Wild Kiger Mustangs ~ Steens Mountains, Oregon by sarah waters

Traveling solo has become my therapy. For the last 7 years life has been a roller coaster ride of events, trials, and you name it...I endured it. Finding healing thru immersing myself in my craft and combining it with my equine love and the want to discover light-ness is what helped me move forward and start climbing back up. "Onward and upward" my dear old dad used to say, and he was right. 

So I headed to Sisters, then Diamond Oregon. A 5+ hour trek from my home this was a commitment and I didn't have a lot of time to waste. I wanted to see the Kiger herd.  Many said they are difficult to find and I'd be lucky if I did. They are an elusive band, but I was so sure and so determined...heading out with very vague directions and missed turn-offs I eventually found the correct narrow, bumpy dirt road.

Right place at the right time...

As I looked up on the ridge and I saw them...if I had been a second or two later I would have missed them over the hill, a wasted trip.  Thank God I looked up at that moment. And oh wow were they amazing...

Follow, Wild Kiger Mustangs, Steens Mountains, Oregon

Follow, Wild Kiger Mustangs, Steens Mountains, Oregon

It's rather intimidating when I am alone, in my cowboy boots, giant backpack with my film camera 'cuz I might need it, the new giant lens with extender, tripod, sweat dripping, climbing over boulders and rocks and sneaking around trees...because there are over 50 of them and ONE of me.  I really have to be careful and keep a certain amount of distance at least at first. They are used to seeing people but it just takes one of them to be set off for an unpredictable reason.  Look out and get out of their way! So these images are after several hours of patiently waiting and creeping closer, behind this bush and that tree...up and down hills and finally letting them see me, slowly, staying calm because they really do sense my energy, and really just being in tune.

Kiger Bond, Steens Mountains, Oregon

Kiger Bond, Steens Mountains, Oregon

Wild Kiger Mustangs, Steens Mountains, Oregon

Wild Kiger Mustangs, Steens Mountains, Oregon

This is my favorite. I love their symmetry yet this is just another day in their natural environment. This image was also well liked by a New York Gallery, Umbrella Arts, my first showing recently in the Big Apple.  

Many of the Kigers I saw that day have been gathered off the range.  Every 4 years the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) does a gather to manage the herd. The Kigers do adopt out because they are highly desired. Wild Horse Mountain Ranch in Sherwood is one such place who adopts Kigers and trains them for Equine therapy. 

So my journey has really come full circle...as a child my therapy was the horse I rode, Sugar, after my mother passed away at the tender age of 11. And now, I find solace in both the journey out to Eastern Oregon and in finding and photographing these beauties. 

I would love to hear if any of this resonates with you...and if you haven't ever taken a solo road trip, I say give it a whirl.  You might surprise yourself.

As ever,

Sarah

P.S. Fine Art prints of these images and more are available HERE.

P.P.S. A portion of the proceeds from the sales of these images goes directly to non-profit organizations who further the cause of rescuing and training Wild Mustangs for use in Equine Therapy.

What do Tommy Lee, Adele and Mick Jagger have in common? by sarah waters

Rescue horses! Naming horses after rock stars is one method the rescue nonprofit group Sound Equine Options (SEO) has used to keep track of incoming rescue groups.

SEO started when Kim Mosiman, co-founder, realized the need for a veterinary-focused rescue facility. As a licensed vet tech for many years, she saw so many cases of horse neglect and the need was increasing year after year. So she partnered with Scott W Hansen, DVM to create just such a place. SEO takes care of veterinary care and feed and other expenses all through donations and fundraising events.  

Fritz is South Equine Options first rescue.

Fritz is South Equine Options first rescue.

I first learned of SEO when the Oregon Humane Society seized many animals including 21 horses from a residence in rural Oregon who were in really bad shape. According to Kim, almost all 21 have been rehabilitated and re-homed in the span of 1 Year. They are the go-to place for vet-focused rescues in the NW Oregon and SW Washington.

SEO has helped over 1200 horses since its beginnings in 2009. Utilizing a combination of both the barn facility and foster families, they are able to care for up to 70 horses at a time. Once a need is discovered, most of the horses are taken immediately to Eagle Fern Equine Hospital care facility in Gresham for initial assessment to get them on the road to health. Outside, this place is surrounded by lush green spacious pasture that must feel like heaven on earth to these neglected beauties. Once ready, they move on to the SEO Training Barn to begin their training.

