A Respectful Feel Good Sunday ~ For Horse Lovers Who Loved Tom Petty: A Remembrance

By Susan Wagner – President of Equine Advocates

“Now I’m free
Free fallin’
Yeah, I’m free
Free fallin’…”

It was just yesterday when the world learned the results of the autopsy on music legend Tom Petty who passed away last year at the age of 66.

Rolling Stone reported, “After months of speculation, a medical examiner has ruled that Tom Petty died of an accidental overdose, according to a statement from the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner…Petty had been prescribed the drugs to treat emphysema, knee issues and a fractured hip, his family said in a statement accompanying the results. Petty’s coronary artery disease had been a persistent problem throughout his final tour…”

There are some artists whose music speaks to people in a way that is so profound and special that it puts them in a class by themselves. Tom Petty was one of those artists.

He had millions of fans worldwide, but for us at Equine Advocates, it was his acknowledgement of our organization and our work to end horse slaughter that was a real high point for me. In October of 2016, he and his wife, Dana, signed a petition we originated that called for the end of horse slaughter. Petty was the first celebrity among many to sign on and posted news about the petition on the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers official website so that his fans became aware of the issue and could sign the petition as well.

Who could have imagined that a exactly a year later Tom Petty would no longer be with us? I have been a fan of his since the 1980’s and the song of his that has extra special meaning for me is “I Won’t Back Down.” I feel that in every fight we take on in life, one has to have determination…and it is such a universal song that people from all walks of life can relate to it.

Tom Petty is sorely missed but he lives on forever in his music. SW

Video: The True Spirit of Christmas Knows No Walls

“Over the years I have attempted not to broadcast when and where I was as I worked a career which centered on international travel.  Our book was born while I worked in Cabinda, Angola and even the book contains a story, a true one, written while I was in Nigeria.  Two years ago, this Christmas, I was in a rural mountain town in Sichuan Province, China called Nanba. 

It is somewhat heart-tugging being away for the holidays but over the years I gradually learned to make the best of where I was.  In 2015 my buddy, a few of my Chinese friends and a lone Phillappino with a saxophone launched a plan to mezmorize the children of the town.  Santa (me) would walk among the streets of Nanba on Christmas and pass out reflective bracelets, for safety, and little hair do-dads to the town’s children.  Most of the children had never seen a tall white haired and bearded westerner before let alone Santa Clause, so we set forth to walk among them as the slideshow documents.

Now before you say what does this have to do with equines I would like to point out the Terry and I have never had two legged children but have always had a house/ranch/farm full of the four legged type.  So certain nuances and perks of having mini-duplicates of ourselves have escaped us but two years ago today, I had the eye opening experience of looking into the eyes of these beautiful children and seeing the same innocence and curiosity that I view mirrored back to me in the eyes of our equine charges.  It has forever moved me and two years later still warms my soul and gives me hope that human, perhaps, are born with innocent dignity and a positive, loving spirit.  Perhaps if we can learn how to prevent the world from strangling and corrupting all that is good in us, we may have a chance to survive and, likewise, our fellow passengers on this Space Ship Earth.

Capture the purity of this day and keep the faith, my friends, I believe that out there, somewhere, there is goodness…this video points to that very hope.

Merry Christmas.” ~ R.T.


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: 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

Feel Good Sunday: Photobombed by Horses

by R.T. Fitch

“Last week a reader dressed me down, just a bit, for deviating off the course of equine advocacy with our traditional “Feel Good Sundays” and a part of me is in full agreement, BUT we will continue to attempt to bring a smile to your lips and an uplift to your heart on this day of rest.  Granted, we may slam an article of concern down on the table later in the day but at least we can start the day with a little bit of equine sunshine.  Have faith and please be safe, my friends.” ~ R.T.


If you are fortunate enough to live with horses and donkeys, or at least visit them often, you are well aware of the multiple and different personalities that each of them poses.  Every one of them is as unique as a snowflake and twice as special and with that singularity often runs a strain of comedy, every pasture has a class comedian or village idiot; that’s what makes life so very special.

Just a few quick glimpses to share with you, today, to reinforce the opinion that when it comes to horses a comedy show is not far behind.

“CHEESE”

 

First up is a young woman who thought she was taking a happy picture standing in front of her horse when just as the shutter clicked, or iPhone, the horse broke out into his own happy smile that, if you look closely, appears to match that of his human buddy.  Remarkable.

