Feel Good Sunday: “Let There Be Light”

OpEd by R.T. Fitch, President/Co-founder of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“Loss, Love, Laughter”

It was Saturday morning, May 19th, 2018 and I was sitting in front of the computer struggling with what I was going to publish on the blog that day.  Not an unusual situation for me to find myself in but on that day, it had some disheartening and dark overtones that were obscuring my inner vision and casting a wet blanket across my heart.

My original intent was to write about the progress that our lead investigator for Wild Horse Freedom Federation and Equine Welfare Alliance had made with the contact of a local news station reporter and, hopefully, we were well on our way to another public educational piece on the tie between our own Houston and the predatory business of horse slaughter taking place just a few miles across our southern border.  She had done such a great job with an investigative reporter out of Atlanta that our own Houston Fox news aired the piece back home, here, last week.

But such a story was not to be as the news contact was neither made nor progressed because of the tragedy that occurred at approx. 8 AM the previous day as a local 17-year-old lost his battle with the dark side and ruthlessly removed 10 unwilling, innocent souls from this planet, put that many again into the hospital and altered the future lives of thousands, if not tens of thousands, for all eternity.   Our investigative horse story paled in comparison, intent and relevance.  Once again, and understandably, the horses were pushed to the back of the line and would have to wait their just due.

So, as I wrestled with the dark demon that attempts to steal the light from our heart and dampen the joy of our souls I reached over and let my television app come to life on the upper right-hand corner of my computer screen.

It was early for most, 5:30 AM, but not to me; I thought that perhaps the sound of a human voice and a bit of diversified video would help to center my thoughts and clear my mind but what to my wandering eyes did I see?  Everything, live, was centered on the “Royal Wedding” and when I say everything I mean everything.

From CNN on the left to Fox News on the right and all of the ankle-biter, wanna-bees in between, it appeared that all of them had put down their self-serving and destructive agendas to do one thing and one thing only; devote all of their resources to reporting on the live and in real-time broadcast of two people’s pronunciation of their love for each other while the whole world looked on.  I was stunned, I was confused, I was at a loss for words and I was hooked.

My keyboard lay silent as my mind turned from grief and ghoulishness to a warmer and happier place coming to me live within my home office in the micro-metropolis of Magnolia, Texas.

I watched it all, from the arrival of the two brothers at the chapel to the kiss on the stairs upon exit I watched it all with a good dose of awe and wonder, I amazed myself by watching the entire proceeding, in total.

I felt the pride when the two boys (men) in full uniform walked boldly into the church, I was captivated by the beautiful car whisking the bride and her mother to the chapel, I tipped my hat to the inner strength of the woman who walked herself down 50% of the aisle and then graciously extended her arm and love to her future father-in-law to help her complete that journey.  I was moved and touched as the two lovers exchanged mutual looks and were caught by the camera admiring the other when they thought no one was looking.  I was captivated by the sermon and brought to tears by the gospel choir.  I was lost in the love, the union and the hope.

The darkness melted away and the union of not only two people but of two country’s lightened my heart and gave me hope…but most of all, at the conclusion of the ceremony, the horses entered.

The beauty and majesty did not come totally to my heart until the newlywed couple climbed into their driver-less carriage and were whisked off on a tour and ride by majestic equine that were ridden, and not driven while being protected by a Calvary of equine brethren.  My heart stopped beating.  It was glorious.

Not to war, but to peace the hooves pounded down the Wellington streets while tens of thousands looked on.

Not for heartbreak but for joy the horses and their human companions paraded in front of the world in celebration.

For love, the horses pranced to show their pride and their blessing for the loving event.

It was the perfect conclusion for a perfect ceremony for a perfect counter point to the poison from the day prior.  Both my mind and soul had been cleansed.

The horses brought it home and into my heart, forever will they be the guardians of my soul and the bearers of my spirit.

I could almost taste it but surely did hear it as the universal spirit whispered to all across the globe who would listen when the horses concluded their march of devotion, “Let there be Light!”

And for one lowly listener, the message did not go unnoticed.

“Let there be Light.”

Disclaimer: “The opinions expressed by the author are definitely and unequivocally in total alignment with the editorial staff of SFTHH which proves that the old Curmudgeon still has a heart and can pen a few words that are A-political and meaningful to the bulk of self-actualized human beings.”

