Wild Mustangs of Mono Lake~

Officially named The Montgomery Pass Wild Horses, (click to enlarge)

these mustangs have a range of 50,185 acres,

spanning the borders of California and Nevada.

Photos were taken on the south shore of Mono Lake in California.

There has been no aerial round ups, or baiting population control efforts, with this herd for the past thirty years.

They are the only feral herd in the US whose population is managed entirely by natural apex predator (mountain lion) predation.

These guys are clearly advising me not to come much closer!

There were only two other people here, in the winter, and you can see the horses seemed more interested in the people, than visa versa.

These are shy and elusive creatures, I was fortunate to spend time with them.

I didn’t have my zoom lens and was pleased they allowed me in shooting distance.

The herd is estimated to have a population of over a hundred. We saw at least that many.

Cheers to you from The Mono Lake Mustangs~

For more info on these stunning creatures see:

https://americanwildhorsecampaign.org/media/herds-across-west-montgomery-pass-mustangs

My next post will focus on Mono Lake and the strange formations you see in the photos.

220 thoughts on “Wild Mustangs of Mono Lake~

  1. Sehr schön Fotos die du in diesem Beitrag zeigst. Das Pferd auf dem zweiten und dritten Foto, sieht den polnischen Koniks sehr ähnlich. Ich konnte sie in Masuren im Nationalpark beobachten. Heute werden diese Pferde in vielen Naturschutzgebieten ausgesetzt. Ich weiß aber nicht, ob zwischen den von dir gezeigten Mustungs und den polnischen Koniks eine Verwandtschaft besteht.

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    • It was just so much Fun! The lake in winter was a shock to me because the muted pastels were so ethereal. I went off trail to get closer to it, and then the mustangs showed up. It was a thank you God experience დ

      Liked by 1 person

    • I noticed how healthy they seemed too. It made me happy. No evidence of external parasites, ticks and such, which I often see in wild animals. Some had healed scars, but don’t we all! Thanks for noticing this Ann დ

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    • You are most welcome Debbie. It was really very cold. I have never been to Mono Lake in winter. The colors were like the most delicate pastels, bleeding into each other. It was so still, serene, beautiful, and empty, except for the wild mustangs დ

      Liked by 1 person

    • I still haven’t gotten over it. It was just an amazing experience. They eyes were so different than domestic horses. They were wild eyes, with really clear irises, and they looked directly at you. Not submissive at all დ

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The horses are gorgeous, Cindy, thank you for sharing them. It’s interesting to learn that this herd isn’t managed by humans at all. The wild horse herds in Colorado have to be subjected to human management as there aren’t enough natural predators. That causes a lot of challenges.

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  3. I wrote about wild horses (mustangs) in Nov 2013. The post may be found here:

    Saving Wild Horses

    The purpose of removing wild horses from the open range has never been fully explained, largely because the federal government is involved. And, when they are involved, they are not terribly forthcoming. The Bush 43 administration tried to resolve the range issues but there was a reluctance by those special interests regarding public land.

    The special interests are often competing interests, from ranching to utilities to anti-government types. In Nevada, for example to graze one beef cow, it requires 200 acres because of the scarcity of proper range grasses. They compete directly with the mustang herds. However, the mustangs will move on. Cattle don’t; they need to be herded to the next location. Also, the utility companies in Nevada want the land to expand their solar panel farms. We already know the entire state of Nevada can be paneled but still not have enough electric power to light the Strip (LV). Not only is it true in Nevada, but much of everywhere else. Solar is far from being renewable, but that’s a separate issue.

    The Obama administration was kind of disinterested in resolving the range issues contrary to their public rhetoric. They more than doubled the number of wild horses in federal custody without increasing the funding for proper feed and water. The Trump administration, well, they didn’t give a fuck. In a matter of fact, they tried to reduce/eliminate the funding from the federal budget without success. The Biden administration, there hasn’t been a policy change from the Trump administration. The BLM administration of wild horses in federal custody remains at the FY 2009 budget level submitted by Bush 43.

    It’s pathetic, but this is total truth. Say what you want to say about GWB, but he was the only one interested. They resolved the water issues with regard to the Colorado River compact, but when the Obama administration decided to void the federal consent decree, now you have water issues arising from the prolonged drought.

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    • There are reasons why we understand each other David, and this is yet another. Our country’s treatment of wild horse and burros is nothing short of shameful. Australians have told me they have upwards of 400,000 wild horses. The US has approx. 46,000, and yet we bait them, and feed them to coyotes, we round them up by helicopter, terrorize them, experiment with birth control. Our wild horse and burro “management” policies switch and swing like our elections. No rhyme or reason. In Death Valley, experts say the burros are hurting the desert, in Mono Lake they say horses are hurting the geology. Really? Human beings blaming animals we introduced for destroying the planet? That is of course so ironic, on so many levels, and so sad. Seeing these creatures who escaped us thrive under such hostile conditions is a testament to the beauty and power of nature, which we just seem bent on destroying.

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  4. I’m a horse-lover and rider, so I sure loved these pictures! It’s interesting that this herd is the only naturally managed herd in the U.S. I’m familiar with the BLM and its wild horse and donkey programs and used to drive by a big herd now living on a large ranch in southern Oklahoma. Thanks for the link to more info.

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  5. Here you are, Cuz, out horsin’ around in the desert !!! As a confirmed conservationist, I am apalled by our “government’s” policies. Loved the pics of the ponies. )o(

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    • It is so good to hear from you cuz! How are you? I completely agree with you about our government. These mustangs deserve much better. I hope all is well with you cuz. I miss chatting with you!! Take good care დ

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  6. Hallo Cindy, es gibt 2 fantastische Bücher von Stefan Schomann über Pferde. “Auf der Suche nach den wilden Pferden” beschreibt die letzten lebenden ‘Urwildpferde’, die Przewalski-Pferde. “Das Glück auf Erden: Reisen zu Pferd” beschreibt Anekdoten aus der ganzen Welt. Wirklich absolut lesenswert (und ich bin kein Pferdenarr). And, as per usual, beautiful photos!

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    • No one looks out for them. They do try to count them. They graze in a totally wild place. They survive on their own. The are only herd in the US that is not human “population managed,” meaning helicopter herded, baited, and often killed, to control populations. The US wild horse population stands at around 44,000. Australia’s is around 400,000. Go figure დ

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