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Wild Hoofbeats Gallops Into Every Horse Loverís Heart

Wild horses: bold, elusive, independent. Above all, free. Or are they? Most of us consider wild horses honored emblems of our Western spirit, but some see them as a resource to exploit or even a pest to eliminate. Which are they? For Carol Walker, the photographer and author of Wild Hoofbeats, the answer begins not in abstract argument over symbols and statistics, but with the horses themselves. In images that move fleetly from the pages straight into our hearts, Walker brings to brilliant life the horses of the Adobe Town herd in Wyomingís Red Desert, and we gain a priceless perspective on these graceful, courageous animals.

Walker gathered these dynamic images over years spent observing (sometimes at a distance, often within a mere stride or two) the bands of the Adobe Town herd. She emerged from her experience with a sense of personal acquaintance with the horses, a deep respect for their social allegiances and intelligenceóand a heart fully engaged by their plight. As art, the photographs are elegant. As documentary, they are evocative. In every respect, they are indelibly memorable.

But Walker doesnít rest with photographs. In quiet, spare prose Walker invites us to journey with her as she meets the horses in the initial blur of mass impression, then band by band, and eventually, individual by individual. We come to recognize each stallion and note as the seasons pass the new battle scars, the special attention each gives to a favorite mare. We understand which mare is tender, which is a disciplinarian with her baby. And of course, we grow attached to the youngsters, first as curious foals, finally as adults venturing into perilous independence. In the final chapters, Walker takes us on the roundup done by the BLM to control herd population, and we hold our breath. Which ones return home to their family bands, and which are separated forever? Ultimately, we are as invested in these horses as if they are our own.

So, travel with Carol Walker through Wild Hoofbeats, savor every painterly image and every poignant story, but beware: you cannot venture through this book and emerge unchanged.

Carol Walkerís passion for photography started at an early age, with animals as her favorite subjects. She studied literature and photography at Smith College, and continued after graduation to study portraiture and nature photography. For the past 28 years, she has photographed wildlife the world over; since becoming aware of the precarious situation of the wild horses, she has dedicated herself to educating people about them through her photographs and her stories.

In her business, Living Images by Carol Walker, Walker specializes in horse photography, illuminating the relationship between horses and their people, as well showcasing horsesí ineffable beauty in stunning images of them at liberty. Her commercial work includes on-site horse portraiture, catalogue covers, and calendars; her fine art prints are available at http://www.LivingImagesCJW.com as well as in several galleries on the Front Range of Colorado.

 

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