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Three years ago, I embarked on a project that would change my life. A filmmaker by trade, I was brought aboard to write and direct a modern day re-imagining of Anna Sewell's timeless classic, Black Beauty.

Having grown up with that novel, which shaped so much of my life going forward as a longtime lover of horses, competitive equestrian in my youth, as well as storyteller -- I knew my two greatest passions had at long last combined. Little did I know the path I was about to go down would include advocacy and raising awareness for key issues horses are facing today.

When I began modernizing Black Beauty, infusing our story with the original themes, characters, locations and messages that Anna Sewell so brilliantly intertwined in the original text, I came to a crossroads with Beauty's origin story. The novel is based in late 1800s England, where Beauty leads many different lives through different owners -- but primarily, Beauty's job is as a cab horse. There is really no "modern day" parallel to that now.

And so, wanting to honor Anna Sewell in every way I could, I went back into her personal history, discovering why she wrote the novel in the first place. Not many people know this, but Anna was crippled as a young girl, unable to walk for long periods of time even with crutches, and was thus carried by horses. Such a close, intimate connection with them inspired not only Anna's great love of horses, but her incredible understanding of them. Through writing Black Beauty, Anna hoped to get the book in the hands of grooms, stable boys, and owners of horses -- encouraging people to look deeper, to get to know their horses as the intelligent, empathetic beings that they are. And as we illustrate again in our upcoming Black Beauty, horses can feel love, loss, heartbreak and great joy.

While Anna Sewell passed away only six months after the publishing of the novel, Black Beauty forever changed the course of history for horses. Not only were laws enacted to protect the working cab horses of Anna's time, but her approach to write a story from the first person perspective of a horse was revolutionary. Anna created a legacy, not only with what became a sweeping internationally bestseller (Black Beauty is still one of the most sold novels of all time worldwide today), but she helped change human perspective on horse and animal empathy forever.

In researching all of this for the feature film, I came across the issues wild horses are facing today. Being rounded up by low flying helicopters, taken away from their families, placed in permanent holding facilities that often don't even have shade. How horses in our country are still being shipped away to slaughter -- healthy, young horses, mares and foals, babies and families sent away across our borders to unimaginable fates in Mexico and Canada.

I knew as I wrote the first draft of the screenplay for Black Beauty, the film had the potential to inspire great change. That we would eventually have a platform to illuminate these issues which ultimately, few people in our country even know about. And whether a horse has graced your life in person, or through timeless novels like Anna Sewell's Black Beauty, Walter Farley's The Black Stallion, or the great many other classics -- if you love horses, or animals, it is easy to see what is happening to them is simply wrong.

This is why we have launched The Wild Beauty Foundation. Inspired by the spirit of Anna Sewell, it is my great hope to make seminal change for the horses of our time, today. Thank you for your support in joining our mission.

Ashley Avis & Black Beauty, on the set of the film

 



A screenshot from our upcoming documentary, Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West (read more on our Film page). This is a scene from the Triple B Roundup in Nevada, 2019. Over 800 horses were removed from the land by helicopter. Several adult horses, including four foals lost, their lives.

GIVING A VOICE TO WILD HORSES

Did you know over 80,000 wild horses roam free in the American West? You can go on a road trip to States such as Utah, Wyoming, Nevada, California, and Arizona to see them in their natural habitat.

Unfortunately, our country's wild horses are fast disappearing. Due to conflicts largely inspired by government subsidized livestock grazing, wild horses are being cruelly taken off the land by the thousands even though by federal law they are considered "living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West." These horses and their families are often removed by the use of low flying helicopters which stampede the horses for miles. Not all them survive such a harrowing event, especially the young foals who are not yet old enough yet to run so frenetically. WBF has witnessed, and filmed, these tragic roundups firsthand.

The wild horses who are rounded up are taken to holding facilities where there is not always shade provided for them. They can be held there for years in mass numbers, paid for by our tax dollars, and unless they are adopted or destroyed -- are never free to gallop across their lands again. There are also barbaric sterilization experiments currently being proposed in certain states to remove the ovaries of wild mares. WBF wishes to fight to change these cruel practices when there are other solutions to keep wild horses on the range.

We will be adding literature to The Wild Beauty Foundation as we continue to build out the WBF website. To learn more about the issue, head over to our friends at The American Wild Horse Campaign.

 
 

THE FATE OF HORSES SHIPPED ACROSS OUR BORDERS

Did you know that it is not illegal to ship horses across the borders of the United States to slaughter?

As part of WBF's mission to always appeal to youthful advocates, we will never include shock imagery or video clips on our pages. However, what is happening to both our wild and domestic horses is unthinkably wrong. Many of the horses that end up in "kill pens" are slated for the slaughter pipeline to Mexico or Canada. These are often healthy, young horses. They are mares with foals, they are pregnant horses and burros. They are former show champions, or retired Thoroughbred racehorses.

WBF's mission is to help illuminate the issues surrounding horse slaughter while doing on the ground rescues and adoptions of the horses and burros we can manage to pull out of these situations before it is too late; giving them second chance at having a beautiful life with new families.

Every life matters.

 

A five month old, pregnant mare stands at a kill buyer's pen waiting for her fate. WBF rescued this beautiful mare in September 2020, and she is now called "Luna". Luna will now get to have her foal at a beautiful ranch in Northern California. Read more about her here.


WBF founding members and filmmakers -- from Ashley Avis, Edward Winters, Richard Avis, Kai Krause, Ben Wilkins, and so many others are involved in several upcoming equestrian based film and television projects.

From our very own documentary currently in production, entitled Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West (first look teaser available on the Film Page) to having WBF members involved in the upcoming Black Beauty for Disney+ and the new television series Breyer Hollow for Imagine Entertainment -- there are so many beautiful stories and messages coming out soon for horses. Make sure to join our newsletter so you don't miss out on key release dates, trailers, special events, and so much more.

 

The official trailer for Disney's Black Beauty

WBF - Recent Press

A few selected news articles below about equestrian based projects coming out soon that WBF members are directly involved with.
To read more, visit our Press page.

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Working on 'Black Beauty' inspired star Mackenzie Foy to get involved with wild mustang foundation
https://entertainment.ie/tv/on-demand/black-beauty-mackenzie-foy-mustang-foundation-468268/

‘Black Beauty’ update an uplifting animal story with a beautiful message
https://chicago.suntimes.com/movies-and-tv/2020/11/25/21612025/black-beauty-review-disney-disney-plus-kate-winslet-movie-mackenzie-foy

Black Beauty director Ashley Avis brought horse girl bonafides to her Disney remake
https://www.polygon.com/2020/11/23/21588138/black-beauty-2020-disney-plus-interview-ashley-avis-horse-girls

Variety: Mackenzie Foy, Kate Winslet to Star in BLACK BEAUTY
https://variety.com/2019/film/festivals/mackenzie-foy-kate-winslet-black-beauty-1203207937/

 

Jo Green (Mackenzie Foy) rides Black Beauty down the beach in the upcoming feature film debuting on Disney+ November 27th

 

WBF - Wild Horse Week 2021

   

The Wild Beauty Foundation Presents - Wild Horse Week

WILD HORSE WEEK

One of the programs we are incredibly excited to debut is The Wild Beauty Foundation's own Wild Horse Week 2021 educational program. This will be a country-wide initiative we will be launching in the fall of next year, where WBF will partner with schools across the country to educate children in middle and high school about horses, both wild and domestic.

For our inaugural Wild Horse Week, we will be focusing in on the issues of mustangs in the American West. More information about this special program, and our incredible partners, will be announced in early 2021.

If you are a brand, school, teacher, or a potential partner for Wild Horse Week, or would like more information please email us.

WBF - Special Events, Screenings, Programs, Clinics and Talks

   

EVENTS, CLINICS & WEBINARS

Learn more about special screenings, events, webinars, and clinics hosted by The Wild Beauty Foundation and our partners.

From tuning in for talks or Q&As given by the cast or filmmakers from our upcoming film and television projects, or even live equestrian clinics with celebrity trainers like Black Beauty's Cody Rawson-Harris, stay tuned for what is coming up!

Click here to read about WBF special events.

WBF - Events, Screenings, Talks
The Wild Beauty documentary team out on the range

 

 

WBF - Horses Available for Adoption and Sponorship
Bartleby & Newt, two WBF rescue horses at their new home.
Read about them here in WBF Stories.

RESCUE & ADOPTION
BECAUSE EVERY LIFE MATTERS

Looking to save a life? Through WBF's adoption and sponsorship programs, you can apply to adopt a horse WBF has rescued, or you can sponsor the rescue of a horse in your name as that lucky horse's Wild Beauty Foundation Guardian.

Sadly, there are thousands of both wild and domestic horses across the country in mass government holding facilities, waiting in kill pens slated for the unthinkable slaughter pipeline, at auctions, and in other dire situations.

WBF is committed to our on the ground rescue and adoptions of horses in need.

Learn more about adoption & sponsorship of a WBF horse by clicking here, or just read about the heartwarming stories of horses who have found their forever homes!

Are you a brand, non-profit, school, public figure, or passionate advocate who would like to discuss a potential partnership, event, or new idea with WBF?
We are excited to hear from you!

Contact us via email at contact@wildbeautyfoundation.org