"COME WITH ME, TAKE A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE..."
For the past few years, we have traveled to Wyoming to spend time observing and photographing the McCullough Peaks wild horse herds, capturing their rugged beauty and resilient spirit. It's finally here, our new collection: McCullough Peaks Wild Horses.
An hour west of Cody, Wyoming you enter Yellowstone National Park and the well-known natural wonder that visitors from all over the world travel to see. Less than half an hour to the east of Cody lies another area of great natural wonder, although different and much lesser known - McCullough Peaks From the highway, snow-capped peaks and buttes in the distance, barren reds and oranges rising from the meadows that run along the highway for miles. Taking the roads to the far northwest corner of the vast area leads to the “badlands”, fantastic layered sandstone rock formations that offer no passage by vehicle and are almost equally difficult to traverse on foot. It is in this entire area - from the highway, beyond the buttes, and all the way back to the badlands - where two herds of wild horses roam, a west herd and an east herd.
Driving into this area requires careful choices, as the roads are a mixture of gravel (at best) and mud ruts (at worst), and the immediate choice upon entering may be where to cross the stream so as not to become mired in the mud. The ground is deceptive, as the surface appears dry; yet just under the surface it has absorbed recent rains and, at times, our Jeep sunk right into it.
Upon spotting the wild horses herds, grays, bays, roans, and striking pintos show off their rugged manes and muscled bodies, often caked in mud - raw power on display.
MCCULLOUGH PEAKS FACTS... Wild horses roam over approximately 120,000 acres in the McCullough Peaks herd management area. The high desert landscape contains a variety of features including streams, meadows, mountains, buttes (including the impressive Bridger Butte), cliffs, canyons, and imposing badlands. Although the wild horses are likely the seed stock of horses that escaped from early Spanish explorers, remains of the eohippus, thought to be the ancient ancestor of modern horses, have been found in Northern Wyoming.
Recent DNA research by Dr. Beth Shapiro of The Original Horse Project indicates that wild horses are actually a native species to North America that became extinct here, until they were reintroduced back to America by Europeans starting in the 1500s. The Bridger Trail runs through the HMA, named after Jim Bridger who guided 62 wagons through this area to the booming goldfield communities in western Montana in 1864.
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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 wild horses. Maria Marriott Photography is a proud supporter of non-profit organizations that tirelessly work to ensure the well-being of the American mustangs.