Straight from the Wild Horse’s Mouth – A Letter to Santa

Submitted by “Ace“, the Twin Peaks Wild Stallion and personal friend of Grandma Greg’s

“I often warmly think about the ‘good old days’ when hundreds of we wild ones roamed free…”

“It’s not only ‘Feel Good Sunday” but for Christmas this will be ‘Feel Good Week’ where we will share original equine related Christmas stories every day until the 25th  for you to ponder, enjoy and hopefully allow you to wash your mind out and gain a breath of fresh air; we all need an extended recharge.

Today’s story was sent to me last year by one of the last stallions of Twin Peaks, “Ace”, now safe and out of the BLM’s grasp.  On first read it made my eyes leak and a year later it has not only maintained it’s poignant message but it is even, perhaps, more timely at the close of 2013.  I thank Ace for his input as I believe this is one of the best things he has ever written, except for the note to the other day reminding me to share it.  Thanks buddy and the best to all this holiday season!” ~ R.T.

holly

"Ace" ~ photo by Cate Scott

Dear Santa-

I am an old wild stallion.  I am told that I am one of the last Twin Peaks stallions.  I have had a wonderful life as Mother Nature planned for me from the very day I was born.  I lived the first 22 years free and wild and learned from my sire, dam, siblings and family band what was good for me to eat and where to find the fresh water springs that are hidden in the hills.  I romped and played with the young colts and fillies in my extended family.  Under the watchful protection of our family members, we young horses frolicked in the snow and creeks and rested in the shade of the old Juniper trees in the heat of the summer. Life was very good.  I later grew to be a healthy, robust and compassionate herd stallion with beautiful loyal mares and amusing, vigorous offspring.  Although I now have a good “retirement” life in a sanctuary with other displaced animals, my life in the wild was perfect for a wild one like me!

I know you are very busy Santa, but today I am asking you to help all creatures that have not been as lucky as me.  I have heard that there are fewer and fewer wild horses and burros that are allowed to live wild and free on their rightful range.   I do not understand this but I do know it is wrong.  What I am asking from you is for you to watch over and protect all animals and help them to be able to live their lives as Mother Nature intended for them.  Do not allow them to be chased, harassed, trapped, caged, starved, abused and slaughtered.

Although I live for today, I often warmly think about the “good old days” when hundreds of we wild ones roamed free.  Where are my wild friends that I knew those many years?  Where are my mares and foals today?  Why was our family torn from each other and our peaceful and natural world destroyed?  I have over-heard humans say that our life in the wild was traded for money.  Santa, what is money?  Could it possibly be more important than our wild hearts, lives, families and land?

Santa, I will continue to dream of my days gone by but I am asking you today to watch over all creatures’ great and small and to teach all human beings to think with their hearts and to reason with their souls.

Thank you, Santa.

- “ACE”

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The Advocate, the Guard and the Force of the Horse® at Christmas — (www.rtfitch.com)

Ninth Circuit Grants Wild Horse TRO in Wake of BLM Ruling

Story by Steven Long ~ Editor/Publisher Horseback Magazine

Where is the BLM Press Release on THIS News?!?

Click (HERE) to Download Injuctive Order

BLM already attacked the Antelope herd earlier this year ~ photo by Terry Fitch

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – Within hours of an adverse ruling for wild horse advocates attempting to halt a Navade “gather” and stampede in the heat of summer, a federal appellate court has granted a temporary restraining order. The federal Bureau of Land Management will be unable to proceed with it’s planned roundup, according to the Chicago based Equine Welfare Alliance, a consortium of more than 800 horse advocates and scores of equine welfare organizations.

“Rachel Fazio, attorney for plaintiffs, The Cloud Foundation, Craig Downer and Lorna Moffatt, went to the Ninth Circuit Court with an emergency motion immediately after getting the negative ruling today at 4 PM by U.S. District Court Judge McKibben in Reno,” said Vicki Tobin, EWA vice president and director. ” The Ninth Circuit has granted a temporary injunction while they review the merits of the motion. So, the wild horses of the planned Triple B roundup will have a brief reprieve. The hope is that the three Judges who look at the case will stop the roundup until the Appeal has been heard in August.”

