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Home On The Range - The Fish Springs Wild Horses

"THE TRIP WAS TO BE AN ODYSSEY IN THE FULLEST SENSE OF THE WORD, AN EPIC JOURNEY THAT WOULD CHANGE EVERYTHING." - John Krakauer, "Into the Wild"


three horses from Fish Springs range graze next to the mountains

The Fish Springs Range near Gardnerville, Nevada is what I call my “home range." Although I live in CA, it’s a fairly close drive for day trips. The range holds a special place in my heart - it was within these mountains that I saw my first wild stallion and started my wild horse photography.

The Fish Springs population of wild horses is relatively small compared to many other areas. Unlike some other ranges consisting of large herds with bands (horse families) traveling together, Fish Springs stallions keep their bands separate from each other most of the year. In the beginning of Spring, “seasonal hoses” from other areas of the Pine Nut mountains come to "visit.” It’s also about that time when families will come together and travel as one.

The isolation of certain bands allows you to better observe the dynamics - both inter- and intra-band.

I find the research of Wendy Williams, author of The Horse: The Epic History of Our Noble Companion, fascinating. Her study of the relationships of wild horses within a band challenges some of the conventional thinking about the roles of stallions and mares.

Although stallions clearly take on the role of protectors of their bands, herding them from behind in the right direction, it is often the lead mares who set that direction and choose when and where to move.

I have often watched this play out in the wild (see “Blue’s Band” below).

“Zorro”, the first wild stallion I ever saw, keeps his band largely separate from the others; but he is ferocious in protecting them, when needed.


It’s a special feeling when you first lay eyes on a wild stallion, especially if he happens to lock eyes with you. "The Mark of Zorro" was captured at the Fish Springs range during my first encounter with a wild stallion, an event that would forever change my life.




The iconic blue roan “Blue”, who after losing a large band a few years ago, now roams with a single mare and their offspring, grooming him for the serious business of being a lead stallion.


“Like nearly all Americans, the wild horse is an immigrant. And, like many, it prospered through sheer grit.”

- David Phillips, Wild Horse Country


"Onyx", a son of “Blue”, the stallion who teaches me about resilience and determination.


AWARD WINNER:

2021 BIFA - Budapest International Foto Awards | Honorable Mention


As storm clouds gather in the Pine Nut Mountains of Nevada, Fish Springs wild stallion, “Blue”,

pushes his band towards safety.


AWARD WINNER:

2021 BIFA - Budapest International Foto Awards | Honorable Mention 2021

16th Black & White Spider Awards | Nominee

2020 7th Fine Art Photography Award Nominee


BLUE'S BAND IS PART OF OUR SILHOUETTES COLLECTION



 

wild horse photographer Maria Marriott displays a large canvas of one of her photographhs

An equestrian for most of her life, award winning photographer Maria Marriott combines her passion for horses with her art and the desire to bring public awareness to the American mustangs and the healing power of horses. Maria Marriott Photography is a proud supporter of non-profit organizations that tirelessly work to ensure the well-being of the American wild horses and promote healing through equine therapy.




FOLLOW THE JOURNEY


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