Editor: More of Sandra Crockett! I found the May 21 article on her recent sojourn in Johannesburg, South Africa, mesmerizing. Thanks for taking us there!
Heni C. Underwood
Slanted view of ponies
Editor: When I read that an article on the horses on Assateague was to appear in the July 23 edition of the Sun Magazine, both the subject matter and the quality of feature articles previously published in your magazine led me to anticipate reading this article with a good deal of pleasure. However, my Sunday morning euphoria was brought to a sudden end within seconds of my beginning the article.
It was so slanted toward the Maryland caretakers (although there aren't really any) and against those in Virginia who love and care for their herd of ponies to render a true picture impossible. The uninformed reader would be misled by an assortment of statements made out of context and a choice of illustrations aimed at presenting the Maryland herd as romantically idyllic and the Virginia herd as suffering under the ugly hand of man. If you have seen horses in Virginia running wild in the surf or grazing contentedly under trees in the distant marshes, you would have to admit that there is more than an "illusion that [there are] wild horses" on the southern end of Assateague.
Ron Keiper praises the fact that the northern herd has to "either get over [disease] or die," hardly an opportunity eagerly to be sought. If inoculating against disease and supplying adequate nutrition be pampering, let's make the most of it. Control of the size of the herd is obviously a concern to both groups of interested parties. However, using contraceptives appears much more intrusive than selling young horses to people who will love them and care for them and provide the opportunity for the breed to be spread beyond the narrow limits of Assateague.
Your [magazine], on the other hand, must be complimented for consistency. The choice of illustrations aptly supports the bias. In one picture, a "saltwater cowboy" is shown with his whip raised aloft. Visitors to the annual pony swim can attest to the fact that no one has ever seen one of these fine young men strike a horse. They have, however, seen firemen in the small boats that line the swim path lean out of their boats and support a horse or colt that may be floundering and guide her all the way to the shore.
These men think of these horses not as mere "commercial property" but as a tradition that has been a part of their lives since they were carried on dad's shoulders to their first pony swim. In contrast to the Maryland ponies shown "mingling" with campers, a Virginia pony is shown unhappily submitting to deworming.
I do not mean to suggest that either method of handling the herds . . . is the only way the animals should be treated. I am saying that I am disappointed in the inaccuracy and bias (can there be the former without the latter) with which the subject was treated.
Eva M. Walsh
Good story, good photo
Editor: Tim Warren's article on minor league baseball ["The Keys to Success," July 30] was very good. The minors are the "key" to baseball's future, due to big money destroying the majors.
The main reason for this letter is about little Katie Ondeck. It has been a long time since a magazine photo impressed me to the extent the one of her has. In my opinion it would be a prize winner in any photo contest. Katie's last name only adds to its appeal.
Please let Lloyd Fox know how I feel. He did a great job on this article, capturing the emotions of those he photographed.
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