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Carol Walker
Author, Illustrator
Blue Zeus
A stunning wild stallion named Blue Zeus and his family encounter photographer Carol Walker in the Red Desert of Wyoming. She follows his family over 4 years, including through the heartbreak of he and his family being rounded up and sent to holding corrals. Finally through the effort of Carol and her friends, they are reunited at a sanctuary in Oregon.
Horse photographer Walker (Galloping to Freedom: Saving the Adobe Town Appaloosas among other titles) returns with another stunner of a collection capturing images of wild horses at liberty, this time tracking over four years the spotted roan pinto stallion Blue Zeus and his family in the Red Desert Complex of Wyoming. Decrying policies that have pushed wild horses to only “the poorest of lands,” and offering alarming data about their diminishing numbers, Walker recounts first encountering Blue Zeus near Crooks Mountain in 2018, taking note of his knotted mane, battle scars, and the tender communication between this “caring and nurturing stallion” and its family of grays, sorrels, yearlings, and foals.

As the seasons pass, subsequent visits would find the family caring for new foals and engaging in intimate behavior adeptly captured by Walker’s stirring photos, which capture the family’s comfortable closeness; the individual horses’ distinctive beauty, grace, and strength; and the rugged, ragged majesty of their home. facing the likelihood of getting caught in a Bureau of Land Management roundup, an eventuality that prompts Walker to take steps to ensure that, even if captured, the family would stay together.

The tension, as the helicopters circle, is heartrending, but thanks to the intervention of Walker and the hard work of an animal sanctuary the ending proves warm and satisfying. The bulk of the book, though, is Walker’s up-close-and-personal photos of these horses in the wild, living the way few horses are free to, their activities, interactions, and relationships, all captured by an expert eye. Readers primarily interested in photography may find the images repetitive, but horse lovers will be in heaven as Walker documents, with rare patience and with insightful writing about her observations, the group dynamics of Blue Zeus and company, capturing their nickering demonstrations of submission and occasional flattened-ear scuffles. Readers on Walker’s wavelength will find this as enticing as a carrot offered in an outstretched hand.

Takeaway: A photographer’s intimate portrait of four years in the life of a family of wild horses

Great for fans of: Roberto Dutesco, Lynne Pomeranz.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A