The Traditional Equine Christmas Story: “We Were There”

An excerpt from R.T. Fitch‘s book ~ Straight from the Horse’s Heart: A Spiritual Ride through Love, Loss and Hope

“Over the past, now almost 10, years we have dug into our bag of heartfelt stories and brought this particular tale out to share every Christmas.  The feelings penned here never grow old, for me, and perhaps are a little clearer, today, as I am home for the holiday for the first time in years. 

After a long absence from the farm  I returned to a very long “Honey-Do” list, yesterday.  First and foremost was fence repair and as I tapped and sawed my way across the multiple pastures I was never without a warm puff of equine breath in my ear, a gentle tug at the longer hair at the nape of my neck and a little boarder collie leaning against my legs, just to reassure herself that I was really home.

Yup, I can personally attest to the fact that a world without four legged beings is a very lonely world indeed.  God has truly blessed us with friends and companions who know no jealousy, hate or greed and in return they enjoy a smile, a loving hand and a simple wink of acknowledgement.  I truly love our critters, each and every one.  Celebrate with me, this day, those who helped bring, and keep, light into our world. 

Merry Christmas to you too, my two legged friends…our four legged companions need your voice.  Be safe.” ~ R.T. 

(Fire-up your imagination and cut loose reality before you move on; it will make for a more spectacular ride)


We Were There

Pele, Bart and our departed Harley. photo by Terry Fitch

It was like any other evening feeding of the horses, yet it was not; or not quite, as something was different.  The air was crisp and cool as Christmas was only a week away in South Louisiana, but the feeling had little to do with temperature or barometric pressure.  There was an electric buzz in the air; the feeling of white noise just outside the audible range of the human ear.  There was something tangible and moving in the barn that night.

I did not pick up on it at first.  Terry, my wife, was off having an early Christmas with her family in Florida, which means that the barn chores and the feeding of all our four-legged children rests upon me when I return home from my office in the evening.  And, at this time of year, it is already dark.  It’s a matter of rushing home, putting the vehicle up for the night, greeting and playing with Kenny, the white German Shepherd who is so excited to see you that he bounces three feet high, dashing into the house to turn on lights, checking messages, changing clothes, feeding the cat; then back outside to dribble the bouncing dog; and into the barn to cook dinner for the equine boys.   Oops, I missed that while in the house I might fix an industrial strength Wrangler Iced Tea to take out to the barn with me, not a requirement, but a nice reward for all the running around.

I scurried into the tack room, flipped on all of the lights and turned up the radio as Christmas music was the order of the day.  As I carefully measured varied degrees of hoof supplement and rice bran with their normal pelletized feed, the thought crossed my mind that my parents, especially my mother, never had the opportunity to see our equine kids nor experience this very special side to our otherwise very busy lives.  I paused from humming along with the radio and reflected on what a tremendous loss that was.  I resumed mixing and humming with a small pang of sadness in my heart.

I went from stall to stall filling up the appropriate feed bins with the proper amount of food.  Each time I exited a stall and went back to the tack room I asked Kenny how he was doing; he sat so attentively out in the driveway.  This simply inquiry would start the bouncing, again.  I’ll never figure out how a 100 lb dog could bounce so high and he made me laugh.  I was just about finished with the mix of the last meal when the traditional and expected three measured knocks came to the back door.  Terry and I have learned to keep the back “horse” door closed until ready to let the horses in as it is such a pleasure to hear those three distinct and perfectly timed and executed knocks.

We know who it is and he does such a good job at it.  It’s Ethan.  He is the King of Knocking, the Guardian of the Food Gate, and the funniest of them all at feeding time. ,

I hollered back through the closed doors that I was hurrying and would be right with him.  With that, I dumped the last bucket of feed in Apache’s stall, walked to the back, and carefully cracked the sliding doors.  Who was standing with his head pressed to the middle of the doors, Ethan, as always.

“Are you ready?” I asked and a part of me picked up on a gentle nod and smile.

The doors were slid open, the breezy gate was swung out and, as they do every night, they came in the barn in perfect order to eat the dinner that I had labored over in preparation for them.

First came Ethan, then Harley followed by Apache and bringing up the rear is the biggest, the youngest and the most fearful, Bart.  He feels more comfortable when they are all tucked away in their stalls with their doors closed so that no one can stick their head out and attempt to bite him as he walks down the aisle.  He actually stops and looks into each one of their stalls and you can almost hear him say, “Ha, Ha, you can’t get me now”.  Hopefully, one day, he will grow up.

Immediately the barn was full of the sound of relaxed munching and filled with the sweet odor of horses and feed.  I looked back at Kenny who only bounced two feet instead of three feet off the pavement hoping that I might sit down and enjoy this moment.  I went into the tack room to pull out a chair and sit in the center aisle of the barn to commune with the horses. My Brazilian hammock, however, caught my eye.

“Ah ha” I cried and snatched up the hammock with one hand while I grabbed the “tea” in the other.  This could be good!

Two quick slips of “S” hooks into the installed tie rings on to opposing stalls and I had the hammock swinging across the center aisle in a heartbeat.  Kenny lay down, as I eased into the hammock, because he knew that this could be awhile.  I sat down with my back propped up and began to swing while singing along with the Christmas music from the radio.

It did not take long to realize that my singing was not appreciated.  Bart began to pound on the stall wall with his right front hoof and Apache quit eating to urinate, on the clean shavings in the stall, in protest of my singing.  I actually was not too offended by Bart’s signal to quit but for Apache to pee in his stall was pushing the envelope a little too far.  I felt rather hurt so I just shut up, set my drink down on the aisle floor and listened to the sounds of the horses mixed with the sound of Christmas.

