In Search of the Salt Wells Creek Wild Mustangs

Salt Wells Creek Wild Mustangs, Rock Springs, WY

I had never been to see wild mustangs in the southern part of Wyoming and I was excited to visit this group.

I am often asked where do I find wild mustangs and my answer so far is, “I have been to 8 different states on public lands”. The second question is, “have you visited so and so band?” My answer to that is, I like to search for the really hard to find groups because one of things that I treasure when I go exploring is, the further in the middle of nowhere they are, the more special and raw the experience. I specifically look for the wild mustangs that are far in the backcountry or where they are mostly left to themselves, away from tourists.

This particular herd was just that…so exquisite with special moments I had the privilege of experiencing.

They lives on 1,173, 000 acres, there are bays, brown, black, “paints”, gray, palomino and sorrels with flaxen tail and manes. There are only about 300 of them and they look great.

They are not far from Rock Springs, WY…the road to them is actually on the outskirts of Rock Springs…20 minutes on a paved road, then I found myself where civilization has yet to creep and invade the country. I turned right onto a road that goes from beautifully paved, to not so nicely paved to a gravel road. It isn’t a terrible road as long as it doesn’t rain.

I love to reach the uncivilized land before the sun rises so, I drove for about 20-30 minutes through beautiful green rolling hills passing scattered cows, numerous pronghorns, a big group of elk…every time my heart skips a beat thinking that it may be the horses.

I drove a bit further and down into a valley and this is where I found two groups, my heart always jumps into my throat. Unlike the Onaquis in Utah, they are not as used to people.  I always park a fair distance away, giving them time to get used to the truck and me walking towards them. The walk to them is always so exciting, the first encounter sets the mood for the rest of the days I will be observing so I try my best to calm myself but I have to admit that the first few minutes with them is very difficult to be calm but as always they have a hypnotic effect on me, my breathing slows down, my attention focuses, my mind stops racing…I am home.

It takes me a few days to truly get in sync, so the first day I found two separate groups. I hung out with them, seeing which family was with who, who were the bachelors in the herd. The second day I found a totally new group plus one of the groups from the first day. Hung out with them through the day. I found a “paint” stallion in a group with a baby that couldn’t have been more than 1 week old, he was adorable and was testing out his legs, trying to zoom around which was not going as he planned. The third day was a mixture of all three groups and it was freezing cold, it was cloudy and I could barely keep myself from shivering. The wild ones are always so much more active on cold days. That day I saw another foal probably 2 weeks old who was trying out his legs and he also was not quite in control of his long legs. Two bachelors groups were causing unrest with stallions that had families…there was a lot of neighing back and forth with bachelors challenging different stallions. Unfortunately, I ended up leaving a bit early because of the cold and the menacing weather. (You can see a video of day 3 on Instagram @koruphotodesigns, sorry the sound isn’t great because of the wind)

A special moment was when I had the chance to see a connection between the two foals, their bond was so evident even though they were not from the same mother. I saw them together each day.  Just like us, you don’t have to be family to have a deep connection with others, you just have to be open, vulnerable and willing to blindly go with your gut. Their friendship is and always will be present.

Being around them always has a calming effect on me, it’s no surprise that horses are used for therapy. I did want to share that there was a study done on electromagnetic field around horses’ hearts. Horses have an extremely strong heart rhythm (heart energy field) which influences our own heart, this in turn aids in regulating, calming the neurochemistry within our brain. I am never surprised to see how totally rejuvenated I am even after spending days with them under the hot sun or freezing for hours at a time.

So what was so special about this herd?…I was completely alone in the middle of nowhere with them, I lost myself in the simplicity of their life, honestly that is where I feel like I belong, like a part of something bigger, that is where I feel that we are all interconnected and just for a brief moment I am part of them.