A Visit to Image and Ember’s Family

January 1, 2011

(As the snow has been falling on the ground for a good month here in Ohio, I have realized that I have not made an entry in this journal for some months now.  I will start where I left off back in June and will try to catch up in the weeks to come.)

As the end of June approached, I was anxious to get to the Pryor Mountains to see Image and Ember’s mountain family.  I wanted to see how the round up and removal of so many of this unique herd had affected it’s dynamics.  It was a very bittersweet time as I knew in my heart that the mountain is where Image and Ember belonged.  Their grandfather Cloud had several of his offspring removed in 2009:  his daughter and five of his grandchildren.  I fear that for some odd reason his family has a big target on them.


At the top of the mountain I found bitter cold temps and a wind that didn’t just whistle, it howled.  I was glad I had put my heavy coat, gloves and stocking hat within reach.  It didn’t take long to see that Cloud’s son Bolder and his family were grazing nearby.  Bolder is a deep sooty copper color palomino.  As he has grown older, his coloring has gotten so much bolder, much like his horse-anality.

Bolder, Echo and Cloud

To my delight, Bolder has 3 rambunctious little ones playing with each other in his band.   A little palomino colt named Echo that looked quite a bit like his grandfather Cloud and his cousin Image.  He has those trademark white eyelashes that melt hearts.  His muzzle is lighter in color and has more pink on it.  And his body structure is a little different than Image’s, but for a moment I was taken aback.  As he played with his sister Kicks A Lot (You can see in this image how she earned her name), I was struck by the scene before me.

Kicks a Lot and Echo playing

Kick's a Lot, Echo and Absaroka playing

They were playing just as Image and Ember had 2 summers ago when they were this age.  I have to admit that tears blurred my vision for a bit and it was hard to take pictures of this reminiscent scene before me.  What would it have been like had Image and Ember been allowed to continue living on their mountain top home?  Would they have played with their cousins, who look so much like them?  Would Image and Echo been a part of a rowdy bachelor band together?  I will never know…..

Echo approaching Dancer

I held my breath when little Echo approached Cloud Dancer (Image’s mom).  I wonder if she remembers Image when she looks at Echo.


Time slipped away quickly as I was watching the horses and their behaviors.  It was a pure joy and delight to see Bigfoot, an older stallion who had eluded the helicopter round up the summer before.  With the extreme arthritis in his legs, the run down the rugged mountain probably would have killed him.  He is the kind of wild stallion that you just have to admire.  He is all heart.  I had to chuckle and shake my head at him in wonder as he tried his best to steal a mare, running around with band stallions.  Does he really want to win a mare or is he just having some fun with ‘the guys’?

Bigfoot on the far right

Firestorm and her little Lady Jane

Coming upon Jackson’s band, I see that Firestorm (Embers Mom) is still with him.  And she has a little one by her side.  She looks like an elegant little lady!  This is Ember’s little half sister.  It was hard to see Ember’s family without her there.  Would she have played games with her little sister?   I find that such thoughts only hurt as I ponder what could have been…..   As I have watched Firestorm grow older through the years, she has become such a beautiful horse.  She has turned into a graceful presence on her mountain top home.

It was such great fun to see Flint and his mare Feldspar and their ‘flintstone’ family.  His yearling son Jasper is learning the art of being a stallion from his very cool father.  Cloud raised Flint, even though Cloud is not his blood father.  Cloud stole Flint’s mother from the mighty stallion Shaman before he was born.  It was a delight to see Flint and Feldspar with their new little daughter Agate.  Such a little cutie she is.  (I have just recently learned that Flint has lost his family to Bolder.  I am hopeful that he will win them back in the Spring.)

Flint and Feldspars youngsters: Jasper and Agate

The dashingly handsome Flint

It was wonderful to see so many babies on the mountain this summer.  I only wish this were not the end of such sights on this beautiful land.  After the round up last summer, most of the mares were given PZP, a birth control drug.  I think there are only 5 mares from this herd that were not given the PZP.  My heart aches for the future of this amazing herd.



  1. Deb, your photos are most inspiring! Wish I had your job…I would be drooling over these beautiful creations of our Creator and probably trying to make friends with all of them…
    Thank you for being so diligent to keep up with Cloud’s herd and share it with us.

    • Thank you CJ for your kind words. There are times when I am on the mountain that I do just put my camera down and drink in the beauty of all that is around me.

      Take Care,

  2. Thank you so much for this beautiful blog. You are an amazing photographer and very gifted in your wordcraft as well. I so wish I could see these horses.

    • Thank you for your kind words Linda. I hope you get your wish some day. We must do all that we can to ensure our wild horses stay forever free in their wilderness home.

      Take Care,

  3. Hi I just have to say that those are some of the most beautiful pictures that I have ever seen!
    There is nothing that I would rather do in this world than sit out with all of America’s Wild Mustangs and take pictures! That is my goal!

    • Thank you Jesseca for your kind words. It is incredible to out among wild horses. Never lose sight of your dreams.

