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Cools work gets warm reception
Don Cool
Ceres resident Don Cool was honored Thursday evening by the city for his photographic artwork of wild horses. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER /The Courier

Artistic photos of horses taken by Ceres resident Don Cool received a glowing review at a special Artist Spotlight reception held from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Ceres Community Center.

Wine and appetizers were served and Don displayed and offered for sale some of his photographic works.

For eight years the Ceres photographer has been shooting photos of wild horses in the Little Washoe area of Nevada. He has had countless photos featured on the American Wild Horse Preservation website. A portion of the proceeds of his sale will help the effort to save the wild horses since 3,000 are in jeopardy of being slaughtered. Of the 92,000 wild mustangs currently in captivity, only about three percent will be adopted.

Cool said he used to have five horses when he lived in Hughson but found they required too much money and time. He sold them and “never gave wild horses a thought.” When he finally saw wild horses in Nevada at the invitation of a friend he developed “a whole new feeling. They’re interesting animals for sure. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t want to go buy a saddle and ride a horse but I could sit and watch these guys all day long in the wild.”

In his first encounter Cool and his friend counted 125 wild horses around a lake. He now tries to visit four to five times a year.

Some horses want to approach and nudge but the law says people must stay 50 feet from them.

“They don’t want people harassing them and stuff and becoming dependent on people,” said Cool. “The stallions make me nervous, though, when the young ones get close. They kind of start showing their teeth and flaring their nose and it’s like, I’m gonna back off a little bit because basically you’re out in the open and if one of them decides to come after you, you’re pretty much screwed.”

Cool advocates and creates public awareness through his beautiful photographs. One of his photos in particular was shared on social media by the American Wild Horse Campaign and had over 900 shares and over 7,000 shares in the first day.

Cool was presented with a certificate of recognition from state Senator Anthony Cannella, presented by Brenda Scudder Herbert.

“Your work is phenomenal and he thanks you very much for it,” said Herbert on behalf of Cannella.

Traci Farris, a recreation manager for the city of Ceres, said Cool has been supportive of the community and his photos grace the Ceres River Bluff Regional Park and city website. He also volunteered to shoot all of the Santa pictures at  last December’s Christmas Festival.

“He has the uncanny ability of capturing the innate beauty of animals in their most natural state,” said Farris.