USA Field School: Wild in the Pryors

This international field school is an opportunity for students to study the role of the wild horse on Native American and North American culture in the West. The four week field school program will begin with three days on the Guelph campus, followed by three intensive weeks based in Cody, WY, USA (the gateway to Yellowstone National Park) and the nearby Pryor Mountains. The Pryor Mountains provide a geologically, ecologically, meteorologically, and culturally unique setting for the students to study firsthand the environmental, social and culture impacts of the area. 

Field school activities include observation and data collection of the wild horse behaviour in the Pryor Mountains, and guest speakers from the Bureau of Land Management, the Cloud Foundation, the Pryors Coalition, the US National Park Service and the US Forest Service.

Students from all disciplines are eligible and encouraged to apply to the USA Field School.

Maximum number of participants for the program is 8.

Find out more!

Attend a USA Field School Information Session. Find out more about the program and meet the coordinator:

Wednesday November 23rd, 5:00 - 6:00 pm

ANNU 204

Field School Details

Instructor: Dr. Katrina Merkies, Animal BioSciences, OAC

Offered: Summer 2017

Prerequisite: 7.0 credits, 70% cumulative average, permission of the instructor

If you have any questions about the program, please contact Dr. Merkies, ANNU 249, Ext 54707


Students will live spend 4 days/week camping in the Pryor Mountains (all camping equipment will be provided) and 3 days/week in accommodations in Cody, Wyoming. Food will be provided during the camping excursions but students are responsible for their own food while in Cody.

Field Trips (tentative list)

  • Little Bighorn Museum
  • Eastern Shoshone Indian Days Powwow
  • Buffalo Bill Centre of the West Museum
  • Homesteader Museum
  • Cody Stampede Rodeo
  • Mustang Center
  • Medicine Wheel National Historic landmark
  • BLM wild horse holding facility

Program Dates

June 21 - July 14 2017

June 21 - June 23 on campus in Guelph

June 24 - July 14 in USA

Course (UNIV, 3000-level, 1.0 credits)

The mustang is a cultural symbol of the ‘old west’ which features largely in North American and Native American culture. The course will focus on the role of the wild horse in early Native American life and folklore, early homesteading at the turn of the 20th century, and current tensions between motorized recreation and responsible land use. Relationships between Native Americans and settlers developed during the time period of the reintroduction of the horse to North America (early 1500’s), and different cultures led to differing perspectives of the horse from a heritage animal to agricultural pest. Current methods of population control to manage the numbers of wild horses may have changed the social dynamics of the herd. Students will observe wild horse behaviour first-hand and explore possible management solutions in the context of current perspectives both locally and in similar locations in Canada (eg. Brittany Triangle in BC). 

For more details please see the course outline below.


Students should budget for the following:

  • Round-trip airfare to Wyoming/Montana
  • University of Guelph tuition for 1.0 course credits 
  • The USA Field School Fee: 5200 CAD. This fee includes 4 weeks shared accommodations in the Pryor Mountains and Cody, Wyoming, food while camping 4 days/week in the mountains, transportation within the USA related to the course, and other group activities/excursions. (Please note that this amount is subject to change due to fluctuating exchange rates, and as costs are finalized for the program.)
  • Personal expenses in the USA  (transportation, personal exursions, food in Cody, etc)


Students applying for the program must have completed a total of 7.0 undergraduate credits by the time the program begins in May 2017.

The program is open to students from all disciplines at the University of Guelph but basic horse knowledge is an asset.

Apply to the USA Field School

Students interested in applying to the USA Field School must apply using an online application. To receive access to the online application you must first attend a Study Abroad Information Session with the Centre for International Programs. Once you have attended an information session you will receive access to the online application.

Please note: You must have a 70% cumulative average to apply to the USA Field School. 

Application deadline: 27 January 2017

File attachments

PDF icon Course Outline188.35 KB