Rein it in! Muddy wild Mustangs lock in a fierce embrace during an intense fight in Utah

Rein it in! Muddy wild Mustangs lock in a fierce embrace during an intense fight for dominance in Utah

  • Two wild horses broke away from the herd in the west desert of Utah during a brutal fight for dominance 
  • Photographer Jami Bollschweiler, 46, waited for hours before capturing the perfect shot of the wresting duo
  • The wild mustangs rolled around in a pool of mud before battling it out during the intense standoff in May 
  • He said the mud the animals had rolled in had the ‘uncanny effect’ of making the pair look like Greek statues 

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Wild mustangs have been captured in a fierce embrace as they fought for dominance after rolling in pools of mud in the west desert of Utah earlier this year.

The two horses broke away from the herd for the wrestling match as photographer Jami Bollschweiler, 46, quietly waited for the perfect shot in May.

Mr Bollschweiler, from Clinton, Utah, has revealed how he managed to capture the perfect photograph of the action as the mustangs challenged each other to prove their strength.

‘This one tends to stand out from the rest of my wild mustang fighting images because of the mud they rolled in and the uncanny effect of it making them look like Greek statues,’ he said. ‘I am always carefully looking for signs of a good shot.’

The photographer waited for hours nearby and revealed he has to take ‘light, the animals behavior and background composition’ into consideration. 

The two wild mustangs broke away from the herd for the wrestling match as photographer Jami Bollschweiler, 46, quietly waited for the perfect shot in the west desert of Utah in May

The mustangs challenged each other to prove their strength

Mr Bollschweiler, from Clinton, Utah, has revealed how he managed to capture the perfect photograph

Mr Bollschweiler, from Clinton, Utah, has revealed how he managed to capture the perfect photograph of the action as the mustangs challenged each other to prove their strength

The wait paid off after the pair rolled around on the floor and became entrenched with grey mud, leaving the clashing colts looking like fighting statues. 

‘I believe as a nature photographer that you make your most of your own luck. The hardest part of shooting wild horses is there’s almost always other horses around and typically in your photograph.’

The other horses in the herd stood peacefully behind the fighting mustangs as they kicked and bit each other during the lively conflict.

Mr Bollschweiler said: ‘The wild mustangs fight for dominance and they start testing their skills from a young age.

‘There are typically tell tale signs that a dominance interaction will take place but sometimes things happen unexpectedly.’

Utah is home to 22 herds of wild horses that graze in desert plains and gather together at watering holes. They were formed in the 1800s after domestic horses escaped from local ranchers and settled into lives of freedom.

One of the mustangs launched itself into the air and came down on the back of its foe. It was pictured biting at its opponent's neck during the intense standoff

One of the mustangs launched itself into the air and came down on the back of its foe. It was pictured biting at its opponent’s neck during the intense standoff

The photographer waited for hours nearby and revealed he has to take 'light, the animals behavior and background composition' into consideration

The photographer waited for hours nearby and revealed he has to take ‘light, the animals behavior and background composition’ into consideration

The wait paid off after the pair rolled around on the floor and became entrenched with grey mud, leaving the clashing colts looking like fighting statues

The wait paid off after the pair rolled around on the floor and became entrenched with grey mud, leaving the clashing colts looking like fighting statues

A third horse got involved in the action as the fight for dominance continued while other horses in the herd peacefully graced behind them

A third horse got involved in the action as the fight for dominance continued while other horses in the herd peacefully graced behind them

Utah is home to 22 herds of wild horses that graze in desert plains and gather together at watering holes. They were formed in the 1800s after domestic horses escaped from local ranchers and settled into lives of freedom

Utah is home to 22 herds of wild horses that graze in desert plains and gather together at watering holes. They were formed in the 1800s after domestic horses escaped from local ranchers and settled into lives of freedom

In 1971, US Congress passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horses & Burros Act to protect the ‘living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West.’ They now live in herd management areas (HMAs) around the state. 

The most photographed herd is the Onaqui Herd in the US is in Tooele County, an hour west of Salt Lake City. 

There are almost 450 horses, two large packs made up of smaller families, in the one herd. The group usually grazes within sight of dirt roads along the old Pony Express Trail, where men on horseback once carried the nation’s mail across the country between 1860 and 1861.

The Bureau of Land Management in Utah manages 19 wild horse and burro herd management areas across nearly 2.5 million acres. There are around 1,956 wild horses and burros in the state.

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