Sand Wash Basin Wild Horses

June 1, 2010

(Continuation of our wild horse weekend with Carien Schippers, March 1-2)

We’d had a pretty successful day (considering the weather) at Adobe Town, so the three of us decided we should go ahead and attempt an early morning drive out to Sand Wash Basin before Tom and I had to drive back over the mountain for home and Carien had to turn her attention to her week-long workshop.

Saturday night, I contacted Nancy Roberts (fellow self-described wild horse “addict”) who documents the Sand Wash herd (Sand Wash Basin Wild Horses Blog) and asked her if she’d like to join us. Fortunately for us, she wanted to. She knows the horses and where they hang out. We were all hopeful we’d get to see some more wild horses on Sunday.

The first thing I did when I awoke on Sunday morning was peek out the window. My heart sank when I saw new snow on the ground. Well, it wouldn’t hurt to drive out and see how the range conditions were and everyone else was still game to go. We picked up Nancy at the edge of town and headed towards the horses.

Once again, the snow had pretty much missed the Basin and it was cold enough to keep any wet roads frozen, so we ventured into the range and started looking for horses. Nancy directed us west on a road where she had recently seen Lightning’s family with the new filly Madeleine (named in honor of Madeleine Pickens). Sure enough, Lightning’s band was the first we came upon.

Mama Mystic with new filly Madeleine

The black and white pinto stallion, Lightning and one of his mares.

There was a little action while we were photographing the family. The dun bachelor and the little blue-eyed stallion that Lightning was trying to kick out of the band were dogging Lightning and sparring with one another as well. The stunning black and white pinto was kept busy trying to keep these stallions at bay.

A bachelor stallion dogs the family

Cute little blue-eyed stallion

Going after the little sorrel stallion with the blue eye.

Waiting for his next opportunity to rejoin the band

Mystic and little Madeleine

Isn't she a little cutie

Pretty bay mare

Checking out the little one

Family portrait

As we continue on, we run across these very spooky horses on top of a ridge. They run back and forth and then finally down the side of the hill.

And off they go...

We went over to the edge to watch the horses run for what looked like the sheer pleasure of it. They were totally enjoying themselves as they ran full speed, bucking and kicking.

Next, we came upon a group of bachelor stallions.

There’s one horse that reminds me of the very colorful stallion Picasso. Wonder if this youngster could be his? The middle pinto below is the one that, to me, resembles Picasso.

This is the majestic stallion Picasso - I threw this photo in from another trip and post for comparison

The two pintos on the left begin to spar with one another

A small band way in the distance

We decide to turn around and get onto the main road to see if we can spot more horses. As we start down a hill that was no problem when we came up, the Jeep starts to slide. Tom and I look at each other with a shared shock. What the heck?! I glance up at the thermometer in the Jeep. Reading the digits, I realize that we may have a potential problem. The road is no longer frozen and what we’ve just experienced is that awful slick mud that has left us stranded in the horse ranges more than once. We all fall silent and wonder how the rest of the road is. Tom drives carefully and we’re lucky this time. We make it to the main road, but decide that we should probably start heading back since we can see dark clouds closing in around us.

Just as we start our drive back, we see some horses off to the left. A bachelor band. We just have to stop, but we’re conscious of the approaching weather. It’s so hard to leave when there’s horses to be photographed.

This little Palomino is pretty young...and cute

There's also a handsome dun stallion


Okay, that's enough

Tail blowing in the wind

We turned around to leave and the horses started towards us. I switched cameras to catch the action at the poop pile. Stallions are very proud of their stud piles. 🙂

The gray stallion is injured (check out his left knee), but he's obviously the most dominant boy

As is the case with most wild horses, they find a way to manage their injuries. This guy can still move out, but he's hopping on that sore leg. I hope to hear from Nancy that he heals from this.

Amazing grit and strength of a wild horse

We don’t go very far after visiting with the bachelor band when more horses are spotted to the east. They’re further away so there’s a short discussion about trying to get out to them before the rain. Of course we decide to go for it.

The gray is the stallion

We've crossed over their comfort zone and they take off

We can feel raindrops as we walk towards Tom and the Jeep. It’s time to say good-bye to the Sand Wash wild horses for now. It was wonderful to spend some time with them, Carien and Nancy.

We said our good-byes to Carien too as we dropped her off at the motel. What a great time shared with a a very talented photographer and horse lover.

Nancy suggested that we come by and see her horses on our way out of town. I was hoping she’d say something. I very much wanted to meet her adopted Mustang from Sand Wash, Odakota (who’s 2 now).

Here they come - Odakota is on the left.

Flash (26 year-old Bay Arab mare) and Micah (23 year-old Arab gelding)

Odakota (Kota) is in a hurry to say hello to us

Hi Tom!

Can you see me Tom? Am I close enough?

Because it’s wet and a bit muddy outside (there are snowflakes falling too), Micah decides to enjoy a good roll!

Now the other side

Flash's turn

It’s so nice to meet another one of the folks I’ve become acquainted with through the wild horse preservation efforts and Facebook. I know that Nancy and I would enjoy observing horses together from dawn to dusk (and hopefully, we’ll have an opportunity to do just that). We share a very strong passion for our wild ones and the desire to keep them free.

Nancy with Odakota and Micah

Nancy’s post about our visit:

(Photos are for viewing purposes only. Images are copyright protected and owned solely by Pam Nickoles Photography. No reproduction or downloading permitted. Feel free to share the link, not the images. To share, click on the blog entry title. The permanent link will be displayed in your browser’s address bar. Copy this address to share.)

7 Responses to “Sand Wash Basin Wild Horses”

  1. I want to thank you for this blog and the pretiest photos of these horses. You are great.Thank You

  2. TJ Says:

    What a wonderful visit! Awesome photos, beautiful horses. I definitely see that Corona’s so-so-very-light color is not an oddity among her “clan.” And I know that feeling in the pit of your stomach when the Jeep slides … So cool that you got to stop by and see Nancy’s horses! Odakota looks a lot like the young blue-eyed stallion with his intriguing face marking. What a ham! Great trip!

  3. Oli Says:

    Waow ! Great 🙂

    I love these pictures 😉
    No doubt, your blog is added to my favourites !

    Greetings from Belgium,

  4. kate bremer Says:

    Thanks for the vision of horse and families in freedom on their land. What a treat for me today!

  5. Nancy Roberts Says:

    I’m back looking at your photos again! Since then I have gotten a close up view of that last band we saw with the grey stallion. They are gorgeous. I have called the young Palomino “Nick” to remember our day…I just love the photos of my 3 horses, Odakota cracks me up (everyday). He sure liked Tom! I got on him today! Come back soon! Nancy (-:

  6. Phyllis Says:

    Amazing pictures, just too beutiful for words. Thank you for sharing I think I could watch them for ever

  7. zoe Says:

    what a wonderful series of pictures, I so enjoyed reading about your horses too

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