I’ve been fortunate to visit several wild horse HMA’s in the west. Every area is special, and unique, as are the horses that live there. But my first love, will always be special to me. It seems like a lot of advocates, and photographers have that one HMA that is their very favorite place. Generally, it’s the one they live closest to. It’s the place were they have watched foals grow, kept track of all the different bands, and have favorite horses. We become part of the family.
5 years ago, I first visited these horses, in this place, the Onaqui. We live and travel full time in our RV, but we spend every spring, and fall here because that’s were we come to make the art we sell at shows in summer and winter. So this is definitely my family herd.
One thing that has always endeared me to the wild horses is the way they value family. It is obvious that they care for each other, and that family is extremely important to them. This is one of the main reasons that roundups are so incredibly devastating. Foals are taken from their moms, mares are taken from each other and their stallions, the whole family band is broken into tragic pieces.
Watching and observing the horses gives you a definite sense of how much they care. This story is just one of many examples.
This water hole was extremely muddy around the edges. So much so, that adult horses would sink almost to the knee and you could tell it was a little bit of a struggle to get away from the waters edge and back to dry land. This gorgeous mare had left her young foal on dry ground while she got a drink. But she definitely kept her eye on the foal.
I’ve just spent 12 days enjoying the Wild Horses in Oregon’s South Steens mountain area. This is a remote, and extremely rugged high desert area in the south/east part of Oregon. The Steens mountain area is varied, and you can travel from about 5000 feet elevation, to 10,000 foot elevation and enjoy the variety in the landscape. We went specifically for the wild horses, which are just as gorgeous and varied as the land they live in.
All the Pretty Horses
The first thing that strikes you is the color and conformity of these horses. I have visited wild horses in several different states, and while every wild horse is beautiful, I’ve never seen such a variety as there was here.
This guy and his band quickly became a favorite. More on him later.
Wild Baby Burros Playing-The Cutest Thing on the Internet
If someone asked me which was my favorite, wild horses, or wild burros? I would no doubt stare blankly and say “Yes!”
Honestly, I could never choose. Wild horses are majestic, amazing, and full of life. Wild burros are elusive, cautious, and just damn cute.
We are currently spending time in an area of Arizona where there are quite a few wild burros, and I am in heaven. They are braying outside the RV in the evenings, and I can walk out my door in the morning and run into small groups hanging out in the hills. There are several young ones, which are arguably the cutest critter on the face of the planet. The little guys are fuzzy, head to toe.
They look to me like they are wearing little pants because of the way their legs look near their hooves.
A trip to see the Salt river horses in Tonto National Forest is never disappointing. The river, and the desert provide a unique and beautiful setting for these stunning horses.
I was lucky last winter to spend quite a bit of time in the area, but this year I just haven’t had the time. We are doing more art shows, and that has cut into my wild horse time. Which is a bummer. But, a quick 2 day trip was really nice, and I got some wonderful photos.
Evenings on the river are simply magical. I will just let these photos tell you their story.
The golden light, the reflections in the water, it’s simply beautiful.
Today’s guest author is Karen Fuller. Karen lives in Vashon, Washington and has a passion for the wild horses. She visits them as often as she can.
Have you ever been passionate about something? I found my passion three years ago, in the Magic of Wild Horses!
I have always loved horses. My family had a couple when I was younger. Our daughter, Carla, had a horse from the age of eleven, until she left for college. She was in 4H, and competed in the local county fair. She also went to the state fair in fitting and showing one year.
I think that you can understand why I really wanted to share the Arizona Salt River Horses, when she and our ten-year-old grandson came to visit, recently. Carla was immediately on board! She’s seen enough of my wild horse photos over the last three years to know that they are magic.
My husband, Larry, drove us out to the Salt River area about a week ago. Sometimes when you haven’t been there for a while, it takes some time to find them. That was the case this time, but we persevered and were not disappointed.
There is nothing more thrilling than watching wild horses running wild and free. Imagine in your mind the sound of hoof beats in the dirt, the swirling dust, the exhilaration of the moment. The hoof beats go straight to my heart and soul.
I have to think that part of the joy of being a wild horse, is running like the wind whenever they want to, because often it seems like they run just for the sheer joy of it all.
We took a day trip to an area in California were we have found wild burros before. It was a great day in that we found more than I have ever seen in a day, and there were several extremely cute wild baby burros.
The first band we saw had 6 or 7 burros. They were running all around, and one of the jacks was braying like I’ve never heard before. Holy cow they can be loud. I spotted a mom with a baby burro, and watched to see what they were going to do. They were being chased like the other burros, and the little one was doing a great job of staying out of the way.
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.