Pryor Mountain Mustang Article and Photos Copyrighted - see credits below
The Pryor Mountain Mustang has a home in the Wild Horse Range in the Big Horn Mountains which was the first tract of land set aside for wild horses in the USA. That took place in 1968, and since then, these mustangs have enjoyed a lot of publicity. The reason for that may have been the dedicated efforts of some Pryor Mountain enthusiasts, and it may also be because they are much more accessible than most other mustang populations.
This group of mustangs is said to trace back to Indian horses, but a detailed history put out by the BLM office in Billings, Montana, showed that the hypothetical Indian horses were only a minor influence by comparison, and that it was mostly settlers horses of that region which can be assumed to have been the ancestors of the Pryor Mountain mustang.
These mustangs are rather varying in phenotype. While many express all kinds of influences, from oriental blood to draft, a few are of predominantly Iberian type.
HOME BASE AND CARE
While parts of the Wild Horse Range (an area of 44,000 acres which is all fenced in) is rather inaccessible, driving through the wild horse range by car on a good black-top road is easy enough, and usually some of the horses can be sighted. Once one has located them, the Pryor Mountain mustang is no problem to observe, as they do not run away. Decades of unmolested living in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming and Montana and exposure to cars and people have resulted in rather tame behavior; one can usually step right up to them.
There are several private breeders in Lovell, Wyoming, which is the town nearest to the wild horse range. They have formed the Pryor Mountain Mustang Association, dedicated to the preservation of this mustang, both, in private hands and out on the range. Private breeders are no longer found only in Wyoming, and are not always happy with the way their mustangs are managed by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management).
The population of about 200 Pryor Mountain mustangs has recently been reduced. It is questionable whether they still represent a viable population. Management has also included contraceptives in recent years, so that natural reproduction has been suppressed and the balance of social herd structures compromised.