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D.B. Young | profile | all galleries >> Wild Horses of the High Desert tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Wild Horses of the High Desert


Wild horses have roamed free in the American West from the days when Spanish explorers brought them on their expeditions to the New World. Although not officially classified as wildlife, they are absolutely wild and protected by law since 1971.

The mustangs shown in this gallery live in the high desert approximately 150 miles from my home in Central Utah. The area is public land and administered by the BLM. The wild horses share the land with local wildlife, range cattle in the summer months, and the occasional camper or desert hunter. The arid nature of the land proved undesirable to early settlers and only marginally useful as grazing land for ranchers. It is flat except for steep hills or mountains that rise abruptly from the valleys. There are very few sources of water, the wildlife and mustangs rely on springs in the higher elevations for water. Most of the mountain springs will dry up in the late summer and animals will be forced to drink at the only year-round natural waterhole. Other waterholes have been built to support the water needs of grazing cattle in the summer. The water in these man-made drinking ponds is piped in from distant springs. Forage is very scarce for ranging cattle and wild horses. The wild horses are able to eat rougher types of vegetation and have learned to graze in different areas based on the season. High wind-blown ridges are good places to feed in the winter, with grass being uncovered by the ever-present wind. The mustangs will paw away several inches of snow to nibble at food in the winter. With all water sources frozen, the horses must eat snow to hydrate.

Do not confuse these photos with others you may have seen that were taken at wild horse "sanctuaries". These horses are totally wild; not fed, fenced or otherwise cared for by man. Pictures shown here have been taken over the past two years, in all seasons and conditions.
All of the photos in this gallery were shot using a long 500mm lens and are a true representation of their lives in the desert.

During the last two years I have been shooting video of the mustangs in all seasons. With enough high quality footage to produce a 30 minute documentary about their struggle to survive in the desert. It will have the same look as the images in this gallery and will be fun to see. I just have to get it edited and finished.



Three stallions.
Three stallions.
Control
Control
Gully Crossing in BW
Gully Crossing in BW
Wild Stallion Kung Fu.
Wild Stallion Kung Fu.
Teeth...Up high.
Teeth...Up high.
Lonely.
Lonely.
Sundown Action in the desert.
Sundown Action in the desert.
Springtime and a new foal.
Springtime and a new foal.
Rise Up!
Rise Up!
For display only.
For display only.
Drama in the dust.
Drama in the dust.
Fighting mustang stallions.
Fighting mustang stallions.
Pony Express Stone Cabin.
Pony Express Stone Cabin.
High flyer.jpg
High flyer.jpg
IMGP7852.jpg
IMGP7852.jpg
March Madness
March Madness
Desert Bully.
Desert Bully.
Newman and Rowdy Brown.
Newman and Rowdy Brown.
Lead Mare.
Lead Mare.
Rocky on the Move.
Rocky on the Move.
All is well.
All is well.
Fading color on the Ridge top.
Fading color on the Ridge top.
Desert Arena.
Desert Arena.
Proving Rank.
Proving Rank.
Desert life.
Desert life.
My friend Elvis.
My friend Elvis.
Cold and Lonely
Cold and Lonely
Black Stallion in an Empty Desert.
Black Stallion in an Empty Desert.
Lamb against the Lion.
Lamb against the Lion.
The Decline of a Warrior.
The Decline of a Warrior.
Black in the clouds
Black in the clouds
Showdown
Showdown
Hindsight.
Hindsight.
Killer Stallion.
Killer Stallion.
Long-Time Rivals.
Long-Time Rivals.
Peaceful End of the Day.
Peaceful End of the Day.
Get in the Game Uncropped
Get in the Game Uncropped
Getting Schooled.
Getting Schooled.
Get in the Game
Get in the Game
Skyline brawl.
Skyline brawl.
The Outlaw.
The Outlaw.
Hope for the Mustangs.
