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The Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range covers 38,000 acres of public land that straddles the Montana-Wyoming border. The range was established in 1968 as the first tract in the United States intended to preserve the heritage of wild horses and burros. A 1971 law declared wild horses and burros to be â€œliving symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the Westâ€ and stipulates that the United States Bureau of Land management and the U.S. Forest Service have the responsibility to manage and protect herds in their respective jurisdictions within areas where wild horses and burros were found roaming when the act was signed. During the course of a year, the horses move from lower elevation to higher elevation as snows retreat. Our July visit was thanks to the Prior Mountain Wild Mustang Center, and we found the horses at the very top of the mountain surrounded by lush grasses and wildflowers. It was an extremely difficult ride to the top of the mountain, but the rewards were great. The 160 or so horses that live on this mountain are grouped into tightly-knit family bands and we were fortunate to encounter a newborn foal, bands of bachelor stallions and many other beautiful family bands, all in idyllic surroundings overlooking the Big Horn River Valley below. A highlight moment came when we were sitting on a rock outcropping and the curious leader of a family let his band within a few feet to inspect these two-legged creatures with cameras and tripods. The movie, â€œCloud: Wild Stallion of the Rockiesâ€, tells the story of the real-life stallion named Cloud who lived here.
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