CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Since he was a child growing up in Austria, Erich Pröll has dreamed of being able to own and ride a mustang from the American West.
Now, thanks to the Bureau of Land Management wild horse auction Saturday in Cheyenne, Pröll said he’ll soon take home three Wyoming mustangs.
An award-winning filmmaker who’s traveled the world making documentaries for the PBS shows NOVA and Nature, among others, Pröll also raises and trains quarter horses along the Danube River near the city of Linz, in northern Austria.
He plans to purchase two mares and a stallion at Friday’s auction, where the BLM will sell 20 to 25 yearlings caught in the Salt Wells and Adobe Town Herd Management Areas in southwest Wyoming.
“It will be a very, very great idea when I do this, because then I have a friend for my whole life,” said Pröll, wearing boots, a Carhartt jacket and a hat over his flowing silver hair and beard. “Because they are much more close to you than a domestic horse.”
Even after buying the horses, Pröll will have to keep them in Wyoming for a year in order to gain title to them — though he said he plans to visit them every couple of months so the horses can get to know him. Then, he plans to ship them by airplane to Europe, which he said will likely cost about $5,000 per horse.
He’s also making a documentary film about his efforts to buy wild horses in America.
Pröll said he expects journalists and cameras to greet the mustangs when they finally get off the plane in Austria, as they’ll be considered exotic novelties that evoke images of cowboys and the Old West.
“It is like when you take an elephant here,” he said, laughing.