Horse News

Wild Horses and Dolphins: They Both Speak the Same Message

Commentary/Story by R.T. Fitch – Author of Straight from the Horse’s Heart

I sat before my computer, this morning, and attempted to sort out the complexity of need that exists in our current world.  My mind wandered and my heart struggled with the continual worry that 35,000+ formerly wild mustangs are in concentration camps and many are dying.  That line of thinking brought me to the plot of the BLM to wrench thousands more off from their rightful land this year alone.  There is a knot in my stomach over the disaster in the gulf that is currently killing untold amounts of marine life and the potential to kill so much more is currently unfathomable.  I almost wretched when the vision of Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar comes to mind as he is the one who has brought these disasters to our shores and yet he can look into a TV camera and with lifeless eyes point fingers at personnel who report directly to him and take no blame or responsibility for the crisis’s.

And as I struggle with these thoughts I hear one of our equine children call out from the pasture behind my office.  It’s still dark, I can see nothing but I can hear hoof beats and smile knowing that they are playing, well fed and happy.  That brings a moment of peace and I close my eyes only to hear a dolphin, far away, calling to me.  Reality and danger are close at hand.

For those of you who know me and/or have read our first book, you are aware of the fact that horses came to me late in life, just like a good woman, and it was the call of the dolphin that reached into my heart during my early years.  That call has never ceased, nor have I ignored it but I could affect more change with something that I could grasp and hold onto and at this point in time, I am holding on very tightly to the horses.

One lazy afternoon, several years ago, during a far too rare conversation with my best friend, Jerry Finch, he asked me what I was going to do when we finally nailed the coffin lid down on horse slaughter and managed to get all of the wild mustangs’ back to  where they rightfully belong.  We were both sipping on a tall, cool glass of my Wrangler Iced Tea and I actually looked into my glass for an omen or a sign.

“You going to retire from being an equine advocate and finish those other books you have half-assed started?” he asked.

His comment made me smile because if it was not for Jerry, I would never have written anything.

“Nope”, I responded, “I am going to go back to my roots, where it all started and tend to some unfinished business.”

“Where’s that?”

“Back to the dolphins and whales, my friend, back to help the dolphins and whales.”

He smiled, nodded and both of us raised our glasses in salute while uttering our motto, “Our work is never done and may no good deed go unpunished”.   Even advocates need a good laugh now and then.

So today, in honor of our endangered aquatic cousins I share with you a story of horses and dolphins.  They aren’t much different, you know.  One walks on all fours and the other swims but they speak with the same heart and they come bearing a like spirit and love of life.  I share an excerpt from our first book, a story of love, sadness and life.  A brief moment of passion that will last a lifetime, I give to you…

I Believe That I Saw Her This Morning

I believe that I saw her this morning, just a fleeting glimpse, but I feel that she was there.  I knew that she had been swimming in my dreams last night.  A man knows these things even if the birth of a new day washes away the details. The warmth, the desire, and the guilt lingers on long after you have arisen from the bed and, last night, we loved long, hard, and with great passion.  I knew it; I could feel it; and my masculinity told me that it was so.

She first came to me when I was in my early twenties: sleek and beautiful, her nude body rippling with muscles.  For me, it was truly love at first sight.  But she was terrified as she had been kidnapped from her home and family; the world as she had known it was gone.  The will to live had bled out of her heart and soul.  She would die if I did not hold her, reassure her, and keep her breathing.  For 48 hours I stayed with her and held her smooth body against me while I kept her afloat and walked her around the pool.  I insisted that she breathe, that she partake of the life-giving air.  For two days I would not allow her soul to escape this world, for her spirit to leave as she had wanted.  Two days that almost killed me: no sleep, little food, some water, and much reassurance.  I, too, almost died but then we talked.  First it was her speaking of her fears, of all that was lost, of the terror of capture, and the pain of isolation.  Then it was me speaking.  I told her that not all humans were evil; I told her of her mission to teach and to save; I told her of my dreams to help and to make a difference; and somewhere in that exhausted mix, I told her that I loved her and we made it so.

