Original story by guest contributor, Kathy Gregg
“Ace” Finds Forever Home at DreamCatcher
March 2011 – I have been crying for the wild horses and burros since my daughter called me on her way back from the Twin Peaks Roundup last summer – after she saw for herself what REALLY happens to the horses and burros during the BLM stampedes. This week however, my tears were of joy … it’s about time something GOOD happened … even if it is just a small step in a gigantic tragic story. One of only a few remaining Twin Peaks wild stallions was “sprung” from a BLM wild horse and burro facility … and is now safe and sound at his new home at DreamCatcher Sanctuary … a million thank-yous go out from his heart and mine to many, many people … he is YOUR horse and my horse and has always has been and always will be … but he belongs only to himself … as it should be and always will be. His name is ACE.
While trying to find and acquire a Twin Peaks wild horse named BraveHeart, we went to the BLM holding facility. In the “possible release” pen, was a bay stallion with a large white star. From seeing him on a website, we knew he had been magnificent and had a beautiful large family on the range. Looking at him in the small dirty pen he almost did not seem like the same horse but because this horse had only one ear (the other ear is there but it flops down – maybe from a past stallion fight) we knew it was him. The horse we saw at the BLM facility hung his head and was withdrawn and obviously depressed – a very sad sight. All of a sudden out of the blue, my daughter said to me, “His name is ACE – he told me”. Why ACE? Because he had only one ear and because he was a number one kind of guy … although on that day we did not know how special he would later become to us. We left the facility devastated that BLM had allowed our chosen BraveHeart to “disappear” … as so many wild ones do in their hands. Soon afterwards we discovered that the big bay stallion was not chosen to be returned to his range … and would be gelded and sent to a long-term holding facility … never to be free again. This only added to the sickening feeling that my daughter and I had experienced when we discovered the stallion BraveHeart had undergone the same treatment. We could not allow it to happen again.
On the day of ACE’s release, eight of us got together for breakfast very early in the morning – including three generations. Some of us had never met each other before but we were all there that day to come into contact with a small miracle and when the day was done and the miracle experienced … we knew we would all be changed for life. I have never in my life “met” anyone with so much presence as this wild horse, ACE! In the middle of his huffing and puffing and running and snorting in the chutes at the BLM facility, ACE stopped quietly and looked at me through the fence and our eyes met … and his eyes showed his kindness. What an incredible experience and what an incredible animal … with all that he has been through, he took a moment to stop and meet me eye to eye and using his animal instinct and intelligence he knew I truly cared and he thanked me with his eyes. I don’t think I have ever experienced “anyone” with so much charisma and yet gentleness in his eyes … but he is without a doubt a wild horse! Although he is the “ultimate” wild mustang stallion … he has a heart of gold and is not at all mean. This is visible in the video that shows him on the range with his family – it shows his patience and understanding and loyalty to his mares and foals … his kindness.
What an incredible species these animals are …so intelligent and strong and courageous. His eyes told me “I knew you would not forget me”. Then as soon as the trailer was ready and the chute door was open ACE walked right into the trailer and looked out at all of us and said “let’s get the ___ out of here!” We all scrambled to our cars and off we went! ACE was the boss of us all that day!
When we were following the trailer and neared the Twin Peaks HMA there was no doubt that he knew he was near his previous home range and he smelled the air and looked in that direction and he remembered his old home and his family. It was amazing. If there was any way we could have turned the clock back to allow him to be on the range again with his family … we would have done it without a blink of the eye. If there was only some way to turn back the clock for the thousands of others that all deserve to go back home! When we got to DreamCatcher Sanctuary (which is very close to his home range at Twin Peaks) and into the 800-acre stallion pen and opened the trailer door he pranced right out of there as if he was a show horse and he knew he was now safe and could once again be himself – a wild horse. He is a gigantic mustang and is at least a hand taller than all the other horses and all muscle and very intelligent and intuitive. I am in love.
At DreamCatcher, he joined the other stallions by walking up and down the line of those who were eating. He was introducing himself to them but he never kicked or chased them. He did not have to. They also recognized his charisma and knew he was a leader, but knew he was kind and although much stouter, they knew he was not there to hurt them… although he did take over a complete bale of hay for himself! When we got ready to leave, ACE turned and looked straight at us all … and he thanked us … I absolutely know that for sure. He had never met humans before that truly appreciated him for who he was and he knew we did. Hundreds of years in the wild have ingrained mother nature’s instinct and intelligence into these horses and although they surely all have it … occasionally we humans are in tune enough to actually realize it and see it and feel it … if we give ourselves the chance. We are the lucky ones to be able to appreciate ACE and all the wild ones. What an amazing day and an amazing horse. He knows his life at DreamCatcher will be FAR better than his past 6 months but I doubt he thought he would be part of a big bachelor band … I don’t think that was what he had in mind!
What an experience!!! What a day!!! What a horse!!! He is totally a wild one. Let it be known that sometimes “it takes a village” to save a horse and my daughter and I did not do it by ourselves by any means. We could never have attempted it without our family’s commitment and animal-loving hearts! In addition, there were many other people who helped too. The list is very long. It took ALL of us together to do this good deed. I did not realize how monumental our day was going to be and I am still on cloud nine. ACE’s release to a better life is such a small step for we humans to do for our wild ones but I hope it is encouragement for us all to continue our quest to help the wild ones. The whole ACE experience was far more than just incredible … it was inspirational. This story of ACE was written from the heart but can nowhere come close to the real feelings that ACE gave to us that day. One horse rescued … 60,000 more to go!
[Videos of ACE on his home range with his family and ACE’s release at DreamCatcher Sanctuary by Gary and Catherine Scott]
“We have said that we will attempt to take Sundays off and share some “good time stuff” and “Grandma Gregg” has held my feet to the fire by submitting this story for your enjoyment. If you have something that you would like to see in print, here, please feel free to do likewise. In the meantime, thanks Grandma for sharing.” ~ R.T.
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