Still Time to Help the Horses and Burros for Christmas

Unabashedly I would like to remind all of you that the clock is ticking on ordering our Wild Horse Freedom Federation 2018 Calendars chock full of dozens and dozens of beautiful wild horses photos from our own Carol Walker:

Over 60 beautiful and moving photos by Carol of the wild horses living in the Sand Wash Basin Herd grace this 2018 calendar! From the small foals to the powerful, mature stallions, Carol’s images capture the spirit and beauty of these colorful wild horses in this northwestern Colorado herd.

http://wildhorsefreedomfederation.org/calendar-of-the-year/

50% of the proceeds are donated directly to Wild Horse Freedom Federation’s work to keep our wild horses and burros free and together on the range.


Carol also has a gorgeous book available for a last minute gift,

Galloping to Freedom: Saving the Adobe Town Appaloosas

During the infamously heartbreaking BLM 2014 Checkerboard Roundup in Wyoming, a chance encounter between a regal wild stallion and acclaimed photographer Carol Walker changes both of their lives forever. The new photo documentary book, Galloping to Freedom: Saving the Adobe Town Appaloosas, is the result of that encounter. In this, the third book for this multiple-award winning author and artist, Walker’s evocative photographs and poignant prose document the story of rescuing the stallion she named Bronze Warrior and his band of mares and offspring from different BLM holding facilities and reuniting them in a place where they could live out their lives together, safe and undisturbed. Like every satisfying animal story, the venture is not without difficulties and sorrows, but ultimately, this is a tale of triumph and joy. And even better: It is true.

Aged horses such as Bronze Warrior (22 when he is captured) usually are the last to be adopted and therefore are the most likely to spend their remaining years in cramped BLM pens without their families. Especially concerned for this gallant stallion and his band, Walker reaches out to Manda Kalimian of the Cana Projects for help; the two share Thoreau’s belief that “in wildness is the preservation of the world.” Together, these two staunch and vocal wild horse advocates win over even the BLM bureaucracy to the effort. Susan Watt, of the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, is the third “Reunion Team” member.

The story is, by turns, nerve-wracking and frustrating, thrilling and surprising, charming, heart-warming and delightful. The captivating photographs likewise offer a widely ranging emotional journey, from touching to powerful. In combination, the images and story build to a victorious resolution. By journey’s end, one is struck by the horses’ timeless elegance and dignity, whether enduring a brutal holding facility or soaring in spirited freedom. One is equally moved by the dogged perseverance of the humans in the story.

So, Reader, beware: This book might change your own life forever.

Galloping to Freedom: Saving the Adobe Town Appaloosas features over 200 of Carol’s full color photographs in perfect binding, equally suitable for coffee table browsers, fine art photography admirers, or the libraries of serious equine science students. Appendices offer information on wild horse advocacy efforts, Cana Projects, and the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary.

137 pages hard cover with dust jacket, large format full color book, including over two hundred of Carol’s incredibly moving wild horse photos. With Foreword by Steve Israel, Member of Congress.
Only $39.95 US + s&h

http://www.wildhoofbeats.com/products/galloping-to-freedom


Our book is still in print around the world:

Straight from the Horse’s Heart: A Spiritual Ride through Love, Loss, and Hope by new author R. T. Fitch is an altogether special book that sows more than a few wild oats of goodness, inspiration, and heart. This thoughtful and endearing collection of thirty distinct and timeless vignettes is rich and wise. Whether it is the rescue of a missing pony after a hurricane near the Gulf of Mexico or the heartfelt whinny of an abused horse in Nigeria, the author composes beautiful and poetic images on life. While this book’s significance is universal, animal and horse lovers are especially in for a treat as loss, turmoil, and grief are intertwined with heroic tales of survival and human empathy. With titles such as “I Sit in Wonder,” “She Stole My Heart,” and “Whispers in the Night,” on these pages is love and symmetry. This collection showcases the contemplative places of the heart, which we are able to learn from his four-legged friends, if we take time to listen closely enough.


