Nirumbee or Awwakkulé in the Crow language) are a race of ferocious dwarves in the folklore of the Crow Nation, a Native American tribe. The Little People were also seen as imparting spiritual wisdom, and played a major role in shaping the destiny of the Crow People through the dreams of the legendary Crow chief, Plenty Coups.

My Jeep felt right at home on this road, it started off in the desert and went through amazing landscape of red, green and white hills. Passed through groves of desert junipers that are as tall as I am. The road changed often from sandy to rocky and back to sandy. This was no time to not pay attention which is difficult since the scenery is so unique. After some time you start seeing more changes, it becomes more forested, tall pine trees surround the jeep, glimpses of cliffs are also present. The forest opens up to a meadow but wait that's not where the horses live, the road continues and passes yet another meadow. After 1 1/2 to 2 hours of being bounced around, you finally reach the area where they live. Will not find paints up here, you will find: Bays, Duns, Coyote Duns, Bay and Dun Roans, Buckskins, Sorrels, Chestnuts, Grulla/Grullo, Blacks and Palomino. The famous wild stallion here was Cloud, a beautiful Palomino. He is no longer with us but has left one Palomino offspring, a daughter, Nimbus.

Unlike the other wild horses I have seen so far, they live at the top of the Pryors, this is not a desert environment (even though there are some horses that live at the foot of the mountain in the more desert area, the majority live up in the mountains). During the hot day, the horses hide in the trees, bringing them respite from the heat. One watering hole is in the north area, surrounded by trees and the other is south in the meadows, unlike their desert counterpart, they drink...maybe take a dip...but they do not linger and for good reason, mountain lions, the ones that prey on the foals and older horses. The area has lush meadows of wild flowers sprinkled with groves of pine trees this is "paradise" if it wasn't for the predators and the looming harsh winter approaching every day. So, in the late afternoon, most of the wild ones will emerge from the woods go to the watering holes and meander to the wide open space of the meadows for the night.

I stayed up there, sleeping in my Jeep, experiencing their life for a brief moment, where wild mustangs live on top of the busy world. If are ever in the neighborhood of the Pryors, first stop at the Mustang Center where there are wonderful people there that will give you directions, then make sure you have the appropriate vehicle, take the drive and try to stay for the sunsets.