Equine Rescue

Wild Horse Freedom Federation’s Lady Leaders Know No Rest

by R.T. Fitch ~ Author and President of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Texas Wild Fires Lick at WHFF’s Founding Farm

Magnolia Texas Wild Fire ~ photo courtesy of KHOU

From months on the range, weeks on keyboards or days in court the Board of Directors of Wild Horse Freedom Federation can now add equine wild fire evacuation to their list of horse related rescue operations.

Today my iPhone lit up with a text from Jerry Finch, President of Habitat from Horses:

“You at home”, Jerry wrote.
“Nope”, I replied, “I am thirteen hours ahead of you in China.”
“Drat” (or something like that) he replied, “The wild fires are now in Magnolia and we have horses to save.”
I tried to steady my fingers as I typed:
“Jerry, we LIVE in the middle of the woods in Magonlia and Terry is there alone with the horses, remember?”
“SHOT” came back from him or something like that.
I immediatly fired up Skype on the trusty iPhone and could see that Terry was on her computer, central time in Texas was about 2100 hrs.  She answered with a terse: “What?”
“You alright”, I screamed.
“R.T. they are evacuating 8,000 people and I have horses to move.” she hollered back at me.
I sucked air and asked, “Our horses, are you attempting to evacuate?  Do you have to move our horses?”
The call dropped.
My heart sank as I tried to call back and battle my way through the great Chinese firewall, I failed.  Tried another application and it too tanked.  I texted and got no response so I turned back to Jerry and wrote,
“Call Terry!!!!”

Fire from Downtown Magnolia ~ photo courtesy of KHOU

Suddenly I hated where I was and felt myself slipping into a very dark place.  It is essential that I travel to earn the funds that fuel the fire of our equine advocacy but in a zealous urge to progress and proceed I now found myself days away from getting home and, once again, of no use to help Terry.

Further fueling my decent into the quicksand of fear and frustration was the knowledge that our farm sits in the middle 132 acres of, now, tinder dry woodlands which is then surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of like foliage.  A veritable drought driven bomb about to go off.  I was frantic.
The minutes ticked by and turned into hours as I fretted and fussed with an ever increasing feeling of helpless and despair.  My mind told me that Terry was capable and that we have a strong network of equine friends.  Hell, Terry was on hand with Jerry Finch and myself when Habitat for Horses was the primary equine rescue operation after Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana, in fact, she did such a fine job she was asked by LSU and the Governor of Louisiana‘s office to oversee and manage the entire animal rescue effort, backed by HfH, after Hurricane Rita hit.  So she knows her stuff…but where was she, what was going on?
Finally, well after midnight Texas time a quick email dashed across my computer screen.
“I am back, all is well.  We have four equine refugees on the property with their other 2 brothers next door with three Corgis and the human parents to them all.  They are safe…I am going to bed, I am beat but let’s see what the morning brings.”
I was dumbfounded.  Here I was fretting about the lithe little woman’s safety and she had gone out in the dark, way back into the woods where I store our goose-neck trailer out sight and hooked it up to the Dodge Dually to go save horses.  I’ll be dammed. 
Between the strength of our Laura Leigh and my wife Terry, there is no wonder that I don’t have a single hair left on my stallion rump…they just keep going and going and going and going and going without ever changing batteries.  I am awestruck.
So hang tight, my friends, let’s see what daylight brings but one thing is for certain; with Terry, Laura and Marjorie holding the reins of WFHH, we are going to kick some serious butt.
Film at 10.

33 replies »

  1. Oh my, I was afraid for you. My friend John has lost his house and all his musical instruments and history not far from you and now this! Terry you are one grand dame! Be careful. I have been following this as John was evacuated two nights ago and went to a motel. Then he was evacuated again. He said this is like nothing he has ever seen and there has been fire around him before. Now I will be watching on the fire another day and until it is stopped. FB has people writing about it all over. Take care Terry!


  2. Wow!!! What a story to wake up to!

    Every story makes me cry when it comes to trying to help the horses and the adversities that are bound and determined to reek havoc on their peaceful lives, and the humans who are fighting to help and protect them.

    This story is no exception!

    Thank you, Terry, Marjorie and Laura!

    We have Laura on the radio tonight (please, someone post the BlogTalk link and time again) and film at 10! Sure to be an evening of roller coaster rides before us!