Feel Good Sunday: Video – Bouncing Baby Goats

“Alright, time to mentally and emotionally check out for a bit and share a few giggles.  Last week we had the Donkeys bring a smile to our faces but a minor player in the video event were goats, hence, goats it is for today.  Baby goats.  So have fun, relax and we will catch you on the flip side.” ~ R.T.


Feel Good Sunday: A Tale of Three Twinkies

by Women of Age Riding Horses.com

April 6, 2018 was National Hostess Twinkies Day, a salute to the cream filled cake invented in Illinois in 1930. When we were young, Twinkies were standard store in our kitchen cupboard. When we did our homework, made our beds mom rewarded us with Twinkies.  Good memories.

Twinkie? A silly name for a kids snack. But it got us thinking here at WARHorses. We horse owners have a propensity to name our horses with cute names…we wondered. Has anyone ever named their horse Twinkie? You betcha!

A Tiny TWINKIE
Probably the most well-known, Twinkie, the first mini trained as a guide horse for the visually impaired. Trained by Janet and Don Burleson of the Guide Horse Foundation in 1999, the idea for service minis occurred to them during a visit to NYC. Impressed by the “street smarts” of the horses around Central Park they decided to explore working with horses as a alternative to dogs.

“There is a history of relationships between horses and the visually impaired.” Janet said, “I knew of a blind rider who successfully showed in Hunter Pleasure. Her horse had learned to look out for her, to travel straight and to navigate the corners. There was such a bond between that horse and rider. Don and I also considered needs in other areas where horses would be useful, such as, helping to pull wheelchairs for the physically-challenged and assisting people who are able but have difficulty standing up.”

Many visually impaired appreciate the benefits of minis as an alternative to traditional dogs; minis can be housebroken, they do not get fleas, they offer a longer service lifespan 20 years compared to 6 for dogs and they are stronger so people can lean on them to help stand. Miniature horses have been officially approved as guide animals as stated in the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Twinkie, the first official guide horse, has been a media super star for over a decade. He is now retired living out his days as a mascot for the Guide Horse program.

A “Bad” TWINKIE Our next Twinkie horse is a 2-year-old mare from Poland. In 2012 this Twinkie got herself into a bit of trouble. She leaped from her paddock and ran the neighborhood. Ran until she fell into a 4-foot-deep muddy drainage ditch then couldn’t get out. Firefighters came to the rescue (as they always do), pumped out the mud, formed a makeshift harness and hoisted the irritated Twinkie (her ears were pinned the entire time) to firm ground.

Said her owner, Janusz Topolczyka, “I don’t imagine she’ll be keen on going on another walkabout anytime soon.”

 

And finally a STINKY TWINKIE
Stinky Twinkie is a chestnut thoroughbred mare who raced in 2005. She did well with 3 wins, 3 places and 8 shows earning $49,112. She must have been retired from the track then resurfaced in 2009. She was at a breeding farm, Middle Creek/Norcrest Farm in Troupsburg, New York. It was not a good place. The horses at this farm were so badly neglected officials confiscated them. 85 neglected horses were transported off the property under the direction of the Finger Lakes SPCA and Vicki Bolton (then 57), chair of the Alfred State College Agriculture and horticulture Department. Vicki, her college students, local rescues and community volunteers took in the suffering horses. Stinky Twinkie was identified by her lip tattoo. She was one of the survivors and now enjoys the good retirement she deserved.

We’ve met three horses named Twinkie. Perhaps all this Twinkie talk has given you a hankering? Go for it! Today is a holiday, enjoy! Twinkies are a mainstay at every corner convenience and grocer store in the North America. For our friends down under who can’t buy Twinkies in the store – http://www.usafoods.com.au/  – you’re welcome!


Photography Courtesy Giphy and the Guide Horse

http://womenofageridinghorses.com/training/features/a-tale-of-three-twinkies/

Feel Good Sunday: Great Dane Befriends Rescued Wild Horses

“I hope that this video makes the start of your Sunday a happy and hopeful event. 

We are so very blessed to share this great Space Ship Earth with such loving and caring fellow passengers.  All of their lives are so special and unique. 

