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The Wild Mustangs of Onaqui Mountains: Meet Cooper and Old Man

In the second installment of this three-part photo essay, we meet Old Man and Cooper, two horses at opposite ends of the age spectrum among the wild Mustangs of Onaqui Mountains.

Photographic essay by photographer Kisa Kavass — June 2019.

Ms. Kavass travels west to study the wild Mustangs. She observes and walks among them. She also volunteers to aid all breeds of rescue horses by taking photos for adoption postings for Horse Plus Humane Society.

Ms. Kavass introduces us to the herd: “One morning as the sun was just tipping over the Onaqui mountain range we saw the Mustangs up on top of a ridge. We climbed up to meet them as they made their trek down to water. I heard the whisper of wind through the swaying grasses; the footsteps of horses as they picked their way down the hillside.”

Morning Light

“Walking with the wild ones was spellbinding. I was accepted by them. As they passed me I could feel the peace and kindness emanating from them. They experience freedom like none of us ever will.”

Old Man

“One of the best known horses of the Onaqui Wild Horse herd is fondly called Old Man-Gandalf.

Old Man

“Old Man does not have a family band anymore, but he still follows the herd in his own time. He is not alone — he shares his days with other bachelors that have lost their family bands.”

Old Man Playing

“Watch the herd run past and then see Old Man shuffle along behind. He still has their respect as he comes in to the watering hole or as he plays with the younger stallions – teaching them. Old Man is recognized and beloved by many people.”

Stallions

“Baby Cooper was just one day old when I met him. He belongs to a large band (family unit) with a strong stallion as his father. The stallions are good fathers — loving and protective. If a foal strays too far from the band the stallion will come after him to herd him back to the family.”

One Day Old Cooper

Baby Cooper

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