And our good friend Alex Brown has authored yet another book which I wrote a review for his behalf:

“Missionville ~ A Mission I was reluctant to accept…

Missionville was an extremely difficult, initial read for me. Knowing all too well the underbelly of horse racing and seeing my own fair share of backside tracks and auctions I was not motivated to delve into this story of a ‘sport’ I have little taste for; several survivors of said sport reside behind our home and bring us great joy just being horses and friends.

But with a twist of the tale and turn of the word Alex Brown brings life, love and humanity to his story as he artfully supplies the reader with a most important compelling vision that we rarely see, and that shared gift is one of hope.

A true must read for those who have both saved horses from the kill pen and those who love to experience the vision of those great Thoroughbreds thundering down the track to yet another victory. Missionville truly has a soul.” ~ R.T. Fitch


So there are plenty of equine related goodies that speak directly to the heart of every American and could make a significant difference is someone’s life.

Merry Christmas , Many Thanks and Happy Shopping.

Feel Good Sunday (video): Humans Help Save Injured Baby Donkey

by Animal Aid Unlimited, India

“With all the madness that has enveloped the equine world, be it man-made or caused by nature, it feels good to simply sit back for a moment and watch kind gentle souls help a four legged critter in need.  We by no means endorse a particular rescue but simply thought this story was worth sharing; brings back memories closer to home of the rescue/rehab work of Marjorie Farabee, Jerry Finch, Hilary Wood, Elaine Nash and many others.

To all you human angels who tend to those who traverse this planet on 4 legs, may God bless you and keep you.  Your wingspan is greater than you may think.  Keep the faith.” ~ R.T.


Multiple CA Wildfires Take Heavy Toll on both Humans and Horses

By and   as published on The Orange County Register

“This is a tragedy that I have shied away from because of the voluminous amount of news on the subject.  Hundreds of articles are out there detailing the death and destruction with horses being killed and lost at an unprecedented rate.

But today I  decided to share this story because while reporting all of the bad news there lies within a sliver of joy, hope and happiness.  Often you have to dig deep to find something to feel good about and today is assuredly one of those days. 

Our prayers go out to those who struggle to keep themselves and those they love, safe.  May God be with you.” ~ R.T.


OCEANSIDE, CA – Fire crews stopped the Lilac’s destructive march on Friday, keeping to 4,100 acres a blaze that a day earlier had forced thousands to flee their homes, destroyed at least 105 structures and killed dozens of horses.

With the strong winds that initially drove the flames dying down overnight, fire crews were able to move from defense to offense, as aircraft dropped water on hot-spots while hand crews kept an eye out for potential flare-ups.

Despite the improved weather conditions, San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob cautioned residents to remain alert. Officials reported 15 percent containment of the fire Friday night, meaning for only that amount were they confident the flames wouldn’t jump the perimeter.

“A fire that starts in the back country can go anywhere at any time, particularly when those winds shift,” Jacob said. “We are not out of the woods yet.”

The fast-moving blaze ignited late Thursday morning. Officials estimated that around 900 people have shown up at fire shelters, while an estimated 10,000 people were evacuated at one point. The cause was unknown.

Two firefighters and four civilians were injured. It was unclear how many of the 105 structures were homes.

Flames burned through a quiet, semi-rural portion of San Diego County best known for ranches and orchards. Crews worked to keep the fire from burning west toward the larger Oceanside community or onto Camp Pendleton.

Trainers and staff at the facility cut loose some of the 450-plus horses so they could escape the flames. Dramatic video apparently recorded by a stable hand in the midst of the rescue efforts showed waves of horses running through the smoke as workers hurried to release them. Still, the California Horse Racing Board estimated 25 horses died.

Most of the survivors were trucked to the safety of the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

More than 1,000 fire personnel were dedicated to the Lilac Fire on Friday, along with more than 100 fire engines and 15 helicopters, Cal Fire spokesman Kendal Bortisser said.

“We continue to fight this fire from the air and the ground,” Bortisser said.

The Lilac fire put thousands of U.S. Marines at nearby Camp Pendleton on alert. Two military aviation strike teams were on-hand to help support firefighting efforts.

Of the 85 destroyed structures, officials were unsure how many were homes.

“There were quite a few mobile homes that were lost in the area,” San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said. “That includes senior citizens.”

Friday, residents were taking stock of the damage.

Mary Klodell, 54, was riding her bike on the San Luis Rey trail when she saw smoke in the air – sending her racing home to pack essentials before leaving the area.

“We heard crackling and popping behind us,” she said. “I was panicked and looking for my keys.”

On Friday, Klodell returned to the neighborhood, walking the ruins of some homes and finding others still intact. A neighbor told her that only a small shift in the weather saved her residence.

“He told me the wind shifted right in time, or else my house would be done now,” she said. “That’s God protecting me.”

At the Stepp Stables at Camp Pendleton, Sandrine Linglet was overwhelmed and crying tears of joy. A day earlier, seeing smoke and fire in the air, Linglet, 46, had driven to the Oceanside Equestrian Center, where she kept four mustangs.

“I could barely see, it was back and red everywhere,” Linglet recalled.

On her first trip, Linglet, who had also been forced to evacuate her Oceanside home, was able to get two mustangs into a trailer. Ignoring warnings from firefighters, she returned Thursday night to rescue a third with the help of two Marines and brought the horse back to the Pendleton stable. They were unable to corral the fourth unbroken mustang.

“I was in tears and exhausted,” Linglet said. “I felt guilty. I couldn’t believe that I left her behind.”

Linglet spent the night at Stepp Stables — partly hunkering down with the three rescued mustangs and then sitting in her car listening to news reports.

“I cried the whole night but I was sure no matter what, i would not give up,” she said. “No matter what, no matter how, I would try to get my horse.”

Just before daylight, Linglet returned to the Oceanside Equestrian Center on Friday just a few miles from the stables at Camp Pendleton. She was shocked to see her fourth mustang, Margo, standing in a field. Hours later, the four were all safe at Camp Pendleton, which lent space for evacuated steeds.

Around 11 a.m. on Thursday, James Adams smelled smoke near his 3,300 square-foot home that overlooks the San Luis Rey river valley, about eight miles from Fallbrook. He helped his wife gather paintings and other valuables and got her, two dogs and a parrot into the car.

“I didn’t want her to be here,” the 68-year-old said. “I didn’t know how fast it would come.”

By 2 p.m., the fire had consumed the house two doors away, as the wind screamed over his home. He watched as the wind and flames shifted to the south, burning five homes to the ground at the end of this street. That night, there was no electricity, but he saw an orangey sky.

He called 911 twice, alerting firefighters to fire near him. Each time, helicopters doused the flames.

“I think the fire fighters did an amazing job,” he said.

Friday afternoon, Adams was able to think about how lucky he had been.

“I’ve been putting my library together for 40 years,” he said, “it’s one of my most personal possessions.”

Other links:

Horse death toll at San Luis Rey Downs from wildfire could climb past 40

Trainer severely burned, race horses killed in California wildfires

At least 50 horses die as Southern California wildfires take ‘tragic’ toll on equestrian communities

Lilac Fire at San Luis Rey Downs takes devastating toll on horse racing community

Feel Good Sunday: Crossing the Bridge

 

“It is the weekend of Thanksgiving, a time to reflect and pull our loved ones close and give thanks for their cherished presence.

But sadly, this Thanksgiving, very close friends of ours lost a special equine companion who we had just visited this week; a true testament to the power of rescue and compassion, of tenacity and strength. Yet, this great soul passed unexpectedly across the bridge and left those behind to struggle with yet another empty hole within their caring hearts.

On this ‘Feel Good Sunday’ I leave for you, Susan, a poem by an unknown author that I hope brings a bit of peace to your heart and warmth to your soul.

We all thank you for what you do, equines and humans alike.

We love you.” ~ R.T.


Crossing the Bridge

I stood beside your bed last night, I came to have a peep.
I could see that you were crying; you found it hard to sleep.

I whinnied to you softly as you brushed away a tear,
“It’s me, I haven’t left you. I’m well, I’m fine, I’m here.”

I was with all of you at my grave today; you tend it with such care.
I want to reassure each and everyone, that I’m not lying there.

I walked with all of you toward the house, as you fumbled for your key.
I put my head against you, nickered and said, “It’s me.”

You looked so very tired, and sank into a chair.
I tried so hard to let you know that I was standing there.

It’s possible for me to be so near you every day.
To say to you with certainty, “I never went away.”

You sat there very quietly, then smiled; I think you knew.
In the stillness of that evening, I was very close to you.

And when the time is right for you to cross the brief divide,
I’ll gallop across to greet you, and we’ll stand there side by side.

I have so many things to show you, there’s so much for you to see.
Be patient, live your journey out…then come home to be with me.

Feel Good Sunday Video: 16-year-old boy drives through burning barn wall to save 14 trapped Clydesdale horses

source: TNK

““He busted through like Rambo and opened up the end of the stalls…”

Macon Martin, 16, is being called a hero after his quick thinking saved the lives of 14 Clydesdale horses.

The family home, located about 60 miles east of Atlanta, Georgia, was struck by lighting in the middle of the night.

“It shook the whole house,” Macon’s mother, Shannon said. “One minute I am in bed; the next minute I am standing up next to the bed trying to figure out what bomb went off.”

Without power, the family could only see by the light of a fire that quickly engulfed their horse barn. To make matters worse, the barn doors were locked and there wasn’t enough time to find the key.

“I just ran right out. I had no clothes on, no shoes, no nothing,” Macon said. Without hesitation, the heroic teen jumped into a nearby 4-wheel drive utility vehicle and drove straight through the barn wall. “I just jumped in our Gator and I just ran it right into the door,” he told local NBC affiliate WKYC Channel 3 News.

“He busted through like Rambo and opened up the end of the stalls and said, ‘Mom, this way,’” Shannon said. “And we were able to push the horses out that way.”

All 14 horses made it out unharmed, but the barn was a total loss. “It will take some time to rebuild,” Shannon said. “This was a dream. We saved and built it brick by brick. We’ll have to start over.”

Hear more about Macon’s heroic act in the news video below…Click on Image to View

http://www.thenewskiller.com/2017/11/11/16-year-old-boy-drives-burning-barn-wall-save-14-trapped-clydesdale-horses/

Wild Horses, Burros, Slaughter and Zinke; R.T. Fitch LIVE on Wild Horse Freedom Federation Facebook – Sunday

It’s not “Feel Good Sunday” by any means but instead it is a heartfelt plea for assistance in saving tens of thousands of Wild Horses and Burros from being shot and murdered to forward careers, egos and budgets.

Tax paying Americans want to take their country back and murdering the very icon of our independence is NOT the way to achieve said goal.

Join me for a brief few moments on Sunday, October 22nd at 7PM Eastern, 6PM Central, 5PM Mountain and 4PM Pacific for a few minutes of brainstorming on where we go from here.  This will not be a lecture nor an exercise in preaching to the choir but instead simply a few moments of face to face commentary on clarification, focus and a suggested best way forward.  I promise not to keep you long…Sunday is for family.

Please join me on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/WildHorseFreedom/

It’s time to come together, my friends, and fix this broken system.

See you soon.

R.T. Fitch, Volunteer, Citizen President & Co-founder of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Video: Tune in Tonight for Live Report from Carol Walker at Sadistic Checkerboard Roundup

http://wildhorsefreedomfederation.org/blog/carol-walker-dir-field-documentation-wild-horse-freedom-federation-updates-blms-roundup-wild-horses-foals-checkerboard-area-wyoming-sunday-10117-wild-horse-b/

Hundreds of Caribbean Horses in Peril after Multiple Hurricanes

Source: Thoroughbred Daily News

“Regardless of our views on horse racing we cannot turn a blind eye on these equines at risk, it is our calling!” ~ R.T.


In Saturday’s TDN we reported on the situation at Camarero Racetrack due to Hurricane Maria (click here to view the story). Shelley Blodgett, founder of the Caribbean Thoroughbred Aftercare Inc., wrote the following response to the TDN to further explain the severity of the situation and ask for help from the industry. Blodgett also sent all of the photos and graphics included.

I am Shelley Blodgett, co-founder of Caribbean Thoroughbred Aftercare Inc, a non-profit (501c3) that helps Thoroughbreds racing in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. I think there is a story that needs to get out.

There are 864 U.S. Thoroughbreds (all Jockey Club registered) stabled at Hipodromo Camarero Racetrack in Canóvanas, Puerto Rico. The racetrack, including the barns, was heavily damaged during Hurricane Maria. Further, the horses cannot leave their stalls due to debris, downed fencing and flooding. They are standing in water, and there is NO clean water or hay. I was told that they are giving them some grain (presumably without water). No horses died during the storm, but some needed stitches and such.

I learned this from a brief phone call from CTA co-founder, Kelley Stobie (the call was disconnected). She is at the track seven days a week, working as an equine therapist. She toured the track and spoke with the backstretch supervisor, some owners, trainer and vets. She told me the situation is dire and there is no way to get needed water, hay and medical supplies right now.

There is more to the story, but I’ll leave it at that for now. I’ve attached some photos I managed to get from the La Escuelita Hípica (the Jockey School at the track); they help with the track horses and posted this and have commented on the situation. Kelley also has photos, but cannot get them to me.

More than half of the Thoroughbreds in Puerto Rico were bred in the States. I have a line graph of numbers for both Puerto Rican-bred and U.S.-bred. There are some good horses there, including 2012 GI Belmont S. runner and 2013 Maxxam Gold Cup winner Unstoppable U, as well as Arch Traveler (who was also on the Triple Crown trail early in his career) and Becky’s Kitten. We gathered data and determined that 1,500 people have a stake in the racing industry in Puerto Rico (see pie chart). Thus, these horses are essential to the well being of many people in Puerto Rico.

I do not believe that there has been any formal request by the Puerto Rican government to help the horses at that time, but I have been working to rattle the bushes and get things moving. I have spoken with a veterinarian, who is an equine disaster response specialist and on the National Veterinary Response Team, but they cannot help until there is an official request to FEMA from the Puerto Rican government official. Also, I’ve spoken with the Secretary of Agriculture for U.S.V.I., Carlos Robles, but he has not been able to make contact with his counterpart in Puerto Rico, though I know he has sent him an email.

There are about 200 Thoroughbreds in St. Croix, including race horses and breeding farms, and there are 40 Thoroughbreds racing in St. Thomas and many OTTBs in rescue/aftercare as well. Mr. Robles is assessing the situation in U.S.V.I. and trying to initiate needed federal help down there. I have tried calling all of the CTA board members, which include a prominent breeder, an equine veterinarian and an attorney, but all cell service is out. Further, I’ve called the Racetrack Administrator, Jose Maymo, but his cell phone isn’t in service.

We really need the racing industry and other equine organizations in the States to help urgently as there is little time to waste. These horses survived the storm, but are facing dehydration, starvation and risk of secondary health issues (e.g., colic, infection) due to the environmental hazards and lack of basic needs. These are U.S. horses. They do their jobs faithfully as racehorses and deserve better. They support the livelihood of many in the islands. Thank You.

https://www.facebook.com/horserescue/

Wild Horse & Burro Crisis – Your Action Is Urgently Needed

Support from our good friends at Equine Advocates

Wild Horse Crisis!

Survival of America’s Wild Horses & Burros Threatened!

Horse Slaughter Crisis!

This Repulsive and Un-American Practice Could Return to U.S. Soil for the First Time Since 2007!

Both of these vital equine issues are now hanging like large clouds over our country where the vast majority of Americans disagree with what some politicians are trying to pull off to satisfy special interests in the ranching, oil & gas, mining and horse industries. The history of both issues are long and complicated.

For right now, however, we have a RED ALERT, so please take action now:

The House Appropriations Committee recently passed the Stewart Amendment which would allow for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) under the Department of Interior to kill 92,000 healthy Wild Horses and Burros. Most will end up being slaughtered. This is not only outrageous and barbaric, but goes directly against the will of 80% of the American People who want them preserved and protected. The Senate Interior Appropriations Committee can do the right thing and decide to prevent the killing of these animals when they hold a hearing on this matter during the week of September 18th.

  1. Please take the time to call your two U.S. Senators. You can reach them at this number: (202) 224-3121 which is the switchboard for the U.S. Senate.
  2. Please identify yourself, providing your name and address.
  3. Tell them that you want the protections of Wild Horses and Burros in the 2018 Spending Bill for the Department of the Interior to remain and prohibit the killing and slaughter of our Wild Horses and Burros.
  4. Also call the two leaders of the Interior Appropriations Sub-Committee, Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Tom Udall (D-NM) and express the same sentiments to them.

There is no time to waste!  Please act now!   Thank you!

After you act, please read on:

  • What we do know is that Americans do not want Wild and Domestic Equines slaughtered for food. We want a law banning horse slaughter and horse slaughterhouses from operating in the U.S. as well as banning the transport of any live equines from the U.S. across our borders into Mexico and Canada for slaughter or to any other country for that purpose.
  • We want our Wild Horses and Burros preserved and protected. We want the round-ups to stop and we want the Wild Mustangs and Burros being held captive in holding facilities “managed” by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) turned back out on the range. We want the BLM dismantled and a new agency with real experts who can get together on ways to humanely manage and preserve these animals on the range to take over with a new approach that honors the will and sentiment of the vast majority of the American People on this issue.

However, right now, there exists a political climate in this country unlike anything we have seen in more than a decade.  There are more horse slaughter proponents in the current administration assuming positions of power than ever before, including two Cabinet members, Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke and Agriculture Secretary, Sonny Perdue.

In addition, Forrest Lucas, billionaire oilman (Lucas Oil; Lucas Oil Stadium), rancher, horse slaughter proponent, and founder of the anti-animal lobbying group, Protect the Harvest, has been given access to the executive branch and has used his influence to add horse slaughter proponents and those committed to the destruction of our Wild Horses and Burros to this administration.  These are just three of many horse slaughter supporters, including Members of Congress, Governors and other elected and appointed officials working to take this country backwards and return horse slaughter to U.S. soil.

No Wild or Domestic Equine has been legally slaughtered in this country since 2007.  There also have been many Scientific Studies and White Papers released since 2010 to further support the many reasons why horses should not be slaughtered for food. One is the 2010 landmark study on the serious health risks for people who eat the meat of equines treated with the common drug Phenylbutazone or “Bute” for short. Click here to read that study.

Another is the 2015 Chapman University Study documenting the presence of horse meat in some chopped meat products in the American food supply.  Click here for this study.

On August 1, 2017, the Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF) issued a White Paper, the result of years of research. It exposes the corruption within the BLM and its shocking and deadly agenda for America’s Wild Horses and Burros.

The WHFF documents vast discrepancies in BLM records, including the numbers of horses in certain BLM holding facilities, the numbers captured, the ones that disappeared, as well as many discrepancies pertaining to financial matters, including the misappropriation of funds.

Please take the time to read this important WHFF White Paper and the Exhibits (exhibits are on a separate tab at the bottom of the page).

What More You Can Do:

  • Please use these important documents and take them to your elected officials to illustrate why horse slaughter should be banned entirely and not allowed to return to the U.S. and why Wild Horses and Burros should be preserved and protected – and not destroyed which is the government’s agenda right now.
  • Please use Equine Advocates’ Horse Slaughter Fact Sheet 2016 as a guide as well.
  • It is imperative that you contact your members of Congress in the House of Representatives (we all have just one) and your two U.S. Senators as soon as possible (preferably during this month of September 2017) and let them know that you oppose the return of horse slaughter and that you want protections of Wild Horses and Burros restored and their sale to slaughter banned.

Please stay tuned as we provide updates and new developments about these two vital issues facing America’s horses.  To receive our online alerts, please click here:

Time is of the essence!

Thank you!

 

 Hayden & Nelson, rescued Wild American Mustangs residing at Equine Advocates Rescue & Sanctuary in Chatham, NY.  Photo by Kara Heniges.

Feel Good Sunday Video: A Horse Lover’s Prayer

“It’s time to pause, dismount, loosen the cinch, pull off the headstall and bit, let your trail-buddy graze while you pull up a cool spot under a tree and sip on one of my homemade Wrangler Iced Teas…yes, it’s been a tough battle and the war is far from being won. 

This next week is going to be a rough one so take a few minutes to sit back, reflect and recharge on why we do what we do.  Whether you are lucky enough to live with equines or not, this video will give you pause and bring a tear to your eye. 

I raise my drink in honor of all those I stand shoulder to shoulder with; we will win, we will save them, each and every one of them.  May God bless you all!  Cheers!” ~ R.T.