Horses are par for the course in the Wild West, but there are a few roaming the wild east of America as well.
Cumberland Island – off the Atlantic coast of Georgia – is home to the only unmanaged feral herd of horses on the east coast. Pretty much deserted, the island’s former grand inhabitants have moved on but the horses have remained. They’ve been snapped, over a decade of visits, by French photographer Anouk Masson Krantz, for the soon-to-be released book Wild Horses of Cumberland Island, published by Images Publishing.
Pretty Cumberland Island is made up of white sand beaches, immense rolling dunes, old growth maritime forests and a salt marsh tidal estuary. It’s only accessible by boat and there’s only one hotel to choose from – The Greyfield Inn, one of the few buildings on the island that isn’t a majestic ruin.
As well as being home to around 150 wild horses, the island has had a chequered history. It's thought that horses originally would have arrived with Spanish settlers in the 17th century. There were plantations and Civil War battles there in the 19th century, after which the wealthy Carnegies bought most of it in the 1880s.
The legendary industrialist family lived there with their own horses but it was sold to the National Park Service in 1972. A descendant of the original owner, Thomas Carnegie, Oliver ‘Mitty’ Ferguson runs the island's hotel.
The Cumberland horses aren’t native to the island but as they're descended from domestic breeds, it's thought their ancestors must have escaped during the Civil War. Scroll down to see horses taking free rein of a treasured environment in a scintillating set of pictures.
Horses for courses: Around 150 wild horses live on America's Cumberland Island, which has just one hotel
The horses have been left alone without human interference for decades. Their numbers have stayed steady at around 150
Neigh-bours: It's thought that horses have been on the island since the 17th century
The Greyfield Inn is the only hotel on the island, which is now owned by the National Park Service
The horses on the island are locally famous. Visitors can arrive by boat and spend the day on the island or stay overnight at the hotel owned by a descendant of Thomas Carnegie, who bought the island in the 1880s
Wild horses: The horses spend their days cantering on the sand, foraging for sea moss and grazing inland
Industrialist Thomas Carnegie lived on Cumberland Island for a time with his family and their domestic horses
Cumberland Island has been a national park since 1972. The horses are the only herd in east coast America that aren't managed in any way by humans
Photographer Anouk Masson Krantz shot her book The Wild Horses of Cumberland Island over 10 years
The horses eat, play and explore together away from any human interference
These majestic beasts are the star attraction for visitors to Georgia's peaceful Cumberland Island
Anouk Masson Krantz's book captures the freedom the horses have on Cumberland Island. They've never been ridden or domesticated by humans
Holiday home: The horses have an idyllic life on the pretty island, which sits just off the coast of Georgia, US
This small family of horses has plenty of room to explore. They can roam across white sand beaches, ancient forests and a salt marsh
No longer really inhabited (apart from one hotel), Cumberland Island was popular with the Carnegies but now nature has taken over
The Georgian island has been home to Spanish settlers, plantation owners and multi-millionaires over the years. The historic maritime forests make for an atmospheric setting
Peaceful: This hypnotic image captures the beautiful tranquility of the island, which is a treasured coastal preserve