Hope for the Mustangs.
Nap time.
Nap time.
The Lost Stallions.
The Lost Stallions.
New Menace
New Menace
Round one.
Round one.
Cold Mountain.
Cold Mountain.
Battle like the Big Boys
Battle like the Big Boys
Hard Winter
Hard Winter
Rise and Fall
Rise and Fall
Connected.
Connected.
Winter Survival
Winter Survival
Winter on the Range.
Winter on the Range.
Wild horse Stallion and Son.
Wild horse Stallion and Son.
Monarch
Monarch
Challenger
Challenger
Portrait at the Waterhole.
Portrait at the Waterhole.
Back off!
Back off!
Friends....but Not.
Friends....but Not.
First Snow on the Range.
First Snow on the Range.
Junior.
Junior.
The Females are watching.
The Females are watching.
A quiet moment.
A quiet moment.
Leader.
Leader.
Mare with ridge top pose.
Mare with ridge top pose.
Desert Warriors
Desert Warriors
Junior takes on Elvis.
Junior takes on Elvis.
In the Game
In the Game
Newman on the Ridge
Newman on the Ridge
Direct hit
Direct hit
Dusty sunrise fiesty stallion
Dusty sunrise fiesty stallion
Charlie and the Brown..again.
Charlie and the Brown..again.
Not exactly horseplay.
Not exactly horseplay.
Charlie and the Brown
Charlie and the Brown
Buck and Mooch.
Buck and Mooch.
Morning Drink
Morning Drink
Morning light at the waterhole
Morning light at the waterhole
Early morning fight
Early morning fight
Rocky and Mouse go at it.
Rocky and Mouse go at it.
Vigilant
Vigilant
Back in the Action
Back in the Action
Future conflict.
Future conflict.
Elvis in the waterhole
Elvis in the waterhole
Green White Blue
Green White Blue
Dead Serious
Dead Serious
Rocky
Rocky
Red and Ice
Red and Ice
Red and Geronimo.
Red and Geronimo.
Red making mud.
Red making mud.
Runt Stallion.
Runt Stallion.
Young and restless
Young and restless
Three mares at the Spring
Three mares at the Spring
Fight scene
Fight scene
Pinto Mustang Mother and Colt.
Pinto Mustang Mother and Colt.
An Old Friend.
An Old Friend.
Bent Grass
Bent Grass
Beautiful but sad.
Beautiful but sad.
Frisky little horse
Frisky little horse
Junior High School
Junior High School
Colt against the sunset.
Colt against the sunset.
Last June
Last June
Young stallions sparring in April
Young stallions sparring in April
Longing to belong.
Longing to belong.
Rocky and One Ear Charlie
Rocky and One Ear Charlie
Re-named.
Re-named.
Mare and colt
Mare and colt
Hard to Kill.
Hard to Kill.
Dark Horse with Sunset.
Dark Horse with Sunset.
Ridgetop
Ridgetop
White Stallion
White Stallion
Hostiles
Hostiles
Big Red and Elvis
Big Red and Elvis
Desert Highway.
Desert Highway.
White and Brown
White and Brown
Basic Instinct
Basic Instinct
Quiet Time.
Quiet Time.
One Ear Charlie and the Black
One Ear Charlie and the Black
Survivor.
Survivor.
Dry grass on the high slopes
Dry grass on the high slopes
Winter Stallion
Winter Stallion
Moondance.
Moondance.
All is fair in battle.
All is fair in battle.
Red defends his new Mare.
Red defends his new Mare.
Not so subtle.
Not so subtle.
Tossing of the heads.
Tossing of the heads.
We Call him Black Ice.
We Call him Black Ice.
Scuffle at the Waterhole
Scuffle at the Waterhole
High Desert White Stallion
High Desert White Stallion
Third White Stallion
Third White Stallion
Original Winter Run
Original "Winter Run"
Red Charger and the new mare.
