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Colorado author Kathryn Wilder visits the Bookworm

Join Wilder as she speaks about her new book, ‘Desert Chrome’

Ali Teague
The Bookworm of Edwards
Kathryn Wilder
Courtesy photo

Any horse enthusiast will tell you of the profound sense of calm and healing that horses can provide. In her new book, Colorado author Kathryn Wilder shares her experience with horses and how they helped her recover from addiction.

Join Wilder at The Bookworm as she speaks about “Desert Chrome,” a powerful story of grief, motherhood and return to the desert entwined with the complex history of America’s mustangs.

Cover of “Desert Chrome”
Courtesy photo

Wilder’s memoir details her return to the Colorado Plateau in search of healing. “The Colorado Plateau first became my home in 1990, when I went to Northern Arizona University,” Wilder recalls. “A couple of decades after that initial landing I moved back to the Plateau, seeking escape from all things sad, remembering the Colorado Plateau as being a place big enough to hold sorrow.”



The Plateau proved big enough to hold not only sorrow but also wild mustangs, who aided her healing journey. “When I first saw mustangs after coming back to the continent from Hawaii, I was hooked on the way a horse in a round pen will hook on to the person working with him — that horse will eventually turn to the human as his leader,” Wilder says. “For me, mustangs became the leader I needed, showing me the way out of sadness and loss, giving me direction and, ultimately, home.”

This sense of calm and belonging that many horse enthusiasts describe seems to be biological and has been supported by science.



“Ongoing research shows how horses’ hearts can impact humans, from slowing our heart rates to lowering blood pressure and simply giving us some serenity,” Wilder said. “For me, sitting in the proximity of wild horses does all that, and so does the brush of my mare’s muzzle on my arm when we greet each other in the morning.”

However, these positive interactions with humans can come at a great cost for the wild mustangs and other species of the West. “Because of the vast expanses of public and private lands, the direct conflict between human and wild may not be so obvious. But as we endanger more wild species, on top of what we have already pushed to extinction, we maim our own wild nature,” Wilder said. “Yet the primary reason to keep wild places wild is not for human pleasure or consumption but for the survival of the many other species whose lives depend on those wild places.”

All hope is not lost for the wild mustangs. In her book, Wilder touches on different techniques used to help the wild horse populations, like fertility control, as an alternative to roundups and removals.

Through this memoir, Wilder educates readers about the wild horse populations of the West and their controversial history, but mostly she wants her story to ignite hope in its readers.

“I wish readers will look at the brokenness of a soul— human or horse — with greater compassion. And I also really hope that ‘Desert Chrome’ might speak to addicts who still suffer, and let them know that recovery from addiction is possible and sustainable,” she said.

If you go …

What: Colorado author Kathryn Wilder at the Bookworm

When: 6 p.m. Tuesday

Where: The Bookworm of Edwards, 295 Main St., Riverwalk in Edwards

Cost: $10 ticket’ purchase online or at the Bookworm of Edwards

More Info: Call 970-926-READ or visit BookwormOfEdwards.com

 


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