If you’ve been reading my blog, you know by now that horses are one of my passions. I work with the team at Montgomery Creek Ranch (MCR) to document many aspects of horses and humans connecting. The Ranch is a wild horse sanctuary dedicated to raising awareness about America’s wild horses and burros. With so many wild horse roundups being done by the Bureau of Land Management, private citizens have taken on the care and protection of wild horses so they have a safe place to survive and remain wild. As you can imagine, this is a huge undertaking and the dedicated individuals who rescue these animals are my heroes.

At MCR, there are over 200 horses living free on 2,000 acres and over 40 horses in training. Because the terrain is much different than the native land of the horses, trimming of hooves is scheduled twice a year. In the way human fingernails grow and need trimmed, horse hooves also grow. In the wild, the hooves are naturally filed or shaved down from climbing on rocky slopes and hard surfaces. In some sanctuaries, the landscape is a smoother terrain. Thus, humans must trim the hooves to prevent injury to horses from tripping and falling over their growing hooves. My role during the trimming is documentation of the horses and process through photos. A team of professionals is in place to scan horse ID tags, monitor their health, treat injuries and ensure each horse is vaccinated and wormed.

The care for wild horses in sanctuaries takes a dedicated team of farriers, vets, cowboys, photographers, cooks and support staff. The images in this entry show the team, dedication and the process of a wild horse trim. (See more about the team here.)

The process begins when a large herd is brought into a large pasture/holding pen. From here, the herd is sorted into manageable groups in smaller pens. Riders skillfully separate the herd into groups of 20-25 while trying to keep bonded pairs and groups together, minimizing overall stress for the horses (this is my favorite time to photograph). No horse is ever left alone.