Saturday, September 1, 2012

Steens Wild Horses

By Maggie Rothauge

Two rearing mustangs face off with each other.
Two rearing mustangs face off with each other.
The wild mustangs of the Steens.
The wild mustangs of the Steens.
A mustang bathed in sunlight.
A mustang bathed in sunlight.
A mother and child.
A mother and child.
The herd heads into the water.
The herd heads into the water.
The photographer is noticed.
The photographer is noticed.
Intently staring at the photographer.
Intently staring at the photographer.

It was February 2010, and absolutely spitting snow and rain—typical for southeastern Oregon. My husband, Farrel, and I had driven over to the Burns Wild Horse Corrals for a mustang adoption. Arriving a day early, we stopped by the Bureau of Land Management office to ask for directions to the best viewpoint to see the wild mustangs. A kind soul wrote out detailed directions, which led us to the South Steens Herd Management Area. We didn’t make it back for the scheduled adoption time. Instead, spellbound, we spent two extra days hiking around, photographing the wild horses of Oregon.

In the two-and-a-half years since meeting them, we return to the South Steens every few weeks—walking with the mustangs, studying the hierarchical structure of the herd and learning more with each visit. Following several dozen three-day trips to the South Steens mustang herd, there are roughly 150 to 200 horses that seem to recognize us. That allows us—and them—to relax and actually feel as one with the herd. For the last two years, we have celebrated New Year’s Eve on the South Steens, not to mention anniversaries, birthdays and several long weekends. On the most recent trip to the horses, I set out to bring 1859 exclusive photos that I hope you will enjoy.

All photos by Maggie Rothauge.

Comments

Aug 27, 2012

Pam said:

Beautiful photos and a true love story between a devoted phtographer and her wild mustangs of the Steens!! Loved this!! Thank you!!

Aug 27, 2012

Alice Trindle said:

Beautiful pictures in an amazing part of Eastern Oregon. Thanks for sharing!

Aug 27, 2012

Janet B. said:

Such beautiful photographs. How lucky for you that the horses accepted you into their herd! Perhaps someday in the future you'll be able to do a story like "Cloud" that aired on OPB. Did you ever adopt a mustang?

Aug 28, 2012

doni said:

So beautiful, may they roam free forever.

Aug 28, 2012

Dawn said:

I love your wild horse pictures! I have seen so many on facebook on the Oregon's Wild Side page... it is nest to follow the heards with you and see the new colts each year. I cant wait to get a copy of this magazine!

Aug 29, 2012

Ed said:

Very nice photos and story. Keep it up.

Aug 29, 2012

Pat Garcia said:

These are so fantastic!! Please never stop roaming with the Mustangs! What you share with us is something alot of us will never get to see in true life. But in your photos I can hear the mothers call their babies, hear and fill the strength of a Stallion, smell the sage and fill the wind on my face. Thank You. Mitakuye Oyasin....

Aug 29, 2012

Pat Garcia said:

These are so fantastic!! Please never stop roaming with the Mustangs! What you share with us is something alot of us will never get to see in true life. But in your photos I can hear the mothers call their babies, hear and fill the strength of a Stallion, smell the sage and fill the wind on my face. Thank You. Mitakuye Oyasin....

Aug 29, 2012

Maggie J. Rothauge said:

I appreciate all of the comments on the wild horse photography, thank you all. Someone way up there asked if we ever adopted a mustang. Yes! We have been adopters in this family for decades. At present we have six mustangs we are training for saddle horses. Three of which are out of this south steens herd. Please spread the word there are many horses needing adoption by good mustang homes at the Wild Horse Corrals in Burns. Most any color, any conformation and size can be found plus wonderful temperaments and loyal, lifetime friends can be found in the mustang. Feel free to get on Facebook and check out my Oregon's Wild Side page, hit like (if you like) and see many, many more pictures of the south steens herds. Thanks again!

Aug 29, 2012

Linda Hay said:

I was able to go to the Steen's last October for the first time. Thanks to Maggie, who at the time I didn't really know.. she took the time to tell me about the horses and where to go to see them. Her great story brings life to these awesome Mustangs..for so many that do not get the chance to actually spend time with them, she brings them to us in these beautiful pictures. Thank you so much Maggie, for loving them and sharing them with us.

Aug 30, 2012

Andi Harmon said:

Nice job Mags! These wild ponies are an addiction! I live lots closer but YOU get out to see them more than me! Keep up the good work! Folks? If you are on Facebook, you simply MUST check out "Oregon's Wild Side"!

Sep 2, 2012

Tricia Raney said:

Fabulous, Maggie! What stunning photos and thank you so much for sharing these beauties with us. Some day, I drive down there and see them for myself!

Sep 2, 2012

Tricia Raney said:

Fabulous, Maggie! What stunning photos and thank you so much for sharing these beauties with us. Some day, I drive down there and see them for myself!

Sep 4, 2012

Virginia said:

I, too have had the opportunity to travel the Mustang highway with Maggie and Farrel. What wonderful dedicated people they are, and what a heart for the horses they have.They showed us a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget. The images from that photo safari were some of the best horse photos ever. They made sure we had the ultimate mustang experience and helped us get up close and personal with these wild beauties. Great work Maggie, keep doing what you're doing!

Sep 4, 2012

Maggie J. Rothauge said:

What great comments, thank you all so much. One trip up to these magnificent horses and you feel a closeness that nothing much can compare to. These horses have also brought many people together that may have never met otherwise, I am thankful! I am also very grateful to 1859-Oregon's Magazine for allowing these Oregon mustangs to be the gallery feature for the Sept/Oct issue!

Sep 14, 2012

Lydia said:

Here is the link to Maggie's wonderful FB page on the mustangs in Oregon, for those of you not already familiar with Oregon's Wild Side:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Oregons-Wild-Side/111252048926803

Oct 1, 2012

Laura said:

Love it Maggie!!! I am so happy to have met you and been able to see all the great work you do. I have learned a lot from you and really appreciate everything that you do.

Jan 18, 2013

Karina Rosenberg said:

Great job ! Wonderful to see the fruit of your passion gaining a wider audience. And once again thank you for sharing the ride with us __ it is always a joy and an education. Keep up the high standards of your work !

May 22, 2013

Amanda said:

Wow these pictures are amazing
These horses are so beautiful. I would love to go
See them in the wild habitat

Aug 11, 2014

Emmaline said:

I love mustangs and I'm glad you love them too I hope one day to go out and photograph mustangs myself

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