Book Package DealsJuly 1, 2021
Blue Zeus: Legend of the Red Desert II CalendarNovember 14, 2022
Since 2004, Carol Walker has been visiting wild horses in Wyoming, Colorado, and Montana and grown increasingly enamored with the colorful herds that inhabit the region, grazing and reproducing in close-knit family groups. This story begins on a crisp fall day in 2018 as she roamed rural roads in the Red Desert Complex of Wyoming. In the hours before dawn she’d glimpsed a few family bands at a distance through her binoculars. Ahead she spotted a stallion standing tall and proud, a blue roan with four white matching stockings that went up all four legs. His mane was twisted with wind knots and a long forelock covered his eyes. He was the most beautiful stallion she had ever seen! She pulled to the side of the road and got out with her camera. He would become known as Blue Zeus and it was the beginning of a love affair that lasts to this day.
Join Carol as she relates Blue Zeus’s capture and separation from his family in a BLM roundup and the coordinated efforts, led by her, to find them a safe haven. Carol shares with readers the heartbreaking details of that roundup. At present over 60,000 wild horses are captive in holding corrals that range from feedlots to pastures; too many end up being sent to slaughter or die from inadequate care.
As one of the leading advocates for America’s wild horses, Carol Walker is dedicated to educating people with her stunning photographs and stories and to stopping wild horse roundups and removals from America’s public lands, keeping them wild and free. This is a story that will win the hearts of whole families and grace bookshelves across the land. It’s a gift to be appreciated by horse and wildlife lovers everywhere!
144 pages, Hardcover
Blue Zeus: Legend of the Red Desert is not just the story of one wild horse, but examines the lives, plight, and natural history of America’s wild horse population as a whole.
It’s unusual to find a story of horses, replete with color photos throughout that bring horses and environment to life, directed to an adult audience. It’s even rarer to find autobiography and political inspection woven into the natural history.
That Carol J. Walker achieves these seemingly disparate goals, educating all ages about the history and plight of the wild horse population she became intimately familiar with and involved in, is testimony to the strength of a story that is far more than “just another horse book,” but a valuable addition to environmental issues and natural history collections: “Blue Zeus is an extraordinary horse and he deserved to have been left wild and free to live out his life with his family in the Red Desert of Wyoming. But all our wild horses deserve the same. They deserve our care and respect. They deserve to be managed in their homes with the least invasive and most researched methods available. We must speak out for them and create change to protect them. They are valuable in and of themselves and should not be a pawn for powerful political interests. Their wildness is a huge contribution to the soul of our nation and to those they touch with their wild spirits, their beauty and their freedom.”
Walker’s journey began in 2004, when she became increasingly enamored of the colorful wild horses that populated the back roads and country of Wyoming.
Her explorations of this region, its wild horses, and the policies and perceptions that drive their management even in the wilderness provide sharp insights into their lives and key roles in the back country.
It’s uncommon to find a photo-driven story that is equally powerful in its visual image and prose, but Blue Zeus accomplishes both as Walker captures the milieu of the wild horse population and the allure and power of one particular resident, Blue Zeus, in particular.
As she follows these horses and documents their daily lives and habits, readers will enjoy a “you are here” feel as she explains what her camera captures: “In September, I saw the whole family walk across the road in front of me, then stop in a small depression out of the wind. Blue Zeus walked a little bit away from his family, turned so he could watch them, and tried to nap in peace. First, little Fire got too close and Blue Zeus chased him away with ears pinned. Then Nike came over and he pinned his ears at her, but she was undeterred. Slowly the whole family came over, getting as close to him as possible and I could almost hear him sighing. I was laughing hard. Grumpy Zeus was adorable!”
This is especially attractive because, again, most horse books are directed to teen audiences alone. By adulthood, it is presumed that the majority of initially interested readers have moved on from the subject. But, many haven’t. And even those who don’t harbor a horse-centric interest, but enjoy natural history, will find the saga compelling.
Blue Zeus: Legend of the Red Desert recaptures this attraction, adding in environmental issues surrounding the daily lives and milieu of the wild horse for a special (and top) recommendation for all ages. It’s worthy of library display for its gorgeous, candid wild horse images and its opportunities for discussing the value of preserving wilderness environments and wild ways.
Carol Walker is dedicated to educating people with her stunning photographs and stories, and to stopping wild horse roundups and removals from America’s public lands, keeping them wild and free. She more than supports her cause in a book that is as free-ranging and visually engrossing as the wild horses she loves.
Midwest Book Review
Carol Walker, animal lover and advocate for America’s wild horses, offers her latest work, Blue Zeus: Legend of the Red Desert, that will educate readers about the plight of these majestic animals, as well as bring tears to one’s eyes.
Blue Zeus is the fascinating story of a wild stallion that stole Carol’s heart the day she first laid eyes on him. A beautiful blue roan, with numerous battle scars that told the story of fights he’d had with other stallions, the horse stoically guarded his small band as Carol photographed him, as well as his mares and foals.
