Feel Good Sunday: Equine Videos to Make You Smile

“Okay, let’s take a second off and have a quick giggle.  This compilation features everything from Houdini ponies to just plain goofballs and if you are an equine guardian I am quite certain you will recognize an antic or two that your charges pull on you.  Kid and in-law friendly.  Enjoy the moment…back to the battle tomorrow.  Be Safe.” ~ R.T.


Today: The Horses and Burros Won a Battle, Tomorrow: The War Rages On

Many thanks to RTF and Neda DeMayo for this update!

“Senate Says NO to Horse Slaughter

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved, on a voice vote, an amendment barring the U.S. Department of Agriculture from hiring horsemeat inspectors – keeping alive the effort to prevent legal horse slaughter from returning to our country.

That’s good news — but there’s still much to be done.

In the days ahead, the Senate Appropriations Committee will take up the interior appropriations bill, which includes the Wild Horse and Burro Program.

Despite the same committee voting against horse slaughter today, recent votes in the House show that we cannot take it for granted that the committee will reject proposals to kill wild horses.

The situation in Washington, D.C., is much too precarious not to keep pushing.

Please call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 (if you reach a full voicemail, look for district office phone numbers on your senators’ webpages and call them) and tell your senators:

* I oppose any provision that allows the Bureau of Land Management to kill wild horses,

* and I oppose any attempt to remove sale restrictions, opening the door for BLM to sell wild horses to kill buyers.

Proven, humane solutions that would enable the BLM to manage wild horses on the range are available. We do not need to kill national icons.

Return to Freedom appreciates the bipartisan leadership of anti-slaughter amendment sponsor Sen. Tom Udall and co-sponsors Sens. Lindsey Graham, Christopher Coons, Susan Collins, Dianne Feinstein, Jack Reed and Jeanne Shaheen.

Most of all, though, we at RTF and other advocacy groups are grateful for all of you who have called Congress – whether for the first time or the 50th – and encouraged friends and family to do the same. Thank you!

It is true that we are up against powerful interests intent on ridding the West of wild horses.

The opposition has been effective in sowing mistruths about wild horses starving across the range and casting doubt on fertility control vaccines recommended by the National Academy of Sciences and proven safe and effective at our own sanctuary and in many other projects and studies.

Not on our watch, we say.

What wild horses have on their side that can be even more powerful than our opponents’ deep pockets are the voices of the American people, who consistently and overwhelmingly reject slaughter and continue to stand by these living symbols of freedom.

So, keep going. Keep calling. Keep spreading the word.

The future of America’s herds depends on all of us.

Wild Horses & Burros Need Your Voice More Than Ever!

Source: Return to Freedom and endorsed by Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee passed an amendment that would allow the Bureau of Land Management to kill – shoot – healthy, unadopted wild horses and burros!”

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

As infuriating as that is, as saddening as that is – and it is both — we cannot give up.

We’ll return to the House vote in a moment, but first we need you to make a call on behalf of horses to each of your senators TODAY. That’s because on Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee will vote on an amendment to keep a ban on horse slaughter in place.

Please call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 (if you reach a full voicemail, look for district office phone numbers on your senators’ webpages and call them).

Urge your senators to oppose any provision that:

  • allows horse slaughter,
  • allows the Bureau of Land Management to kill wild horses,
  • or removes sale restrictions, opening the door for BLM to sell wild horses to kill buyers.

Remind your senators that proven humane solutions that would enable the management of wild horses and burros on the range have long existed. We do not need to kill national icons.

All of this can be as confusing as it is upsetting. What’s happening is that we’re fighting provisions on parallel tracks, in the House and Senate, which threaten all horses as well as wild horses and burros. To be clear:

The horse slaughter votes are part of the agricultural funding process. In the absence of a total federal ban on horse slaughter, advocates push each year to bar the U.S. Department of Agriculture from using our tax dollars to hire horsemeat inspectors. On July 12, the House Appropriations Committee narrowly rejected this year’s anti-slaughter amendment. If the bill becomes law without it, slaughter plants could reopen in the United States for the first time since 2007. That affects all kinds of horses, domestic and wild, so now we need the Senate to step up and pass an amendment to make sure that does not happen.

