Horses have been part of the American West since the first Spanish explorers brought their European-bred steeds onto the new continent. Soon thereafter, some of these animals, lost or abandoned by their owners or captured by indigenous peoples, became the foundation of the great herds of mustangs (from the Spanish mesteño, stray) that still roam the West. These feral horses are inextricably intertwined with the culture, economy, and mythology of the West, and the image of bands of mustangs running free has become a symbol of all that our culture considers the "real" West. The current situation of the mustangs as vigorous competitors for the scanty resources of the West’s drought-parched rangelands has put them at the center of passionate controversies about their purpose, place, and future on the open range. Photographer/oral historian Paula Morin has interviewed sixty-two people who know these horses best: ranchers, horse breeders and trainers, Native Americans, veterinarians, wild horse advocates, mustangers, range scientists, cowboy poets, western historians, wildlife experts, animal behaviorists, and agents of the federal Bureau of Land Management. The result is the most comprehensive, impartial examination yet of the history and impact of wild mustangs in the Great Basin. Morin elicits from her interviewees a vast range of expertise, insight, and candid opinion about the nature of horses, ranching, and the western environment. Their comments will allow readers to understand and to form their own conclusions about the importance of mustangs to the culture of the West and about the ways that humans can best care for them while at the same time serving as responsible stewards of the land and the rest of its denizens. Honest Horses brings us the voices of authentic westerners, people who live intimately with horses and the land, who share their experiences and love of the mustangs, and who understand how precariously all life exists in the arid vastness of the Great Basin. This is a book for all who love the West, its traditions, and its magnificent open spaces, for horse lovers of all persuasions, for anyone interested the daunting complexity of the environmental issues in which wild horses play such a central and contested role.
Arts & Photography, Photography, Nature & Wildlife,