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Mountaintops...Valleys...And A Wish From A Wild Horse Photographer

portrait of a white wild horse overlooking the desert from a mountain top

“One sees great things from the valley;

only small things from the peak.”

-G.K. Chesterton

A few years ago, when I was just beginning as a horse photographer, we took our daughter out to search for wild horses in Northern Nevada. In a Jeep Liberty far beyond where it should have gone, we drove for miles into the wilderness, eventually getting lost. So we decided to stop and hike up the side of a steep mountain in order to see if there was a road or two-track anywhere near us. A grueling hike.

As my husband and I sat on a rock to try to recover, our daughter walked a little ways away to see over the other side of the peak. She disappeared for a few minutes but at the exact moment she crested the ridge, a beam of light came from above her right to the spot she was standing and illuminated her against the pale sky. I can’t explain it. It was a magical moment that lasted a few seconds and then disappeared.

Walking over to where she was pointing, just down the slope was a band of wild horses very near the summit. The second magical moment.

We sat and watched them, taking it all in and basking in a mix of feelings: awe, joy, contentment. Out in the middle of the wilderness, having lost our way, we were treated to a show of wonder and surprise - a mountaintop experience. Literally.

Remembering this experience in the desert of Nevada seemed like a good way to prepare for the New Year. 

It is just a fact of life… most of our lives will be lived in the valleys - in the mundane, difficult, sometimes terrifying events that are common to all. It is in these valleys, though, where character is developed and where, at times, we are forced to our knees because there is no place else to turn. 

“Mountaintops are for views and inspiration,

but fruit is grown in the valleys.”

- Billy Graham

Life offers occasional rare moments on the mountaintop; times of complete peace. Times when all seems right, when the light seems to descend straight on us, and we stand in awe of the beauty that surrounds us. Times when we reflect on blessings and feel filled with gratitude. 

a wild horse photographer standing on the mountain top

Mountaintop experiences are usually unexpected and fleeting. They are exceptions rather than the rule. But it is these mountaintop experiences that focus us beyond ourselves to what is most important. 

This coming year, I wish you just enough mountaintop experiences that will bring you awe and wonder, joy and peace in perfect measure to keep you going during the inevitable valleys we must pass through.

Wishing You A Happy 2024!

horse photographer Maria Marriott signature

Wild Horse Artwork

Wild horse photography has become for me a means of storytelling, advocacy, and preservation. As a horse photographer, traveling the untamed landscapes of the American West, capturing the grace and beauty 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. So, contact us online and together, through art, let’s preserve the legacy of America's wild horses, ensuring that they remain forever free and wild.


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