Red Charger and the new mare.
Amber desert.
Amber desert.
Big Red, another gash.
Big Red, another gash.
Black Ice on the run.
Black Ice on the run.
Battle of the Reds.
Battle of the Reds.
Sundown Run.
Sundown Run.
Big Red.
Big Red.
Over the Ridge.
Over the Ridge.
Big Boy Now
Big Boy Now
I miss the Mustangs.
I miss the Mustangs.
Active Retirement.
Active Retirement.
Veteran Warriors on the Range.
Veteran Warriors on the Range.
Newcomer.
Newcomer.
Krusty and passengers.
Krusty and passengers.
Mooch and the Stranger.
Mooch and the Stranger.
Before the Thunder
Before the Thunder
White Stallion with Desert Background
White Stallion with Desert Background
Time-tested.
Time-tested.
Flight Path.
Flight Path.
King of the Desert.
King of the Desert.
To the waterhole.JPG
To the waterhole.JPG
Hot August.
Hot August.
High Riders
High Riders
Rowdy band of bachelors.
Rowdy band of bachelors.
Light under the storm clouds.
Light under the storm clouds.
Off into the light
Off into the light
Sunset in the desert.
Sunset in the desert.
The Final Battle
The Final Battle
Throat Specialist.
Throat Specialist.
Back in the Game.
Back in the Game.
From the bottom of the Waterhole?
From the bottom of the Waterhole?
Clyde and Turk
Clyde and Turk
Twins of different mothers.
Twins of different mothers.
Krusty wants another mare.
Krusty wants another mare.
Wild, tough and mean.
Wild, tough and mean.
Elvis pounds Rocky
Elvis pounds Rocky
Golden Boy and Red
Golden Boy and Red
A beautiful day in the desert.
A beautiful day in the desert.
Living in paradise.
Living in paradise.
Born wild and free
Born wild and free
A shot to the head.
A shot to the head.
The Alpha Male
The Alpha Male
IMG_1486.jpg
IMG_1486.jpg
Windy Ridge version 2
Windy Ridge version 2
Mustang Baby
Mustang Baby
Out with the Old......
Out with the Old......
Self Confidence
Self Confidence
I call him Black Ice. One tough horse.
I call him "Black Ice". One tough horse.
Encounter
Encounter
Rain coming.
Rain coming.
Ripped off.
Ripped off.
Legacy
Legacy
Warning!
Warning!
White stallion chase.
White stallion chase.
Banished
Banished
Winter Games
Winter Games
Find food on the hilltop.
Find food on the hilltop.
Sparring Bachelor Stallions.jpg
Sparring Bachelor Stallions.jpg
Bachelor Red on the hillside.
Bachelor Red on the hillside.
Getting High
Getting High
Mouse
Mouse
Suddenly
Suddenly
Mean and Nasty
Mean and Nasty
One more shot
One more shot
Little horse.jpg
Little horse.jpg
Buck and Ice go at it
Buck and Ice go at it
Buck and Shaggy Red.JPG
Buck and Shaggy Red.JPG
White Stallion and band.jpg
White Stallion and band.jpg
Fight in the gully.JPG
Fight in the gully.JPG
Rocky.JPG
Rocky.JPG
Rough Country
Rough Country
Buck and the twins at the waterhole.jpg
Buck and the twins at the waterhole.jpg
Fading light at the Waterhole
Fading light at the Waterhole
Outcast
Outcast
Teeth on the throat
Teeth on the throat
Flying High
Flying High
Give 'em the stink eye.
Give 'em the stink eye.
Gather to drink.
Gather to drink.
One last time with Flo
One last time with Flo
Deadly.jpg
Deadly.jpg
Whack!
Whack!
Desert Waterhole and Landscape
Desert Waterhole and Landscape
Sundown.JPG
Sundown.JPG
Tough Guys
Tough Guys
Waiting for winter.
Waiting for winter.
The largest mustang.