We learned to play, Maleva and me.  At first I was afraid when her heart finally healed; when I was in the water with her, she showed her passion for life with the teeth in her mouth.  My legs were striped with teeth marks; she loved me and she showed it.  Every Wednesday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday I would leave my human wife to dance with my new found lover.  The laughter, the joy – no one understood.  The playfulness will never escape my heart; the joy she would receive from pulling down my swim trunks each time I left her pool; no human female could compare.  She laughed, but only with me.  We were so deeply in love.  I longed to be a member of her family Delphinsdae; I yearned to be a male of her species Stenella Longirestris.  However, I was only a man; a human man, who walked on two legs and could never be an adequate lover.  I lived with that guilt and inadequacy, even today.

Then I had to leave; I had to abandon my island paradise.  My human mate was suffering from “Island Fever” and I was told that I needed to leave the islands that I loved, to return to the mainland where I would ultimately be betrayed.  It was a human thing, I had to go.  Being a human male, I did what I was told.  I said my goodbyes through tear blurred eyes; I heard the screams of pain in my numbed ears, but I did what I was told I must do.  I left her.

Several weeks after I had returned to the mainland, enrolled in college, and gotten a job scraping barnacles from the bottoms of boats, the letter came.  It was from my human female Hawaiian “want to be lover”, who worked in the park with Maleva and me.  She knew the love that Maleva and I shared.  Not only was she both mystified and jealous, but she had always wanted a piece of my passion for herself.  I, however, had eyes for only one.  She had written to me, probably with great delight and satisfaction.  She informed me of Maleva’s refusal to take nourishment after my departure and that she almost died of starvation.  She told me that the pain of me leaving drove her to swim into the wall of her pool.  Her suicide attempt succeeded: her nose was crushed and her skull was shattered.  The marine biologists had never seen anything like that.  She also said that she was sorry we had never made love.  For decades, I wept; not for her lack of fulfillment but for the loss of a shining jewel, my love, Maleva.

I believe that I saw her this morning, just a fleeting glimpse, but I feel that she was there.  I know that I dreamed of her; a man knows these things.  I sat on the side of the bed and told my masculinity to subside, it hurt too much.  It is true; we made love in my dreams.  We embraced each other at the depth of 75 feet, traveling at 25 miles per hour.  It was a rush.  My heart was still racing and I was breathless, but she continued to coach me.

My dream-lover continued to guide me on my life quest.  She whispered softly in my ear; her voice caused the hair on the back of my arms to stand up, even during daylight hours.  The voice is sweet, it is pure, and it excites me to remember it in the light of day.  She speaks and says that our time will come; her family’s time will come.  It is the horses turn now, but then it will be theirs.  She awaits me; she will love me for all eternity; and we shall once again love one another.  First, I must help the horses and then I can come to her.

I believe that I saw her this morning, just a fleeting glimpse, but I feel that she was there.  In the early half light the mist was held low to the pastures.  I could only see the backs of the horses as they grazed in the cool dense mist.  It swirled around them as if it was water.  Then, a dorsal fin broke the surface, but only for a second.  I saw it and, way off in the distance, I heard a dolphin laugh.  I wept.

I believe that I saw her this morning.

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24 replies »

  1. I grieve for the dolphins, whales, turtles, bison , wolves and our precious wild horses. When is it going to stop –this persecution of the innocent because of greed?
    IMO Salazar is as evil as they come. Is Obama without compassion also? It seems so.

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  2. R.T.

    I was in elementary school on a field trip at the Miami Sea Aquarium… it was after one of the shows and everyone had left the pool where the dolphins were. I was all alone and there were rings there and I played for the longest time with the dolphins with no one but them and myself. I love them so… and this memory will never leave me, however, I must not have been completely alone, for when I decided I had better leave before everyone left me behind, someone had stolen my purse that I had sat on the wall near the seating area. I had purchased a few little rocks and some candy at the gift shop and these treasures were gone as well.