The music stirred emotions from seasons long past:  seasons of happiness, hope, disappointment and most recently, pain.  But I am the Captain of my ship and I had no intention to sail into dark and murky waters this night.  I simply wanted to let go and feel the companionship of my friends around me.  That’s when I heard the buzz.

At first I thought that the radio was slipping off from its frequency but the music was still there, clearly playing.  The buzz was overriding the music; the “white noise” was multidimensional and not strictly coming from the tack room.  I did not make a serious attempt to think about it as the sounds and smells were like candy to my senses and the buzz was only the canvas that the painting of the moment was applied to.  I relaxed.

I closed my eyes and continued to rock back and forth.  There was a feeling of warmth in the barn, while all of those equine souls were inside eating and enjoying.  The buzz, on the other hand, continued to grow.  In the beginning it really was not something that I was paying much attention to but now I attempted to tune into where it was coming from and what it was.  I continued to rock.  I could still hear the horses and the music but now the buzz was growing in volume.  As I continued to mentally identify its source, it was becoming ever more evident that the sound, itself, was coming from within.  It was coming from inside of my head and not related to anything outside of myself.  I was aware that I was humming “Away in the Manger”, along with the radio but it was becoming evident that the white noise was music also.  In that music there were whispers, words, phrases and thoughts being conveyed.  Without knowing it I gave in to the music from within and opened up to the whispers and words.  There were many voices with varied depths and pitches although different they all blended together in song and, it was soul stirring.  I listened and listened and listened until I finally made out the words that were being sung to me.  It came as abruptly and as clearly to me as if a sonic boom had just resonated throughout the barn.  In thousands of voices, from deep within my soul, the words being sung in perfect harmony were “We were there!”

I stopped rocking and the singing stopped; there was total silence.  My eyes popped open and I was looking straight up.  Once they focused I could see two small sparrows in the barn’s rafters looking straight down at me.  They were looking directly at me with calm assuredness.  The radio was silent, only my breathing could be heard.  I sat up and looked at the stalls; all of the horses were looking directly at me, calmly, with their heads bowed.  I then gazed out across the moonlit pasture and could see the little donkey and her herd of cows staring directly into the lighted barn.  Not one of them was moving.  I quickly swung around and looked out the other door for Kenny; he was laying calmly with his head between his paws and his big brown eyes starring right at me.

I went to stand and in the silence the words came again, “We were there!”  I froze.

“We were there that night”, the collective voices continued.

“Wait, what, who?” I started to ask.

“Just listen and absorb.  Do not ask, we will tell.” the voice said.  “We were there in the stable, that night.  All of us in one shape or form.  We were there long before human shepherds and nobles came to see.  We were there to see him take his first breath.  We were there.”

“It is important, at this time, for you to know that we were the selected witnesses, the guardians and the companions of the Son of the Light.  You need to understand that we are closer to the source of goodness and purity than all mankind.  You need to know that your fight for our lives is a just and noble one.  All of you humans who guard and protect us walk in a very special light.  You have now been there too; now you know and now you must continue the fight”, the voice ended.

“Wait!  What do you mean I was there too?” I called.  I stood up and turned around because I did not know who I was talking to.  I looked at the horses, the dog, the birds, the donkey, and the cattle.  ”What do you mean?”

Reality had yet to come to me as I stared into the horses’ eyes.

Again, the voice returned, “You were there, too.  When you opened your eyes, just a few moments ago, what did you see first?” it asked.

I stammered for a second and came up with, “The birds; the birds in the barn’s rafters.”

The voice asked, “What did you see next?”

“Well, I saw the horses looking at me from their stalls, the donkey, the cows and Kenny the bouncing dog, all looking at me.”

“Yes”, the voice said, “And what were the first impressions in the life of the Gifted One when he first opened up his eyes in that stable long, long, long ago”?

“I would imagine that when he first opened his eyes, lying in a manager, he saw the rafters in the barn ceiling with the birds looking down…” I stopped talking so quickly that I almost bit my tongue.  There was a warm sensation washing over me and it was more than just the tie-in and realization of what had just occurred.

I could not speak and was about to sit back down when the voice added;

“Yes, you see now.  You have been there too.  We all have been there yet, few humans can remember.  This is our gift to you.  Carry the light and chase the darkness; we love all of you for what you do.”

Hearing those words, there was something else, I could not then nor can I now describe it.  Perhaps a sigh, perhaps it was a catch as if emotion had welled up but there was something there, not spoken, that touched me more than the words.

In a dreamlike state of numbness I began the process of releasing the horses from their stalls to their pasture; this is done in the exact reverse of the entry process.  I moved like a robot as the power of the words and the moment were still within me.  I opened up Ethan’s stall and he walked out and stood in the middle of the back door as he often does.

Harley was next.  I stood at his stall door and allowed my hand to move down his furry side as he calmly walked by me and out past Ethan.

Apache usually flattens his ears when he sees Ethan in the doorway and chases him out; but not tonight.  When I opened up his stall he calmly walked past us both without any notice.

Finally, Bart was freed to return to the beloved round bale and as he exited I asked him to stop and I gave him a hug.  He gently kissed my bald spot and headed out past Ethan.

