Art and Science Come Together to Help Document Various Wild Horse Cultures

“This DVD will delight both horse lover and professional horseman with beautiful photographs, inspiring music and simple science about the social ecology of horses.”

Wild Horses: Understanding the Natural Lives of Horses, DVD, 30 mins

Wild Horse Ecologist, Mary Ann Simonds and Wildlife photographers Barbara and Marty Wheeler recently teamed up to document the behaviors of various wild horse herds.  “Having spent a lifetime studying wild horse ecology & ethology, as a scientist I have made very little impact on overall protection and management of wild horses. Even being on the National Advisory Board for Wild Horses and Burros in the early 90s, we only were able to create more public involvement, but nothing on the management side changed.  Internationally, most wild equids are either threatened or endangered and we are losing functional horse culture.  Barbara and Marty Wheeler had captured many behaviors not often photographed that I was looking for to update my lectures, commented Mary Ann Simonds.  “So rather than just do a scientific presentation we decided to do an “edu-tainment” piece using Diane Arkenstone’s ( beautiful music and Barbara and Marty’s gorgeous photographs.  The result is just what we were hoping for – creating a journey to take people into the “secret lives of wild horses” and experience the herd from a feeling of “being with” them rather than just looking at them.

Barbara & Marty Wheeler have documented herds in Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Montana & Wyoming with thousands of pictures. Barbara states, “Working with Mary Ann has increased our knowledge and awareness about wild horse culture, social behavior and relationships.   That increased knowledge has enhanced our experience as photographers.  We have been able to pass the knowledge on to our audience, helping them to better understand and appreciate wild horses. Marty and I are very pleased to be sharing our photographs with others and thrilled to be working with Mary Ann Simonds on this project.”

The information is suitable for all equine enthusiasts of all levels, but is equally suitable to be taught as an environmental education module from 5th grade upwards. As social mammals, viewers may find that equine needs of feeling safe and having their family and friends around them are not so different from human needs.  The similarities and differences of various herd personalities and cultures give the viewer insight and understanding that most horsemen have never seen.  We hope people will not only enjoy this lovely musical journey, but we hope they will feel more deeply connected with their equine friends.

Proceeds from the sale of the dvd will fund continued efforts to identify and document functional social behaviors of various herds in North America.

The dvd is available at

Mary Ann Simonds, MA is an applied equine ecologist/ethologist who has been studying wild horses since 1973 when her undergraduate research in wild horse ecology and range management was used at the University of Wyoming in setting guidelines for wild horse management. She has spent a lifetime trying to educate people on natural equine behaviors and sustainable wild equid management serving on state and National Advisory Boards to the BLM since 1983. She is now focused on creating a data base of equine behavior and documenting the remaining wild horse cultures.  You can learn more about Mary Ann’s work at

Barbara and Marty Wheeler are professional wildlife photographers and have been photographing wild horses for over 10 years and have thousands of photographs. They are working with Mary Ann to document the various herd cultures.   They are currently back in the field visiting various herds in the Western states. You can see more work at


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