The Camargue, the vast and swampy region in southern France, has always been known for its wild horses. Herding together in groups, the horses live in this rural area of the Rhône delta in a semi-wild state, surviving on the poor vegetation of marshes where only reeds, glasswort, and couch grass grow. An undeniable product of this hostile but spectacular triangle of land, the Camargue horses are characterized by their small stature, wild appearance, and hardy nature. Even their coats seem to reflect some secret evolutionary process: the foals, black or dark brown at birth, gradually turn gray and, finally, in adulthood, pure white.
Renowned photographer Hans Silvester demonstrated incredible patience and persistence in this wild, windy environment in order to capture the spirit and endless grace of the region’s famous inhabitants. Hours of waiting were necessary to earn the timid animals’ trust, but the results are these magnificent images, which allow us to catch a glimpse of the Camargue horses’ daily lives. We witness their fourteen-hour feedings as well as their periods of rest, when they sit in groups under the watchful eyes of one horse. We see the horses swimming in sweet-water marshes, galloping in herds in the vast expanses, fighting to establish hierarchy, romping in the fields, and relaxing in a rare patch of shade. We are even brought into the intimate life of mares giving birth and tending to their foals while they nurse, play, and nap.
In the accompanying text, journalist Sophie Delavoie takes us on a journey through the unique history and the present-day struggles and rewards of all those who inhabit the rugged Camargue. This book offers a rare opportunity to view wild-horse behavior that will intrigue all horse lovers and fans of animal photography.