    Many years later, I was out in the ocean with a friend and was blessed by a pair of dolphins swimming and jumping in the arched fashion as they do, along side of the boat as we skimmed along the water.
    What a glorious site to witness! Freedom and the glory of absolute beauty and peacefulness at it’s best.

    My love for horses also began as a child. Going for riding lessons and visiting the beautiful TB race courses in south Florida and watching the beautiful horses exercise on the tracks.

    It was a few years ago I saw the horrors of the Japanese massacre of the defenseless dolphin and very shortly afterwards learned of horse slaughter after witnessing the breakdown of Green Team on the television and learning of the breakdown of Barbaro exactly one year later to the day.

    Now the roundups of the beautiful and once free wild horses…. I am deeply affected by all of this. It seems that the most beautiful is always taken away. It hurts beyond explanation. It just should not be.

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  3. Tears of sadness at unimaginable loss. And tears of joy for the spirits that live on, if only in our dreams.

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  4. This post should come with a warning. ” Kleenex required before reading”. Tears are rolling down my cheeks and memories of my own are flooding to the forefront. Thank you for giving me this moment and for energizing my will to continue the fight for our wild ones.

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  5. R.T. Thank you once again!

    I have not seen the award winning documentary yet about the Japanese dolphins – The Cove. I have been told that the producers offered the Japanese the same amount of money they would have made just to not slaughter the dolphins and they refused. Of course the Japanese want the dolphin meat – I guess that is the reason? And they want whale meat and horse meat too.

    Similarly on horse slaughter there is a demand for the meat from 120,000 +/- horses a year. And there is an industry that I will call the Kill Chain that, it has been reported, though I find no hard evidence, will ban us from rescuing those 120,000 +/- from the sale barn as their livelihoods depend on this continued industry. Even if we gave each of them double their current salaries for the rest of their lives, Europe and Japan would step up to fill their desire for horse meat from somewhere. So no matter what we do within the USA, whether that is a ban on slaughter and transport or decrease breeding by a comparable amount, 120,000 +/- horses from some source will go to slaughter somewhere in the world. But, we can only control within our borders, or attempt to persuade others, or go to war to conquer them – let’s not do that one, ok? We in the USA hold sentient creatures to a higher level of respect than food animals so we do not eat them, nor should we supply them to anyone outside our borders for that purpose. We even hold Tuna to be dolphin free.

    These remind me of people offering to rescue horses in need of medical help at the Fallon Facility and were refused by BLM. What was their motive? I don’t know.

    I too have let so many other efforts fall away since finding the plight of the wild horse leading me into the plight of horse slaughter. After working in a stressful life saving industry, I had hoped in retirement, in another 4 years instead of now, to be living and working at Best Friends Sanctuary part of the year and fostering grey hounds too – but the bankers and mortgage companies have messed up my equity, my nest egg – so here I sit at my computer. I have been told by some that I don’t own a horse so I have no say. I find this analogy hilarious when talking about wild horses – as no one owns a wild horse – once it is owned it is no longer a wild horse. Well, I don’t own a dolphin or a whale either. Nor do I own a dog breeding business, or manufacture automobiles, I’m not in the banking business, I’m not in the oil business etc, etc. Yet on those latter issues I am paying taxes (believe BP is going to pay?) to clean them up. When I was in real estate I had to pay dearly into a fund to cover the faults of my peers and my own errors and to fund an enforcement agency to stop abuses. When I worked for a contractor they had to do the same – pay into a fund to control the industry. Because if an industry is not controlled innocent people (or animals) are harmed and society ends up paying. Someone always pays. Either the industry itself up front, or society, either by direct taxes to fund a government agency, or higher taxes to mop up the mess later, or leave it be and let society crumble.

