McCullough Peaks Wild Horses – 9/09

October 11, 2009

The day before the Pryor Mountain roundup ended, Tom and I made a quick trip down to the McCullough Peaks HMA to see the horses – their gather is scheduled for this month and I wanted to visit with them one more time before that took place. We didn’t get to spend nearly enough time there – only one evening and the next morning. We missed seeing several bands, but it was still so good to see the ones that we did manage to find.

This family was just off the highway in that wonderful late afternoon light.

This family was just off the highway in that wonderful late afternoon light.

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McCullough Peaks youngster

McCullough Peaks youngster

The first band we ran into the next morning was Indigo’s.

Indigo snakes a mare that had wandered too far away

Indigo snakes a mare that had wandered too far away

Band stallion Rerun is close by and watches Indigo bring his mare closer into the herd

Band stallion Rerun is close by and watches Indigo bring his mare closer into the herd

Indigo's band

Indigo's band

Indigo and his band

Indigo and his band

This is Kenya – a young stallion who’s family was disbanded when the stallion Spirit Walker went missing and presumably died. A photo I took of Kenya and his mother a couple of years back made the cover of the catalog Back in the Saddle last year. I was really pleased they featured wild horses!

Kenya

Kenya

Back in the Saddle catalog cover with Bourbon and Kenya

Back in the Saddle catalog cover with Bourbon and Kenya

Kenya next to his dam Bourbon taken a couple of years ago

Kenya next to his dam Bourbon taken a couple of years ago

Bourbon with the band stallion Spirit Walker - taken a couple of years ago

Bourbon with the band stallion Spirit Walker - taken a couple of years ago

Next we came upon a snoozing Bridger. Last year, Bridger had a family. I noticed he was hooked up with a small band of bachelors on this trip.

The big gray stallion Bridger

The big gray stallion Bridger

A backlit Bridger

A backlit Bridger

We left the Whistle Creek area and drove west to see if we could locate the Red Point Band. We did, but we never even got close to them as something had them “bugged” (literally – they were running from bugs I was told) and they ran back and forth across the range. Sometimes seeing a large band of horses running in the distance is the best way to enjoy them.

Part of the Red Point band

Part of the Red Point band

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This stallion popped up out of a waterhole area we were checking out

This stallion popped up out of a waterhole area we were checking out

A youngster with the black stallion

A youngster with the black stallion

And a young mare that was part of the family enjoying a good roll

And a young mare that was part of the family enjoying a good roll

A family on the eastern side of the range area

A family on the eastern side of the range area

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A gorgeous foal with this group

A gorgeous foal with this group

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I had run into Jen, (the USGS gal that helps monitor both the Pryor Mountain and the McCullough Peaks horses) at Britton Springs during the roundup. I asked her about the Peaks horses – Utah in particular. She told me all about Utah’s new babies (I never got to see them last year). She told me that one of last year’s babies was the spittin’ image of him. A black Sabino with four white stockings. I really hoped to see them for myself. Luckily, I was able to. Just a couple of distance shots, (minus last year’s foals unfortunately) but satisfying nonetheless.

Utah, facing away, and his family

Utah, facing away, and his family

Utah - third standing horse from the left - and his family

Utah - third standing horse from the left - and his family

It was strange not to see Hooter amongst all the colored horses. I even caught myself looking for him a couple of times. Whether it’s to a roundup or a death, losing the horses is the hardest part of getting to know them as individuals.

Hooter - never forgotten

Hooter - never forgotten

12 Responses to “McCullough Peaks Wild Horses – 9/09”


  1. Pam, These horses are so beautiful. It is terrible thinking what is going to happen to them. Why can’t we stop this? Is it not up to us? Mar

  2. pnickoles Says:

    Marilyn,

    The McCullough Peaks horses really are beautiful. Well to me, all of the wild horses are. The good thing about the Peaks horses is much like the Pryor horses, they are sought after. Of course, bringing the numbers down as proposed creates the same issue faced by the Pryor herd – destoying genetic viability. I’ll never understand how this is allowed to happen to our wild horses. All I can say is that we must continue to advocate on their behalf and not lose hope. I know it’s very frustrating (even depressing), but the wild ones are counting on us. Let’s not let them down.


  3. Thanks for your words, Pam. I have not the ability to turn away. For me, not being able to do more is very hard. If I had a sponsor I would go to as many roundups as possible to document and maybe reduce abuse. I am available but poor. My background is with horses, journalism, photography and field biology. In the 50s I was one of Wild Horse Annie’s kids. mar

  4. pnickoles Says:

    Marilyn – you and me both. What I wouldn’t give to have a sponsor send me all over to document the wild horses! I understand the feeling of not being able to do more (gosh, especially with your background). I know that alot of people would do more if they could. Hang in there. Everyone’s contributions will add up.


  5. Pam, I do believe that is what is happening. We could do more as individuals but the most is done by all. I wonder if we could get a grant from Ford Motor Company. They used a Kiger mustang for ads and they contributed $100,000. to help wild horses, but I do not know if anyone has gotten hold of them since all this got so bad. I will look for that information on the money they gave. Barbara found it a few weeks ago. I know I saved it. To send a couple small crews, 2 or 3 people out to the roundups would cost about $1500. a week. maybe more. For at least one vehicle and a couple people would be less. Is it something you would do? mar

  6. pnickoles Says:

    Marilyn, please send me a private message – info@NickolesPhotography.com

  7. TJ Says:

    I’m sure Kenya is the young stallion that kept coming closer to us, and I’m also sure we saw Rerun! Hopefully I’ll get around to getting those pictures up someday, then you and Tricia will be able to tell me for sure!
    They are gorgeous horses …

  8. Carol Bucar Says:

    Do you know if all the MCULLOUG HORSES were rounded up? They are beautiful and colorful and beautiful landscape. Were they put up for adoption or put in stalls or sent to slaughter?

  9. Sandy Elmore Says:

    Thanks again Pam for the beautiful photos, story and all you do. Keep me posted on any gathers that you plan on going to (as hard as it is). I am pretty good at holding camera equipment and not bad with a video camera. 🙂

  10. Lynn Bauer Says:

    Great job, Pam!! We really appreciate the work that you do and the love you have for these beautiful ponies – wish we could do more to help them! We keep thinking that just grabbing an ear or two and telling the story (the real story) of what’s happening to them will help.. We actually think we have pics of Kenya from our brief trip out to the Peaks area with TJ. It’s great to have a name for him – he’s a stunner! Keep up the good work and let us know how we can help!
    Lynn and Kathy
    New Mexico

  11. Lori Loucks Says:

    These horses are magnificent!!!

  12. pnickoles Says:

    The McCullough Peaks roundup has been completed. There were 192 horses captured, 93 removed and sent to the Rock Springs holding facility pending adoptions next spring. That leaves appx. 110 left on the range. Too few, but there was some good news – there were NO injuries to the horses. I know the McCullough Peaks Wild Horse Specialist and she cares deeply about these horses. I believe her efforts are a big reason this “gather” went so well. I thank her in a big way!


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