By: Carol J. Walker
Publisher: Painted Hills Publishing
Publication Date: November 2015
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: February 13, 2016
Stunning photography and a compelling story combine to make Galloping to Freedom a must-have book for horse lovers and indeed, a must-have for anybody who loves animals.
Award-winning equine photographer and author Carol Walker has written/photographed several books about horses, focusing most of her energies on the plight of wild horses. The first book of hers that I read/reviewed, Horse Photography: The Dynamic Guide for Horse Lovers, gave me a new understanding of how to photograph my own horses. Her beautiful photos along with easy instructions had me hooked. Many horse enthusiasts likely know her/her work from the Cloud Foundation calendars (showcasing the stallion ‘Cloud’ and the horses of the Pryor Mountain Herd), which she has photographed, donating the proceeds to the Cloud Foundation. Her newest book, Galloping to Freedom,continues the amazing work Ms. Walker has done to help the wild horses of the American West.
Galloping to Freedom follows the plight of wild horses from several areas of Wyoming, including the Great Divide Basin. In the fall of 2014, the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) gave in to pressure from cattle owners to remove wild horses from publically, and some privately, owned land. Despite ‘allegedly binding legislation,’ the Checkerboard Roundup went on. Stallions, mares, and young foals were chased into holding pens by helicopter. Once captured, these wild horses, who form very strong bonds with their families, were separated by gender and age, and forced into confining pens with strangers. Fights broke out, injuries occurred and foals were put in dangerous situations as they tried to stay with their mothers.
Carol Walker was very familiar with a particularly band of horses that had been captured, those known as the ‘Adobe Town Appaloosas.’ She had previously photographed them and had even named the herd sire – Bronze Warrior. When Ms. Walker heard of the roundup, she immediately set to work with other wild horse advocates to purchase those horses, and bring them to the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary where they could be reunited. Ms. Walker expertly captures all of this with her camera lens, from the roundup to the eventual release of Bronze Warrior's family at the sanctuary.
The cover image on Galloping to Freedom was enough to draw me into this book and once I started reading through the pages, I couldn’t look away. Ms. Walker has a talent for capturing the heart and soul of the horses she photographs and the images in this book are no exception. The story will make you angry with the politicians who bow to pressure from cattle interests to rid the land of our country’s greatest treasures, and how those horses, ripped away from the only family they have ever known, frequently suffer. Lest you think, however, that the book is only about the misfortunes, take heart because there are plenty of beautiful photographs of wild horses enjoying life at the sanctuary. Thank you, Ms. Walker, for keeping the plight of America’s wild horses in front of the public.
Quill says: A book every horse lover should read – you’ll be mesmerized by the photos and story and quite thankful that there are people like Carol Walker working diligently to save the magnificent wild horses.
For more information on Galloping to Freedom, please visit the website: www.wildhoofbeats.com