 

“SMILE”

 

 

 

Another one of my personal favorites is a big ole Drafty who decides to add a little extra to a family photo taken of a little girl who is standing in front of him.  As a guardian of a big ole Belgian/TB cross I can tell you that there is a funny, and gentle, gene that resides in their great big, giant hearts.  One of the most remarkable things I have observed about horses is how they react and become so very gentle around human children.  It is stunning.

 

 

A camera is a sure fire way to ensure that the “Hey, look at ME!” syndrome is quickly awakened in any equine as comically demonstrated in the video below.

And in conclusion, I offer firm evidence that I know of what I speak as Terry and I were continually interrupted by one of our equine children as we attempted to tape an outreach segment, at our home, for Wild Horse Freedom Federation.  I share this video with a heavy heart as the antagonist is our Harley, a former racing TB who suffered a slab fracture to his left front knee and was on his way to the Kaufman, TX slaughterhouse until his owner intervened and entrusted us to give him a new life.  We did just that for almost 20 years until his bad TB feet could no longer bear him.  Drugs, abuse and greed surround horse racing but I digress.  He gave us years of wonderful companionship and comic relief because he always was the big “Sh*tstirrer” in the pasture.  We all miss him greatly.

This video is long but Harley owns the beginning and he most certainly is in charge of the finish.  Thank you Harley.

To ALL Mothers Great or Small: We Love and Honor You This Day!

“It is my most sincere hope that no Mother visits this blog, today, but instead is with her family celebrating this day of life and hope.  But should some stray, animal loving mom stray a bit and visit us we would like to dedicate the blog to you and all mothers regardless off number of legs, wings or fins.

Today is yours, we love you all!!!” ~ R.T.


Feel Good Sunday: Rescued Donkey Acts Like A Puppy

“Okay, time out, folks.  It’s Sunday and all of us deserve a few moments of quiet reflection, a hug, a smile and perhaps even a big smooch.  We can ramp back up for the fight tomorrow morning but for now hug each other and above all, scratch the forehead or backside of your four legged kids and thank the good Lord that you are lucky enough to be able share your lives with them.  They are our motivators and forever friends.  Keep the faith and be safe!” ~ R.T.


Feel Good Sunday: “Just Like Them Horses”

Story by By Laura McClellan, forward by R.T. Fitch

“It’s Feel Good Sunday and time to lift ourselves up in preparation for another week of intensive warfare, be it fighting to survive on the job, struggling for ways to keep horses and burros on the range and free of slaughter or just getting through the evening news…we need strength.

Often, here, we laugh and slap each other on the back in an effort to bolster ourselves up and prepare for that slide out of the bed on Monday morning but it is also important to remember that many times it is necessary to look deep within prior to looking forward and out upon the horizon of life, and today we do just that.

The link to this video was sent to me by someone who works quietly behind the scenes, here, at Straight from the Horses Heart as many do because this is a community and not a one man show.  During the week she sends me various links to newsworthy stories and always throws in a few FGS (Feel Good Sunday) stories for good measure.  Her assistance has freed up much of my early morning time and allowed me to write more frequently versus searching for the latest and greatest to share…today is a case in point and after watching this video, I am both moved and anxious to step out the door of the house with my little boarder collie assistant and get to cooking breakfast for the horses, our equine children.  I am blessed to, now, spend each and every daybreak with our horses, Roxy my canine keeper, the Koi and even our little monarch butterfly community where we are on our 4th batch of baby caterpillars this season.  The quiet beauty, the deep feeling of connection and retrospective look back gives me strength, centers my soul and propels me forward into the harsh daylight of the intense and often times stressful day.

Sit back, breath deeply, wrap the lyrics of show business’s most delightful woman around you and claim this day to be your own, you most assuredly deserve it.  Peace to you, my friends.” ~ R.T.


Reba McEntire‘s “Just Like Them Horses” video is an emotional tribute to her late father, Clark McEntire, who passed away in 2014. The black-and-white scenes begin with a somber monologue from McEntire herself, asking tough questions in the wake of her father’s death: “How do you say goodbye? How do you say goodbye to somebody who made you, raised you, taught you, disciplined you, loved you? How do you say goodbye?” she says before the music comes in.

The ballad begins with just piano and McEntire’s powerful, emotive vocals as the video shows the artist walking through farm land alone reflecting, alternating with scenes of beautiful horses as well as McEntire’s own real-life mom driving a truck to meet her daughter.

“Mama had to be in the video. She was and still is the glue to our family,” McEntire said of the decision to include her mom. The scenes even took place on the McEntire family farm. “We shot the entire video in Chockie, Okla. on the McEntire home-place. Those old hills mean a lot to me. I lived there 21 years and they still call me back time after time.”

