Volunteer Blog: The Elusive Canyon Phantom

The Virginia Range volunteers and photographers spend their free time out in the hills of the northern Nevada wilderness, observing the wild horses in their natural habitat. Often, they get to watch the horses grow up and find their own families. This is the case with photographer Deb Sutherland and the elusive and mysterious Canyon Phantom, who she first saw in 1999! Ever since she occasionally gets to see him, but she knows, to this day the Canyon Phantom keeps a watchful eye over the range from the canyon ledges. Read his full story below.

By Deb Sutherland

There is a mysterious black and white stallion who lives high in a Virginia Range canyon all alone. We call him the Canyon Phantom, as he is rarely seen. When he was a yearling (about 1999), he was seen living near Cooney Pond and as he grew up he stayed high in the mountains and never ventured down to the valley floor. In 2013, I found him still living high in the canyon with his big, beautiful family of pintos and roans.

Deb Sutherland

Canyon Phantom was happy with his family and was a wonderful protective stallion. One day, his family was seen alone in the canyon and he was nowhere to be found! Black Hawk had taken over his family. Soon after, the Canyon Phantom vanished. I found him at the springs with a badly injured leg and he was drinking from the pond. We believe he was injured in a fight with another stallion, possibly Black Hawk, and he was no longer able to take care of his family. He tried to make his way back to them but he was limping and barely able to walk. His injuries were that severe.

Deb Sutherland