    It’s everything –Wall Street, and the car industries, the oil leak in the gulf – Watch Out – what is coming next? As example – eke gads, the people of Greece are being blamed for the greed of the world wide banking industry – WHAT, the working class people of Greece are to blame? NOT! And the protest of the Greek working class against picking up the tab is being called radical and whacko. Just heard on the news last night that GMs advertisement that they paid back the government loan is false – it got paid back but only because they took out another government loan, from you and me, to pay it off ! The oil slick is the fault of environmentalists because they drove oil production out into the sea? WHAT? Never mind that those same environmentalists do not want drilling in the ocean either! Another tactic I heard Sunday morning to sway blame is that the ocean has natural leaks that spill more oil anyway. WHAT? So what!

    Well, we already pay for all of BLMs actions and consequences, lock, stock and barrel. Hopefully this new workshop will be fruitful and will become a continued thing. Recent research indicates that the reproduction rate of wild horses is affected by continued removal, especially the disruption of impact of the older horse’s wisdom, due to gathers – either removal or loss of their band that end up with younger stallions instead. It will be interesting to see how some faction or group blames the “anti gather” advocates, which I personally find an offensive coin of terms, for that.

    Too chatty and rambling again, I’ll try to cut back.

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    • >> We in the USA hold sentient creatures to a higher level of respect than food animals so we do not eat them… <<

      "Food animals" *ARE* sentient creatures!!! (chickens, pigs, cows, turkeys, ducks etc..)

      I agree with the rest of your comments but it is false to say that the animals we consider "food animals" are any less sentient than those other cultures view as food. It's a known fact that farm animals are very much sentient.. The intelligence of a pig is comparable to that of a dog. All farm/"food" animals communicate, they play, they feel pain, hunger or neglect and they don't want to be slaughtered any more than a horse or a dolphin does.

      The reality is that other cultures who eat dolphin, whale or horse meat do it for the same reasons we still consider some animals *only* "food animals. They are, just as most of us are, disconnected with the reality that this meat on our plate is the flesh of an intelligent and very much sentient animal. Just as other cultures do, we refuse to see it for what it is so we can continue with a clear conscience. How then, can we point a finger? How can we ever expect to convince others when we cannot even convince ourselves? We can't. Not when we are unwilling to make those same changes ourselves.

      You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
      – Mahatma Gandhi

      ——————————————————————————————

      After reading about our "food animals"….
      Can you honestly say what we are doing is any better than those who eat horse and dolphin meat?

      http://www.ciwf.org.uk/farm_animals/default.aspx

      http://www.animalplace.org/cattle.html
      http://www.animalplace.org/chickens.html
      http://www.animalplace.org/goats.html

      http://www.think-differently-about-sheep.com/Sentient%20sheep.htm
      http://www.think-differently-about-sheep.com/Sentience_in_farm_Animals.htm

      http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/animal-emotions

      http://www.novoiceunheard.org/farmedanimals.htm

      http://www.woodstocksanctuary.org/learn/factory-farmed-animals/
      http://www.animalsanctuary.org/animals/index.html

      http://www.humanemyth.org/

      ——————————————————————————————

      The message I get from reading R.T's beautiful and very touching text is that there is no distinction between any species worth, or their right to life.

      It doesn't matter what our selfish reasons are, all living, breathing, sentient creatures are not here to serve our purpose.

      Thank you for sharing that story with us.

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      • Wow, I certainly did not mean to condone inhumane slaughter or treatment for any animal.
        I used the term sentient, perhaps incorrectly, as I have heard it applied here by other anti horse slaughter advocates. Still learning. It is semantics though, and differing in which country or region of a country, including religeous and political subcultures.

        Growing up on a farm with cattle, goats, chickens, but no pigs, I can say factually that they are not finely perceptive as dogs or cats or horses are. I enjoyed my pet rabbits and acknowledge they have pain and want companionship, but they are not as aware as a cat or dog.

        I mean, even tomatoes have a recordable reaction to being cut.

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      • I’m not saying what’s better or worse as a society. I’m not telling Belgians that it’s wrong for them to eat horse meat, but okay for me to eat beef. I’m saying that we don’t consider horses to be “food” here any more than we do cats and dogs.

