Review: In The Herd — by Jayne M. Silberman

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Cover image and summary from goodreads.com.

Title: In the Herd  : A Photographic Journey with the Chincoteague ponies and Assateague ponies

Author: Jayne M. Silberman

Rating:  ★★★★★ (5 of 5)

Genre/Pages: Photographic Documentary / 160

Summary: “The 140 unforgettable images that make up this unique photographic journey are the result of the long-term, unprecedented access the author/photographer was granted to one of this country’s wildest and most beautiful places. Every July, some 40,000 people converge on the barrier islands off the Virginia-Maryland coast to observe the annual Chincoteague Pony Swim, a trip that takes the herds only seven minutes to complete (with the assistance of the famous Salt Water Cowboys), but is critical to their preservation. This is the element of herd life best known to the world. But there is so much more to see and know about the wild herds. With the support and cooperation she has received from the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company and National Park Service, noted wildlife photographer Jayne M. Silberman has devoted years to visiting the area and getting to know the animals firsthand and in every season—their relationships, rituals, behaviors, habits, family life, and intimate moments.  The result is this moving and beautiful array of gallery-quality photos, accompanied by an informative 8,000-word essay presenting the history of the herds and many fascinating details about their environment and way of life. A foreword by Diana XX, queen of XX, completes this enduring, one-of-a-kind volume that will be heralded by lovers of the natural world and fine-art photography, as well as the thousands of devotees of the wild horses themselves.”

Cover Review: This cover is absolutely gorgeous. There’s nothing bad I can say about it –  It’s a beautiful hardcover coffee table-sized book, and it’s perfect.

My Review: As a baby, my first word was “horse”. As a toddler, I had an endless supply of horse toys and stuffed animals. When I was 5, I saw an ad on the tv for horseback riding lessons starting with 6 year olds, and when I turned 6 I convinced my mom to let me start taking riding lessons. When I was 11, my dad took me on a week-long trip to Chincoteague and Assateague islands during the annual Pony Swim (popularized by the Misty of Chincoteague books), and I immediately fell in love with these beautiful wild horses.  At 19 years old, I still stay up to date on the movements and activities of the herds (and I’m still taking riding lessons, in addition to teaching riding lessons, and training horses).

So, when my dad bought me this book for Christmas last year, I immediately fell in love with it. It’s your classic fine art coffee table book, you pick it up and flip through it, marveling at the beautiful pictures, and reading through the wonderful insights and information about these specific horses, then you close it and flip through it another time. It’s not the kind of book you read all the way through in one sitting, but it is the kind of book you love coming back to time and time again.

To Sum It Up: The photography is breathtaking, and the story of these horses is beautifully told. This photographic journey is the perfect gift for the horse lover in your life.

Attention: This is a scheduled, pre-written, post. I am serving a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Jan. 2017 through Jul. 2018, and will not be checking my blog email, or updating my blog during that time. (I may have some already written posts scheduled go live during that time, but I will not be active on my blog, and these posts are completely my own opinion and are not representative of the opinions or stances of the church). For more information about Mormon missionaries, go to: lds.org or mormon.org.

Any book requests or other communication received in that time will not be responded to until after July 2018.

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