Wednesday, September 23, 2015

My Farewell Song

I'm wrapping up the summer with one more post about horses. Is that alright?

Just one more, for old times' sake.

I'm not going to drag this out any more than I have to. Long story short, exactly the day before our Landscapes With Wild Horses show, I found out that the wild horses I've been making pictures of for the past three amazing years, the wild horses who have changed my life for the better, those wild horses who give so much just by being the free spirits that they are, will be rounded up by a helicopter. First of all, they will be terrified and run ragged for miles and miles. Some will die from heart attacks. Some won't be able to run that far. The little legs of foals won't be able to keep up. Others will break legs or become lame from the erratic helicopter swooping down on them, moving and pushing them faster and faster. They will be jammed into iron corral traps. It will be cramped with horses so confused and frantic that necks will be broken in attempt to break free. They will be separated from their families, foals taken from their mothers, stallions forced together, which is a really bad idea.

Hauling them away in a livestock truck has got to be the saddest image. And one I hope I never see. Their destination will be a holding pen. A prison, you might say. All mares will be treated with PZP birth control. They will be freeze branded with a number on their necks showing that they have been treated. Another brand with big block letters HB will be visible on their left rump identifying which herd they're from. The stallions will be gelded, some will die from complications and hemorrhaging. Any horse with a deformity will be euthanized. Older horses won't have a chance to be released.

So, let's say they bring some of the horses back to the range that they came from. Let's say I finally go back out there to see what I can see. What do you suppose will happen?

Of course! They will run like hell, far, far away from me, from ANY human activity. The years of my building their trust will be futile. One step forward, two steps back. To them, I am the enemy. And THAT my friends, makes me sad.

My heart aches. No, my heart is broken. Shattered in a million fragments. Tiny pieces of my heart were left scattered on that wild horse prairie yesterday. As I was leaving, I looked back and saw the remains in company with the blue sage and yellow rabbit brush. Heart remnants in Dapple Grays, black & white Paints, Palominos, brown & black Bays, vibrant Sorrels and charcoals & blacks, and a little piece of Pony Boy Gold.

The girls and boys of summer.


*** You can read about the BLM proposal and open to the public comment page here ::

The Bureau of Land Management Rawlins and Lander field offices announce that a preliminary environmental assessment (EA) analyzing a proposed wild horse gather in the Red Desert Wild Horse Herd Management Area (HMA) Complex is now available for review.

The Red Desert Complex, which includes the Antelope Hills, Crooks Mountain, Green Mountain, Lost Creek and Stewart Creek HMAs, is located in Sweetwater, Carbon, Fremont and Natrona counties west and south of Wyoming Highway 287.

The proposed operation would include gathering wild horses, treating all mares to be released with the PZP-22 (porcine zona pellucida) fertility control vaccine, and removing horses to bring the population of the complex within its appropriate management level. All horses that have moved outside the HMAs would also be removed. The proposed gather may take place late this year or in 2016.

The preliminary EA analyzes three alternatives and is available by visiting the BLM website at:

The 30 day comment period runs from September 8 through October 7, 2015.

PS :: Chad and I are writing to urge them to adopt "Alternative #1" with regard to the planned 2015 / 2016 gathering of Red Desert Complex horses.

Thank you, to everybody, for following me on this journey and for your constant encouragement and support and love. These horses need all the friends they can get right now!


Friday, September 4, 2015

Landscapes with Wild Horses

Keep the Wild Horses Wild at the Natrona County Public Library

(Casper, Wyo.) – The Natrona County Public Library and Casper College will host Colorado Author and Wild Horse Photographer Carol Walker as well as feature a screening of the documentary "American Mustang" on Wednesday, September 16 at 6:30 p.m. in the Crawford Room.

The event is free and open to the public. The goal of the evening is to raise awareness and to promote a deeper understanding of the troubles currently facing wild horses in America.

The evening will begin with a screening of "American Mustang," a nature documentary with character-driven narrative. Shot in eight Western states, "American Mustang" reveals the majestic wild horses of the American West by taking audiences on a journey through a landscape dotted by ranchers, wild horse advocates, government agencies and the public.

The evening will conclude with a question and answer forum led by Carol Walker. Walker will address many of the controversies highlighted in "American Mustang." She will also discuss how wild horses are in danger of being displaced from the range by agricultural and energy interests. Copies of Walker’s book, "Wild Hoofbeats: America’s Vanishing Wild Horses," will be available for purchase, which she will sign following her talk.

In collaboration with the event, local Wild Horse Photographers Chad and Lynn Hanson’s exhibition "Landscapes with Wild Horses," featuring years of exploration and iconic photography, opens Saturday, August 22 in the Library’s atrium.

Showcasing the beauty of Central Wyoming’s wild horses at liberty, the exhibition consists of photographic images and statistics that transport visitors to a fragile slice of land where hundreds of wild horses make their home.

"Landscapes with Wild Horses" runs through Wednesday, September 30 and can be viewed by the public during regular library hours.