Galloping to Freedom: Saving the Adobe Town Appaloosas
by Carol J. Walker
Painted Hills Publishing

"These horses did not stand a chance. Their freedom was going to be measured in mere days, not even weeks, and certainly not years as it should have been."

Adobe Town is a region of nearly 500,000 acres in Wyoming where wild horses and burros have traditionally been allowed to roam free. However, due to land “checkerboarding” (mixing private and public acreage) in the area, ranching associations were able to use legal pressure in 2014 to clear out large numbers of these herds, as impinging on private grazing sites. Carol J. Walker, photographer and writer, chronicles the fate of some of these beautiful animals as they are driven from their range and forced into small holding pens. The facts presented are depressing: horses die sooner and younger in captivity. Currently about 48,000 horses and burros are in government holding areas. About the same number are free in the wilderness, roaming 31 million acres over seven states. As Walker laments, it would seem that there is surely enough land for all these animals to run free without damaging private interests.

Walker and her friends hope to find ways to liberate the captured animals. Her large, glossy color photographs highlight her plaint to all Americans, to remember and advocate for these magnificent beasts. Some are the striking Appaloosa coloring so dear to our hearts from western movies. In close-ups and vast panoramas, she reveals the horses as both personal—with emotive faces and attitudes—and wild—galloping across vast western wilderness like veritable symbols of American freedom. Her written account is equally moving. She describes in detail following certain special horses—Bronze Warrior, Snowfall, and Diamond Girl—from freedom to containment. With stories and pictures, Galloping to Freedom could be influential in helping to return these wild American animals to their natural habitat.

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