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The Wild Horses Of The Virginia Range, Nevada


Photo Credit: Maria Marriott, Wild Horse Photography



"Curiosity is what lets a young mind grow and keeps an old mind young."

- Kelley Armstrong



The Virginia Range, a vast 500 square mile area in Northern Nevada, is home to some of the most iconic and beautiful wild horses in the United States. These mustangs are thought to be descended from Spanish horses brought to the area by early settlers. They are an important part of the state's history and culture, and symbols of freedom and independence.


These are also some of the easiest wild horses to see, as they are often spotted from major roads. Drive east on Highway 50 from Carson City and, more likely than not, you will be able to spot horses in the hills - if not crossing the road. If you stop to have lunch or a drink in the historic town of Virginia City, you may even see a small band wandering down the street.



Wild horses have been a part of the Virginia Range since the late 1700s. The first horses were brought to the area by Spanish explorers and settlers, and since then, the population has grown and flourished. Today, there are estimated to be several thousand wild horses living on the Virginia Range, making it one of the largest wild horse population in North America.


Interestingly, Mark Twain wrote about these very horses and his short time living in Virginia City, NV, in his book, "Roughing It."


Wild horses are an iconic part of the American landscape, but their continued freedom is at risk due to a variety of factors. In order to protect and preserve these majestic creatures, and what they represent to our Western heritage, there are a number of initiatives being taken by both public and private organizations. From creating sanctuaries for them horses, to population control programs, to working with ranchers and other local stakeholders, there is much being done to ensure that wild horses remain a part of our landscape for years to come. 


Wild Horse Art


Some of my best known wild horse fine art images have come from the Virginia Range...



Award Winner: IPA - International Photography Awards


Majesty is described as “impressive stateliness, dignity, or beauty.” This wild horse's eyes were intense and his head held up high. His demeanor commanded respect. Standing still, he offered the gift of his precious time.



white wild horse close up

Photo Credit: Maria Marriott, Horse Photographer





A wild mare from Washoe Lake, Nevada seeks protection from her lead stallion.


a female wild horse peaking over the back of another horse

Photo Credit: Maria Marriott, Horse Photographer





"Black and white creates a strange dreamscape that color never can."

- Jack Antonoff


black and white portrait of a wild horse

Photo Credit: Maria Marriott, Horse Photographer





horse photographer maria marriott

A Wild Horse

Photographer's Journey


Wild horse photography has become for me a means of storytelling, advocacy, and preservation. As I travel the untamed landscapes of the American West, capturing the beauty and grace of wild mustangs, I hope to instill in others the same sense of wonder and respect for these magnificent creatures and the beautiful creation all around us.








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