I then turned my attention to Ethan; I stood next to him in the doorway and gazed out upon what he was viewing.  The donkey and cows had gone back to grazing in the moonlight and the neighbor’s horses were tucked away in their barn with their heads hanging out.  Our three were all drinking from the trough, together, and the sky was fantastic with the moon and stars.  It was picture postcard perfect.

As he stood next to me I put my hand on Ethan’s withers.  He turned to me and put his left nostril right against my heart which placed his left eye at the same level with mine.  I said, “Merry Christmas, my friend.”  He blinked, turned and then stepped out into the night.  As I watched that big Appaloosa butt dwindle from the light of the barn he stopped and turned.  Regardless of what anyone says, he had the biggest smile on his face that any horse could have.

I lowered my head, pulled my glasses off to wipe the tears off the lenses, closed the back door, walked past the still full glass of tea sitting on the floor under the hammock, turned off the lights, walked out of the barn and stood over Kenny who had still not budged.

“Want to go inside, boy?”, I asked.

He bounced five feet high this time and we happily dribbled each other up the driveway to the house like we were two ten year old kids headed for a game of basketball.

The moon cast shadows of us dancing on our way as the horses continued to hum in the pasture; “We were there”.

The Advocate, the Guard and the Force of the Horse at Christmas

“I annually drag this excerpt out from our book, and this blog’s namesake, Straight from the Horse’s Heart  as it is one of my favorites…and I have never known why it has a special place in my heart…until now. 

In re-reading it I finally have realized that I wrote this short story about myself, me, I am truly both characters, Christmas present and Christmas past.  The revelation was somewhat shocking but this story is not fiction, it is my very essence and my being.

Again, I hope you enjoy as it is as relevant today as it was almost 10 years ago when I wrote it.  I am an open book to those I love.

Keep the faith my friends, the innocent lives of thousands are in our hands and hearts” ~ R.T.


A Christmas Story for the Wild Ones

Reprint from December 11, 2010:

He checked the time again.  Not an easy maneuver as he had to take his right glove off, shove up the left cuff of his parka, peel back the wrist band of his left glove and then hit the back-light button on his Casio $19.99 special.  (written prior to the iWatch)  Only bought the stupid thing because of the digital thermometer feature it offered and now he wished it didn’t have it as it chilled his insides just looking at the numbers, 33 degrees inside the protection of his parka.

The shivering cold almost kept him from observing the time, 2148 hrs; he thought that was what it said eons ago.  If it weren’t for the seconds blinking and counting down he would have sworn that the watch had frozen and no longer worked.  He tapped the crystal just for good measure and recoiled a bit as the tip of his index finger reverberated with pain from the simple move.  Almost frost bitten he readjusted his left sleeve and hurriedly put his right glove back on.

‘Rotten cold’ he thought; brought back memories of sleeping in ditches in Afghanistan in the dead of winter, thoughts he could have lived without.

He stomped the ground, gave himself a big bear hug and began walking towards the compound’s gate.

‘Maybe walking will generate some heat, besides, I wonder what that stranger is up to on top of the ridge.  Better check the gate to make sure everything is secure.’

His feet crunched on the thin layer of snow that blanked the darkened world.  One solitary utility light blazed above the cramped trailer office but with the snow it was bright enough to see down the drive to the compound’s gate some 75 yards away.  The drive was bordered on both sides by holding pens with extra tall fencing.  They were deathly quiet tonight but that would change in a few days when the “gather” started.

He picked up his pace towards the gate as he was anxious to put the glare of the light behind him so that he could see better in the dark.  Earlier in the evening he had seen headlights crest the hill to the north and head towards the compound.  The two lights slowed just a few hundred yards from the gate and then blinked out.  He could tell that the vehicle was a diesel as he could hear the rumble of the beast idling and smell the fuel but now all was silent.  He hadn’t seen it depart and knowing that someone or something was lurking in the dark, watching, unnerved him.

He shivered as he walked, not so much from the cold but from the deadly memories that overtook him.  In his mind images of darkness, glinting movement and the flash of a mortar rocket blast exploded in his head.  He shook himself, again, in a successful effort to bring himself back to the reality of the moment and found himself sweating in the cold.  He just could not shake Afghanistan from his life, not that he wasn’t trying.  He was now home with his wife, she wanted to start a family, his father wanted him to take over the family business and the VA had helped him find this job with the Bureau of Land Management but the gun on his hip and acting as a guard still conjured up demons that were best left in the dark.

He reached the gate and came to a stop.  All was quiet, he hadn’t realized how noisy the snow had been as it crunched under his boots but now while standing still he could hear absolutely nothing, except his own heart beating, nothing else.

Then he heard a sound, a click or a crack like someone stepping on a stick.  Instinctively, he dropped to a squat, pulled out his side arm and aimed in the direction of the sound.  It all happened so fast, so smooth, so finely orchestrated that he actually startled himself in his reaction more than from hearing the sound.

“Whoa now”, came a deep voice from beyond the gate, “I don’t think you will be needing any firearms, tonight”.

He slowly stood and lowered his hand gun but continued to stare into the darkness from where the voice had emerged.

“Who are you and what are you doing?” he demanded.

“My name is of no importance and I am simply observing, thinking, pondering and maybe even praying.” the voice replied.

“This is Federal property and you have no business being here, particularly at this time of night.”

There came a small chuckle from the darkness, “I beg to differ. This Federal land is public land and I am the public.  Secondly, I am not crossing any fence line nor am I within your compound so as I see it, I am out of your jurisdiction.”