Written by Tommy Lee James and Liz Hengber, McEntire heard the song when choosing tracks for her Love Somebody album and decided to have it played at her father’s funeral.

“The minute I heard it, I knew I wanted it played at Daddy’s funeral. When my producer Tony Brown heard it, he loved it so much, that he insisted on putting it on the album,” she said.

McEntire says she dedicates the music video to her father, as well. It ends with several images of majestic horses running on the farm and the artist riding away on the back of the truck from earlier in the song. A photo memorial of her father appears over the last scene as a dedication.

Love Somebody is McEntire’s 27th studio album, released in April 2015. It debuted at No. 1 and has since sold more than 180,000 copies. “Just Like Them Horses” is the third single from the record, following “Going Out Like That” and “Until They Don’t Love You.”

Read More: Reba McEntire Honors Late Father with Video for “Just Like Them Horses” | http://tasteofcountry.com/reba-mcentire-just-like-them-horses-video/?trackback=tsmclip

Feel Good Sunday: Horse And Dog Have Been Best Friends Since The Moment They Met

By caitlinnjill as published on The Dodo

“They built this amazing trust and knowledge of each other and this has only grown over the years,”

Leslie grew up always having multiple dogs around, and so when she moved out on her own, there was never any question about who her housemates would be.

Instagram/thedobieteam

Currently, Leslie has four Dobermans: Boss, Kyra, Gaia and Zeus.

All the dogs love each other very much, and are always following each other around …

… and getting into mischief together, of course.

Leslie also grew up around horses, and her horse Contino is just as much a part of the pack as the dogs — especially with Boss.

“The pack just knows how to deal and live around horses,” Leslie told The Dodo. “They’ve been around horses since they were allowed to go outside. However, the case of Boss is a different one.”

From the very first time Boss wandered around Contino’s stables, the pair were simply drawn to one another. Neither has ever been afraid of the other, and their bond is truly unlike any other.

“Boss was always fearless around him and was even curious to come close to lick or smell him,” Leslie said. “Contino accepted him amazingly since day one, so that’s about time when I realized their relationship was something special.”

Boss and Contino love spending time together, giving each other kisses and cuddles. Despite being much bigger than him, Contino is always very gentle with Boss, and seems to know exactly what he needs.

“They built this amazing trust and knowledge of each other and this has only grown over the years,” Leslie said.

 

Dying Vietnam Vet Asks for Final Meeting with Beloved Horses Outside Hospital

FoxNews.com

“When the horse came up to him he actually opened his eyes…”

Photo: (Lupe Hernandez, South Texas Veterans Health Care System)

Photo: (Lupe Hernandez, South Texas Veterans Health Care System)

Vietnam veteran Roberto Gonzalez’s final wish was granted Saturday when he was reunited with his beloved horses — Ringo and Sugar — outside of a Texas VA hospital.

Gonzalez, of Premont, Texas, who was shot and paralyzed during the war, was wheeled outside the front doors of Audie Murphy Veterans Hospital in San Antonio where he was greeted by the horses he had raised for decades, mySA.com reported.

Gonzalez, who was one of the hospital’s first patients when it opened in 1974, had asked his family to see his horses one last time. The family passed along the request to hospital staff who gladly obliged. Ringo and Sugar then made the 150-mile trip to the hospital to see him.

“Horses are his life,” his wife, Rosario Gonzalez, told KABB. “We’ve been training and raising horses for 30, 40 years.”

The South Texas Veterans Health Care System posted a photo of the meeting on its Facebook page on Sunday, calling Gonzalez a great American and identifying him as one of the first patients at the hospital.

“A heartfelt Thank you, to all at Audie L. Murphy V A Hospital,” Rosario Gonzalez posted in response. “A special thank you to the spinal cord staff, all of you became a part of our family.

“The care you have been giving my husband and to me goes above and beyond,” she wrote. “You are our angels God Bless you all.”

Gonzalez reportedly learned that his kidneys and liver were failing when he recently visited the hospital for a back wound.

“He never let his injuries slow him down. He loved horses, he loved cattle, he loved ranching and farming. He was proud to serve his country,” Rosario Gonzalez told ABC affiliate KSAT.

Gonzalez’s May 21 visit with the horses came 46 years to the day after he was wounded in Vietnam. His wife told local media stations that her husband was one of the only licensed, handicapped horse trainers in Texas.

“When the horse came up to him he actually opened his eyes. They came up to him and I think they were actually kissing him,” Gonzalez told News4SA.com.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/05/23/dying-vietnam-vet-asks-for-final-meeting-with-beloved-horses-outside-hospital.html