Wild Mustangs range in the Prior Mountains that shadow the canyon, the descendants of Crow and Cheyenne pony herds from the old days and among their number bays, sorrels, along with some grays, roans and pintos, roam the range, their distinctive ‘primitive’ markings including a stripe running down the back, or "zebra" stripes on the legs, differentiating them as member of the tribal Horse Nation.We go in search of these mustangs, survivors from the Horse Nation's proudest days.
In 1970 Congress declared the mustangs “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West”. Learn of the ongoing fate of these magnificent four-leggeds as you watch them in their most natural of habitats in the West. The spectacular Bighorn Canyon is an important cultural site for the Crow and Cheyenne, as well as a breathtaking natural wonder.
Throughout this land sacred power has been transfigured in the Vision Quest, and guided by someone who knows the holy path, purification and prayer in a sweat lodge precede the quester’s journey to a point that it is raised to the heavens. Body and mind endure a fast, laying humble beneath the Powers and waiting for a four-legged or winged messenger’s call. For as long as Native people have walked in them, these mountains and canyons have been bound to the bighorn sheep. The canyons resound with their battles, rams clashing heads for rights to the ewes and equal to the grizzly, buffalo wolf or elk, the bighorn sheep are as one with the American West
About Your Day
You will arrive at the Bighorn National Recreation Area mid afternoon - the mustangs are usually easier to find and view in the late afternoon-early evening.
You will hear stories of Crazy Horse’s skill capturing wild horses, of the relationships between warriors and their mounts and of equine valor beyond imagination in the face of war, where army was pitted against family.
You will stand before what are known locally as 'tipi rings' and will hear the tribal explanation of these special entities (note: they were not simply to hold down hide/canvas tipi sidings against draught as is widely accepted by non-Indian historians!)