I absolutely adored meeting one of SEO's very first rescues. Fritz, a wonderful white Arab Appaloosa, had been abandoned with his sister and turned loose.  They ran loose for 6 months, foraging for food, until the ground was covered with snow. Starving, they found their way down to neighbors with horses, who then called SEO for help.  When Fritz first came to SEO, he was severely underweight, had punctured his left eye, and wasn’t halter broken.  He most likely had never been in a stall.  Now, after many months, he is well-trained, healthy and ready to move on.   It was wonderful to watch him with Carlos, a fellow rescue, running free in the arena for a good while during my visit. I just heard that he has been adopted, and is now on to his forever home.

Fritz getting his daily excersize in the Sound Equine Option riding and training arena.

Fritz getting his daily excersize in the Sound Equine Option riding and training arena.

People like Kim Mosiman find this work so rewarding that it was worth leaving her full-time job to be able to give the time it takes to help run SEO. The hard work, dedication and love is overly evident here. On their website they have a saying known among horse rescue circles that really says it all:

"Saving One Horse Won't Change The World, But For One Horse, The World Will Change Forever."

You can discover more about Sound Equine Options in Gresham, Oregon here:

http://www.soundequineoptions.org

If you would like to have your facility photographed or have a special rescue or therapy story to tell, please contact me at sarah@sarahwatersphotography.com.

 

 

A big heart and simple beginnings turned into one woman's biggest wish.... by sarah waters

Horse rescue facilities normally have modest beginnings...For Big Hearts Horse Rescue (“BHHR”), a nonprofit organization in Salem, OR, it all started after Teri Silva rescued her first horse, Cat, and began discovering other horses in need. Her next rescue, Moonshadow, of Monmouth, OR, turned out to be the biggest challenge, but one who desperately needed help.

Moonshadow was a Stallion for about 14 years, rescued from a neglectful situation. He was emaciated and a very sad case. After about 7 months of eating very well he put on enough weight to finally be gelded. Moonshadow was a real handful and to most he was dangerous and disrespectful. It would take a lot of love, fearlessness and consistency to get him back on track….

Courageous, Valerie Carkhuff at BHHR decided to continue on with the challenge. Moon was the horse she wanted and he was the horse she refused to give up on. Everyone thought she was out of her mind, but hard work with at least 1 hour of training a day for four years and now he is a gentle teddy bear. Moonshadow has opened so many doors for BHHR. Thru all of the training and learning required of him, he is now Valerie's main horse to guide the beginner rescue horse training program.

Valerie Carkhuff doing ground work with Moonshadow at the BHHR Riding and Training arena.

Valerie Carkhuff doing ground work with Moonshadow at the BHHR Riding and Training arena.

Horses arrive at Big Hearts for many different reasons. There is Trump who just refuses to wear a saddle. He is challenging and has quite a buck, so he will take a bigger cowboy to train him and move him out.

Then there is Dylan...wow what a story this is. Dylan was given to BHHR after a life of difficulty and neglect. When his original owner could no longer care for him, he was given to the owner’s son, but he had no prior experience with horses. After contacting BHHR to get help, unfortunately, no one could get out to Dylan for a few days to transport him, so BHHR had hay delivered and made certain with daily phone calls that someone would get the feed to Dylan, because they were in fear that without food, he would not make it. He was fighting for his life at this point. After a few days, BHHR was able to get poor Dylan transportation away from his life of neglect last October. When I visited BHHR last month in January, Dylan was looking mighty fine. He has filled out beautifully and in just 4 short months has put on 100 pounds or more of the weight he needs. This is very unusual, as normally it can take up to a year for a horse to be back to their healthy weight. It will take awhile for him to build the muscle back up to 100 percent. Blind in his left eye, I had to take care not to be squashed against the stall or stepped on. He will make a wonderful trail or companion horse for someone someday soon.

Dylan looking so great with all the weight and muscle he is building after severe neglect.

Dylan looking so great with all the weight and muscle he is building after severe neglect.