Meanwhile, the wild horse votes are part of the interior funding process. As noted above, the same House Appropriations Committee voted to remove language preventing BLM from killing healthy, unadopted wild horses and burros. The amendment passed on a voice vote, meaning individual votes were not recorded. Again, that means that we need to turn up the pressure and ensure our senators stand up for wild horses in the days ahead.

We’ve written that the situation is as precarious for wild horses as it’s been in Return to Freedom’s 19-year history. We wish we were wrong. Alas, today’s vote was still more proof:

Proof that we must keep calling and writing Congress. Proof that we must keep encouraging our friends and family to do the same. Proof that we must keep writing letters to the editor and sharing information on social media, so that others know what’s happening.

The cost of inaction could mean the needless deaths of thousands – even tens of thousands – of wild horses and burros.

We need to push back against propaganda that blames wild horses (never livestock) for range degradation or that falsely claims scores of wild horses are starving and dying – so many that shooting captured wild horses in government corrals or on long-term pastures is held up as a “humane” alternative. We need to push back at the lie that fertility control has been a failure when BLM has never spent more than 3.88% of its budget on PZP.

We need to demand thoughtful nonpartisan leadership that will work with advocates and scientists to create a proud, long-term plan that provides wild horses with a sustainable future on the range.

The American people still have the power to avert a tragedy in the making, but it will take all of us.

Let’s get after it!

Feel Good Sunday: Pink Pinto Horse is the Result of an Honest Miscommunication

Source: The HorseChannel.com – story by By Leslie Potter

“There’s a lot of negative news and activity swirling around the world of equines so a brief second of giggles is welcomed by all.  Enjoy your human and critter family, today, as tomorrow we get back after it, my friends.  Be safe.” ~ R.T.


The story of Rosy the pink horse has provided a bit of levity as British Columbia residents deal with wildfire threat.

Out of a serious situation comes an amusing anecdote, and one very bright pink horse.

First, the serious situation. More than 200 wildfires are currently burning in vast sections of inland British Columbia, Canada. Some areas have been placed under evacuation orders as crews struggle to contain the most destructive fires.

Evacuating horses and large livestock is always a challenge in cases of natural disasters as owners may not have sufficient trailer capacity readily available, and it’s not always easy to find a safe location to take horses to. Horse owners will sometimes let their animals loose if disaster is imminent and evacuation isn’t possible. Because horses may lose halters or collars, owners will sometimes spray paint their phone number on their horses’ bodies or write it in permanent marker on a hoof so that if the horses run off, there’s a better chance they can be returned later on.

And that’s where the story of Rosy begins.

Rosy’s owner, Cindy Roddick, asked her 15-year-old son, Jacob Sharkey, to use a non-toxic spray paint to write their phone number on Rosy and the family’s other horse. But he missed an important part of the request. He didn’t get the “phone number” part, and instead covered the white parts of the pinto’s coat with bright pink paint.

It made sense to him at the time.

“I thought she told me to just spray paint the entire horse to make it visible,” Sharkey told The Canadian Press. “That way, if we had to let them go, people could find them.”

According to Global News, the paint is a non-toxic variety made specifically for marking livestock, and Sharkey is now tasked with washing it off.

In the meantime, Roddick had her daughter post a photo of rose-colored Rosy to Facebook so that others could share a laugh that came out of an otherwise stressful situation.

Tap here for more information and resources from horse-canada.com for horse owners affected by the British Columbia Wildfires.

http://www.horsechannel.com/horse-news/2017/07/pink-pinto-horse-is-the-result-of-an-honest-miscommunication.aspx

Feel Good Sunday: Studies Show that Women Who are Horse Guardians Live Longer than Those Who Aren’t

Source: Breaking News247.net

“The next pressing question should be; ‘Do men who live with female horse guardians live longer?’ or maybe more to the point, ‘Do men who live with female horse guardians have more money?’, just asking.  Have a Feel Good Sunday.” ~ R.T.


Equine photographer Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation with several members of the rescued Fitch herd ~ photo by R.T. Fitch

Recent studies done in Western NC, Northern Virginia and northern Florida involving various groups of “horsey” and non “horsey women are showing some startling results. The double blind study followed women in different age groups over a forty year time frame to capture this objective data.

