Travels to the Wild Horses of the American West
In 1997 I read America’s Last Wild Horses by Hope Ryden. It was instrumental in my going to Pryor Mountain in 1999 to see the wild horses there.
Since 1999 I have been traveling to different wild horse management areas (HMA) observing, photographing, and painting the horses,beginning with Pryor Mountain Wild Horses in Montana, near the Wyoming border and Lovell, Wyoming, staying at night at the Horse Shoe Bend Motel owned by Jo and Jo Ann Anderson. I wasn’t to return there for ten years, and did so in 2008 with my husband. I wanted to take him where I had seen my first wild horses that changed my life and work focus.
It was literally seeing the wild horses in 1999 that propelled me into devoting myself to painting them which I am still doing, just as passionately, fourteen years later.
Disappointment Valley where the Spring Creek Wild Horse Herd roams free, has been my main focus for several years, beginning in 2003 and continue to return there each year for the summer. It is located between Durango and Norwood, Colorado in the desert.
I am a member of the Cortez, CO. branch of the National Mustang Association for Disappointment Valley wild horses, headed up by TJ Holmes, and David and Pati Temple. The horses from here represent the majority of my art work and studies of the wild horses.
Other horse management areas have also been inspirational in my work and love of the horses as well:
- Little Book Cliffs near DeBeque,CO. (2000,2003,2004);
- Ryan’s Gulch, also known as the Piceance HMA Basin; my husband and I could not find any wild horses in Ryan’s Gulch.
- Sandwash Basin near Meeker, Colorado (2003, 2004, 2005). This is the largest Wild Horse HMA. It has 160,000 acres. Dry Creek (which is now closed as all the wild horses were removed from there.) It is between Vermillion Bluffs and Sevennile Ridge with Monument Hi 97, from Southside. It’s field office is the White River in Meeker, Colorado.
- The Marsh Tacky Wild Horses I see each year are on St. Helena’s Island in South Carolina.
I hope you will enjoy the photos here of my experiences with the wild horses. They have been of great inspiration to my life and to my paintings.
Learn more about protecting wild horses
To learn more about protecting the wild horses of the American west, and how you can help, Karen recommends these websites:
The Cloud Foundation Blog
Help Save America’s Wild Horses
Track the Wild Horses of Spring Creek