Doug Beezley Photography | Wild Horses, The Snowy Range & Rocky Mountain National Park - August 2013

My trip to photograph wild horses was several years in planning; I first learned about the possibility about three years ago in discussions with Mark Rasmussen of LightChase Photography Tours and was probably one of the first to sign up for the tour which also included a short enroute stop in Rocky Mountain National Park and a similarly brief visit to the Snowy Range in Medicine Bow National Forest northwest of Laramie, Wyoming at the end of the tour.

Photographing wildlife is a big challenge for me; it just doesn't come naturally because I seem to be challenged to actually get a moving object in sharp focus. So, in preparation, I practiced on moving cars, running dogs and anything that moved. The local police didn't understand why I was photographing cars at an intersection but that's another story.

Photographing the horses was more than just getting them in focus; it was first finding them then getting close, but not too close, so as not to alter their natural behaviors nor impede their travels. Or, scare them away. And, their travels are all about survival. Traveling constantly to feed and go to the few waterholes in the region, their daily journeys are survival in the purest tems. The region was the plateau just north of Green River, Wyoming. Within that huge plateau are two WMA's (Wild Horse Management Areas) named the White Mountain WMA and Little Colorado WMA. The White Mountain WMA has a population of about 265 horses and the Little Colorado has about 200. Most of our search was done in the White Mountain WMA with some small incursions into the Little Colorado. The horses are scattered in small groups over hundreds of square miles and the hunt for food is for low growing grasses (similar to "Buffalo Grass" found on the Great Plains) dispersed in a sea of sage (Wyoming has 13 species of sage!). The waterholes are few, miles apart and quite small.

Within the gallery I've tried to show small realities of the very harsh life of the wild horses of Wyoming - grazing, playing, fighting, dusting, nursing, breeding and just surviving. I'll show you new colts, old stallions, battle-scarred stallions, alpha stallions, alpha mares, "Bad Boys", outcasts and challengers and maybe even a mule deer or two as we covered hundreds of miles of dirt roads, tracks and trails in Wyoming. It was dusty, it was uncomfortable and it was tiring but it was worth it - well worth it.

There are a lot of camps about how wild horses should be handled. Certainly the BLM has a point of view, our excellent guide, Rich Nobler, has one and I'm sure ranchers and locals have one as well as do various wild horse advocacy groups. I'm not well enough informed to promote nor advocate. I just enjoyed. I hope you do, as well. Thanks for looking.
Up Close
On the Move to Water
King Stallion
The Outsider
Battle Scarred, Again
A Day at the Spa
Around the Water Hole
Early Evening Snack
End of the Day
On the Move...Again
Mother and Foal
Kicking Up Dust
On the Trail
Licking His Wounds
Double Canyon
Cutting Corners
You Take the High Road, We'll Take the Low Road
View Slideshow
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