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Hidden in the Western United States is one of America’s national treasures – the wild mustang. These captivating horse breeds are descended from horses brought over by the Spanish hundreds of years ago.
But, amongst these beautiful creatures, one truly stands out amongst the rest.
The stallion known as Picasso has earned himself the title of America’s most famous wild horse for obvious reasons.
His striking colors captured the attention of a worker from the Humane Society during a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) roundup. They described his unique markings as looking like a Picasso painting, and then the name just stuck.
He stands out for his beautiful pinto coat, two-toned mane and the many scars that adorn his body.
Picasso calls the Sand Wash Basin of Colorado home with his herd. He is a reflection of the harsh environment he grew up in – scars cover his body and each one tells a story.
Like other Mustangs, Picasso has been involved in countless fights, he has survived temperatures below freezing, and he has endured the brutal summers of the Colorado desert. Living in the wilderness has made Picasso into a true warrior.
He is now an estimated 30 years old, which is almost unheard of for a wild horse, and he has spent his entire life in the wild.
Though he was once another horse amongst hundreds, tourists and wild mustang enthusiasts now seek out the striking stallion to observe and photograph him.
There are Facebook groups dedicated to keeping track of Picasso and people have traveled hundreds of miles for the chance of seeing him in the wild.
Several Facebook pages have been made to show off photos of the wild stallion and to track his movements.
Photographer Scott Wilson took the internet by storm when he captured breathtaking photos that show off Picasso’s amazing spirit.
His adoring fans have even gone on to make in-depth charts of his family tree. They flock from all around the country, even Canada, in hopes of seeing the noble stallion in person.
Picasso has even been the subject of many pieces of artwork. See some Picasso artwork here on Etsy.
Picasso Was a Legendary Horse Leader
Picasso has been the leader of several bands, usually consisting of one stallion with a few mares. Stallions will compete for control of these bands and many of them fight to the death.
In his prime, Picasso fought off young bachelor stallions that were eager to steal his mares.
He has sired many offspring, with perhaps his most famous descendants being his son Van Gogh and his grandson Michelangelo.
Here is a photo by Sandy Sharkey Photography of Picasso and his mare Spirit Dancer:
One of Picasso’s secrets to longevity is his ability to know when to back down. He has been observed stepping away from fights that wouldn’t end well for him.
It seems as if even other wild horses know of Picasso’s legendary status. Patti Mosbey was observing mustangs in the wild in the summer of 2014 when she saw something unbelievable.
She raised her binoculars and realized it was Picasso on the horizon. Mosbey then noticed that there were two bands of horses surrounding him.
Suddenly, as Picasso passed them by, the other horses parted in two to make room for the legend.
“You almost thought they were deferring to him,” Mosbey said. “Nobody wanted to challenge him.”
In addition to being a warrior among other horses, he also had a playful side. On many occasions he could be seen playing with younger stallions.
Though his strength and bravery is quite notable, Picasso seems to be living a quieter life in his older years.
He no longer is seen traveling with a band, which is normal for older horses, as it is not worth the risk fighting off younger, stronger stallions.
He traveled with his favorite mare, Minho, for a few years but now the stallion is on his own.
His age seems to be catching up to him and recent photos show him looking a bit rough. In his most recent sightings, he was seen roaming on his own.
Some people have expressed the opinion that he should be adopted and live the rest of his years sheltered from the harsh environment.
However, many of his dedicated fans are against this idea and believe he deserves to be free.
Picasso was born with the instincts of a fighter and survivor, able to handle the hardships of life in the wild.
Picasso’s home is in the wild, and when he does pass he will leave a legacy that will live on in every one of America’s mustangs.
His incredible character has boosted awareness of the American Mustang, helping the lives of wild horses now and in the future.
Wild Horses of the Sand Wash Basin
Though Picasso is easily the best known Mustang of the Sand Wash Basin, many other wild horses roam freely among the land. The basin is home to around 700 wild horses, who roam over 157,000 acres of federal land.
The wild horses are often spotted traveling in small bands. The current population of wild horses in the basin is deemed appropriate by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and roundups here have been few and far between, unlike other locations.
The last roundup for the area happened in 2016, where 43 horses were caught through bait trapping and placed for adoption.
Each year, hundreds of people travel to see the wild horses located in the basin. Most people come in spring, which is when the best chance to see the horses is.
Though there is no fee to visit the basin, all visitors must maintain a distance of at least 100 feet at all times from the Mustangs.
Update on Picasso the Wild Mustang Horse
Picasso hasn’t been spotted for quite some time now in 2020 and it is feared he may have passed away. Although this isn’t confirmed and is unlikely ever to be.
Members of the Sand Wash Basin Horse Advocate Team believe that Picasso is no longer with us, as when he was last confirmed spotted he was skinny, with a swollen knee and lump on his stomach.
Hopefully, he has just stayed well hidden from the photographers!