Original story by R.T. Fitch ~ an excerpt from “Straight from the Horse’s Heart“
“It’s Sunday and as I have promised in the past, and often failed to follow through with, we will take a break from the battles of protecting our equine cousins and refresh our souls a bit.
It’s been a rough week for the horses, again. More nonsense out of the horse eating Wallis camp, bad news from the BLM regarding the future of our wild ones and the horror of over 1,000 neglected animals out in a Montana “Sanctuary”. But the later bodes some good news as dozens of volunteers and several volunteer organizations are making progress in saving those animals from a horrible and painful fate. And in honor of all those who give of themselves for those who cannot speak in their own behalf we dedicate our story, today.
This is why we do what we do…from the perspective of the neglected and abused…this is the fuel that drives us, keeps up awake at night and motivates us to uplift each other so that the mission can continue. This is just one generic example/story that I penned many years ago through the eyes of those who suffer. This is why we are here!” ~ R.T.
The Drive-By; Through Their Eyes to Our Hearts
Once upon a time, on a small one-acre paddock in rural central Texas, there resided several horses; unfortunately, not in the best of conditions. It was a mean enclosure, boarded with barbed wire and natural cut poles whose bark had been eaten off long ago by the horses held captive within.
There was no grass left; there were only rocks, litter, junk, and dung. In the southwest corner was the old rusting shell of a 1971 Super Beetle, a proud car in its day, but now diminished to a rust red hulk with broken shards for windows that looked like the ragged teeth of a dinosaur long dead. Nearby, several faded and broken plastic tubs littered the area: some overturned, others shattered. These vessels once held life-giving water and feed; their present condition indicated that such memories were in a distant past.
In the southeast corner, stretched out like a toppled skeleton of a giant alien, was a ruined windmill. It had come crashing down during a thunderstorm quite some time ago. Its broken vanes lay very close to the barbed wire fence. Only a few more feet and the prisoners within the enclosure could have escaped; but that was not their fate. The windmill lay ruined, no longer able to provide the captive horses with the water that they so desperately needed.
Near the northwest corner stood an emaciated gelding, shivering from pain; he made no sound, but simply rocked from front to back. It was obvious that he was in severe agony. Besides the protruding bones, there was a gunshot wound to his left rear hip where dried bloodstains ran down his back leg. Black flies still swarmed around the dried up wound and maggots could be seen moving within. The stench was unbearable. He stared off towards the horizon, his pained mind seeing vistas not visible to the naked eye. His breathing was labored, dry, and raspy. His eyes were glazed and sunken from starvation. He hoped for the pain to stop, he hoped for release, he hoped for freedom.
The eastern portion of the mean paddock was frontage on a secondary gravel road, not often traveled. When people drove by, no one stopped to help or even bothered to slow down. As a rule, beer bottles or cans were thrown at the horses with gunshots being fired from time to time: one even found a home, in the left hip of the starving gelding.
In the middle of the death cell laid a gasping mare; above her stood a grotesquely thin stallion and another mare in just as bad of shape. Their breed and color where indistinguishable due to their lack of form and soiled, patchy, coats. Their heads were lowered as they looked intently at the ailing mare.
“What did I do?” whispered the mare, “What did I do? I loved them; loved them all who came into my life.” She paused to cough painfully, “What did I do to deserve this?” She sighed and the sound of her breath rattled from deep down in her throat. She wheezed and coughed again. “I loved my people so…” The two other horses could see that she mouthed the word “much” as another rattle escaped from her. But this one lasted longer and when it stopped, there was not another. Her eyes no longer blinked.
The mare and the stallion lowered their heads to nudge her, but there was no movement. Slowly, they backed away with their heads still low and their eyes half closed. They stopped some distance away and looked at each other, sighed and then looked over at the wounded gelding shivering in the corner. The stallion shook his head; he was about to speak when they heard a sound behind them on the frontage road.
Slowly and carefully the two starving horses turned to find that a vehicle had stopped on the road and someone was peering out of the driver’s window at them. They did not see many people and had not seen anyone stop for a long time, so they gave the vehicle their full attention. It was a small pick-up truck. Inside they could see a female human staring at them. A little light went on in both of their heads, and they were drawn to come closer.
As they slowly and painfully shuffled towards the fence, the woman fiddled around the inside of the truck, popped open the door, and jumped out with a camera in her right hand. She left the truck door open and began to snap pictures of the horses. The horses saw the camera; they were not afraid; and for a fleeting moment, they hoped that the camera was something to eat. So, when they reached the fence, they hung their heads over and beseeched the woman to come closer.
The woman carefully walked across the road’s shoulder, picked her way through the trash in the ditch, and came up to the fence line. She stood several feet away from the horses and continued to take pictures; she had been so busy taking pictures that the horses had yet to see her face.
Finally, the mechanical clicking stopped and the woman lowered the camera revealing a tear-smeared face and downturn lips with very small sobs escaping from her mouth. She stood there for a moment while the tears streamed and looked disbelievingly at the horses. The stallion cocked his head as he looked at her, and a gentle little laugh escaped the smile that popped up on her face. She slowly walked up to both of them and lovingly stroked their heads. They attempted to see if she had food but none was to be found—only words.
The woman whispered, “Hold on babies, I will get help. Don’t give in. Fight. I will get help.” And, with that, she bolted across the ditch, up the shoulder, and jumped into her truck. She rolled down the window and hollered, “I’ll be back. Hang in there; I’ll be back!” And, before the words could fade, the truck leaped forward in a cloud of dust, spewing loose gravel in all directions. Soon, all that was left was a settling cloud of dust drifting across the enclosure.
The stallion turned to look over the mare in the direction the truck had disappeared; he laid his chin on her withers and sighed when he heard yet another sound: the crunch of gravel, behind them, and a dull hollow thud.