The study grouped women into two groups of horse (for at least five years) & non-horse owners and then further into ten year age spans. The most significant spike in longevity came at the 65-75 age span which showed highest disparity at 20 longer lives for horse women.

Researchers point to the facts of higher forms of exercise, outdoor exposure and socialization of the horse women as likely contributing to the longevity but the women agree that their horses often contribute to their sense of well-being and as a group, these women also tended to be less symptomatic in high blood pressure, diabetes and general heart conditions.

Hope Ryden, 87, Revealed the Lives of Wild Horses, Beaver, & Coyotes

Story by by as published on Animals 24-7

“There was quite a mixed gathering awaiting our good friend Hope Ryden when she approached and crossed the Rainbow Bridge the other day.  Animal and human alike were waiting to render a hand across to the afterlife to the woman who had touched and helped so many.  Animal advocacy is going to have turn up the volume in an effort to fill the void that now looms among us after the parting of Hope; may she rest in much earned peace.  God Bless.” ~ R.T.


”Eventually, I found that they would accept me if I first let them know I was there and then quieted down and stayed put. So I started singing to them from a long way off, as I approached the herd.”

Hope Ryden and Ginger Kathrens. Photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

HYANNIS,  Massachusetts––Hope Elaine Ryden,  87,  author and/or photographer for 26 books mostly on wildlife subjects,  and a frequent photo contributor to National Geographic,  died on June 18,  2017 in Hyannis,  Massachusetts from complications of hip surgery.

Born on August 1, 1929, in St. Paul, Minnesota, Hope Ryden was the third of three daughters and a son born to Ernest Edward Ryden and Agnes Ryden, who were respectively minister for the Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in St. Paul and the church organist/pianist.

As well as leading the relatively constrained life of a minister’s daughter, Hope Ryden grew up surrounded by music and journalism.

Sharing their interest in music,  the senior Rydens either wrote or translated from Swedish more than 40 hymns for publication in various Lutheran,  Methodist, Episcopalian and Presbyterian hymnals.  E.E. Ryden was also author of The Story of Our Hymns (1930) and The Story of Christian Hymnody (1959,  and from 1945 to 1958 was secretary of the Commission on a Common Hymnal,  which standardized the hymnal used by the Lutheran Church in America.

E.E. Ryden (1886-1981),  originally from Kansas City,  had been a police reporter for the Kansas City Star before earning his divinity degree from the Augustiana Theological Seminary in 1914.  He continued in journalism as editor of The Lutheran Companion for 27 years and of another periodical,  The Lutheran Outlook,  1938-1942.

Eventually,  in 1960,  E.E. Ryden was among the 34 members of the Committee on Lutheran Unity who brokered a merger of four previously separate Lutheran denominations to form the Lutheran Church of America…(CONTINUED)

Link to the Rest of the Story: http://www.animals24-7.org/2017/07/06/hope-ryden-87-revealed-the-lives-of-wild-horses-beaver-coyotes/#comment-10025

4th of July: A Time to Look Inward

OpEd by R.T. Fitch ~ President/Co-Founder of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Patriotic Ginerous Legacy (Harley) rescued from slaughter by Terry and R.T. Fitch, may he now rest in peace.

It’s a dangerous time for not only our wild horses and burros but also for our country in general.  Although there is renewed hope that we will no longer “lead from behind” in a world that is full of terrorists and rouge nations there is also a deep feeling of uncertainty as our new leadership attempts to be allowed to get it’s footing and move forward with an agenda that the American public hopes will improve the lives of families and friends.  And here at SFTHH and WHFF we consider our native wild horses and burros to be that family and to be those friends.

We, as an advocacy, are going to be calling upon each and everyone of you to become yet even more involved over the next several days.  We currently are asking you to pick up the phone, to make the calls and to write the emails and within the next few days we will be giving you some additional information and ammunition that will further empower and embolden you to help save our wild equines from slaughter and total ruination.

