Source: Nature: "Cloud: Wild Stallion of the Rockies"
Funding for the VITAL/Ready to Teach collection was secured through the United States Department of Education under the Ready to Teach Program.
In this video segment from Nature, cinematographer and narrator Ginger Kathrens brings her perspective to the lives of wild horses as she chronicles the growth and development of one young horse who she calls "Cloud." Cloud, a young foal, is only a few hours old. He walks with his mother in a band, or family, of wild horses for several miles uphill to the deep forest in the Arrowhead Mountains of Montana to reach their water supply. There are many obstacles to his survival, including mountain lions waiting in the shadows to pounce on the conspicuous light-colored palomino colt. Follow Cloud's development in the series of video segments entitled "Cloud – Age Two" and "Cloud – Age Four".
Science, animal science, animal behavior, social studies, geography
The following Frame, Focus and Follow-up suggestions are best suited for elementary or middle school students using this video in an English language arts or science lesson. Be sure to modify the questions to meet your students' instructional needs.
What is Frame, Focus and Follow-up?
Frame (ELA) What is perspective? What can influence a person’s perspective on a topic or story?
Focus (ELA) What is the narrator’s perspective (opinion or beliefs) about Cloud? For example, based on what she says, would you suspect she believes wild herds are capable of sustaining themselves or face continuous dangers from natural elements?
Follow Up (ELA) Is the narrator's presence more or less evident compared to similar programs you have seen? How is the narrator’s perspective about Cloud evident through what she says? Discuss how the video would be different if the narrator took a different perspective. For example, what if the narrator wanted to add more horses to the wild? What if she thought the horses should be kept on ranches?
Frame (SCI) What does a young animal need to survive in the wild?
Focus (SCI) What are the dangers that threaten Cloud’s survival in the wild?
Follow Up (SCI) Discuss how the interdependence of animals helps them survive dangers that exist in the wild.
It’s late May, the height of the foaling season. Two of Raven’s mares have given birth.
His third, the young Palomino, has yet to foal. Late in the afternoon, she leaves the band.
It’s safer for her to give birth alone, under a cloak of darkness, hidden away from the main predator of wild horse babies—the mountain lion.
The next morning the palomino rejoins her band. The fragile foal at her side takes my breath away. Not at all like his older sisters, or any foal on the Arrowheads for that matter, he’s nearly white.
His band is traveling uphill to the deep forest, and he totters on unsteady legs to keep up.
Besides his two sisters, he has a yearling half brother. But it’s his mother he focuses on... to fall behind is unthinkable for the colt.
After a march of several miles, the white colt sees what all the walking is about.
Water holes on top of his mountain home are still locked in ice and snow. Below they’ve long since dried up. Snow under the dense canopy of Douglas firs is their spring water source.
Finally, the colt can stop and rest.
He’s so thin, I can count his ribs.
His sisters are two months older and robust in comparison.
The colt nurses for a few minutes at a time in the afternoon light.
Would he ever grow to be as sturdy as his blue roan brother? Even the simple act of lying down seems difficult for him.
I begin to worry he might not live. I’d never seen a newborn wild horse foal. Are they all so frail... or just this little one?
And surely his white coat makes him terribly conspicuous.
Mountain lions, though rarely seen, are common, waiting in the shadows. But once detected, the cat has little chance for a kill.
As he sleeps at the feet of his watchful mother, thin clouds sail overhead. In that instant, his name comes to me. The wispy clouds remind me of the upright hair on the colt’s mane. Cloud. I’ll call him Cloud.
Two weeks later I return to the Arrowheads to find the bands trailing to the top of the mountain. The water holes are filling with the runoff from melting snow and family groups are coming to drink.
Most of the horses are small in stature and dark in color. Many are golden duns and a gray color called grulla.
Duns and Grullas have dorsal stripes, zebra stripes on their legs, sometimes even bold shoulder stripes---colors and markings designed to camouflage.
Neither cloud nor his palomino mother are camouflaged. Even from miles away, I can see them coming to the mountaintop. I’m thrilled to see Cloud alive!
Academic standards correlations on Teachers' Domain use the Achievement Standards Network (ASN) database of state and national standards, provided to NSDL projects courtesy of JES & Co.
We assign reference terms to each statement within a standards document and to each media resource, and correlations are based upon matches of these terms for a given grade band. If a particular standards document of interest to you is not displayed yet, it most likely has not yet been processed by ASN or by Teachers' Domain. We will be adding social studies and arts correlations over the coming year, and also will be increasing the specificity of alignment.