It is truly a Feel Good Sunday.” ~ R.T.


Feel Good Sunday: Dog and Horse Best Friends Are Inseparable

“We are a little slow on the draw, again, this Sunday but as my wife Terry likes to say, ‘Life Happens’.   So for today there is no need for fanfare or a lot of typed words, just sit back, relax, smile and let the pictures do the talking. 

Warning, though…you are going to feel good after viewing this.  If you want to continue feeling miserable, DON’T WATCH THIS VIDEO!!!” ~ R.T.


Feel Good Sunday: Horse Uses Drive-Thru to Acquire Late Night Shake

by R.T. Fitch

Okay, people have a lot of things on their Bucket List like do Mt. Everest, see the Pyramids, dive the Great Barrier Reef but it seems that Marcella Gruchalak of Fox Chapel, Pennsylvania had something a little more down to earth that she wanted to accomplish; that being riding her equine companion ‘Bunny B ‘ through the Wendy’s Drive in to get a milkshake.

Well, as her YouTube stands in testimony of her accomplishment, two questions still remain; How many Wrangler Iced Teas did Marcella have prior to the ride and did ‘B’ get brain freeze when he drank the shake?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Feel Good Sunday; Hurricane Rescue Dogs Will Steal the Show at the 2018 Puppy Bowl

Raisa Bruner, Time

Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Pre-Game Show: https://www.animalplanet.com/tv-shows/puppy-bowl/full-episodes/puppy-bowl-xiv-pre-game-show

If football isn’t quite your cup of tea, fear not: the annual Puppy Bowl is here to save you on Super Bowl Sunday, offering an adorable dose of furry canine competition.

How do I watch the Puppy Bowl?

Team Ruff and Team Fluff will face off at Puppy Bowl time, 3:00 p.m. EST on Sunday, Feb. 4, making for a nice pre-Super Bowl LII taste of lower-stakes competition before the big game gets underway.

https://www.animalplanet.com/tv-shows/puppy-bowl/

The Puppy Bowl channel is Animal Planet, which is available to those with a cable subscription, and there’s also an online Puppy Bowl live stream with your cable login.

So how do I watch the Puppy Bowl without cable?

If you’re not a cable subscriber, you can check on services like DirecTV Now or Sling to get channels on-demand. PlayStation Vue also carries Animal Planet through its “Access” plan, which offers viewers a five-day trial.

https://www.animalplanet.com/tv-shows/puppy-bowl/

Who’s in the 2018 Puppy Bowl Lineup?

Before the show, you can familiarize yourself with the starting lineup of pups — like Blueberry Pie, a 15-week-old miniature poodle and chihuahua mix, or Buckalew, a 13-week-old chihuahua-dachsund — on the Animal Planet site.

What performances should I look out for?

And there’s even halftime entertainment of the animal variety: cat lovers will be pleased to see that a Kitty Half Time Show is scheduled to take place, echoing Justin Timberlake’s own performance.

A piano-playing chicken named Jokgu will kick things off with “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “an adorable blended bunch of baby barnyard cheerleaders, including ducklings, piglets and baby bunnies” will be playing cheerleaders on the sidelines. African grey parrot Meep the Bird will help host, too. It’s quite the menagerie.

What else should I know about the Puppy Bowl dogs this year?

The best part? The 90 dogs who will appear on the show are all rescues from different natural disaster zones, hailing from 48 shelters in Texas, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Miami and more. And they’re all up for adoption — and could even be yours, if you act fast enough.

Can I adopt Puppy Bowl dogs?

You can. But most will have been adopted by the time the puppy bowl airs. (The Puppy Bowl has a 100% adoption rate, according to an organizer, but often the dogs come from shelters with others in the litter who might still be looking for a home.) Meet some of the lucky pets who found homes here. And those cats from the Kitty Bowl are adoptable too.

Feel Good Sunday Part II: Crazy Goat Brothers Keep Each Other Weird


“We are having so much fun with our goofy animal companions I thought I would throw this one in too, it is one of my favorites and it never fails to make me laugh; regardless of how many times I have seen it. 