I also had perfect timing to see a brand new horse come into BHHR the other day. Jazzy from Lake Oswego arrived. She came from a Hunter/Jumper barn and was a training horse, but Jazzy is extremely hard to handle. They are beginning to assess her and when I was there she was running and pacing back and forth constantly, snorting and extremely vocal. Teri explained she has seen horses often with this behavior and it could be several things. Being herd bound, she has severe separation anxiety which could be one cause, or it could be a case of being barn sour. Teri is hopeful that an equine bodywork therapist could give some relief  if she is any pain due to need of adjustments. A beautiful thoroughbred, I am hopeful BHHR will find the answers and have another wonderful adoptable horse.

Teri giving Jazzy some essential oils to sniff, in hopes of calming her down.

Teri giving Jazzy some essential oils to sniff, in hopes of calming her down.

Natural Horsemanship is the method BHHR uses to train all incoming rescues. With Teri's experience and amazing 5 acre facility with 4 large pastures, barn with 12 stalls and a full size covered riding arena, and Val and Moonshadow at the helm of training, new rescue horse owners have an exceptional place to go. From all the years it took to turn Moon around using methodology from seasoned horse trainers such as Clinton Anderson and Tom Eichorn, BHHR has the facility and tools to make a huge impact.

From humble beginnings, Teri saw the need to grow. Putting her house up for sale she just knew it was the right thing to find a larger place to be able to take in more beautiful beings. Within a week her house sold and the current location of BHHR just outside of Salem, OR became available just in time. When things are truly meant to be, they just happen...   

You can learn more about Big Hearts Horse rescue here:

http://www.bigheartshorserescue.org

If you would like to have your facility photographed or have a special rescue or therapy story to tell, please contact me at sarah@sarahwatersphotography.com.

 

 

 

Wild Horses...Yakama Indian Reservation by sarah waters

Again, I am in awe of the grace and beauty of these animals.  They are so inquisitive and the longer I stay quietly near them, the more comfortable they are with my presence as long as I keep a certain distance.   

I continue to do my little part...currently I am helping to promote the American Mustang Movie with a giveaway of an 11 x 14 Wild Horse print here in the Portland Area.  The film gives a beautifully detailed overview and story about the dwindling wild horses in our country. 

Many of you have asked if these photos are for sale.  Thank you!!  I am working on that now with a portion of each sale going towards the cause...if you would like to receive updates you can here.  :)

This little foal had to lie down and rest about every 30 feet...

This little foal had to lie down and rest about every 30 feet...

So protective, this one...

So protective, this one...

As ever,

Sarah



An American Icon...our nations Wild Horses by sarah waters

5 weeks without my kiddos...what should I do? 

Go camping and capture images of Wild Horses in all their glory?  YES!  

Something I have wanted to do for a very long time...I wasn't sure where I would end up or how successful I would be, but I just had to try.  Now, I am hooked and can't wait to get back there, to the Yakima Reservation and see if I can find some of the same bands I was lucky enough to spend time with.  

I want you to know, that these horses are in danger though...danger of starvation, danger of round-ups, danger of slaughter...because the situation is out of control.  There are too many in this particular area I am told, and there is a struggle to manage the many different herds. The more I learn, the more passionate I become to make a little difference.

For now, enjoy these images that, to me, represent the ultimate freedom...

This stallion had his eye on me the whole time...the protector for sure...

This stallion had his eye on me the whole time...the protector for sure...

As ever,  Sarah

As ever, 

Sarah

rhoda + dave by sarah waters

The morning ritual...going to Ann's Coffee Shop where one can get (and Rhoda does at times for breakfast!) pie baked by the same baker for 40+ years and a decaf...or the French Toast Special and add a chocolate milkshake (waters kid's favorite combo).  Ann's will always be a very special destination...with Granny and Poppi.

Rhoda & Dave, Ann's Coffee Shop, Menlo Park, CA 2013                                                     Hasselblad 501C/M  T-Max 400

Rhoda & Dave, Ann's Coffee Shop, Menlo Park, CA 2013                                                     Hasselblad 501C/M  T-Max 400




camelia tree... by sarah waters

I love the Camelia (bush) tree in our front yard. When Cole, Summer and I moved two years ago from our home of 14 years, we had only ONE tree...a Camelia tree...and now here we have several beautifully messy oaks and another Camelia tree in our front yard. It was meant to be. The blooms are a beautiful hot pink at the first sign of spring, but I love the way my Hassy translates the blooms here.