“Fair enough,” the guard replied as he deftly holstered his fire arm on his right and reached for a holster on his left.

“I said no fire arms”, charged the voice with and obvious elevation in intensity.

“No gun, just a light” and with a smart click a beam of searing light tore across the cold Nevada night and lit up the snow covered desert.

His aim was good and true and if it had been a gun, instead of a torch, the stranger would have been shot dead through the heart as he was centered directly in the focused light beam.

The stranger quickly put one gloved hand up to shield his eyes.

“Alright already, kill the theater lights you are ruining my night vision”, the stranger exclaimed, “A little bit of a warning would have been nice.”

The guard’s trained eyes quickly accessed the stranger; relatively trim, tall, worn boots, jeans, parka, rancher gloves, scarf, black Tom Mix style hat with a colorful Indian beaded headband, glasses glinted from under the brim, white beard, a shock of white hair visible from behind the neck and a large thermos mug in the right hand.  His brain registered; ‘Minimal threat’.

He lowered the light so that it illuminated the snowy ground half way between them and in the diffused light from below they were both cast into a curious world of unnatural shadows.

The stranger had been leaning against the outside of the large hinge post for the galvanized gate.  He had straightened up when the light nearly blinded him so now he walked forward and stood directly opposite the guard at the center of the gate.

“What’s you name?” the guard asked with an edge in his tone.

The stranger took a sip from his covered mug, sighed and in so doing let out of cloud of steam.  He paused for a moment as if carefully considering his answer before he replied.

“My name is not important, but it is important for you know that I am an advocate, an advocate for the Wild Horses and Burros.  I am here to witness the atrocity that is about to befall this herd that deserves to be left alone.”

“So in a nutshell you are a nut case.”  the guard scoffed.  He was warned about these types, in fact that was why he was here, on Christmas Eve, to ensure that these horse hugging, weirdo liberals did not do any property damage to the horse holding compound.  He had been told by BLM management that they had creditable evidence that the gather was going to be disrupted by civil disobedience which could include property damage, protests, 4-wheelers, you name it.  These crazies were Eco-terrorists and as a decorated veteran, he was the perfect man to protect his country’s property.  Not that he bought all the hype but he sure could use the time and a half for Christmas Eve and the double time that he would receive once the clock clicked over to midnight.  He was trying to start a new life with a wife that he had not seen in two years and the added money would help to make her smile.  But on the other side of the coin, he had not been with her on Christmas since they were married  a little over two short years ago, before his deployment.  That thought stung his heart and he struggled to bring himself back to the moment.  He fought the urge to look at his watch again.

“If that’s what you want to call me, nutcase will work as I have been called worse.” the stranger countered, “In reality the horses call me Grey Mane so if you need a name you can call me G.M. for short.”

“Sure, so G.M. what’s your business here, in the middle of the night?”

“Just watching and listening”, the advocate mused.  “You know, one of the bands of wild horses is just over that ridge to the west, only about half a mile from where you are standing.  It’s a bright and thriving group.  Ten family members in all including the stallion, mares and foals.  I was sitting up there observing their serenity in the moonlight, thinking about how they only have a few hours left to live, to live free as a family, to live on the land that the U.S. Congress gave them before your agency will meanly drive them into a trap and rip their family apart and shatter their freedom forever.  That’s what I was doing.”

“What are you talking about?” asked the guard.  He was beginning to fidget a bit as the stranger’s words seemed to drill down to his soul and he did not know why but it made him very uncomfortable.  The confidence and sincerity in which the stranger spoke was extremely unnerving.

“Do you mean you do not know?”

“I don’t have a clue about what you are saying, besides you still have not answered my question.”

“How long have you worked for the BLM?”

“That’s not important nor is it any of your business, just tell me why you are here.”

“No problem there, I am here to witness for the horses.  I will log, photograph, document and note everything that occurs.  I will be a presence of compassion and resistance for all that is happening.  Perhaps I will stand alone as I do now or maybe I will be joined by others.  It doesn’t matter as long as someone is here.  So if you really don’t know what’s afoot, here, I gauge your employment to be under 90 days.”

That last observation caught the guard unprepared, so much so that he almost dropped the light as the stranger was spot on.  He hadn’t been back from the war more than 90 days and had only collected three pay checks from his new job.  He would hit 60 days after the first of the year, next week.

With a bit of a quiver in his voice the guard continued:

“That’s all nonsense, what the BLM is doing is good management.  If they did not capture all of these horses they would starve to death and die.  This is an act of humanity and a proper response from our government.  You can’t just leave all these horses out here to fend for themselves, they need proper care.”

There was an extended pause from the stranger, he lowered his head, put his right hand to his chin then looked straight ahead at the guard;

“I ask for the right to revise my earlier estimate, 60 days or less, that’s the amount of time that you have been exposed to the BLM, right?.”

“What the hell are you talking about, man?” snapped the guard.  Clear desperation could be heard in his voice and seen in his stance.

“No worries; let me ask you a question.  What are you doing for the next couple of hours?”  the stranger asked and through the low lighting a smile could be detected between the white beard and mustache.

“Guarding this place from the likes of you, I reckon.”  The guard answered but even though he was flustered the tone of the stranger had a calming and settling effect upon his jangled nerves. ‘How did he know’, he mused.

“How about a hot, maybe warm, cup of coffee?” the advocate asked.

“Not out of the same mug I hope.”

The stranger smiled, again, “No I have a full thermos.  Now I am going to reach into may parka very slowly for the thermos so don’t draw your gun.”, there was a bit of a giggle in his voice.

