I had the pleasure last weekend of visiting Return to Freedom, a wild horse sanctuary in Lompoc. These horses come from various herd families and many of them are quite unique, such as the Sulphur Springs herd with their distinctive dorsal and leg striping, resembling the horses painted on cave walls dating back to 26,000 B.C.E.
I took part in a Photo Tour lead by Kimerlee Curyl an accomplished equine photographer. There were many amazing photographers in the group and everyone there seemed to share a love for horses. For my part, the discussions about ISO numbers and F stops flew right over my head. Yet even though I am not a photographer, I got plenty of images of horses in the landscape. Some may reappear in future artwork. In the meantime here are some images from the day.
The horses themselves ranged from the cautiously shy to curiously playful to bold. We stayed with each group for about 45 minutes. Some stayed quite still, clustered together. Anytime one of them so much as perked an ear, the sound of dozens of shutters releasing filled the air. I began feeling like paparazzi to the horses.
We moved on to a group of mostly mares, who in spite of the heat, with a little prompting from Kimerlee, were willing to gallop around us so that we could take action shots.
All except for one, who seemed more inclined to join the photographers and stand in the middle watching everyone else run around.
We visited the stallions last and what a difference. Bold. Fearless. Curious. Inclined to walk right up and see what was going on.
For more information about our wild horses, their dwindling numbers, and current issues about their management, please visit the American Wild Horse PreservationCampaign.