Watching these kids makes me want to reach out and bottle the free joy and silliness, something that in my opinion you can never have too much of.  Just ask my wife, Terry.  She claims that the reason we don’t have human children is because she has her hands full trying to raise me.  Me; I was always reluctant to mix my genes with a normal person because I was afraid that any offspring of mine would grow hair on their palms and drink out of the toilet. 

The world will never know. 

Turn up the volume and read the captions, ENJOY!” ~ R.T.


Feel Good Sunday: A Veterans Day Prayer

“To those who look forward to a smile, a snicker and a little laugh on Sunday mornings I apologize, we will not be able to give that to you this morning.  Instead, we offer up warmth, moist eyes and a glow in your soul as I just cannot let Veterans Day drift off into the darkness for another year, not yet.

I cannot do it today, of all days, where spoiled, privileged, do-nothing ingrates take to a field to play a game we played as children and disrespect those who gave their lives so that they can make 30 times the annual salary of average Americans, just can’t do it.  Wrong place, wrong message, wrong audience…just plain wrong.

So today we offer a prayer that was given by a true American; one that pushes us forward to save the spirit of America and the National icons that we hold dear.  It is our duty, our mission and our obligation to give our all to save the last of our wild horses and burros for future generations to experience, to enjoy and to love.

For the sake of those who died to keep us free, we work with earnest to keep free the wild horses and burros of the United States of America, it is our calling.  God Bless.” ~ R.T.


‘Feel Good Sunday’ Video: Bride’s Horse Stole the Spotlight by Grinning

“It’s time to recharge our batteries and validate why we do what we do and this Sunday we have the recipe to bring just such a feeling of warmth into your day.  There’s more to the story, below, than just a smile; it is a tale of honor, respect and love with a special twist of joy that only an equine companion can bring.  It is truly an honor and blessing to be a guardian for such majestic beings.  They humble me.” ~ R.T.


by Sabrina Rojas Weiss on Yahoo News

When you’re in a wedding party, you absolutely don’t want to upstage the bride — especially not in her photos. Someone forgot to tell this to Cricket, who was grinning ear-to-ear as she posed with bride Patti Womer before her ceremony in September.

“I honestly don’t mind having attention on her instead of me. Dutch and Cricket are such a big part of me, and I will always have a special place in my heart for them,” Womer tells Yahoo Lifestyle. She’s not speaking indulgently of her bridesmaids, of course, but of her two horses, who escorted her up to the ceremony in a field of sunflowers at Mt. Pleasant Mills in Pennsylvania.

Dutch, a sorrel gelding, and Cricket, a paint mare, were the first horses she and her dad bought together when Womer was 8 years old. Though her father passed away in May 2016, she found a way to represent him in her wedding. As she rode Cricket, she walked Dutch, her father’s horse, with an empty saddle next to her.

“This just showed that my father was there with me through the whole thing,” says Womer, an agriculture science major at Penn State University.

Photographing a horse at a wedding wasn’t anything new for photographer Tony Bendele, who has done his share of wildlife photography too. “I’m very used to working with animals, but I’ve never seen a horse doing the smile like that,” Bendele tells Yahoo. “It actually caught my eye initially when we first started doing the photographs. As the bride was smiling the horse would look up and put its teeth just like that.”

Womer isn’t entirely convinced Cricket was grinning for the camera. “Honestly, the horse is just shaking her head trying to get a fly off or something but with her showing her teeth, it looks like she is smiling.”

Bendele has posted Cricket and Womer’s photo to his Facebook page a few times since the wedding, finding his followers love the horse’s expression as much as he does. A photo like that may encourage others to try to incorporate their animals, big and small, into their ceremonies. This is something he recommends only if you’re certain of how the animals will react to noise and large crowds.

“We had an experience back in 2016 where we had a bride come down in a carriage and they were going to walk it down the aisle,” he recalls. “As soon as one of the horses got close to the people, somebody had their back turned to it and then turned around and scared it, so it took off and actually flipped the carriage.”

Luckily, the bride emerged unscathed in that case. Overall, Bendele says horses are better behaved than another mainstay of wedding photographs: “Sometimes the kids are a lot harder to handle than the animals.”

Greatest Wedding Photo EVER ~ Photo: Tony Bendele Photography