They turned to see that the gelding had gone down; he had fallen on his right side with his head hung up on the bottom strand of the barbed wire fence. With what little strength they had left, they turned and moved as fast as they could towards the gasping gelding. As they drew nearer, they could hear his moans and the mantra that they had all become accustomed to; they could hear him articulate, “What did I do; what did I do; I loved them and gave them my all!”
The stallion stopped; the mare attempted to do so, also, and almost stumbled. They stood a short distance from the gelding, listening to his song of lament. The stallion slowly turned his head to look down the road at the now long-departed truck. The mare followed his gaze.
“I hope she hurries,” he coughed; “I hope that she does not forget.” The mare nodded.
They both stood there, shaking and rocking, and………they waited.
Categories: Equine Rescue, The Force of the Horse
Where’s the rest????? 🙂
It’s in the book. Buy one, it’s wonderful!!!
Excuse me, I have something in my eye. As soon as I get that dried up, I have to to the barn and feed/water my equines……all 16 of them.
And…I pray that they got the help and food before it was too late…Too sad.
I always try to believe that these horses did get help although I know all too well that many – far too many – do not.
…and how many times and in how many places is this repeated ? Perpetrated by the same species I belong to on horses, cats, dogs…the other species who love us and serve us and keep us company. You break my heart. It breaks my heart. That this should happen even once is too often….that no one ever saw, called, helped, cared………..until so late, finally a person with love and respect and compassion in her soul came along…..why are ther not more of those?
In just a few minutes I go out to help at the rescue where many of the horses once asked these same questions. Thankfully for them an angel heard them and answered. I will give them a special hug today, one that carries the love and sorrow of all of us.
That is one of my favorite stories from your book. Yes, another rescuer was born. Words of hope.
My heart is breaking, the tears are flowing, why do people allow this to happen to the wonderful animals? I do not understand it now and I never will understand it…Please dear God help all of these horses that are left, Please STOP Sue Wallis the killer, and her partners in murder, Please STOP BLM from torturing these innocent animals…It is just not right. I pray for these beautiful animals daily, I just do not understand !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
A sad, sad situation, so often repeated.
I’ve been on a number of “drive bys”, including one where we made arrangements with a lady who owned the adjoining pasture to walk down HER land to get better photos of the starving horses. I emphasize “her”, because I want to caution folks not to set foot on someone else’s property, no matter how much your heart aches for the animals. Abusers who think they may face charges can be extremely hostile, and that hostility may include brandishing a weapon.
Contact the authorities IMMEDIATELY, and also call a friend to come right away and back up what you’ve witnessed. Don’t wait for these animals to “disappear”, as they often do if the owners suspect someone is going to turn them in. Call the police or sheriff’s department, and don’t leave before they show up. Abusers with “connections” are sometimes forewarned by “friendly” law enforcement if you leave. When they do show up, respectfully ask for their their names and badge numbers.
If the officers are reluctant to act, call their superiors (mayor, city/town council, county commisioners, etc.). Also call animal control and your local humane society and ask them get in touch with your state’s Livestock Board. They’re familiar with these situations, and don’t get as much of a “run around” as ordinary citizens.
I keep all pertinent phone numbers in my glove box at all times. You never know when you’re going to run across abuse, even on a Sunday drive.
Assure everyone you contact you’re going to stay on the abuse (including you and your “team” observing the animals) until the situation is corrected, and you be checking back often to make sure it is. Also, document everything, because you may be called to testify if the abuser is charged.
Please post the ending.
I can hardly type as the tears are flowing and I’m crying for these animals and the many that are going through this very situation. I get to see many that have been in this situation at a sanctuary where I help out and where I just saved a grey Arabian that was headed to auction and I’m sure the slaughtering end that we are trying to never see happen again. Some of these animals never fully recover. They may take treats from you but never let you get close enough to give a hug, groom, or let them have some love and caring that long ago disappeared in their lives. What a horrible ending to such lovely animals. HOw can human beings be so cruel and uncaring. If one can’t take care of their animals, why don’t they get help for them. Where did the love and caring for their animals go? This is not right and we MUST STOP THIS FROM HAPPENING. We MUST STOP SLAUGHTERHOUSE SUE FROM GETTING WHAT SHE WANTS AND WE MUST STOP THE BLM IN THEIR TRACKS FROM DOING ANYMORE DAMAGE TO OUR WILD HORSES AND BURROS. The animals they already have devastated with their roundups need to be returned to their ranges to be with their families and live their lives with them. ANy horse needing a new home should have a GOOD RESCUE to go to until that good forever home is found. WE MUST NEVER STOP HELPING AND CARING FOR THE FANTASTIC AND BEAUTIFUL ANIMALS. Until my last breath, I will help care for them and give them all the love and attention they so deserve. My life is not complete without them. It’s do bad I didn’t get started doing this earlier in my life. I’m not going to be seventy and unfortunately do not have the means to buy a place big enough to take some of these deserving animals in that may end up in the slaughter trailer. Oh God I wished I could save them, but I have to be content for the time being to help where I can at the sanctuary, grooming, loving, giving treats, and helping cover hoof trim costs. If only I could do more and know that the above story will never be a realistic situation again.
R.T. I wish you would have put the ending here as well, so we know that the last three horses has all the help they needed to survive.
Thanks for the break from all the pain misery and suffering on a daily basis..
All though tragic on the front end it is a story of hope and enlightenment awakened.
R.T. Fitch Author – “Straight from the Horse’s Heart” The Force of the Horse®, LLC 1-800-974-FOTH http://www.hfhadvisorycouncil.org http://www.rtfitch.com http://www.sfthh.com
Sent from R.T.’s iPad
how sad can it get? never mind dont want know dont think i could take it