The advocate pulled out from under his coat a personal sized, stainless steel thermos and handed it across the gate to the guard.

“You don’t have any poison mixed in there do you?”

“Depends upon what your definition of poison is.  If you consider Bailey’s Irish Cream to be poison then consider that laced coffee to be extremely dangerous.  Otherwise, it might just warm up your innards.”

They both laughed a little and it became obvious that the chill between them was beginning to melt by a degree or two.

The guard poured a copious amount of hot coffee into the top of the thermos and went to hand it back to the advocate who quickly waved him off.

“No, that’s for you, my coffee mug’s meter is still pegged at full. Now, back to our discussion about horses, let me give you a little bit of background.  A little conversation will warm up my facial muscles while that coffee warms you up from the inside out.”

The advocate stepped forward, leaned on the gate and began to speak in low and gentle tones.  He took the guard back to Mustang Annie and the unanimous passage of the ROAM act which guaranteed the wild horses a place to live.  He told of the gradual erosion of the law perpetuated by the guard’s employer.  He talked of the grazing leases, of private cattle out numbering wild horses 400 to 1.  He pulled out his iPhone and showed pictures of fat, plump and happy wild horses.  He showed movies of the horror and brutality of helicopter driven gathers, the PZP, the injunctions and the failure of the BLM to follow the law and listen to the people.  He told him of the lies, of BLM Management speaking to the world of how transparent and open the BLM would be while horses were found shot to death as a secret gather was taking place.  He explained that the BLM’s former Director, Bob Abbey, spoke at a horse slaughter summit.  The guard learned that the hundreds of horses that would be pulled from his area would be the end of the herd, the end of hundreds of years of free life, the destruction of one of the most unique wild communities in the United States.

And the guard learned that the advocate was not very different from the likes of himself.  His late night mentor was a veteran of earlier conflicts, he had a life, a job, a family and aspirations just as the guard did.  But the advocate also had convictions and the drive to stand up for what he felt to be right and for that the guard respected him as he knew the value of conviction and duty.  He understood it well.

The spell of the advocate’s stories was broken by the electronic buzzing from the guard’s watch.

“What’s that?” the advocate asked.

“My alarm, I set it to notify me when I went into double time.”

“So it’s midnight?”

“Yup, midnight it is.”

“Then I would like to wish you a heartfelt Merry Christmas, my friend.”  said the advocate as he extended a gloved hand over the gate.

The guard quickly clasp his hand in his and used his left hand to grab the advocates wrist, they heartily pumped each others arms up and down.

Reluctantly they released the other’s hand and stared across the gate in a clumsy silence when a sound to the west caught both of their attention.  They spun around to look up at the ridge.

While they had talked the full moon had begun to rise and was now just cresting the top of the ridge and as they looked for the sound that had interrupted their respite the lone silhouette of a wild horse arose over the ridge and stood clearly against the light of the moon.

They both stared as the magnificent figure gazed down upon them as the wind danced through it’s mane and tail.  While they were held transfixed; small, miniature ice crystals began to fall and lent a twinkling surreal atmosphere to the scene.  The tiny flakes came not from the clouds but from mountain tops far away, carried by the wind to fall upon their vision.

Far to the right of moon and over the horse a star pulsated and twinkled like a beacon and without any forewarning the shadow horse disappeared leaving only the sound of falling stones and a brief whirlwind of snow.  It was gone.

Neither of the men knew how long they had stood there until the guard broke the silence without mentioning what had just happened.

“You going back to town, tonight?”

It took the advocate a moment to answer as he turned to the guard  who was still looking up the ridge at the moon.

“Yes, I want to catch a few winks at the motel and be back here by first light.  Want to ensure that no chopper takes of early.  I know the date is a few days away but time, date, month, year; it all means nothing to your employer.”

“Not my employer, not anymore.”

“What do you mean?”

“Gun, badge and ID card are being left on the desk in the trailer.  If you will give me a ride I will pick up my backpack and hitch a lift with you back to town.  Don’t live too far from the motel.”

“Well certainly, but what about your job?”

“That’s just it; it’s a job and not my life.  As an American I cannot work for nor represent something that is so foul and corrupt.  I am a veteran and this agency shames me.”

“But what will your wife and family say?”

“Hopefully; Merry Christmas.  I will finally give my father the answer he has been waiting for, taking over the family feed store that he has wanted me to do for years.  And my wife, I will have Christmas dinner with her tomorrow, something I have not done since we were married in a rush prior to my deployment to Afghanistan.  That will be two Christmas presents in one.”

“I should think so”, smiled the advocate.

“But there is one more to give, to give to the horses.”  added the guard.  “I would like to come out here with you in the morning to help you watch and to listen to what you have to say.  I would like to witness for the horses if you would have me.”

The advocate slowly leaned over, set his now empty mug in the snow and reached across the gate, “It would be an honor, my friend, and absolute honor”, and the two men embraced each other across the cold, galvanized gate yet they only felt a burning warmth from within.

“I’ll go drop off my vitals and get my bag, it will only take a second.” said the guard as he spun around and started to walk away.

“Hey”, called the advocate, “Aren’t you the least bit worried about leaving this place unguarded.” there was a touch of laughter in his voice.

“Not if the terrorists are a bunch of Bailey’s drinking thugs like you.” laughed the guard as his shadow grew longer with each step towards the trailer.  “Just hold on.”

The advocate smiled to himself and stomped his feet to get the blood flowing back through his near frozen toes.

