With stampede operations allegedly shut down for August 28th at the Twin Peaks location Terry and I decided to head in one direction while Herd Watch Coordinator, Laura Leigh went in another. We had visited the Litchfield Holding Facility everyday for almost a week so we packed up the rental SUV and headed to Palomino Valley north of Sparks, NV. Palomino Valley is where the remainder of the captive Twin Peaks horses will go now that Litchfield is full. As of Friday, 909 wild souls, from Twin Peaks alone, had been captured and stripped of their freedom and futures, we wanted to see what the fate of the remaining captives would look like and we are sorry that we did.
There is no nice way to put it, words won’t “pretty up” an equine concentration camp, there is just no way to polish this governmental turd as you keep in mind that this is exactly what Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abbey want to do with our national icons; put them all in a sterilized prison, awaiting only death. It is heartbreaking.
Perhaps it’s the hundreds of heads at attention looking for an answer or maybe it is the thousands of eyes reaching into your soul and asking the question “Why”? I don’t have the answer but it’s enough to rip the heart right out of your chest. Young or old, they all look at you and watch, ask, beg, plead…why?
I am married to a strong woman who has been actively involved in equine rescue from the very beginning of our relationship. She has been there to help pull a singular starved horse from a ditch to caring for and finding the homes for dozens of horses after a hurricane; she is tough and stronger in many ways where I am weak. But yesterday I saw her break down at Palomino Valley, I witnessed the tears beginning to flow and there was nothing that I could do to stop them, not a single word or gesture that would bring any sort of consolation or reduction in the pain, nothing.
But the horses heard her, they felt her and they did their best to heal the hole in both of our hearts. Stripped from their homes, separated from their families and held in mean conditions they still tried to speak to us. The depth of their compassion and understanding still brings wonder to my heart. I cannot find the words to describe the warmth and the awe that I feel being near a sentient creature that has been abused, demeaned and condemned yet has the strength to reach out and touch the very species that is the source of its own suffering.
I am forever blessed to walk among them and am thankful to call many of my very best friends, horses.