The court stated in its ruling late Friday, “To allow for further consideration on the merits of the emergency motion, the court grants temporary injunctive relief. Appellees are enjoined from the round-up of wild horses in the HMAs and Triple B Complex areas until further order of the court.”

Shady Tactics Surround Obama’s BLM Roundup of Famous Kiger Wild Horses

Information supplied by The Cloud Foundation

Typical Underhanded Operations Still the Main Theme of BLM

Using Multiple Stampede Choppers on Day 1 at Kiger ~ Photo by Laura Leigh WHE/WHFF

Click (HERE) to read Laura’s Day One Report

PORTLAND, Ore. —The Cloud Foundation is outraged at the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) lack of transparency and avoidance of public input pertaining to the Kiger/Riddle Mountain roundup happening now outside of Burns, Oregon. The herds are famous for their Spanish Conquistador ancestry as well as Disney’s hit movie, Spirit: Stallion of the CimarronThe Foundation asks Congress to stop the illegal roundup now in order to save these herds from being destroyed. BLM’s plan would reduce the two herds to grossly non-viable populations of less than 50 animals each.

To the Foundation’s knowledge, no pro-wild horse interested parties received the Environmental Assessment (EA) within the allotted 30-day comment period. The only public notification appears to be a March 16, 2011 blurb in the local Burns Times Herald newspaper saying “the proposed action will begin in September, 2011.”

“I was shocked to learn that the Kiger and Riddle Mountain herds were going to be rounded up in early July,” states Diane Pinney, Kiger wild horse adopter and Wild Horse and Burro Representative, Southeast Oregon’s Resource Advisory Council (RAC). “I never received the EA or a notice that it was available, and I can’t find anyone else who did.”

BLM typically receives thousands of comments from concerned members of the public protesting their wild horse removal actions. Despite this, BLM Three Rivers Field Manager, Richard Roy, indicated the agency received “no public comments pertaining to the EA.”

As soon as The Cloud Foundation realized they had not received the EA, nor had anyone they knew, they alerted Portland Attorney, Geordie Duckler. He quickly filed a request for a temporary restraining order. It was denied by District Judge Hernandez and this denial allowed the roundup to begin today.

“This is one of the sleaziest BLM tactics I’ve seen in 16 years of documenting wild horses and dealing with the agency,” states Ginger Kathrens, EMMY Award-winning filmmaker and Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation. “BLM’s actions appear to be a carefully designed strategy to keep the public in the dark and subvert the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process which promotes public involvement.”

“If BLM succeeds in flying under the radar, the wild horses and American taxpayers will pay the price,” explains Kathrens. “We want this roundup to be put on hold right now so we can have at least 30 days for public comment.”

The Cloud Foundation, Wild Horse Freedom Federation, Equine Welfare Alliance and many other reputable equine advocacy groups believe that BLM’s actions are a violation of the public trust and they vow to continue to fight for the rights of America’s wild horses and burros to roam freely on their legally designated ranges. They encourage members of the public to contact their U.S senators and representatives and request intervention on behalf of our nation’s wild horses and burros before they are managed into oblivion.

Click on Image to View Laura’s Day One Report ~ photo by Laura Leigh

Happy Birthday Cloud, For What It’s Worth

(In My Humble Opinion) by R.T. Fitch ~ Author/Director of HfH Advisory Council

An Open Letter to Cloud, the Wild Stallion of the Rockies

Photo by Terry Fitch

Happy Birthday Cloud;

On behalf of  all self-actualized and compassionate human beings I would like to extend to you a most heartfelt congratulations, this day, on the advent of your sixteenth year of accompanying us on this voyage across time and space upon the spaceship we call Earth.

Sixteen years ago a wonderful cinematographer and her friend witnessed you entering this world.  At that time you probably had no idea of the mantle of responsibility and notoriety that you would bear upon your withers and soul.  As a young palomino, born wild amongst some of the most wondrous grandeur known on earth, you didn’t have a clue as to your destiny or the part you would play in the trivial game of human ego, greed and cruelty.  And if I had my way, you still would not know.

But like so many of your brethren you were not spared the cruelty of the perverted, special interests of human greed as you were harassed, terrorized, rounded up, imprisoned and ultimately released, unlike tens of thousands of others, to live out your hard life wild but all knowing of what ferments just behind the façade of those who walk on two legs; you know.