But on this day we need to recharge our souls and look deep within ourselves to reassess just WHY we do what we do and what makes it important to keep the movement rolling forward with gusto and dedication.  It’s a pretty easy glance; we quickly look beyond the common sense and moral compass that tells us it’s the right thing to do, that is a no-brainer.  But like the wild horses and burros who are all about family and freedom we do it for the exact same reasons; the future of our children and the freedom that they should experiance, to be able to live the lives they deserve to live and to relish in the natural world that so many have forgotten.

Old time Rocker, Neil Young recently made a  Facebook post that caught our eye.

“We made a record we wanted to share with you,” Canadian rocker Neil Young said. “We played with a bunch of people … total strangers in the same room on a full moon, 65 of us. It was very great. We had a great time. Enjoy.”

Neil was referring to a new song that has been titled “The Children of Destiny” and although I usually concentrate more on the musical content versus the lyrics the words of this song, coupled with the images, sincerely resonate within my soul upon this day:

Stand up for what you believe,

resist the powers that be

Preserve the land and save the seas for the children of destiny

The children of you and me.

Isn’t that exactly why we are doing what we are doing, preserving the future of our wildlife for the enjoyment of future generations?  Does that not fully shine the light on our motives and direction?

The song goes further to say:

Should goodness ever lose

And evil steal the day

Should happy sing the blues

And peaceful fade away

What would you do?

What would you say?

How would you act on that new day?

My answer is to ensure that such a day never comes to fruition, that it never happens, that such sadness does not occur and that is why we fight and that is the reason we will be calling upon you to help make a difference in what can and will be enjoyed for generations to come, together we can make this happen and on this day we all to need to look inward for the strength, purpose and guidance to move forward with what is right, just and pure red, white and blue American.

Today we gather our forces, tomorrow we fight on with renewed strength.

Together we can make this happen.

Former SFTHH posts that you might find of interest: https://rtfitchauthor.com/?s=4th+of+july&submit=Search

Feel Good Sunday: Italian City to Use Quiet Fireworks Out of Respect for Critters

by R.T. Fitch

“More Companion Animals Run Away During the 4th Than any other Time of the Year…”

Living in an equestrian community it has always been the ‘law of the land’ to ban all types of fireworks at all times of the year for the sake of the horses and donkeys, but of course; there is always a drunk or unsupervised teenager who attempts to press the envelope during the 4th of July.  But all in all, we manage to stem the panic at a local level but are not exempt from the pops and booms from neighboring communities and our companion animals end up suffering stress from the surrounding commotion.

Years ago, when we had a quaint little farm in the countryside north of Lafayette, LA we were surrounded my neighboring farmers who would actually aim their aerial assault OVER our property just to watch our horses run as depicted in a story/chapter in our book, ‘Straight from the Horses Heart‘.

Even as I type, today, I have a little boarder collie glued to my desk chair as the pops and bangs from last night are still fresh in her mind.  This time of the year I am forced to sleep on the couch with one hand on my best friend, Roxy, to keep her settled during the nighttime explosions.  The couch is lower than the bed and she can nuzzle me with her nose when she gets too stressed.  Although this sleeping arrangement works well for her it does little for my rest during this holiday weekend.

But someone is doing something about all the noise.  Horses, donkeys, cats, dogs, and other companion animals living in the Italian town of Collecchio will now be able to rest a little easier during city-wide celebrations as the local government mandates that only silent fireworks be used out of respect for the critters.  Imagine THAT!

The town elders have figure out that more pets are lost, frightened, and stressed during holidays and special events in which fireworks are used in celebration than at any other time of the year. When spooked by a barrage of pops, bangs, and explosions, horses often bolt, running away to escape the blasts. Each year, hundreds of smaller pets such as cats and dogs never make it back home again.

That’s why the town of Collecchio in Italy’s Parma province has passed new legislation that mandates the use of silent fireworks as a way to minimize the fear and trauma equines, cats, dogs, and other animals experience during the celebratory displays.

One Italian company, Setti Fireworks, has already developed a quieter version of the brilliant displays and spectacular light shows, without the accompanying explosive sounds that send pets and wildlife into a panic. Similarly, fireworks companies in the U.S. have been developing quiet fireworks displays in anticipation of the trend toward respecting animals and wildlife expanding world wide…a trend that cannot come soon enough!

