A morning with the Wild Horses of the West Desert

A Trio of young wild HorsesA trio of young wild horses

I checked one of the items off of my bucket list yesterday morning when I spent time photographing, observing and being surrounded by a herd of wild horses in the West Desert of Utah. Sure, I have seen the wild horses on my travels in the western US but had never experienced the magic of being close to them and being accepted by them.

Wild coltWild colt

It is foaling season for the wild horses and there appeared to be about a dozen foals in the herd that Wade Haskell, Ron Dudley and I photographed yesterday on the desert floor. I suspect I don’t have to tell anyone how adorable they are and I am not sure my images truly do them justice.

A wild Horse coltA Mustang colt

What I do know for certain is that these horses captured my heart and I that I felt a deep sense of awe watching these horses going about the business of their daily lives.

Young wild Horses play fightingYoung wild horses play fighting

Even though the foals are young they play fight…

Wild Stallions fightingWild stallions fighting

While the adults are far more serious about it. The stallions defend their mares and their coats shows their battle scars. These fights happen quickly and don’t last very long.

Grazing wild HorsesGrazing wild horses

While some of the horses fought other grazed, the foals nursed, played or napped and some of the horses just appeared to be curious about the three people in their midst.

A wild Mustang on the rangeA Mustang on the range

I couldn’t help being enchanted by the herd and at times I let my camera drop from my eyes so I could enjoy them without thinking about creating images.

A wild Mustang rolling in the dustA Mustang rolling in the dust

Some days are magical and yesterday certainly was because of the company of two great friends and this incredible herd of wild horses.


All of these images were taken with a Nikon D300 with my Nikkor 70-300mm VR lens attached.

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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. Patty Chadwick

    My comment was supposed to read, There’s nothing SASSIER…..”, not “easier”….I HATE computers!!!

  2. Patty Chadwick

    just revisiting this wonderful posting,,,especially taken by the sassy little red foal with the white star and the “black”, whose lighter color around the eye indicates. possibly becoming a “gray” (gray or white) adult. A they are so full of piss and vinegar, you can”t help laughing!

  3. Jane Chesebrough

    Wild horses are a hot topic here in Alberta, Canada. They are lovely images, Mia and I appreciate that you shared them.

  4. Thank you all for your comments on this wild horse post. It was amazing to be in this Onaqui Herd to photograph and observe them.

  5. Mia, you’ve truly done a magnificent portrayal of magnificent animals. As you always do. Thanks for letting us enjoy them with you. I never miss one of your posts and this is why..

  6. What a wonderful morning. And a wonderful sight for me on the other side of the world THIS morning. Thank you.

  7. That is really magical Mia. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. I would love to see this sometime down the road. Gorgeous photos! I like the 3rd to last photo the most.

  8. These are tremendous images, Mia! I have always loved horses. Maybe when we get down to Utah to visit kids, Husband and I will have to go find these animals so I can get some photos.

  9. Mia, I love horses and it has always been my dream to see some in the wild! I did see them a few years ago at Theodore Roosevelt NP in North Dakota, but never like this! Your images are magnificent and I am so jealous!!!!! How I would love to be with you in their midst! Owning my own horse is a life dream that never came true. I love seeing the foals! How awesome and terrible to see the stallions fight! I love this blogpost!

  10. Patty Chadwick

    Mia!!! I am so jealousI could spit nails!!! You LUCKY! LUCKY! LUCKY LADY!!! These photos are FANTASTIC!!! Love,LOVE,LOVE tHem!!! There is nothing easier sassier than a foal, unless it’s more than one….

  11. Aw… lovely. (it’s early, nothing profound to say, but thanks for the delightful treat of your photos. =) )

  12. Mia … what joy … thank you so much for sharing!!! I am glad you included your lens as well, because as I was soaking up the beauty in your images, another part of my brain was doing the photography thing, thinking settings and what lens should I be using, lol!!!!

  13. Carroll Tarvin

    Oh, Mia thank you. I was invited to ride an Icelandic horse in the hills of Kentucky yesterday. We went through forest, streams, fields, and the herd of Icelandics that live on this magnificent knob in Kentucky. What an adventure! Then to see these images this morning. Magical is indeed the word.

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