      Take Care,

  4. Deb,
    Thank you for sharing your experiences on the mountain. The pictures are totally amazing and have so much more meaning when paired with your words. The sharing of your thoughts and reading your descriptions of what you see make your beautiful photographs really come to life in a special way. All of sudden they are not just horse pictures, but really amazing moments you have captured in the horses lives that show their own relationships with one another and their surroundings. Thank you for sharing and enabling all of us to learn more about these horses.

    • Thank you Deborah. You know what these horses and this special place mean to me…..

      Take Care,

  5. Absolutely beautiful photo’s. Wish I could have been there with you. One day, I hope to see them in person.

    • Thank you for your kind words. It is an amazing experience to be up on the mountain with these special horses. I hope you will get to see them one day.

      Take care,

  6. Happy New Year. New to Cloud’s FB site and looking forward to seeing more on the Wild Horse politics. THANKS FOR YOUR contributions for Wild Horses’ benefit.

    • Happy New Year to you as well Heather! Welcome aboard! There is still a LOT of work to be done helping out wild horses stay forever wild and free.

      Take care,

  7. Dear Deb,
    Please keep-emcoming! The pictures and your account
    of your visit to these beautiful wild horses was
    simply most enjoyable! It’s clear to see that your
    own unique “horse-family” is well cared for and greatly loved. These horses are part of God’s
    special gift and must be cared for.

    • Thank you Nancy. Not everyone understands that God has entrusted us with the care of His amazing creatures. Some just want to destroy them all.

      Looking forward to the time we see each other again! Hope you and Betty and doing well.

      Take care and God bless,

  8. Hi Deb – I LOVED your pictures and blog! I miss our horse family up on the mountain.

    • Thanks Nancy! I know: I can’t wait to get back out there this summer.


  9. I absolutely love the picture of Cloud at the beginning of this entry. You’re an amazing photographer. Thank you for keeping this blog as well. I hope one day I’ll be able to go see the horses in person. Thank you for sharing your experiences and letting all of us stay updated on Cloud and his family (both those who remain wild and those who have found new homes)while we wait for the day we might get to have our own experiences with them

    • Thank you Sarah. Visiting the mountain with these incredible horses is an experience that is truly amazing! I hope you will get to see them one day……

      Until then we must all do what we can to ensure the rest of Cloud’s herd remain wild and free on their mountain top home.

      Take care,

  10. How are Image and Ember doing? It was sad that they were taken from their home but Im glad that they have a new home along with Summer, Sage, Arrow, and Rain. Have you heard that Arrow had given birth to a colt on April 12th? I agree with you about Flint losing his family to Bolder and I hope he wins them back in the spring or summer. I am very excited that Jasper will be a bachelor this year and he’ll become a band stallion and a father in a few years

    • Hi Jonathan,
      Yes, I do know that Arrow (Image’s older half sister) had a little one last spring. Quite a pleasant little suprise!

      Image and Ember are doing very well. Image has really grown up in the past year and half since we have brought him to our home. He is thriving in his new herd. He is very easy going and not much bothers him. Ember is doing great too. She has a spunk and a sassy side to her that I love. She is always very much in tune to her surroundings.

      Thank you for your interest in them. I am hopeful that no other horses are removed from the Pryors. I am hopeful that Echo, Absaroka, Kicks A Lot, Jasper and Agate get to live their lives to the fullest in freedom on their mountain home.

      Take care,

      • I heard the Kicks Alot and her mother Autumn arent with Bolder and his band and I dont know where the two are. Flint won back his family and he has a new mare and her colt

      • I wish that Image’s grandmother Sitka was still alive. Cloud and Sitka had a special bond together and she was loyal to Cloud. I miss her alot. I miss her alot

        • This year was very beautiful in the Arrowheads. Echo, Absaroka, and Kicks Alot are like Cloud and his sisters, Smokey and Mahogany, when they were foals. It’s amazing to see that there’s a new little Cloud in the Pryor Mountains. I wish I can go see Image and Ember’s family someday

  11. I just came by (so I’m a little slow) and saw your wonderful pictures. Thank you for getting that awesome shot of Flint in there. He is my personal favorite.


  13. I really want to know what color is Firestorm and Red Raven’s daughter Sand is. They look like a sandy colored roan but they might be a light red roan

    • I would say that Firestorm is light red roan. It’s hard to say. The Pryor horses have such a unique coloring to them. The roan get darker in the winter with their winter coats and then get lighter in the summer when their winter hair sheds out. I know that Ember (Firestorm’s daughter) is constantly changing colors. Her mane and tail are much much darker than her mom’s. She is a sorrel roan. I am not sure about Sand.

      • I was the reading the Cloud Challenge of the Stallions book and it said that Ember is a very pale bay. Firestorm and Red Raven’s daughter Sand were both bright orange foals when they were born. When they roaned out, they were like a sandy colored roan. I think that they are a light red roan. I heard that Ember’s grandmother Velvet couldnt accept Cloud’s new mare Ingrid. Feldspar and Agate left Flint to join Cloud because Flint won a new mare named Sequoyah and Feldspar couldnt accept her

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