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  • Writer's pictureKerry Ferguson

How Did Cloud Inspire Ginger Kathrens to Found The Cloud Foundation?

A photograph of a young iconic foal named Cloud with his mother Phoenix in the Pryor Mountains
Baby Cloud and Phoenix

It was a few weeks before Thanksgiving in 1993. Ginger Kathrens’ phone rang and on the other end of the line was Marty Stouffer, host of the popular PBS television series “Wild America.” “I’ve always wanted to do a film about mustangs,” he began. “Will you shoot it for me?”

Those words began what would be the journey of a lifetime for Kathrens. One that would lead her to the rugged Pryor Mountains, to the horses that would reveal to her the deep social structure of wild horses, to their love of family and freedom… and to Cloud, a beautiful pale foal who tottered out in front of her camera on the day he was born. His life helped her tell the story that has proven inspirational to so many.

A photograph of the iconic wild stallion named Cloud who is the namesake for The Cloud Foundation
Cloud Looks Over

Ginger agreeing to film a show on mustangs for Marty Stouffer produced the highly rated two-part episode of Wild America, “Year of the Mustang.” That in turn led her to create a film for PBS documenting Cloud’s journey in, “Cloud: Wild Mustang of the Rockies,” followed by a second film, “Cloud’s Legacy: The Wild Stallion Returns,” and a third, “Cloud: Challenge of the Stallions.”

Throughout the filming process, Ginger learned more and more about wild horses and burros. She also learned about the management of these wild equines, and not all of what she learned -- and witnessed -- was good. In fact, much of it was concerning to say the least. As filming wrapped on her third Cloud documentary, Ginger realized that the wild horses were truly in danger.

“I began to realize that we were losing America’s wild horses. They are rounded up by the thousands, losing in an instant what they value most – freedom and family. I realized that even Cloud and his family were in danger.”

From that realization The Cloud Foundation was born.

A photograph of a wild stallion named Hawk, his mare, and young colt in the Pryor Mountains
Hawk's band

The Cloud Foundation (TCF) is dedicated to protecting and preserving wild horses and burros through education, media events and programming, and public involvement. As an organization, TCF cares about the preservation of all wildlife, and that of public lands as well. Without our public lands, Cloud’s and so many other stories of wild freedom couldn't be reality.

Ginger and the Cloud Foundation Team continue to film Cloud’s herd as well as monitor the other herds and their management throughout the American west. Though not typically a rescue organization, TCF has stepped in on numerous occasions to come to the aid of wild horses in need. Most recently, TCF rescued seven horses (one mare and six foals) who had been rounded up from the Wind River Reservation in WY and shipped to a kill pen in Colorado. You may read about the Wind River Rescue on the TCF website.

Click on an image in the gallery below to learn about the wild horses The Cloud Foundation follows and seeks to protect.

To learn more about The Cloud Foundation and discover how you may help wild horses and burros, visit The Cloud Foundation.

Media Links:

The Making of "Cloud" by Robin Caspari on Vimeo

You can see more of Robin Caspari's work at


EquuStyle Art & Travel magazine thanks Kerry Ferguson, Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation for writing an excellent article and sharing beautiful photographs of the wild horses. Our sincere gratitude is extended to Ginger Kathrens, Founder and Board President, The Cloud Foundation, for her commitment to education, media events and programming, and public involvement. Please advocate for protecting wild horses by sharing the link to this article.


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