        This has a number of consequences. There is of course the cultural difference, but also, since we do not raise horses herds for food as we do cattle, the horses have to come from somewhere. All too many times they are either obtained in nefarious ways – like promising a seller that they will give the horse a good home, and then taking him straight to an auction – or they are outright stolen.

        When I lived in Dallas, there was a huge professional horse thief ring that covered several states, Texas being one. The headquarters was in Missouri. Believe me, they made off with a LOT of horses during those years. It was a nightmare worrying about your horse getting stolen. And you knew not to sell your horse at ANY auction because the killers were always there, out bidding the regular folk and getting all the best horses.

        Horses may be “classified” as livestock, but anyone can see that their situation is very different from that of cattle. These days, most individual horse owners think of their horses as companion animals – pets. That makes it even more heartbreaking when someone’s baby, their best friend, a member of their family, meets such a horrible end.

        Like it or not, cattle, pigs, chickens – they all were “intended” to be used for food, and horses were not. That, by the way, is not excuse for factory farming, battery chickens and all that. It’s needless cruelty and shouldn’t be permitted – period.

        If they want to eat horses in Europe, fine. Just not American horses. Our slaughter facilities were designed to cattle and so were the double decked trucks. This kind of transportation, equipment and techniques are just totally unacceptable for horses. I don’t believe for one moment that the workers are a careful with the cattle as they should be, but cattle have been bred for many, many years to be docile and were probably less excitable than horses before that. Bottom line: the cattle techniques and equipment CAN be used in a humane way with cattle. With horses, there is NO way. It’s just all wrong and doesn’t work for horses.

        And there’s the problem of our horses being exposed to substances that are banned in animals intended for human consumption. It is a HUGE problem, and I think sending this toxic meat over seas to unsuspecting people to eat is the absolute height of irresponsibility.

        So, you see, it IS really different.

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    • You’re doing fine as far as I’m concerned, Roxy. Many of us can identify with every word. Especially the part where those who are to blame manage to spin the facts so that those who tried to PREVENT disaster are somehow to blame.

      R.T. I’ve loved horses since I was born, but I was 33 before I managed to own my first horse. Before that, my main project was the Save the Whales. I’ve still got an old Save the Whales T-shirt. A Save the Seals hoodie and a Dolphin cap. Your story touches me in a place beyond words. I’m sure you understand.

      Along with the slaughter and wild horses, I’m sick about the “compromise” on the whaling issue. Oh, they can’t LIVE without killing whales! When the whales are extinct they will have to do without them, so why not now? I know, another question without an answer.

      We do what we can and try to live with the rest. At least we here can take some comfort in the fact that we ARE doing something instead of sitting in front of our Boob Tube and wringing our hands. That’s SOMETHING.

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      • Thanks, I am suffering from cabin fever and anxiety – I have two dogs that are in the same stages of kidney and liver failure and they are both having a bout at the same time – so I can’t go anywhere, I just sit here and try to watch them out of the corner of my eye, paper towels and mop in hand, and charge in when needed. They are rebounding a little today – maybe I’ll get some sleep in a couple of days.

        Though with the oil spill, visions of Fallon, waiting for the wild horse court case, the upcoming workshop, now the possible lift on Whales, and everything else, its tough to sleep anyway. We are in overwhelming times right now, sometimes I deal with that by too much chatter.

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  6. I HAVE to buy & read your book!! R. T., you are undoubtably one of the most awesome & amazing writers ever! This post gave me goosebumps. God has truly blessed you with a natural gift of writing, &, an intense, passionate love for his creatures!!

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  7. The phone just rang but I was too choked up to answer so I just let it ring. I have beautiful thoughts of dolphins speaking and horses conversing–they will just have to call back some other time, I’m lost in another world right now

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  8. Thank you for another wonderful post. I know that I have been sitting on Monday nights in meditation to support the wild horses. Of course this Monday, the whales and dolphins and all the ocean beings were in the forefront of the meditation. It is all so connected. The wild dolphins in the Bahamas helped to get me back to horses and to the mustangs and burros.