The largest mustang.
Afternoon Nap
Afternoon Nap
Water
Water
Son of Shaggy
Son of Shaggy
The death of Golden Boy.
The death of Golden Boy.
Home of the horses
Home of the horses
Keep your eyes on the Prize.
Keep your eyes on the Prize.
Action
Action
Fury
Fury
Epic Battle.
Epic Battle.
Portrait in the wild.JPG
Portrait in the wild.JPG
Veterans
Veterans
Grazing the ridge top
Grazing the ridge top
High desert home.
High desert home.
Shaggy the Magnificent.
Shaggy the Magnificent.
Dont mess with the top dog.JPG
Dont mess with the top dog.JPG
Last glimpse
Last glimpse
Another portrait
Another portrait
Romeo, alive and well.
Romeo, alive and well.
Romeo. Seriously wounded.
Romeo. Seriously wounded.
Grey Twins and the new colt.
Grey Twins and the new colt.
Geronimo and the Black
Geronimo and the Black
Body Language
Body Language
The Chase
The Chase
Water is life.
Water is life.
Into the West
Into the West
Into the night.
Into the night.
Wounded Knee
Wounded Knee
End of the Day
End of the Day
Elvis
Elvis
Temporary Truce.
Temporary Truce.
Locked on.
Locked on.
Like a Lion
Like a Lion
Same old grass--different day.
Same old grass--different day.
Brace for Impact!
Brace for Impact!
Gladiators
Gladiators
Wild!
Wild!
Water Trail
Water Trail
Life at the Top
Life at the Top
Making a Comeback
Making a Comeback
To find Water.
To find Water.
Fight in the dust.JPG
Fight in the dust.JPG
War.
War.
Like a fighting bull.JPG
Like a fighting bull.JPG
wintering mustangs.JPG
wintering mustangs.JPG
Snow Run.jpg
Snow Run.jpg
Wild horses and winter sunset.jpg
Wild horses and winter sunset.jpg
Big kid on the block.jpg
Big kid on the block.jpg
Looking back.JPG
Looking back.JPG
Go for the throat.jpg
Go for the throat.jpg
The Twins
The Twins
The American Wild Horse.jpg
The American Wild Horse.jpg
Sunset and horses.
Sunset and horses.
Fighting in the Storm.jpg
Fighting in the Storm.jpg
Thirst
Thirst
Windy ridge.
Windy ridge.
Butch and Buck.JPG
Butch and Buck.JPG
A show of power.
A show of power.
Killer Mother.
Killer Mother.
Hot and dusty
Hot and dusty
That will hurt.JPG
That will hurt.JPG
The twins in the waterhole.jpg
The twins in the waterhole.jpg
Quiet time
Quiet time
Developing a fighting style
Developing a fighting style
cool water.jpg
cool water.jpg
First to drink.
First to drink.
Mustangs in the Haze
Mustangs in the Haze
Attack.jpg
Attack.jpg
Waterhole bully.JPG
Waterhole bully.JPG
two at the waterhole.JPG
two at the waterhole.JPG
first battle.JPG
first battle.JPG
_MG_2111_filtered.jpg
_MG_2111_filtered.jpg
Left in the dust.
Left in the dust.
Stand up and fight.JPG
Stand up and fight.JPG
Tag team.
Tag team.
Retaliation
Retaliation
Face off at sundown.
Face off at sundown.
IMGP0293.JPG
IMGP0293.JPG
IMGP0343.JPG
IMGP0343.JPG
IMGP9440.JPG
IMGP9440.JPG
IMGP0772.JPG
IMGP0772.JPG
Violent
Violent
charger.jpg
charger.jpg
IMGP8515.JPG
IMGP8515.JPG
Two paints in the dust.
Two paints in the dust.
Enforcement.
Enforcement.
Little Red and Duke.
Little Red and Duke.
Geronimo and Old Timer fight.