    R.T., a green tea concoction may be in order 🙂


  3. R.T., I bet you don’t have any finger nails left either . What a scare ! Thank God all are safe. Now if only Texas would get some of the rain we are getting now in KY and elsewhere. We were too dry, now we are too wet. Still some don’t believe in climate change .


  4. I’m just up the road behind you next to the Ren Fest, just south of Marjoree inside the Grimes County line, we were never immediately in danger, but were asked to leave. Some of us did, some of us went and sat behind the festival office (with our ponies) until it quieted down. One person WALKED 7 or 10 horses and a donkey and a dog from across the road and tied them up along a fence in the festival grounds because the police would not let them bring any vehicles in. Most of us returned to our houses and spent the night with no problem.

    R.T., NEVER underestimate the power and ability of a woman…….!


    • Kerry we have 107 here. Donkeys, mules and horses. So, when the ashes started falling from the sky, it was time to line up our options. Presently, the fires have shifted SW, taking us out of the immediate line of the fires. But, when you look at the Texas map, it looks like the whole state is burning. WE NEED RAIN. Thank you for checking in on me R.T., so far so good. These woods of ours are kindling right now, so we will be vigilant.


      • There are many following this at Fb and there was quite an alarm that went up over the Burro sanctuary being in the line of the fire. I do hope you have a plan and can get out of there well ahead of the fire if it shifts. Stay ahead of the fire.
        Be careful. We need everyone safe!!


  5. Gee RT, you make it sound so dramatic! All is quiet here this morning. I’ve got four high-ticket dressage horses tucked away quietly in the barn and a miniature donkey out in the upper pasture. Apache is keeping the donkey company through the fence; but Harley, Bart, and Pele are at the far end of the property trying to figure out what the little alien is doing on their property. I have never seen three bigger chickens in my life!

    We were never in any immediate danger; however, we have lots of horse friends that were being evacuated and scrambling around trying to find trailers and empty pastures.

    The trailer is staying hitched up and ready to go at any time. We just never know when it might be our turn to flee.


    • Wow – meeting, getting acquainted, and working with Terry, Arlene, Laura, Jill, HFH, Garnet, and many more – my personal list of SHEROS just continues to grow. God bless you all and know that we are sending love, energy, and protection to all of you.


  6. after living through the fires of 2000, here in the Bitterroot of Montana, i know how you feel, R.T. Yes us women are very able! we get the job done, and all are safe. Prayers for all in Texas at this time. stay safe, play it safe too.


  7. So happy to hear that the sun rose on a peaceful scene at your place. Many were not so fortunate. Fingers crossed that lives were not lost, and that the rains come!

    Also very happy to see Marjorie (ForTheBurro) Farabee also getting a mention. She’s such a marvelous example of the smart, tough, action-oriented modern day pioneer spirit. The at-risk burros in our country are very lucky to have her focus and committment!


    • Very kind words, Elaine. We were seriously looking at our options when the ashes started falling on our heads. The sheer logistics of getting 107 out of harms way, is enough to cause a person to dig in, and forget about panic. We are safe presently, but many are not so fortunate, my heart goes out to those who have lost everything. So much of Texas is burning, and we are in the middle of the woods, which is deeply concerning with so many of the trees dormant or dead. The fires have lots of food for energy.


  8. After I pay bills is there any way to Paypal you a few dollars to help with feed and whatever else you guys need?

    I don’t you guys personally but I still love you! You help me to have courage when I feel totally deflated.


  9. Finally a tiny bit of good news. I was able to access WHFF paypal button. You have to use something other than Google. Didn’t try IE 64 bit but did use IE 32 bit. Then you have to click. That was the link that wouldn’t pop up.

    A few more dollars. Maybe enough to go to a grocery store and pick up fixings for a salad…


    • Thanks Margaret, every penny helps. But we don’t use Google, those are both PayPal buttons. Someone else said they had trouble and I have accessed it from an iPhone, iPad, Mac and PC using IE, Safari, Firefox, Terra, Chrome and more yet never a hick-up.

      Well, there still is an alternative, snail mail…at least for the time being.


  10. R.T.; you had me on pins and needles! What a team you two make!!! I just keep watching the weather channel and the news. Take care Terry!


  11. My motto at the barn is “the real men of the world are the women.” It often gets me in trouble but the reality of it is when its too cold for me to do more, or too hot, or I’m too tired the women just keep on going and going. I can’t tell you how much time I spend in my truck warm and look out the window at the girls chopping ice, moving horses, and mucking golf balls. When it comes to horses and for that matter other things the women are generally the tougher sex.


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