You are now the most hated and despised wild horse known to the U.S. Federal Government, specifically the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).  When Ginger Kathrens began to document your life amongst the Pryor Mountains she, unknowingly, gave the plight of American wild horse a story, a face, a name…yours…and with that, there is now a bull’s-eye upon your head, along with that of your benefactor, Ms. Kathrens.

The BLM has foolishly made you a tool of punishment and manipulation as they have inhumanely chased, captured and terrorized you and your family.  If this special interest funded federal agency could make you go away tonight there would be a bullet between your eyes and politically they would do the same to Ginger Kathrens.

You represent all that is good with the American spirit, the sense of freedom and wholesomeness that we once rallied around, but now you are an obstacle and a nuisance that is in the way of the high paying special interests that seek to rape the Pryor’s of their natural resources and line the pockets of the criminals that hold bogus leadership positions within our government and for this, I apologize.

This is not so much a message of cheer but one of apology for the wrongs that have been committed against you and your brethren across the vast expanse of the benevolent horse nation.  On behalf of those who care, we are sorry.

We are sorry for the slaughter, the deaths, the injuries, the broken families, the lies, the deceit, the false promises and most of all, I apologize for being human.  If I had a way or the power to stand beside you as a stallion that honestly loved, cared and protected his family, I would be there.  But my curse pains me to the bone; I am one of them…a liar, a cheat and one who does not speak from the heart.  I am human and for that, I am sorry.

Cloud; you have made a mark that even a bullet and the BLM cannot erase; you are the voice, leader and inspiration for the salvation of our disappearing national icon, the American Wild Horse.  I thank you for what you are, who you are and where you have brought us as if it were not for you and the pain we witnessed you suffer at the hands of Obama’s BLM we would not be in this fight.  Thank you for opening our eyes, thank you for being all that we cannot be and thank you for being alive.

Happy Birthday Cloud, you have changed our lives in more ways than you could ever imagine and you are the engine that drives our advocacy.  Never become a martyr but instead continue to be the most powerful driving force in the animal kingdom focusing the spotlight upon humankind’s most despicable and inhumane behavior; the twisted and corrupt actions of the BLM.

Be strong, Cloud, and above all…be safe.

Happy Birthday!

Video: Not Ready to Say Goodbye to Our Wild Horses

Video produced by Madeleine Pickens

Madeleine’s Message to Oprah, but remember, it’s not just celebrities who care!!!


Breaking News: Round-Up is OVER

Eye Witness report from R.T. Fitch

Antelope Round Up is CALLED!

Photo by Terry Fitch

Roundup called early, today.  Terry, Laura and I arrived at the motel and only moments later Laura recieved a text from the local BLM PR rep that stated the roundup is over and tomorrow we will be witnessing a RELEASE!

No reason given but we are highly suspect that your efforts were heard and heeded.  Thanks to all for your support and we three will be there to record releases back to the range in the AM!

May the Force of the Horse be with You!!!

R.T.

Wild Horse Annie: Her Legacy at Risk of Extinction

by John L. Smith reprinted from The Mesquite Local News

BLM Bloody Behavior Unchanged in over 60 Years

"Wild Horse Annie"

The battle over the fate of Nevada’s wild horses is one of the longest fights in state history. But until recently I wasn’t aware that a woman they called “Wild Horse Annie” was one of the driving forces behind the movement to have the majestic beasts federally protected. Her real name was Velma Johnston.

Back in 1950, she was a 38-year-old secretary living in Reno.  On the way to work one day, she encountered a truck loaded with care-worn wild horses that were on their way to be slaughtered for pet food.  That experience changed her life, and she began a long fight that eventually resulted in the passage of the first real federal protection for wild horses.

Johnston’s fascinating and highly improbable success story is captured in “Wild Horse Annie and the Last of the Mustangs” by Canadian authors David Cruise and Allison Griffiths. The horse enthusiast realized early the power of the press in promoting her crusade.

Her good intentions traveled much further through the stories she received from newspapers from throughout the region.  A breakthrough came in 1957, when Reader’s Digest published a laudatory article on Johnston’s battle with the Bureau of Land Management and the ranching lobby.  She would be inundated with mail, some of it addressed to “Wild Horse Annie.” The former secretary who had survived disfiguring childhood polio was suddenly internationally known.