An interesting story on Quiet Fireworks: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/01/science/july-4-fireworks-quiet.html

Sen. Cardin Introduces Bill to Strip Wolf Protections, Undermine Endangered Species Act

Press Release from The Center for Biological Diversity
Forward by R.T. Fitch ~ co-founder/president of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“We at Wild Horse Freedom Federation and at Straight from the Horses Heart cherish all that is wild, free and living life as God intended WITHOUT the destructive influences instituted by egotistical human beings.  Be it wild horses & burros or natural predators, Mother Nature has always been and could continue to be the best steward of wildlife without the interjection of man’s wants and whims.  Everything worked just fine until humans became involved in attempting to control and twist the environment to suit his/her narrow needs.

With that said, we will share, discuss and disseminate information on other wild species, besides our equines, that come under the threat of man’s eternal quest for physical gain while ignoring the roots of our spiritual tie to nature.  Predators are essential to the natural balance of nature and health of the environment so to remove them skews prey animal numbers and even affects botanical diversity and topographical structure. 

In essence, if it ain’t broke, don’t attempt to fix it.  Nature is best left alone to nature and our mission should be to preserve, observe and enjoy…an easy fix.  Perhaps, too easy” ~ R.T.


“Bill Would Also Halt Limits in Toxic Fishing Gear in Exchange for Near-meaningless Symbolic Legislation…”

WASHINGTON— Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) joined forces with Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) to introduce legislation today that would end Endangered Species Act protections for thousands of wolves in the Great Lakes region and Wyoming and prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from ever addressing lead poisoning from fishing gear.

In exchange the legislation would reauthorize several conservation programs like the North America Wetlands Conservation Act — a procedural action by Congress that has no real-world impact on funding levels.

Barrasso, chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, has sponsored or cosponsored eight bills attacking the Endangered Species Act since 2015 and voted against the Act nearly a dozen times since 2011.

“Killing wolves and poisoning lakes and rivers with lead pollution does not help wildlife, but will severely tarnish Senator Cardin’s conservation legacy,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Why a Democrat like Cardin would accept this terribly lopsided deal at the same time the Trump administration is attempting to destroy 40 years of environmental protections is simply stupefying.”

The “Hunting Heritage and Environmental Legacy Preservation for Wildlife Act,’’ or “HELP” Wildlife Act, contains multiple conservation programs, including the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act, the Chesapeake Bay Program and the North America Wetlands Conservation Act. However, reauthorization has no bearing on whether Congress ultimately allocates funding to a program in a given year. According to the Congressional Budget Office, more than 260 major laws have had their authorizations expire and continue to receive funding. These programs constitute over half of the non-defense budget each year.

“This legislation won’t help conservation on the ground anywhere — not a single animal or plant will benefit from this horrible legislation,” said Hartl. “Sadly Cardin is trading killing thousands of wolves for a largely symbolic effort to help Chesapeake Bay. This is a disaster.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.3 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Feel Good Sunday: Step Aside Spielberg! Horses Film New Hit Ads!

Source: WarHorses (Women of Age Riding Horses)

We’re not horsin’ around, the horses actually filmed several new commercials promoting Lexington as “the Horse Capital of the World.” And why shouldn’t they, who would know better than the horses, right?

That’s exactly what Lexington marketing firm, Cornett decided while developing a new campaign for VisitLEX, Lexington’s public service organization which promotes tourism and growing the economy for the Bluegrass Region.

“One of the things we’ve been trying to do is share the different stories of Lexington … and with horse farms allowing fans on the grounds more, trying to show people what it actually looks like. They want to see what horses actually do. And we wanted to do it from a fun perspective,” said Gathan Borden, vice president of marketing for VisitLEX.

Pasture residents of Mill Ridge Farm were assigned the task of film maker. Vegas, Trip, Barbie, Jacaranda and Kittens Peak were fitted with a dog harness and GoPro then turned loose in their pasture to film. They couldn’t wait to show why the bluegrass region is such a great place to visit – straight from the horse’s mouth, or from their forehead.

Their work may not win them an Oscar but they’ve got a pretty good shot at an Addie award!


Photography Courtesy #sharethelex.com

http://womenofageridinghorses.com/2017/06/step-aside-spielberg-horses-film-new-hit-ads/