Carol set to work photographing this mesmerizing band of horses and the pages of Blue Zeus are loaded with great photographs of them. Images of the mares peacefully grazing, Blue Zeus standing guard, and even a young filly “clacking” in submission to the herd sire, engage the reader and brings them into the world of wild horses. The author has done a fantastic job of capturing the life of a herd of wild horses.
About half the book is devoted to the daily life of Blue Zeus’s herd but then the narrative switches to recounting the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) roundups and removal of wild horses. Carol describes the heartbreaking sight of the roundup of wild horses by helicopter, as well as sharing photographs of the event. Terrified horses, mares and foals, confused and panicked, being herded into trap sites from which there is no escape. “It is the harsh reality of seeing wild horses that you know and love,” recounts Carol, “running for their lives from helicopters…It is a horrible feeling of helplessness…as I see a horse go down or rider roping a foal and dragging it in.” (pg. 79)
I first became acquainted with the artistry of Carol Walker when I discovered her book Horse Photography: The Dynamic Guide for Horse Lovers. She then wrote two books dedicated to wild horses, Wild Hoofbeats: America’s Vanishing Wild Horses and Galloping to Freedom: Saving the Adobe Town Appaloosas. All three are excellent, “not to be missed” books that feature Carol’s beautiful photographs to help tell the stories, particularly about America’s wild horses. The author has made it her mission to help save our nation’s vanishing wild horses and her books, including Blue Zeus will undoubtedly help bring attention to the cause. She does an excellent job of telling the herd’s story and gets the reader to care about their plight. Her recounting of the incredible frustration of dealing with government officials as she tries to save Blue Zeus and his herd from a very bad situation is enough to anger all readers. Let’s hope that this book will help bring much needed attention, and indeed change, to help these majestic animals live out their lives in the wild as they were meant to. Kudos to author Carol J. Walker for helping to bring the fight to the attention of so many through her beautiful book Blue Zeus: Legend of the Red Desert.
Quill says: Stunning photographs and a compelling and fascinating story combine to make Blue Zeus: Legend of the Red Desert a book that every horse lover, and indeed, every animal lover needs to read.
Feather Quill Book Review
Blue Zeus is the story of the wild horses of the Red Desert of Wyoming, illustrated with photographs of the horses in their native environment.
The author, a professional photographer, begins visiting the 700,000-acre herd management area known as the Red Desert Complex in 2016. There, she discovers “the most beautiful stallion I have ever seen!”— a proud blue roan with “four white matching stockings.” She learns
that others have been captivated by the horse that has been named Blue Zeus. As Walker regularly visits the area, she learns more about Blue Zeus and the other wild horse families, their personalities and habits.
But Walker is haunted by the knowledge that the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) goal is to remove 2,670 horses from the area; so far, it has removed only 1,442. In previous roundups, ten horses were killed, including four foals. The BLM halted the roundup after running out of room in its holding facility, but the roundups are sure to restart soon.
Walker tries to find homes for the horses, and when BLM helicopters arrive, she’s there with her camera and her compassion. “It’s hard to describe what observing at a wild horse roundup is like to someone who has not been to one before. The hardest part is the…harsh reality of seeing wild horses that you know and love running for their lives from helicopters…”
This is a compelling and poignant story enhanced by its many moving photographs, both large and small, of horses nuzzling one another, running wild, and, by contrast, caged in chutes. Those of Blue Zeus, with his defiant stare and dark marks on his fur—“scars from battles with other stallions”—are particularly haunting. A mix of memoir and journalism, the story is well written, frank and honest about the author’s feelings regarding the government roundups. Blue Zeus will likely captivate animal lovers and others, both as a story and as a coffee table book.
Blue Ink Review
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 captured, 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.
Carol Walker’s new book is filled with images that look into the questioning eyes and hearts of America’s wild horses and answers, “We are on your side!”
Her factual eye-witness text introduces us to Blue Zeus, a ruggedly beautiful blue roan stallion with four white socks. Readers enter the world of monarch Blue Zeus to watch bachelor stallions, mustang mares and their daughters, sons and mates. Readers join wild horses wandering through seasons on the range. When shadows of Bureau of Land Management choppers fall over the Red Desert, Carol shares her feelings of helpless horror. But people can’t care if they don’t know, so Carol keeps photographing the shattered families of wild horses. But this book doesn’t leave readers in despair. We see what can happen when humans do care, and feel relief as Blue Zeus’ band reaches a hard-fought happy ending.
Terri Farley, author of The Phantom Stallion series and other works for and about wild horses
SAVE ON BOOK PACKAGE DEALS!
Blue Zeus + Wild Hoofbeats Books
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Blue Zeus + Galloping to Freedom Books
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Blue Zeus + Wild Hoofbeats + Galloping to Freedom Books
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Blue Zeus + Wild Hoofbeats + Galloping to Freedom + Horse Photography Books
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Colorado Independent Publishers Association EVVY™ Award
Silver Winner in the Animals/Pets/Nature Category
Independent Book Publisher’s Association Benjamin Franklin Award
Regarded as one of the highest national honors for independent publishers.
Gold Award in Animals/Pets
Feathered Quill Awards
First Place in Animal – Adults
Taborton Equine Books Best Horse Book
Independent Press Awards