Geronimo and Old Timer fight.
Scramble.
Scramble.
We call him Mooch.
We call him Mooch.
When there is no water.
When there is no water.
Dusty shadows
Dusty shadows
Wild
Wild
The Arena.
The Arena.
Powerful
Powerful
Protect Your Turf
Protect Your Turf
At sundown
At sundown
Another cold night.
Another cold night.
The Youngest wild horse
The Youngest wild horse
Good Times
Good Times
Black and red.jpg
Black and red.jpg
Youngsters.
Youngsters.
Freedom
Freedom
Chasing off the bachelors.jpg
Chasing off the bachelors.jpg
Not an easy life.jpg
Not an easy life.jpg
Bringing up the rear.
Bringing up the rear.
Last image.
Last image.
The New Stallion.
The New Stallion.
Untamed
Untamed
Wounded.
Wounded.
Buddies.JPG
Buddies.JPG
Frosty.jpg
Frosty.jpg
IMGP3997.jpg
IMGP3997.jpg
Serious.JPG
Serious.JPG
Flying By
Flying By
Buck and the Rogue
Buck and the Rogue
Desert Horse.jpg
Desert Horse.jpg
Big Stallion
Big Stallion
Goin down.jpg
Goin down.jpg
IMGP0269.JPG
IMGP0269.JPG
IMGP7736.JPG
IMGP7736.JPG
Training
Training
Wintering wild horses.jpg
Wintering wild horses.jpg
Pain!
Pain!
Back to back.JPG
Back to back.JPG
Last of the Guardian.JPG
Last of the Guardian.JPG
White stallion
White stallion
Frosty and Little Red.JPG
Frosty and Little Red.JPG
Zach Shooting the Mustangs.
Zach Shooting the Mustangs.
Lumps
Lumps
One Last Image.
One Last Image.
Don't bet on Mooch
Don't bet on Mooch
The new mare.JPG
The new mare.JPG
brown and white.jpg
brown and white.jpg
wounded
wounded
A watchful eye.JPG
A watchful eye.JPG
young colt in the cold.jpg
young colt in the cold.jpg
A hard winter.jpg
A hard winter.jpg
Cold wind at sunset
Cold wind at sunset
Machismo
Machismo
Mooch
Mooch
The challenge Medium.jpg
The challenge Medium.jpg
The weapon of choice.
The weapon of choice.
A kick in the head.
A kick in the head.
Duke and his band
Duke and his band
Lone wild horse
Lone wild horse
Too Many Wild Horses?
Too Many Wild Horses?
Running mustangs in snow  BW.jpg
Running mustangs in snow BW.jpg
Against the cold wind.
Against the cold wind.
Technique is important.
Technique is important.
Get out of the way!
Get out of the way!
The Guardian at sunset
The Guardian at sunset
The end of the chase.
The end of the chase.
How do they eat this stuff?
How do they eat this stuff?
scuba horse.JPG
scuba horse.JPG
small band at sunset.JPG
small band at sunset.JPG
dust at sundown.JPG
dust at sundown.JPG
Crossing the Gully
Crossing the Gully
sunflowers.JPG
sunflowers.JPG
On the trail to water
On the trail to water
Thirsty Horses.
Thirsty Horses.
IMGP7527.JPG
IMGP7527.JPG
Sunset chief and pastey.jpg
Sunset chief and pastey.jpg
Shaggy
Shaggy
Shaggy in Action.
Shaggy in Action.
The end of Shaggy.
The end of Shaggy.
IMGP8406.JPG
IMGP8406.JPG
IMGP9683.JPG
IMGP9683.JPG
Butch chases Buck.
Butch chases Buck.
Thirsty
Thirsty
In the water with MOM.
In the water with MOM.
Big red comes in close.
Big red comes in close.
Elvis and his band
Elvis and his band
IMGP8490.JPG
IMGP8490.JPG
Goldie.
Goldie.