Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Wild Mustang

Every now and then I like to introduce you to a different idea on Travel Tuesday.  This week is again not one of those things that a lot of people think of doing.  But for those who have had the opportunity, they will tell you it is a beautiful and amazing experience.  Seeing Mustangs out in the wild.



I have to tell you, I absolutely love horses.  If I lived or owned a ranch you can guarantee I would have several of them.  Maybe because I enjoy old westerns, and the idea of horses roaming free, is possibly why I occasionally like to take a day and travel out to see if I can be lucky enough to find a herd or two of Wild Mustangs.



I will tell you these photo's are taken in Utah.  However, because I really enjoy my quiet little hot spot that I have come across, I am not going to tell you the exact location.
However, there are many places you can travel in the United States (most in the western states) that will give you the best opportunity to see the beautiful creatures in the wild.
Of course, if your a friend of mine and visiting Utah and this is something you really want to do and see, I might be easily persuaded to take you out and show them to you.



Even though their can be anywhere between 50-800+ in an area, believe it or not they can be hard to find if you don't ask for local tips first.  Wild horses generally will avoid people, in my experience it takes a lot of time to be able to get close enough to wild ones to get photo's,  So if you go, plan on enjoying them from a distance.  I even suggest bringing binoculars.
I do apologize for the quality of my picture's they were not taken with my better camera:( and some were taken while moving.


The particular area I visit is home to around 600 wild mustangs (give or take.)  However I have only seen a few hundred at any given time, as there are many herds and they tend not to (when I see them) all hang out together.  But I can hear them in the different canyons around, even when I can't visually see them.  Which is pretty cool to hear in itself.


I'll tell you a tip for seeing wild horses, and I make no claims that this will work each time.  However, a lot of horses get really thirsty before sunset.  So if you stay a safe distance away from their water source. (You must find this first.) Then you have a much higher chance of seeing them come in closer, and they'll be much easier to see than when they are up in the mountains or hiding in the tree's during the day eating.  However, you may have to scout them out during the day with binoculars to discover which water holes they will be coming to later that evening.



The photo above, if you look close you'll see the dust trail behind the leading horses in the picture.  I have to say, listening to a herd of horses stamped down a dirt trail is so much more awesome than hearing/watching it in a motion picture.
I shouldn't admit this, but yes I was driving my truck fast down the dirt road, along side them which is kind of why they were running.  Its also another reason why the picture quality isn't the best, because it's kind of hard when your moving and they are moving.


I think horses are beautiful, and if you ever are able to have the opportunity.  I will say, watching wild horses grazing, running and playing is an amazingly beautiful experience!



Mustang's are very protective of their herd.  Do you see the two black mustangs in the center of the above picture?  They came up first and check things out to make sure the area is safe.
Once they decided I wasn't a threat to the herd, they called the rest of the horses in.
They came in pretty much at once, I guessed around 100 (give or take).  They drank and took off back towards the mountains when finished.  The two black mustangs stood guard watching me the entire time.
I stayed a safe distance away, sat in the back of my truck to be safe. (They will charge, if provoked, and I would not want to provoke or harm them.)
Each time I visit them, pretty much the exact same thing happens.



Where I go, there are many herds.  They come down to drink water in the evening and come from all directions.  Which is why I don't try to approach them.  Plus, after a long day, they deserve a good uninterrupted long drink!
However, sometimes they do surprise you, and I have many times had them come up behind me a little too close for comfort.
Once out hiking earlier in a day, as I was trying to spot them to decide where they would be coming down to drink that night, I came up over a hill and accidentally happened right upon them a bit to quickly.  Let's just say the lead mustang wasn't exactly welcoming.  He didn't charge, but made it very clear I needed to get out quick, which we did.



The key to viewing these beautiful animals in the wild is to respect them.  Make sure you are not getting too close, and don't shout or annoy them.  They are smart animals, they can tell pretty quick if you mean harm or not.  But even so, you should always remember to keep a safe distance and remember these are not at all like the horses you see in corrals or on ranches.  They are after all wild and should be respected as such!

*  More than half of the wild horses in America are actually in Nevada.
*  Other larger populations are also in Montana, Wyoming and Oregon and smaller poplations in Utah.  (Although you may find even smaller herds in other states as well as I believe Alberta, Canada still has a few herds.)




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