Boots on the Ground-Making a Difference for Wild Horses
I hear of different local advocacy groups making a difference for their horses with real “boots on the ground” work. The Salt River wild horses management group in Arizona is a wonderful example of this. They have people checking the safety of horses, repairing fence, managing traffic at horse crossings on the highway pretty much every day.
I visited the Onaqui herd in Utah the middle of May, and one of the foals that I had seen as a newborn a couple weeks prior, had been injured by an old downed barbed wire fence. This stretch of fence has been down as long as I’ve been going out there, since early 2016. I have worried over foals and this fence before, and stallions and the T-posts that are still standing. In this image you can see one of the wire injuries that Cream Puff has. She was also hurt like this on her back inside thigh. She looked like she was in pain, and I felt so bad for her.
Time spent with wild horses, is never wasted time. I make the time to see the Onaqui wild horses of Utah as often as I possibly can. They were my first wild horses, and therefore hold a special place in my heart. Plus, it’s so much fun to catch up on old friends, watch young foals grow up into beautiful adults, and basically just hang with the herd.
Charger is one of my favorite stallions, and he has a beautiful family too.
I know exactly when the wild horses caught my heart and soul. It was April 4th, 2016. I had heard from a friend that there were wild horses in the west desert of Utah. As a photographer, this was an intriguing idea. I tried to find information on exactly where they could be, and ended up with a fairly good, but in the end mostly inaccurate idea of where to find them. I then convinced my son to spend the day with me, looking for the wild horses.
We drove for most of the day without seeing very much. Our first sighting was a lone stallion, meandering along near a water hole. Several miles down the road we spotted two horses way off chasing each other around. We drove as close as we could get, and I was able to get a few shots. At this point I was thrilled for that. It was getting late and the sky was dark with a storm coming in, so we started heading back out. Then, we saw the herd far off in the distance. We could see a couple stallions fighting and we were so excited. We parked as close as we felt we could, and started walking towards them. By this time the sky was dark, the wind was blowing and I knew the odds of a good photo was about nothing. But the thrill of seeing the wild horses, that’s what it was all about.
We watched the herd in awe, thrilled that we had finally found them. We stayed as long as we dared, rain was starting to fall and we had a lot of dirt road to drive before we got back. When I got home I looked at my photos and realized they were all crap. Between the dark sky, and my not very long lens, I didn’t get much. So the next day I drove out alone, determined to get better photos. It was sunny, and this time I drove right to the horses since they hadn’t traveled too far from the night before.