Equine Rescue

Feel Good Sunday: A Wild Stallion’s Letter to Santa

Submitted by “Ace“, the Twin Peaks Wild Stallion and personal friend of Grandma Greg’s

Today’s installment was sent to me in 2012 by one of the last stallions of Twin Peaks, “Ace”, now safe and out of the BLM’s grasp.  On first read it made my eyes leak and three years later it has not only maintained it’s poignant message but it is even, perhaps, more timely at the close of 2015.  I thank Ace for his input as I believe this is one of the best things he has ever written, except for the note to me the other day asking me to share it one more time.  Thanks buddy and the best to all this holiday season!” ~ R.T.

Update from Grandma Greg: “Today Ace lives at a private sanctuary in far northern California and he is happy and healthy for an old guy and lives with his Twin Peaks beautiful palomino mare Barbie and his son CC (short for Carbon Copy because he looks just like his dad, ACE) and with about 30 or so other wild horses and burros. He is now about 27 years old and has never been “handled” by humans – i.e. still wild. I am attaching a recent photo of him….”

photo by Catherine Scott

photo by Catherine Scott

Dear Santa-

I am an old wild stallion.  I am told that I am one of the last Twin Peaks stallions.  I have had a wonderful life as Mother Nature planned for me from the very day I was born.  I lived the first 22 years free and wild and learned from my sire, dam, siblings and family band what was good for me to eat and where to find the fresh water springs that are hidden in the hills.  I romped and played with the young colts and fillies in my extended family.  Under the watchful protection of our family members, we young horses frolicked in the snow and creeks and rested in the shade of the old Juniper trees in the heat of the summer. Life was very good.  I later grew to be a healthy, robust and compassionate herd stallion with beautiful loyal mares and amusing, vigorous offspring.  Although I now have a good “retirement” life in a sanctuary with other displaced animals, my life in the wild was perfect for a wild one like me!

I know you are very busy Santa, but today I am asking you to help all creatures that have not been as lucky as me.  I have heard that there are fewer and fewer wild horses and burros that are allowed to live wild and free on their rightful range.   I do not understand this but I do know it is wrong.  What I am asking from you is for you to watch over and protect all animals and help them to be able to live their lives as Mother Nature intended for them.  Do not allow them to be chased, harassed, trapped, caged, starved, abused and slaughtered.

Although I live for today, I often warmly think about the “good old days” when hundreds of we wild ones roamed free.  Where are my wild friends that I knew those many years?  Where are my mares and foals today?  Why was our family torn from each other and our peaceful and natural world destroyed?  I have over-heard humans say that our life in the wild was traded for money.  Santa, what is money?  Could it possibly be more important than our wild hearts, lives, families and land?

Santa, I will continue to dream of my days gone by but I am asking you today to watch over all creatures’ great and small and to teach all human beings to think with their hearts and to reason with their souls.

Thank you, Santa.

– “ACE”

19 replies »

  1. I always love hearing about Ace (and other survivors) glad he is still with his family – as always great post – Thank You Ace and Grandma Gregg


  2. I feel so bad for what he &”his” have lost. But thankful that hes in a place where there will be NO more roundups or abuses. If only they all were wild & safe!


    • From the look of the range – it appears only the horses were in that area (back then) – no cattle! Reading today’s rheteric of “horses destroy the range” – certainly doesnt seem to be the case here! Are cattle grazing there now? If so, I bet theres no lush grazing there anymore.


  3. such natural beauty and perfection that the wild equines possess deserves the same freedom and protection that all creatures have a right to . They are icons of history and have been here for centuries roaming. The must be left to continue the legends of their wild God granted and given destiny. It is an offense for us humans to destroy this legacy for vanity greed profit or any reason at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Twin Peaks Roundup Litchfield Corral 8.13.10.WMV
    Uploaded on Aug 25, 2010

    A Twin Peaks, California, BLM rounded up stallion now named Atticus calls repeatedly back and forth to his family in distant pens while horses all around are being sorted and processed. He is surrounded by other stallions. Temporary processing pens separating bands, running horses through chute. You can hear his foal, and then his mare, each distinctive voice, responding and calling out to one another.


  5. BLM Twin Peaks roundup 2010

    A Twin Peaks, California, BLM rounded up stallion now named Atticus calls repeatedly back and forth to his family in distant pens while horses all around are being sorted and processed. He is surrounded by other stallions. Temporary processing pens separating bands, running horses through chute. You can hear his foal, and then his mare, each distinctive voice, responding and calling out to one another


  6. This One Stallion
    Original Story by SFTHH Investigative Reporter Lisa LeBlanc

    A tall, charcoal maned gray stallion living in Twin Peaks has, through no intentional actions on his part, accrued a small fan base.

