Meet Hayden!

Hayden, Wild American Mustang from Cloud’s famous Pryor Mountain herd finds sanctuary at Equine Advocates

Hayden, a Wild American Mustang is the newest resident at Equine Advocates Rescue & Sanctuary. He arrived on October 1, 2013. Born in 2007, Hayden was captured during a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) round-up in the Pryor Mountains of Montana when he was just two years old. See photos of his round-up below. According to witnesses who were at that 2009 round-up, it was a brutal and highly traumatic experience for the horses who were cruelly separated from their families and loaded into holding pens. Hayden got his first owner at a BLM Adoption in Montana. Sadly, as is the case with so many captive Wild Horses, he was discarded by his owner who put him on Craig’s List. Someone connected to the Cloud Foundation rescued him and took him to Colorado where he went to the Horse Protection League, a horse rescue organization. He was subsequently adopted out again, but then was returned to the rescue. At the same time, we at Equine Advocates were looking for a suitable pasture-mate for our Mustang, Nelson, whose buddy, Willie, had passed away. We were first told about Hayden by the good people at the Cloud Foundation. They made the connection for us with the Horse Protection League and before long, arrangements were made to send Hayden to New York. Given all that he had been through in his young life, he seemed like a good candidate for a sanctuary and as a companion for Nelson.

Hayden is a gorgeous equine with a rich history. His unique color is known as “Coyote Dun.” He has a long Dorsal Stripe that runs down the entire length of his back and he has black stripes on his legs. Since his arrival at Equine Advocates, Hayden has taken to sanctuary life quite well. He seems to love the attention he gets from our staff and volunteers and he also seems to enjoy the slow pace and quiet of the farm. Although he has only been here a short time, he is already a favorite among visitors who love his friendly and outgoing nature. His introduction to Nelson will take place soon and we will be documenting it.

We are so grateful to Terry Fitch of the Wild Horse Freedom Federation and to Ginger Kathrens of The Cloud Foundation for helping us put together the story of Hayden’s past with their firsthand witness accounts and their amazing photography.  Please watch our special video message which features many of their dramatic images of Hayden in the Pryor Mountains.  The video also shows Hayden as he is today as an important member of our family here at Equine Advocates Rescue & Sanctuary.  Stay tuned for more updates about Hayden and his new role as an ambassador for the Mustangs and Burros who have also lost their freedom and families at these violent and terrifying round-ups at the hands of the BLM.

Baby Hayden:  Photo Credit:  Ginger Kathrens / The Cloud Foundation. Hayden as a foal when he was still wild and free in the Pryor Mountains of Montana
Hayden at Equine Advocates.
Love that Hay! Photo Credit: Karen Wagner.
Wet & Wild!   Photo Credit: Nousha Salimi.




Photographer Terry Fitch was a witness to the brutal 2009 round-up on the Pryor Mountains in Montana the day that Hayden was captured. You can see the contractors and BLM personnel herding Hayden and his family into the chute, as the helicopter that chased them, hovered above (1st photo – top left). We will be posting more of Ms. Fitch’s amazing images that captured the terror experienced by these exquisite equines. This is the same horrible treatment experienced by all of our precious wild horses and burros who are captured and stripped of their families and their freedom without a thought. As Americans and as tax-payers, our voices have as much right to be heard as the special interests whose goal it is to exterminate and eviscerate America’s wild herds. We have a right to demand that these animals be humanely managed in the wild. It can be done and it has been done…and at half the cost to tax-payers as the round-ups.

Photo ©Terry Fitch


Photo ©Terry Fitch


In photographing and documenting the horrors of this BLM round-up which show how Hayden and other members of his herd were chased down by helicopters and cruelly separated, Terry Fitch said the following:

“The Pryor Mountain round-up of 2009 was a particularly emotional event for me.  This was my first round-up ever.  As a matter of fact, as a U.S. taxpaying citizen, I did not even know this was going on in my own country!  I’ll never forget the 6-week trek ‘out west’ that my parents took me on when I was only 14.  The typical ‘horse crazy’ girl, I was just awestruck when I saw a wild horse in the distance.  My little eagle eyes combed the horizon searching for the next horse and my heart would actually skip a beat when I spotted one.  Little did I know, 30 plus years later, that I would be so heavily involved with trying to preserve these magnificent creatures. Who would have thought?

It was a truly sad day to see the world-famous Cloud and his band being rounded up.  What I did not realize, at the time, was that I also saw Hayden along with his family members rounded up.  My very first glimpse of the small band was at 4:06 PM on 9/7/09 with a helicopter hovering just above their heads in the distance.  Approximately 6 minutes later, they were inside the trap.  Hayden was never to see freedom again.

This round-up was the event that changed not only my life, but my husband’s as well.  Having been involved with horse rescue for a decade, our focus shifted.  It now included the Wild Horses – those horses that I so longingly searched for, as a young girl across the horizon.  Now as an adult, I understand the danger that they face.  Hayden is, truly, one of the lucky ones.  I am humbled that my photos are able to help fill in some of the puzzle pieces of his past.

Below are the full images