Unlike domesticated horses, many of which have suffered abuse at the hands of humans, wild horses will not intentionally hurt us. The horses and the humans were each inquisitive about the other, but neither were afraid. That was something really special in wildlife photography.
I was always comfortable around the mustangs that I went to South Dakota to photograph, even to the extent of laying down in their midst to photograph them so I could get the sky in the background. Perhaps, however, I did get too close to the stallions at one time when they were racing and fighting. I once saw two racing stallions literally crash through a group of grazing mares.
Karen Sussman, the president of the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros, was with us on Wednesday afternoon when the mustangs were exceptionally frisky. I had staked out a position quite close to them, and she suggested that for my safety I back off. I did, but only after getting my dramatic series in which one of the fighting stallions fell over backwards.
Karen herself moved in close to some mustangs that weren’t fighting:
Click on the picture above to enlarge
So did Weldon Lee, who led our photo safari: