The Wild Horse Dilemma: Conflicts and Controversies of the East Coast Herds
April 30, 2015
Bonnie U. Gruenberg
Wild Horse Diemma
Tirades and threats. Hyperbole and deception. Changing landscapes and immutable opinions. Living traditions and dead animals. The conflicts that rage around the wild horses of the Atlantic coast can be loud, confusing, and downright vicious. Wild horses have lived on these barrier islands for hundreds of years, and many people would like to see them remain. Horse advocates and horse detractors alike turn to research to support their claims, but often reach different conclusions from the same information.
Frustrated by the lack of solid information about the barrier-island herds of the East Coast, Bonnie Gruenberg, a healthcare professional and lifelong equestrian, set about to build a lively, readable text on a foundation of objectivity and scientific integrity. “My goal was to create a trusted resource that is useful to professionals yet intriguing to laypeople,” she said, “but my respect for and fascination with these horses shines though.” She has spent two decades in the field observing wild horses and human behavior toward them. She has devoted countless hours to examining historical records and genetic studies, dissecting folklore and journalism, and exposing unexamined assumptions. She has asked hard questions—Are these animals native or exotic? Wild or feral? What might we gain by saving wild horses from extinction, and what might we lose if they died out?
Along the way, the author has encountered a cast of memorable characters: The panhandling horses of Assateague Island, campers who treat them as pets, and hunters who take them for deer. Misty, the pony who made Chincoteague, Va., famous, and her human publicist. The Saltwater Cowboys, who tend horses, not cattle. The scientists who developed an equine pregnancy vaccine. The world’s first and last mounted Boy Scout troop. Bucky, lone survivor of a herd that roamed Cedar Island, N.C. Public-spirited multimillionaires and indifferent public servants. Horse-huggers, horse-haters, and many in the middle trying to make sense of it all.
Engaging the reader at every turn of the page, Bonnie Gruenberg frequently breaks new ground as she separates fact from myth and exposes the roots of issues for the reader to consider. She weaves a story of ancient origins and current events, hard science and fiery passion. She has included more than 250 of her own arresting images, as well as historical photographs and maps. The result is the most comprehensive and factual reference on the wild horses of the Atlantic coast.
The Wild Horse Dilemma: Conflicts and Controversies of the East Coast Herds is the result of Gruenberg’s journey to understanding. It is the only work in print in any language covering all the eastern herds and the forces driving them toward oblivion. Though meant to be read for pleasure, it was researched, documented, and vetted by textbook standards. Reception has been enthusiastic:
“I am mightily impressed . . . with your scholarship and thoroughness.” — Jay F. Kirkpatrick, director, Science and Conservation Center, ZooMontana
"To say I am impressed is an understatement. This is an in-depth read not to be missed by serious wild horse enthusiasts. While the collection of archival photos is a treat, Gruenberg's own photos are second to none." — Victoria Tollman • Executive Director, Equus Survival Trust
“It is the most impressive work about wild horses that I have ever read. I am in awe.” — Karen McCalpin, herd manager, Corolla Wild Horse Fund
“It is comprehensive, a stellar piece of research, and simply fascinating to read.”— Steve Edwards Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney, Isle of Wight Co., Va.; Chairman of the Board Gwaltney Frontier Farms Inc and Corolla Wild Horse Fund; wild horse rehabilitator.
Bonnie Gruenberg, MSN, CRNP, is a midwife and nurse practitioner practicing in rural Pennsylvania, a former riding instructor, and an award-winning writer. Her published works include Essentials of Prehospital Maternity Care (Prentice Hall, 2005) and Birth Emergency Skills Training (Birth Muse, 2008), and Hoofprints in the Sand: Wild Horses of the Atlantic Coast (Eclipse Press, 2002).
Quagga Press is an independent publishing company that focuses on equine and equestrian subjects, wildlife, and conservation.
The Wild Horse Dilemma: Conflicts and Controversies of the East Coast Herds First edition (April 30, 2015) • Paperback • 598 pp. • English • ISBN 13: 978-0979002038 • ISBN 10: 0979002036 • Library of Congress Control Number: 2014952179 • 7 x 10 x 1.25 in./18 x 25 x 3 cm • US $36.00