He stood there for a moment and allowed his spirit to bask in the warm afterglow of recent events.

He turned, again, to look up the ridge where the horse had stood only moments before.  In that short lapse of time the moon had moved higher in the sky dragging the shining star with it but there was no hint of the horse.

He looked at the star, listened to the wind and noted that the star was brighter and more active in it’s pulsing than it was earlier.  As he gazed upwards it came to him that another birth was being celebrated this clear, cold Christmas morning.  The impact of that realization pushed a warm tear from his eye, down his ruddy cheek and into his beard.

His internal realization manifested itself onto his lips in the form of a big smile and he whispered as much to the Spirit as he did to himself.

“Thank you for the goodness that was born this day and for a new birth, a new beginning for another kind and gentle spirit.  Thank you for an additional voice for the horses, another guardian of their spirit.  Thank you for the new advocate.”

The wind answered with a swirl of snow, a twinkle of a star and the call of a wild horse many miles away.

He sighed and with a frozen tear upon his cheek, nodded in return.

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.

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

R.T. Fitch (Pres.) and Debbie Coffey (V.P.) of Wild Horse Freedom Federation, on Dept. of Interior’s plans to kill 46,000 wild horses & burros in BLM holding facilities, and thousands more on public lands (“Voices Carry for Animals,” Tuesday, 10/3/17)

***Tune In Tuesday*** On Oct. 3rd, 2017 at 7:00 pm CST

Continue reading

Feel Good Sunday: Chapter 1 – Living with Four-Legged Children

by R.T. Fitch

“Behind the scenes, here at Straight from the Horse’s Heart, are several volunteers who write while others scour the internet in search of equine related news and articles that will not only be entertaining but of value to our horsey readership. One such individual, Geraldine Bray, works seven days a week with no compensation in an effort to get the news about horses, burros, buffalo, whales, wolves, grizzles, dolphins and any other wild being that is downtrodden by humans out and in front of our readers so that they can have the information needed to make a difference when discussing such topics with family, friends and legislators. Likewise, Chief News Correspondent, Geri, endeavors to locate at least one story a week that might bemuse and uplift our audience as a Feel Good Sunday (FGS) installation so that we can wash our hearts and souls out for one day a week before we wade back into the fray on Monday. This week, I am kindly going to ask Geri to take the day off as I have found the fodder for FGS right within arm’s reach in our own backyard with our wild and wacky four legged charges who never cease to either entertain or amaze me.” ~ R.T.


Terry and I never copied ourselves by manufacturing two legged children that would be labeled as “ours”. Her reasoning harkens back to the grotesque video that public schools used to show to pre-pubescent girls during special sessions after hours in grade school, when they thought the boys had all gone home, fat chance of that. Plus, she was prepared to take a hit for the team when it came to population control as humans do NOT have the propensity to treat their world, or it’s other inhabitants, kindly. (She also says that she has been raising one over-sized kid, me, for over twenty years and that was about as much fun as she could stand)

Me, I was and still am convinced that if you mixed my genes with another human’s you would end up with some sort of individual that would grow hair on the palms of their hands and drink out of the toilet so in an effort to save humanity from a backwards trip down evolutionary lane I was gelded very early in my adult life. And no, I do not speak in a high-pitched voice.

So with that all being said, we have always been guardians to four-legged children who we have welcomed into our lives and been devastated when they pass on. It is tough being a parent who outlives their children but we have always had a very staunch rule when it comes to being a guardian to dogs, cats, horses and yes, even fish. When you enter our lives, we will never, ever give you up, your home is permanent and you shall always be loved; even if you are a butt-head, we will still love you and your uniqueness.

With all of that tone setting preamble behind us let me tell you about a little adventure that I had when attempting to accomplish some fencing repairs out in our pastures the other day.

Perhaps those who don’t live with horses might not understand, just like I don’t get cute baby stories, but those who do interact with ponies and donkeys on a daily basis will recognize and appreciate the curious and adventurous spirits that graze upon grass out behind their barn and home. We are blessed.

I had been absent from the farm for several months, earlier this year, working hard to supply an income that would allow for the purchase of hay for the horses and batteries for cat toys; it is what I do, I am a guy, it tis my job. But in my absence the electric rope that is strung across the top of our cross-fencing in an effort to stop one juvenile drafty from breaking fence boards while playing “Dueling Heads” with his TB brother mal-functioned and it did not take the giant, 1 ton, golden baby very long to figure out that he could begin to disassemble the inert electric rope and associated gate guards. So that is what I returned home to and set upon repairing the other day, WITH a lot of help from my friends.

My trusty, full-time companion, Roxy the Wonder Border Collie, goes everywhere with me, so much so that she has laid claim to the big, red Dodge Dually and does not allow me to take it on my extended domestic trips, instead, I have been instructed to take Mom’s much smaller Grand Cherokee; a 4X4 with panties. Sorry, I digress.

The other day Roxy and I entered the pastures with my bag of tools, roll of rope and wire in an effort to get as much of the fence-line back up and running before the temps would begin to kiss the 100 degree mark so I attempted to work quickly while she supervised me from a shady spot and I worked along the fence-line.

And we had help. As shown in the video that accompanies this tale of frivolity and mirth, one of our pasture ornament off the track TBs, Bart, came over to check out his girlfriend, Roxy. Bart is in love with Roxy and she just does not have any time for the giant suitor who is 20 times her size, in fact, she is rude and will sit with her back to him but Bart is not the Einstein of Equines and continues to try to win her favor, which works out well for me as it keeps him busy. He loves to stick his nose in my ear, while I am working, and say “Can you hear me now” which is immediately followed by stealing my straw hat and running away with it.

