Equine author and photographer Deborah Kalas will share her experiences working with wild horses, and offer highlights from her latest book “The Wild Herd: A Vanishing American Treasure” in a talk, 3-4:30 p.m. Sunday, March 15, at The Wildling Museum, 1511-B Mission Drive, Solvang.
Kalas’ work provides a glimpse into wild herds of horses that have roamed North America for hundreds of years, with a focus on the wild herds of North Dakota’s Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
Kalas follows bands of horses throughout the changing seasons and the animals’ distinct changing cycles of life, capturing rare moments of untamed horses roaming the wild.
“The Wild Herd” also highlights the dangers faced by these wild horses, due to current government policies and a lack of public understanding of their historical and cultural importance, which Kalas illuminates with links to key organizations involved in protecting the herds.
“When I first began photographing wild horses, I knew very early on that I wanted to photograph the horses through the changing seasons, to show their character and their interactions through the changing weather and the changing colors and light,” Kalas writes.
“I wanted to capture it all, even the life cycles of these magnificent animals: the tender newborns and their protective parents during the first buds of spring. The folly and growing rebelliousness of teens during the blazing heat of summer. The strength and swagger of maturing horses amidst the brilliant colors of fall. And even the resilience and dignity of the older horses in the crystal light and often brutal storms of winter.
“Photographing in the wild requires great patience and readiness, but it’s often the unexpected actions I find intensely rewarding,” she said. “I feel at peace in the wilderness among all these wild things. Open spaces, no fences, together amongst the wild horses I feel like an explorer, like photographer William Henry Jackson (1843-1942) first witnessing the American West through the lens of his view camera.
“Through these pages I hope to honor wild horses everywhere and underscore their right to remain wild and free, just as they have for centuries. I hope too that by seeing the beauty of these wild horses, and understanding their behavior, readers will feel moved to act on their behalf, protecting them as we would our own families, and treasuring them as a vital part of our American heritage.”
Cost to attend the talk is $5 for Wildling Museum members, $10 for non-members. Copies of “The Wild Herd: A Vanishing American Treasure” (hardcover $65) are available for purchase in the Wildling Museum Store.
For more about the Wildling Museum, and to volunteer or join as a member visit www.wildlingmuseum.org.