I will be discussing my 'career change'... after 33 years in radio I have gone feet-first into the world of photography as art.
But most importantly, I will be speaking about my recent trip to the 'Return to Freedom' Wild Horse Sanctuary. Back in June, my friend Nadine and I travelled to California to join a group of like-minded horse and photography enthusiasts, lead by two of the best equine photographers anywhere, Kimerlee Curyl and Tony Stromberg. What began as a photographic adventure (who wouldn't want to photograph wild horses?) quickly became much more than that.
We climbed mountains and walked dusty trails, following the beauty and the majesty of the wild horses, just to be with them, to breathe the same air. Stallions with their mares and foals, often wary of us in the beginning, then relaxed and curious. Our group was smitten by their charisma. We observed the interactions between family members, long legged foals being playful, mares and stallions grooming each other. Yearlings that could run forever.
Today, the wild horse is under seige. Chased by helicopters and forced into holding pens, wild mustangs- the ultimate symbols of freedom, become anything but. Family herds are torn apart and their fate is uncertain. Why? With no scientific evidence to prove their claims that wild horses deplete cattle grazing lands, ranchers voices are loud, and effective. And so, the government-organized round-ups continue.
Return to Freedom was founded in 1998 by Neda de Mayo. This 300 acre ranch is home to several bands of displaced wild horses, family herds that have been re-united to run and roam in the rolling hills of Lompoc California.
Perhaps the 'Wild Horse Annie' of our generation, Neda is a fiery, strong-willed woman who works tirelessly to ensure that American mustangs will continue to run free for generations to come. She helped to form the American Wild Horse Preservation campaign, and thousands of people have signed on to support the cause. Here in Canada, the wild horses in the western provinces are not faring much better. Alberta horses are also being removed from public lands. A recent campaign is petitioning the Canadian government to give Alberta wild horses 'heritage status', thus protecting them in the future.
I am very much looking forward to speaking about 'Return to Freedom' tomorrow at the Westin Hotel.
It is also my promise, that with the purchase of any wild horse image, I will donate a portion of the proceeds back to 'Return To Freedom'.
The wild mustang, live free, run free, be free.