Wild Horses of the World by Kelly Wilson
Kelly Wilson has already written books on her experiences with wild horses in New Zealand, in Australia and in America. She has been seen with her sisters on the television series Keeping Up With The Kaimanawas and even written children’s stories and a picture book with horses as central characters. Kelly’s writing has sprung from a deep love of and knowledge of horses and her nonfiction writing has based itself on the work she has done to rescue, tame and protect wild horses.
For a substantial part of the last two years Kelly has been visiting wild horses in four countries – Canada, America, Australia and New Zealand – and in specific herds , observing them and endeavouring to understand their natural and untamed ways of living in the wild.
This book is more than the coffee table book, made for a quick look in a spare moment and then forgotten about, that the large format and beautiful cover photo suggests. It details Kelly’s experiences in the wild, watching, photographing and interacting with herds and horses on these expeditions. It is a personal and realistic account, as she describes individual horses who struggle to survive in areas
where food is not plentiful and water scarce, who are injured by human hunters, and details her observations of the behaviours of horses in a wild herd and their relationships with each other.
Her writing is accompanied by large and beautiful photographs that capture the wildness and incredible beauty of these creatures in their natural environment but also the harsh reality of the landscapes in which they struggle to survive. The photographs which stay with me are those of horses heart-breakingly emaciated, injured or corralled into pens thick with manure and even dead horses. As well as celebrating the strong, free-spirited and stunningly beautiful animals, Kelly realistically illustrates the difficulties wild horses around the world are faced with.
From this account of her observations of these horses and herds, it becomes clear
Kelly cares for the individual horse, be it a lame and aged mare or a motherless foal, but that she is also concerned with the wider issues of the world’s wild horse populations. She discusses the human approaches to managing them in different countries and considers the various ways, including culling, re-homing, sterilisation, in which wild horse populations have been controlled. The continued existence and freedom of these creatures is dependent on human management and she affirms our responsibility to safeguard the place of wild horses and their health and well-being in the world.
Wild Horses of the World gives a clear and compassionate portrait of these beautiful creatures and is to be recommended for its positive and committed call to recognise and protect them.
Reviewer: Clare Lyon
Penguin Random House