Not today, when he became bored of being stood up by Roxy he stuck his nose in my ear and said “I have a special present for you,” and before his words even stopped rattling around in my head I saw his tail stand up and heard the sound of well hydrated horse turds plopping upon the ground, but upon further examination, they never made it to the ground as they ALL landed right inside my canvas tool back where they exploded all over my drill, pliers, screwdrivers and hardware. “REALLY!?!”

If not for the look of total and abject amusement on his face and Roxy running over to partake of this fresh manna from heaven I would have been a tad bit pissed but instead I trudged back up to the house and garage and cleaned up the mess before going back down to the pasture to continue my work.

Once back down, I clamped off a section of rope and began the tedious task of wiring an underground section to pass under a gate so that I could leave the gate open yet the power would continue to pulse further downstream where it was needed. With mission accomplished I looked for my staple gun so that I could safely secure the traversing wire to the fence posts on either side of the gate but alias I could not find it in the bag where Moose, the juvenile drafty, had been nuzzling just moments before. It took a few moments for it to register as I gazed at his ample backside calmly walk away and cross into an adjoining pasture but the concept struck home when I called his name, he turned around to look at me and there was a glint of shiny metal between his lips, I had been robbed. Of course, this turned into a fun and exciting romp around the pastures with dog in tow for about 20 minutes in 90 degree heat but I finally picked the staple gun out of the mini-mud pond that the horses roll in when it gets too hot. The staple gun was no longer recognizable.

Tools back in the bag, rolls of rope and wire under my arms and towards the house I dragged myself.

Industrial sized Wrangler Iced Tea was made and I walked into the pool fully clothed to sit on the steps and let the coolness roll over me and down inside me. I was finished.

Not much later, Terry appeared at the side of the pool, covered with sweat herself from her continued gardening obsession and stood over Roxy and I sitting neck deep on the steps in the middle of a giant slick of mud and grease.

With hands on her hips she said, “You two sure did not work very long.”

To which I replied, with Roxy panting in agreement, “Time is irrelevant when working with your children, often, it seems like an eternity when working in the pastures…and for that I am grateful.” as I raised the 36oz tumbler, filled with Diet Arizona Tea infused with a good Texas vodka, to her in the form of a salute. “Might I interest you in a drink?”

Curtain closes, exit stage left.

And so goes another day and chapter in the life of the residents at “Laughing Horse Farm”.

Next episode: “Moose eats tractor seat and steals all shift knobs when fuel line breaks during mowing and I go to the barn for tools. Time away from equipment: 2 minutes.”

Stay tuned…the adventures continue.

Keep the Faith!

Feel Good Sunday: Wild Horse & Burro Advocate Takes to Facebook Live Blinding Thousands with Glare from Bald Head

NEWS JUST IN:  Although speaking to an important issue; President of Wild Horse Freedom Federation, R.T. Fitch, took to Facebook Live, yesterday, in an effort to help support the wild horse & burro advocacy by explaining the release of their biggest lobbying tool yet, their White Paper, only to end up giving thousands of cases of mild eye fatigue due to the continuous glare from his bald head for over 30 straight minutes.

“I normally wear a hat,” R.T. said, “but being inside I did not think it would be proper so I ensured the overhead florescent light was out but I guess I just shouldn’t have discounted the effect of natural light from the window.” he continued.  “Next time I will use powder or perhaps Terry might have a make-up trick that I could use, but in reality, there is nothing like a good ole full head of hair to do the trick.” he sighed.  “That stagecoach has long ago left the station.”

When interviewed on the success of the project, VP of WHFF, Debbie Coffey, who joined the broadcast by phone commented, “I think it went very well and I welcomed the opportunity to clarify just what our White Paper is and how important it is to get in front of our legislators now, but I did take issue with one aspect of the broadcast.”  When asked what that issue was she stated, “At the end of the broadcast, R.T. stated that his Executive Producer and good friend, Roxy the Wonder Border Collie, had fallen asleep on the job, well, it would have been rather cute if he would have shared that with us.”

Well Deb, he has, if you scroll down to the bottom of this page you will find a photo of the burned out Executive Producer who says that R.T. is a difficult boss to work for and like you, he pays her peanuts.

Keep the faith

“He bores me to tears”

Saturday (7/8/17) Wild Horse & Burro Radio with Ginger Kathrens (Exec. Dir., The Cloud Foundation), John Holland (Pres., Equine Welfare Alliance), Katlin Kraska (lobbyist, ASPCA), Cory Golden (Advocacy Coordinator, Return to Freedom) and R.T. Fitch (Pres., Wild Horse Freedom Federation) on saving wild horses & burros from slaughter

painy

Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us on Wild Horse Wednesdays®, This is a SPECIAL Saturday show on July 8, 2017

10:00. a.m. PST … 11:00 a.m. MST … Noon CST … 1:00 p.m. EST

Listen to the archived show (HERE!)

You can also listen to the show on your phone by calling (917) 388-4520.

You can call in with questions during the 2nd half hour, by dialing (917) 388-4520, then pressing 1.

This show will be archived so you can listen to it anytime.

Our guests are:

Ginger Kathrens, Founder and Exec. Dir. of The Cloud Foundation, and member of the BLM’s National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board.  The Cloud Foundation is dedicated to preventing the extinction of Cloud’s herd through education, media events and public involvement and to protect other wild horse herds on public lands.

