Virginia Range Mustangs

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The Virginia Range is just East of Reno, and if you grew up watching Bonanza  you’ve seen it “with your own eyes.” 50% of all the wild mustangs that lives on our continent lives in Nevada.

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The mustangs that roams the hills of the Virginia Range are among the easiest to see, if you would like to see a wild horse. The city of Reno, Carson City, and the surrounding suburban areas are constantly growing, for the wild horses that means that the hills that they’ve been roaming are somewhat taken from them. The water sources are scarce in the desert, and they are forced to use the water sources that are available, even if they now are in populated areas. The debate of the right to the land is not a simple one. It’s sad to see horses get killed by traffic while they are trying to get a ”snack” from someones lawn. The desert is mostly sage brush, very lean grass, and rocks, when the horses see all the green lawns in the neighborhoods it’s challenging to resist them. I’ve also seen people feed them treats from their cars on many occasions. It is illegal to feed wild horses. I’m sure people mean well, simply not understanding the damage they cause by doing it, (causing horses to colic, founder, and get killed in traffic.)

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These horses are not on BLM land, and therefor not protected in the same way as mustangs on BLM land. The Virginia Range Horses are classified as stray/feral livestock, when they cause nuisance (gets into neighborhood, highways etc) they get rounded up, and loose their freedom. They are sometimes sold at auctions. When any horse is sold at an auction it’s a really bad thing, they are often bought by kill-buyers, that transport the horses under cruel circumstances, to a cruel end in Mexico. If you do want to know the fate of these horses, look it up on Youtube, (don’t do it if you want to sleep at night.) Those videos are very graphic.

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All these horrible facts aside, the Virginia Range Horses are beautiful. I enjoy watching them through my telephoto lens higher up in the foothills, away from the the cities. Up there the horses are wild. (Near the cities these horses occasionally walk right up to people, since they are used to be given treats.) The Virginia Range Mustangs are on the shorter side, usually around 13-14hh. They are believed to be the mixed offspring off early pioneer’s horses, with a touch of Shetland pony (sometimes used for working the mines.) I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know a few of them, that lost their freedom, and been sold at auctions. The ones that I’ve met had all the potential in the world to go in any direction as a riding horse; brave, surefooted, lots of endurance, and extremely loyal to their person. Wild horses that lost their freedom are used to being dependent on their herd (their family) for safety, they bond very closely to one person, that becomes their herd. If you gain the trust of a mustang you have a faithful partner that will do anything for you. My humble experience is that if you dedicate enough time to a mustang, the bond gets stronger than with most domesticated horses. In the wild their life depends on being close to their family, not only physically, but also mentally. They are masters of body language. Using body language as much as possible is recommended in any, and all interaction with a wild horse.

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Mustangs are extremely intelligent, and I often feel that they’ve read my thoughts before I even was aware of them myself. I hope you enjoyed this visit to the Virginia Range. These horses taught me so much, and will always own a part of my heart.

Love,

Ms Zen

PS. Prints of the photos of the wild horses in today’s post are available. Click on a photo you are interested in to see available art prints. I’m using Fine Art America‘s high quality prints, and safe online payment service. Order soon to receive your prints before Christmas. World wide delivery. Gift options available at checkout!

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge; Cheeky

Sunrise At Sundial Bridge

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Watching the sunrise is one of my greatest pleasures. It’s my favorite time of the day. This is my morning experience last Sunday, at Sundial Bridge, Redding (CA.) The Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay is the worlds largest working sundial. The bridge runs across the Sacramento River. The mountain in the background is Mount Shasta.

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I love the cold mornings this time of the year.

Nothing burns like the cold. –  George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

 

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The Sundial Bridge is designed by my favorite architect Santiago Calatrava. The bridge itself is spectacular, and amazing to experience in person. It’s a glass decked, cable-stayed cantilever suspension bridge, reaching 217 feet into the sky.

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I am always searching for more light and space. –  Santiago Calatrava

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The bridge was actually closed to pedestrians last Sunday morning, when I took these photos, due to ice on the glass floor of the bridge. When my friend and I entered the park, where the bridge is located, we met a kind police officer that took one look at my camera, smiled and said; be careful if you’re planning to cross the bridge, it’s very slippery. We crossed the bridge holding hands, taking baby steps. It was definitely worth it! It was an incredible sunrise. One of the best I ever experienced.

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I have tried to get close to the frontier between architecture and sculpture and to understand architecture as an art. –  Santiago Calatrava

This was the first time I experienced the bridge without lots of people around. The Sundial Bridge of Turtle Bay is a popular meeting place for both locals, and tourists alike. It’s a warm and inviting place.

If you’re interested in prints of these photos, feel free to visit my new gallery. Have an amazing day, and a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday with your love ones ❤

Love,

Ms Zen

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Transformation

Experimental; Equine Macro Photography

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Since before my first memory I’ve been obsessed with the beauty of horses, not only their physical beauty, but their beautiful spirits, their wisdom and intuition. Since photography also is a long term friend of mine, I’ve done a lot of experimenting photographing horses. I have a collection of photos, (that may, or may not become a book one day,) with equine macro photography. When I see unusually beautiful details on a horse I can’t help myself, I need to take capture it with my lens. It can be extraordinary eye colors (like the mustang above,) a coats unusual color combinations, or texture, or swirls on their body.

 

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Above is a close-up photo of an Icelandic Horse’s muzzle, with an abundance of facial hair, and you can see a hint of a thick winter coat in the background.

 

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A horse coats have swirls, just like our hair. Since a horse have a lot more hair than we humans, many also have more swirls (sometimes called whorls.) The most common places to see them is on their face, neck, chest, and flanks. There’s many theories, and even legends about their meaning. To some degree I believe there’s something to them. Having swirls like the Arabian Horse above means prosperity to its owner, according to the Bedouine beliefs.

 

Swirls are hair rooted in brain cells; the rest of the hair is developed from hair follicles in the skin. The forehead swirl hair is the most influencial because it is the first hair to develop and grow on the body in the embryonic fetus. – Charlotte Cannon

 

Here is an interesting article if you would like to know more about swirls. All my personal favorite  horses through the years, had two, or three swirls on their foreheads. A coincidence?

 

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An older mustang with a beautiful, long, two colored mane.

 

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An Arabian Horse with big, clear, expressive eyes. I was called out to a ranch to take pictures of another horse, while this guy decided to hang out with me. His company was very pleasant. It was a cold, windy day, and I spent a good couple hours taking photos of his friend. The owner disappeared into her warm house after  a few minutes. I didn’t quiet get the shot I wanted of the crazy horse I was supposed to take pictures of, but I’m kind of happy with this one. (The owner was happy with the other ones too.)

I hope you enjoyed these experimental photos. I just realized that the horses in this post happened to be my three favorite horse breeds; Icelandic, Arabian, and Mustang.

Looking forward to see other entries in the weekly photos challenge. Have an amazing day!

Love,

Ms Zen