A few weeks ago my husband and I packed a lunch, our binoculars, my camera, and headed west.
We drove about two and a half hours from our home to the Utah desert passing the Pony Express route on our way. We were on a mission to see wild horses.
Utah is home to 22 herds of wild horses. The wild horses that live in this part of Utah are known as the Onaqui herd. They have occupied the Onaqui Mountains since the late 1800s. These horses are descendants of once domesticated horses brought to Utah by European settlers. The population of the herd is thought to be somewhere between 400-500. They are average in size, about 800 – 1000lbs, and are of a range of colors; brown and bay dominate but you will also see sorrel, buckskin, black, white, and roan.
After driving miles and miles on the Pony Express Road and just past the Simpson Springs station we turned the bend and pulled over on the side of the dirt road. Sprawled in front of us was a view of a vast desert valley. The sunny haze and desert mirage made it a bit hard to see. Our eyes played tricks on us. Something that seemed somewhat nearby was really miles and miles away. We scanned the valley floor using our binoculars and after a few minutes spotted a group of seven wild horses.
We started up again and drove the dirt roads finally reaching the group of seven. They were all lying down, except for one. There was even a sweet foal resting in the grass. We spent some time enjoying the view. My husband, his eyes glued to the binoculars, spotted a dark cluster. More horses! We started driving and got as close as we could. I took my camera and walked about a quarter-mile to the group of about 40 horses. They were a mix of colors and sizes, and they were beautiful. The breeze blew threw their manes and tails as they rested in the midday sun. I spent some time just watching. I whispered goodbye and walked away.
Our little road trip was a great success! It was such a treat to see these creatures in the rugged habitat that they’ve conquered. Something special indeed. If you ever have the opportunity to seek out wild horses, do it! You will not regret it.
Erin Gouveia of Silver Oaks Farm is an accomplished equestrian, award winning photographer, and an artist. She was born and raised in San Diego, California, graduated from Colorado State University, and now resides in Park City, Utah on a small ranch with her husband. She has had careers in Medical Research, Zookeeping, and most currently Photographer at Erin Kate Photography.