Johnston wasn’t just after publicity.  She pulled raids to free captured wild horses, but she knew the only way to ensure the animals would be protected was through federal intervention. With the Reader’s Digest article in print, she went to Washington and somehow managed to make allies of political enemies Rep. Walter Baring and his Democratic primary opponent, Howard Cannon, who enjoyed breaking mustangs in his spare time.

Johnston herself was a proud Republican, but somehow she managed to pull it off. (I suspect she was successful in part because the politicians also saw the value of appearing to stand up for the beleaguered symbols of the American West.)
One of the great characters in Johnston’s life was award-winning children’s author Marguerite Henry, whose horse adventure books, including “Misty,” captivated a generation of adolescent readers.

Henry provided Johnston with friendship and much-needed support through years that saw her challenge Nevada’s powerful ranching lobby and navigate the halls of Congress on behalf of her beloved animals. All that publicity helped lead to the passage of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.

The law was far from ideal, but its passage was an enormous victory that had come against very long odds.

Velma Johnston died on June 27, 1977.  Obituaries from the nation’s largest newspapers praised her for her efforts on behalf of the wild horses.  And the Reno Evening Gazette offered, “Annie’s detractors would have undoubtedly preferred her to be weak and sentimental. What they got from Annie was a tough, hard-headed realist who marshaled her facts, set about her campaign to protect wild horses with steely determination and who had a gun handy for self defense.”

Upon Johnston’s death, her friend Bill Rainey posted a tribute to her in his bookshop window.  It read in part, “This country will never see the likes of her again. I learned how one person in these United States can believe in something and win against impossible odds. You don’t take on powerful cattlemen and win when you’re one woman with little money, but she did.

“To me she was not the woman who talked with presidents, congressmen, authors and painters. She was the very soul of this state.” Thanks to the efforts of Cruise and Griffiths, that soul is once again riding on the sage-scented breeze.

“Striking parallels to just where we are today.  It’s going to take more than simply one contemporary “Wild Horse Annie” to get this wagon back on the track before there aren’t any wild horses horses left to protect as we are quickly running out of time.” ~ R.T.

Truth Squad Radio Show this Sunday with Author R.T. Fitch

by Barbara Peterson of the PPJ Gazette

Join us Sunday evening at 8 CST on The Truth Squad Radio Show

The Truth Squad Radio Show with Marti Oakley and Barb Peterson

You can Hear the Show by Clicking (HERE)

Date / Time: 10/24/2010

6:00 pm PST

8:00 pm CST

9:00 pm EST

Call-in Number: (917) 388-4520

URL: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/marti-oakley

This Sunday we will be talking about the BLM and saving our wild horse herds with the author of Straight from the Horse’s Heart, R.T. Fitch!

 RT Fitch is an equine author/writer/advocate/BLM pain in the ass. He is also the Volunteer Executive Director of HfH Advisory Council and instigator/funder of current BLM suits.

“Totally transparent, Terry and I with over a decade of horse rescue under our belts, have nothing to hide.” (RT Fitch)

The BLM has been unlawfully and in violation of the 1971 Wild Horse and Burro Act, removing and zeroing out wild horse herds across the Western States. Despite several court orders and pleas to congress, the BLM violates federal law without fear of reprisal. RT, with his wife Terry, have been at the forefront of this battle to save the wild herds.

*************

 Is there news in your area no one is reporting? Want to be a guest?

Give us a call on SKYPE: 320-281-0585 or email us at truthsquadradio@gmail.com

One Little Foal Step at a Time

(In My Humble Opinion) by R.T. Fitch ~ author of “Straight from the Horse’s Heart

Fight to Save our Wild Horses Progresses

It’s been a tough month for Wild Horse Advocates, even tougher for the horses.  Months of legal planning had been mapped out by the HfH Advisory Council in an effort to stop four, specifically targeted BLM roundups from occurring.  Two of those were postponed by a year, one directly due to our efforts. But the other two went forward, one struggle even made it to court.  Did we make any progress?  Were the horses helped in anyway?  To put it mildly; “You bet ya!”

