Since the enactment of the Wild Free Roaming Burros and Horses Act in 1971 act, the United States Congress has declared that "wild free-roaming horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West, which continue to contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people.”
Many have followed these mustangs and their lives in the Rockies. But no mustang story is more famous than the documentary of Cloud, a pale palomino stallion whose offspring roams public lands to this day.
Renowned filmmaker Ginger Kathrens has been following Cloud since his birth in the Pryor Mountains of Wyoming. The Pryor mountain horses have a unique conformation compared to other mustangs and are said to be directly descended from the Spanish Barb. Cloud’s unique, pale white coat is what initially attracted the filmmaker to the stallion. She followed him from his adventures as a young colt through trials as an adolescent stallion and eventually to adulthood, in which he rules a band of mares of his own.
The most remarkable aspect of this story is his interaction with the Bureau of Land Management. Cloud was once captured by the entity responsible for rounding up and culling these wild herds, but released again on account of his unique white coat and their ultimate desire to spread his genetic makeup.
The legacy of Cloud has stolen the hearts of thousands worldwide. He is responsible for the creation of the Cloud Foundation, an organization that works to protect these particular mustangs from roundup. Ginger states on her webpage, The Cloud Foundation, "I began to realize that we were losing America's wild horses. They are rounded up by the thousand, losing in an instant what they value most – freedom and family. I realized that even Cloud and his family were in danger.”
This non-profit foundation now works to protect Cloud’s herd from removal through education, media, and public involvement. You can learn more about the story of Cloud in any of his three PBS Nature documentaries, corresponding books, or cumulative DVDs. Here is a short look into the life of the infamous stallion from the PBS documentary, Cloud: Challenge of the Stallions: