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Wild Horses
Photograph by O. Louis Mazzatenta

Splashing through a valley stream in Montenero Val Cocchiara in Molise, Pentro horses are a vanishing breed. Genetic studies show that only about 150 of them remain. Though owned, and occasionally put to work, by dairy farmers in this central valley, Pentro horses live wild, susceptible to attack by wolves from the surrounding mountains. Pentro was the name of one group of Samnites, and horses such as these once proved a battlefield asset as the Samnites wielded their military skills against Roman expansion.
 
These days the wildest action happens in August, when owners round-up the valley's horses for a small rodeo. First, about 300 horses, including the Pentri, "are driven at full tilt into the rodeo area and twice around the arena," reports writer Erla Zwingle. Then yearlings are separated out. Each man has eight minutes to try to mount one of the unbroken yearlings, "and the man," says Erla, "doesn't always win."

Photo Fast Facts

Camera: Nikon F5
Film: Fujichrome Velvia 50
Lens: Nikkor 17-35mm
Speed and F-Stop: 1/320 @ f/5
Weather Conditions: Sunny
Time of Day: Morning
Lighting Techniques: Available light


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