Aubry Jolley has assumed the role of Director of the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center in Lovell. Jolley is replacing the center’s former director Lori Graham, who resigned recently.
The center acts as an educational resource and advocacy group for the wild horses living in the nearby Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range managed by the BLM. Tourists from all over the world visit the center to learn about the wild horses that have become a symbol of the area and are highly revered by the community.
The horses have been a part of Jolley’s life for many years. A native of the area, she recalls visiting the range on outings with her family.
“I’ve always loved the horses,” said Jolley. “Even as a child, I looked forward to our visits to the range to see them. We used to go to Devil’s Canyon to fly kites sometimes, but I didn’t really care about flying kites, I just wanted to see the horses.”
Jolley saw her first wild horse as a child when she was swimming in Crooked Creek Bay during a family outing.
“I remember feeling that something was watching us and I looked up to see a big black stallion standing up on the hill looking at us,” said Jolley. “I just thought that was so cool at the time.”
Jolley has been a member of the PMWMC board of directors for two years, most recently in the role of treasurer. She began her new role as director in late October.
She said that one of her goals is to inspire more community involvement in the organization and to hold more fundraisers. She also looks forward to promoting the many educational programs offered by the center and would also like to see more local artists display and sell their horse-related art at the center.
“I would really like to get the community involved,” said Jolley. “There has been a lot of involvement off and on over the years, and I feel like right now it’s not as high as it could be. Everyone knows that the horses are up there and everyone knows that we are here, but we don’t get many local people stopping by to visit us. I’d like to see that increase.”
The center recently adopted two wild mustangs (Liesl and Kaibab) that now provide a living educational display in the pasture located next to the center.
“I think that having the two horses here has been a big educational help, because people coming to the center can now see the difference between the wild mustangs and the quarter horses located nearby,” said Jolley.
Jolley recently adopted her first mustangs at an auction held by the BLM following the most recent gather. She adopted Jicarilla, a mare, and her newborn foal. Like many of the wild horses, who were adopted, the two are adapting beautifully to their new home, she said.
Jolley hopes to see the organization’s good relationship with the BLM continue. Members of the organization have stated in the past that although they would prefer not to see gathers used as a method to reduce the population of the herd, the most recent “bait trap” method is the most humane.
“I think they did a good job with this latest gather, with how they handled everything,” said Jolley.
The BLM is currently using fertility control methods that will help reduce the need for gathers in the future. More information about the BLM’s methods to manage the herd can be found at http://www.blm.gov/mt/st/en/fo/billings_field_office/wildhorses.html. Information about the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center can be found at: http://www.pryormustangs.org/.
By Patti Carpenter