Wild horses are always a pleasant sight to see, especially during troubled times, because the sight will naturally put a smile on the face! All throughout the wide open spaces of the west is where these wild herd animals roam. Some locations seem to always have a few small herds of wild horses hanging around and one such place is the Four Corners region. On just about any given day, a few wild horses can be seen near the spot on a map where the Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah borders meet!
I have photographed several small herds of wild horses near Hovenweep National Monument and the Canyons Of The Ancients during the last three years. What is funny is that after seeing these groups of wild horses so often, some of them become familiar faces and the horses do remember regular friendly visitors.For example, a pair of young alpha male white stallions were photographed while showing their dominance over a small herd during the spring season a few years ago and one of those white stallions has been spotted a few times since then in other photography sessions. Remembering that particular white horse was easy, because it has a habit of standing at the front of the pack, just to endlessly stare at any human onlookers in the distance. This white stallion stares while standing motionless, till the human presence is gone and once again he appeared in recent photos taken near the Four Corners Monument.
How to tell whether a horse is actually wild can require a little bit of experience. The Four Corners region is located where the Southern Ute and Navajo Nations meet, so this place truly is the definition of pristine wide open spaces. There are fences by the road in some areas, but this is open range ranch territory. Livestock is given plenty of roam to roam in this region, but most of the ranch horses are kept in corrals near the ranch house. The horses that are tended by human handlers do look well fed, with trimmed manes and tails. On the other hand, wild horses usually have shaggy manes and long tails. When compared side by side, a wild horses looks like a bohemian that has no need for well kept civilized looks!
Unlike what most of the dramatic documentaries depict, wild horses tend to move slow and they laze about as much as possible. These animals are smart and they do not waste energy performing frivolous tasks, especially when food becomes scarce during the winter season. In fact, the spring season is just about the only time that you will see wild horses that are bursting with energy, because this is when the alpha males and newly matured colts are establishing dominance.
The herds of wild horses in the Four Corners region always seem to be there, but exactly where they choose to hang around can change with the weather or food availability. Wild horses are creatures of habit, so if you spot them at one particular place in this region, then the chances are good that you will see them in the same place again sooner than later.
Depending on the human visitors, some of the wild horses are friendly, while others keep their distance. For this reason, bringing a telephoto camera along for the ride is a good idea. Pictures of wild horses in a vast pristine wilderness landscape will provide memories that last a lifetime, so it is always worth taking the time to have a look!
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