The year delay of the West Douglas stampede happened with very little fanfare and in what appeared to be a blink of an eye, mostly due to the fact that we held off on public notification until the TRO was filed.  The intent was to give you the full story and the culmination of our efforts but by the time we issued our press release it was only hours later that the BLM backed away and said that they would reconsider the attack on the horses the following year.  We filed our contempt of court paperwork one day, our preliminary injunction order the next day following up with the TRO the next and within hours the BLM stepped back.  Was that a win?  Once again, “You bet ya!”  Even though not ordered by the court the horses of West Douglas certainly gave it a big “hooves up” as they get to live like God intended them to live for at least another year and we have additional time granted to us to better prepare to defend them.

This past Thursday a New York Judge failed to find in our favor for our effort to stop the North Piceance roundup in Colorado.  With all of the time, money, blood, sweat and tears spent was it a success for the horses?  Once again a resounding; “You bet ya!”

I’ll put it into the whispered terms of a loving women who I held, crying, in my arms upon hearing the news of the court’s denial.

“The horses of North Piceance made a sacrifice that other herds well benefit from,” whispered my wife Terry as we both struggled with tears upon hearing the news, “it’s like a new born foal taking its first steps, one at a time.  We took several little legal foal steps that the BLM will never be able to erase.”

And she is right.

Although the horses of the North Piceance herd will now slip away into the BLM’s cloud of mysterious equine disappearances and obscurity their ultimate sacrifice allowed us to win several combative, legal skirmishes against the BLM.

Although it might seem like a very small victory it will prove to be huge in the future and that little foal step was the issue of “venue” or where the suit was filed.  We landed this case far from the ranges of the west and right in the middle of Central Park in New York City.  Why?  We did so in hopes of finding a judge that was fresh, new and untainted by the influence of Ken Salazar’s special interest driven BLM.  The BLM wanted out of NYC, badly.  They wanted to be either back out west or in a D.C. court where their cronies had more influence but due to the New York based ASPCA being one of our volunteer plaintiffs, the judge let us stay thus setting a precedence for seeking out favorable venues for additional cases in the future.  Thank you ASPCA for the win and do you think we will use this in the future, “You bet ya!”

The major win of the case comes from the quiet and sincere Colorado Veterinarian Dr. Don Moore.  Dr. Moore was first taken to the North Piceance area to view the horses by his father over forty years ago.  Dr. Moore has grown up with those horses and the court agreed that Dr. Moore has suffered irreparable harm by this herd being destroyed.  The BLM’s argument was that Dr. Moore could just go somewhere else to see wild horses, what’s the difference?  The difference is gigantic and the BLM’s indifference in court outlines their failed understanding of their primary job to protect these horses instead of destroying them.  To tell Dr. Moore to go somewhere else to see other wild horses is like telling Ginger Kathrens that she does not need to see Cloud, the wild stallion of the Pryor Mountain herd that she has been following for over a decade and a half.  The BLM can simply stampede Cloud and his family into the mystery concentration camps and Ginger can just go somewhere else to see a wild horse.  How asinine is that for a defense in federal court?  It’s your tax dollars hard at work trying to defend a failed and perverted policy of systematically exterminating all of the publicly owned wild horses on publicly owned land.  The court agreed so that from this day forward, it is on the record that for future cases  Americans are irreparably damaged and injured by the BLM’s insidious action of cruelly and inhumanely stripping our federally protected wild horses from public lands.  Will we use that angle in future cases when attempting to save our wild horses from extinction?  “You bet ya!”

Over the last several weeks we have accomplished what our good friend and fellow wild horse crusader Laura Leigh from Grass Roots Horse has said,

“We laid another brick, just one more legal brick in the foundation of the major case to forever stop the BLM from violating local, state and federal laws.”

One brick at a time, one little foal step at a time we move forward and forward we did move.

I am a man driven by a wet tear on the side of my face, a woman softly sobbing in my arms and the soft yet stinging words,

“We didn’t stop the killing of the horses, R.T.  The mares, that little foal, we did not save them.”

And for that I bleed, and because of that we stand strong.

For all those who have perished; we will press on to stop the massacre of the mustangs, even if it is only one little foal step at a time.