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This herd of about 40 wild horses has captured quite a bit of media attention lately because of a federal proposal to remove them from their Salt River home near Phoenix. Howard-9179

I felt blessed to spend a few hours with these breathtakingly magnificent animals.Howard-9350 Howard-0408

It’s easy to forget that the Salt River Wild Horses are just that … wild. I got this closeup using a 100mm lens, which means that I was very close to the horse, who had approached me. Within a few minutes, the horse got bored and moved on.

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Most of them have deep gashes and cuts, evidence of their power and strength. They fight. They bite. They jostle for dominance. They are pure beauty.

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If you are interested in more about the debate surrounding the Salt River Wild Horses:

TOP 10 BEAUTIFUL SALT RIVER WILD HORSES

Salt River horses destroying habitat, environmentalists say

And most recently, this disturbing news:

SALT RIVER WILD HORSE DOTTY SHOT TO DEATH, FOUND FLOATING IN CURRENT