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  9. After reading your story my hair is standing up. I too was first called by sound of the sea before finding horses late in life. I commented on your Salazar post about my 20 year old Federal lawsuit. It is about the deliberate dumping of PCB’s into the ocean by a major utility. Many scientists believe ALL ocean mammals will succumb to PCB’s that bioaccumulate in them causing beaching and immune dysfunction. Every whale and dolphin carries a tremendous body burden. Yet after spending 20 years, hundreds of thousands of dollars, fighting the corporation the Courts haven’t once ruled in my favor but issue summary judgements shielding the polluter from guilt, cleanups, or fines while our ocean dies. Now our Mustangs are just as vulnerable to inhalation because of greed and power. I fear voting, letter writing, even protesting can defeat the corporate terrorists. God help us.

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    • Just read the impact on Wall Street today from this oil spill. No one yet knows the full impact of the volcano on EU and the domino effect on the rest of the worlds economies. Same for the financial melt down the USA has caused. Global warming is taking its toll – every month in a row this year has been an all time record breaker for high temparatures. Your 2 posts have me thinking some futuristic science fiction movie may be about to become reality! At best, this oil spill must became a wake up call for those still asleep. At worst, the world could become one huge 3rd world society at the feet of corporations.

      Corporation has become to me as vile a word as any other mankind can conjur up. It should be a good thing, free market and all that. But the greedy have gotten too greedy. And we common folk bought in to the scam, decided we could not wait and work for our own betterment, have to have it all, right now, we just could not be satisfied with all we already had! I am thinking today that consumerism is a desease, the plague will have all been fearing.

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    • Ok, two news reports say todays dip on Wall Street is from the oil spill and fear of the coming economic impact and two are saying it is from EU financial crises. Who knows! Probably both.

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  10. R. T.,

    I do not know how I missed this post earlier, but honestly, I must say, this may be the most beautiful persosnal essay I have ever read. At points while I was reading this it almost took my breath away.

    I have never touched a dolphin, but we vacation on the point of an island in South Carolina between the ocean and a sound where the dolphins love to swim. At different times in the tidal cycle the dolphins come very close to shore—whole pods sometimes, mothers with their calves, playing and fishing, soaring up and over the waves, dancing with their tails splashing the water all within 15 or 20 feet of where I may be standing or swimming. Such a delight and a privilege to share the earth with these extraordinary creatures.

    This past summer I stood watching one play next to the eddy while I stood some five feet away from the edge. Her spinning, diving, splashing filled me with joy and delight, but I had to push out of the way the images of dying, oil slicked wild life (the same kind of wild life I could see from the South Carolina shore) in the Gulf. I walked back to our condo. Engaged in the John Isner tennis marathon, my fellow vacationers had the TV on. Someone flipped to the news and there it was…an oil covered dolphin struggling to breathe in the arms of two rescuers. It was later announced that the dolphin had died at a lab it had been taken to…no one was sure why. Well, one only has to ready your story to understand that animals also get their hearts broken—they have feelings, language, relationships with each other and their environment.

    The accident in the Gulf doing still unknown and unknowable destruction to living things as beautiful and joyful as the dophins and deliberate destruction of our wild horses…just too much. The disaster in the Gulf may have been preventable, should have been foreseeable, but it was still an accident. On the other hand, the destruction of our wild horses and public lands is the result of a series of deliberate acts by the bottom dwellers of our species. They seek to destroy what is natural, beautiful, and dvinely given to all of us.

    No matter how empathetic any of us is, it is impossible to completely change skins with another person, but I recognized a piece of my bond with this once very broken horse in your connection with Maleva. I am sorry for your loss, but find your dream sequence a compelling statement on the transcendence of love over death very powerful.

    Thank you for so eloquently expressing those powerful feelings that can exist between two species when each understands the language of the heart

    Like

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