Wild Horses of the Colorado Piceance Basin

This post is a collection of about 70 photos of 19 different wild horses, including 2 foals, in the Piceance Basin of Colorado taken over the Memorial Day weekend. The shots are grouped in sets of activity (ex, a frisky foal, taking a dust bath etc), family groups and individual shots.

We originally set out to to photograph wild horses at Sandwash Basin near Craig, Colorado. To our great disappointment, the roads were impassable as recent rains made the clay soils a slick, boggy mess. Since the Sandwash was a bust,  the next day we headed over to the Piceance Basin between Meeker and Rangely. We talked to locals in Meeker to get the scoop on where the horses might be spotted – their advise paid off.

We spotted our first wild horse, a dark stallion, from a considerable distance. It was so far away, we weren’t even sure it was a horse until it started to move. He was heavily scarred and had several more recent wounds.

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Click on the images below for a larger version

We followed him slowly for a mile or so, stopping when he did, and got a few shots. He joined up with a second horse, a mare, and then a third horse, a stallion that I suspect was a yearling. After a bit, they were clearly getting nervous. We noticed that where we were parked had them boxed in a fenced area. They couldn’t get out of without getting too close to us, so we backed away and they trotted away.

Next we came across another family group of a stocky (and heavily battle scarred) stallion, a mare and a foal. They were in a creek valley where the grass was so thick and green, we worried that people might think we just took pictures of domesticated horses in a well tended pasture.

The stallion was heavily scarred, I assume from fights with other stallions and possibly predators (make sure to click the image below to better see all the scars)

A couple times he exhibited some interesting behavior. He would lower his head close to the ground and trot towards the mare and foal. Was he trying to get them to move along? If so, they were not cooperating.

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On the way back at the end of the day, we came across a pair of horses on the side of the road. They crossed the road, went down a hill and into the sagebrush. They would bite, nip and push each other. It looked more like they were playing rather than fighting, but they did get a little rough a few times.

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The next morning, we saw a lone horse in the road. It went off into the sage brush and kept a close watch on us.

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We didn’t see any horses for a while after that. The roads we were diving on showed no signs of horses (ex “road apples”). Eventually we ran into a herd of 10 horses, including a brown foal. They would lay down in a creek then roll on the ground and take a dust bath. At one point the foal was feeling frisky and ran around and back an forth through the herd. The last set of the trip were two or three horses that tussled while the herd moved on.

This is a series of one horse taking a dust bath

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Then the foal started feeling frisky, running full throttle around and through the herd

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Lastly, there were two or three horses that were constantly tussling with each other. This may have been play or it could have been more serious.

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One thought on “Wild Horses of the Colorado Piceance Basin

  1. Pingback: Wild Horses of the Colorado Sand Wash Basin | Photography by Dean Rowe

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