Meet Picasso, one of America’s most famous wild horses
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FROM Heather Balogh, Tuesday's Horse
April 2020

This colorful mustang has been galloping through the Sand Wash Basin for nearly 30 years.

Mustang Picasso
Photo Scott Wilson

Four years ago, photographers descended upon the Sand Wash Basin to watch the government bait-trap some of the area’s wild horses. But while documenting the controversial practice, meant to curb population growth, the photographers also discovered a star.

As images from the day began to circulate, one horse—boasting a distinctive tricolored coat and a tendency to pose for the camera—stood out. People became so enamored with the stallion they began making trips to the basin, near Craig in northwestern Colorado, hoping to catch a glimpse of him. A Facebook group with more than 15,000 followers attempts to track every move he and his offspring make. This level of devotion has arguably made the mustang, named Picasso, the most famous wild horse in the country.

While good looks certainly helped Picasso’s star ascend, he’s more than a pretty face. Most untamed equines live around 20 years; Picasso is nearing 30. That longevity inspired followers to crown him king of the Sand Wash Basin.

“Picasso is the embodiment of strength,” says Cindy Wright, co-founder of Wild Horse Warriors for Sand Wash Basin. “People go into the basin to find healing when they are at a low point. He is symbolic of the ability to keep moving forward.”

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