    Twin Peak’s “BraveHeart” – Photo by Lezlie Sterling

    He is stunning, though years of defending his family and his territory have left his black skin visibly scarred, a common testament to a fiercely protective nature. First observed during a ‘mixer’, a Wild Equine version of speed dating, he pawed the ground, trotting, snorting, kicking up dust in a frank display of masculinity. Middle age and hard living has begun to moderately effect his body, leaving him angular, in contrast to the inherent roundness of a younger, untested stallion. Still, he exudes a powerful appeal in his direct gaze and commanding stance, an assurance that he is more than capable of taking care of what is his. And in his small realm, he is undisputed Lord over all he surveys. In Wild Horse society, little credence is given to perceived perfection; he wooed and won many mares. His mares chose him for his competence as protector and provider, for his experience on the range and likely, for the hardiness & vigor sure to be handed down to his offspring.

    They lived in an area near Skedaddle/Shinn Ranch. Through changes made by unseen hands, they came to occupy a fenced allotment. In that mysterious manner of horses, he had, over time, become a familiar sight, respected, anticipated, even loved by those humans who had come to recognize him. Dubbed BraveHeart by an admirer (not to be confused with Silver King’s Braveheart), he and his family, their environment and resources, were observed and studied, season to season, by a researcher writing a thesis toward her Masters degree. Her hope is her studies will result in a more equitable division of resources for Wild Horses and management that will involve the application of scientific principals to Horse Management Areas rather than outdated policies and management practices. She became a familiar face at field offices and the holding facility, a logical progression in authoring a well-written thesis.

    But more subtly, the researcher was developing a heart-felt attachment to BraveHeart.

    The announcement of the Final Environmental Assessment for Twin Peaks came as a disappointment but not a surprise, particularly in a year where roundups could be characterized best as a firestorm. As BraveHeart’s admirers came to terms with the inability to halt the roundup through Public comments submitted against the Environmental Assessment or through legal means, the researcher decided to observe a portion of the roundup, perhaps as a final chapter to her research. During observation of the roundup, she carried with her a folder containing her thesis notes – and a picture of BraveHeart, which she freely shared with anyone interested. As if Fate had worked some serendipitous tragedy, the researcher watched as BraveHeat and his family were among the ‘removed’ during the first days of the roundup. He was seen near the mouth of the trap, calling his mares and children to him; in the ensuing panic, half his family disappeared into the trap. Rather than leave them unguarded to the Unknown, BraveHeart followed after. Later, the researcher watched him in a holding pen with his Alpha mare, trying to stem the fear and aggression by diversion.

    Because he had become an integral part of her research, she couldn’t allow BraveHeart to fade off into uncertainty. She decided later, when the roundups had concluded, to proceed with his acquisition, to keep him in Northern California where he had been born and provide him with some semblance of a life close to all he had ever known. A plan was laid, a home acquired and so began the initial process.

    The first major disappointment occurred when it was announced the Twin Peaks stallions had been gelded, though that did not negate the fact – he was still valued, still wanted. Early November began a series of e-mails and phone calls, expressing interest and for information on application for acquisition under Sale Authority. Photographs were sent, phone messages left unreturned, assurances blithely made by BLM staff. An outbreak of strangles was running through the facility; It would probably best to wait until it was under control. Perhaps in January? Snow, the holidays, more assurances, now fallen flat.

    Dissatisfied with the inaction and lack of verifiable information, a desperate five hour drive in early January to the holding facility to ascertain BraveHeart’s whereabouts, costly in terms of time and fuel. The researcher looked over as many as a thousand horses in the general population and in special pens for those slated for ‘sanctuary’, to no avail. Finally, an accidental conversation with a friendly employee revealed – BraveHeart, shipped out with countless others, to the anonymity of the Midwest’s Long Term Pastures – at the beginning of December. Given the vastness of Long Term Pastures, the likelihood he’ll be found or returned is remote. Whether by accident, oversight, contempt or simply an unwillingness to go beyond the status quo, This One Stallion, so important to a few, may be lost in the system forever.

    Given the heightened pace of removals and the large numbers, it’s probable this loss is not an isolated incident. BraveHeart, in the scientific context, should not have been considered ‘excess’; as a captive, he has not been offered for adoption once, let alone the requisite three times, nor is he of an age or appearance that would label him ‘unadoptable’. It may well be, for the majority of those captured from Twin Peaks, there will be no ‘adoption event’; it was simply more expedient to send them off, to disappear them into the black hole of the Midwest Pastures than to allow the interested Public an opportunity to acquire horses touted as ” highly sought after for their size, conformation, dispositions & unique colors “.

    Who will be held accountable for BraveHeart? While This One Stallion alone may have meant nothing to those who held the reins, for those who knew him – prepared him sanctuary near the home he had always known, to share his history and secure his future, to atone in small measure for the vicarious actions of others by providing This One Stallion a second life of purpose and peace – he is and will remain important to them.

    Perhaps, when future issues of the Wild Horse and Burro Program arise – when facts and figures are gathered, drafted into important documents and given voice, again blaming Wild Equines for their indiscretion and the Public for non-involvement, it might be prudent to remember – who failed This One Stallion and those who fought for him and lost.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Captured BLM Wild Horse Gets New Home

    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.

    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!

    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!

    Liked by 1 person

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