Happy Birthday to Hope Ryden, a Pioneer for Wild Horses

By The Cloud Foundation

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 31, 2013) – “Without Hope Ryden there would be no Cloud or any wild horses roaming in the Pryor Mountains,” states Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation. In 1968 while on location as a photo-journalist for National Geographic, Ryden discovered the Pryor Mountains and fell in love with the wild horses and the rugged beauty of the area. A year later, as a reporter for ABC television news, she discovered a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plan to exterminate the herd. With the help of locals in the Lovell, WY area, Hope exposed the plan on ABC Nightly News.

Secretary of the Interior, Stewart Udall, angered and embarrassed by the BLM’s clandestine operation, quickly created the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range in 1969.

“Hope’s passion for the wild horses proves how one person can make a lasting difference.” says Ann Evans, Founding Board Member, The Cloud Foundation. “On the heels of saving the Pryor Herd, she was instrumental in the passage of the Wild Horse and Burro Act in late 1971.”

The Cloud Foundation pays tribute to Honorary Board Member, Hope Ryden, a fearless warrior for America's wild horses.  Her seminal book America's Last Wild Horses, chronicles the history of wild horses on the continent including the government’s war on wild horses and the subsequent campaign to preserve them. The book and her testimony before Congress helped win unanimous passage of the Wild Horse and Burro Act designed to keep wild horses and burros safe from harassment on our public lands.  First published in 1970, Hope updated the book in 2005 and it continues to be the most authoritative history of wild horses and their struggle to survive in the face of powerful enemies.

Hope wrote in her prologue in 1970:  When I first saw wild horses sweeping across a mountain slope, tails and manes streaming, screaming with an exuberance never heard in any pasture, my whole view of modern America brightened. My resignation to a jet-age America with her streams polluted, telephone poles marring every landscape, and automobile graveyards where once wild meadows sheltered grouse and butterflies, was replaced momentarily by a small hope. Wild horses still existed. It was then I decided to learn about them and do everything in my power to keep them alive and free. 

In 2005 Hope joined Ann Evans and Ginger Kathrens on a tour of the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range.  Ann recalls, “ I had the privilege of driving to the top of the Pryors with Hope.  It was one of those amazing snowy June days where we slipped and slid our way up and down Tillett Ridge Road. Her joy in returning to the mountaintop was palpable.  She was thrilled to see the animals still thriving in their spectacular homeland.”  

Hope Ryden has written twenty-five books to date including Wild Horse Summer and Wild Horses I Have Known as well as natural history accounts of numerous other wildlife species in North America.

“My personal favorite is God’s Dog,” says Kathrens. “It forever changed the way I look at the amazing but much reviled coyote. Hearing the coyotes howl atop the Pryor Mountains is one of my all time favorite sounds in nature.”

Happy Birthday, Hope! And thank you for your passion and dedication to the preservation of America's wild horses. 

(Hope Ryden currently resides in New York City)

Originally Posted By The Cloud Foundation