John Holland, Pres. of Equine Welfare Alliance.  Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) and its members are involved in a grass roots effort dedicated to ending the slaughter of American Horses and the preservation and protection of our Wild Horses & Burros on public lands.

Katlin Kraska, Equine Lobbyist for ASPCA.  The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®) was the first humane society to be established in North America and is one of the largest in the world.

Cory Golden, Advocacy Coordinator for Return to FreedomReturn to Freedom is dedicated to preserving the freedom, diversity, and habitat of America’s wild horses and burros through sanctuary, education, advocacy and conservation

R.T. Fitch, Pres. of Wild Horse Freedom Federation. Wild Horse Freedom Federation is dedicated to putting people between wild equines and extinction.

Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and/or top Bureau of Land Management officials have ordered all wild horses & burros currently in short term holding facilities be categorized by weight and age in anticipation of the approval of the federal budget. The current recommendation for this budget would allow for “sale without limitation” many or most of the wild horses & burros currently in holding. This can lead to the barbaric slaughter of our iconic wild horses & burros.

Listen to find out more information on this issue and the actions you can take to help save the wild horses and burros from slaughter!

   

Left to right above, Ginger Kathrens (Exec Dir., The Could Foundation), John Holland (Pres., Equine Welfare Alliance), Katlin Kraska (Equine Lobbyist, ASPCA), Cory Golden (Advocacy Coordinator, Return to Freedom) and R.T. Fitch (Pres., Wild Horse Freedom Federation)
This show will be hosted by Debbie Coffey, V.P. and Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

To contact us: ppj1@hush.com, or call 320-281-0585

TO LISTEN TO ALL ARCHIVED WILD HORSE & BURRO RADIO SHOWS, CLICK HERE. Continue reading

Proposed Federal Budget Could Spell Annihilation for America’s Wild Horses and Burros

“The potential for our worse possible nightmare to become a reality is knocking on our barn door, as I type, and we need to stop it and stop it NOW!

Below is a video plea from our good friend, Ginger Kathrens and both myself and Wild Horse Freedom Federation stand shoulder to shoulder with Ginger and The Cloud Foundation in urging you to take action in an effort to block the possibility of our wild equines being slaughtered.

When I snapped this photo on my iPhone I had the shutter sound activated and I was promptly reminded by Ginger to deactivate it as you can see it stimulated Ohanzee’s curiosity, big time.  Thanks for the insight, Ginger.

Ginger’s video is especially poignant for me as her equine guest is Ohanzee, the son of Cloud. I was fortunate enough to be with Ginger when we first came upon Cloud and his newborn son on a beautiful May day in 2014. We spent several days watching, videoing and photographing the youngster while in the evenings we struggled to come up with a name for him.

After much research and a few sips of adult beverages we arrived at the perfect selection which was Ohanzee, a Sioux name meaning ‘Shadow’ which was just what he looked like.

Ohanzee become my totem and further sealed my conviction to fight for those who cannot speak for themselves so for him to be featured with Ginger further lights my fire to do what is right, just and whatever is necessary to ensure the future safety, health and well-being of our federally protected wild horses and burros.

Please call the White House and voice your concerns, although I do not believe this to be a premeditated assault on our wild equines it can and will turn into a death sentence for the horses and burros if we don’t stop the bean counters from pulling the trigger…Now!

Please act, this is your opportunity to make a difference.  Thank you, my Friends.” ~ R.T.


“The remainder of the funding decrease will be achieved by reducing gathers, reducing birth control treatments, and other activities deemed inconsistent with prudent management of the program. The long-term goal is to realign program costs and animal populations to more manageable levels, enabling BLM to reorient the WHB program back to these traditional management strategies.”

The BLM contends that the horses on the range exceed the ridiculously low national AML of 26,700 by over 40,000 animals. There are over 40,000 animals in long and short term holding. 80,000 could be killed if we, the American people do not speak up!

There has never been such a grave a threat to the existence of our wild horses as right now!

Use the links provided in the video to call the WHITE HOUSE, your U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, and your 2 SENATORS. We must flood and overload the phone lines with calls. This will take only 4 phone calls—probably 1 minute each.

Never has it been more important for you to speak up on behalf of the future of our wild horses and burros!

CALLING INSTRUCTIONS

1. Leave your name (spell it), and the town where you live

2. Give 2 or 3 short sentences on your explicit concerns for the preservation and protection of our wild horses and burros.

3. Give your name again and express thanks for the opportunity to give comments.

4. You will probably get a Voicemail—but that’s ok. These elected officials must understand how important this is to you, and phone calls are all logged. If 50,000 of The Cloud Foundation followers will call, that adds up to 200,000 phone calls to Washington DC!

Thank you! Now let’s all get to work and make those phone calls for our wild horses and burros.

Links to Documents:

An Equine Thanksgiving: Who’ld a Thunk It?

A holiday message from R.T. Fitch ~ president/co-founder of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“Peace On!”

Moose and his buddy, R.T. FitchThanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays for a very simple and straightforward reason; ‘it is what it is’.

Thanksgiving is a holiday that is not tied to any religious custom(s) or overtones nor is it partnered with politics or some governmental event, it is simply about people getting together to give thanks for what they have, be it small or large, and sharing with family and friends.

Granted, there is a tie to an alleged historical event but even that event speaks directly to the simplicity of getting together with family and diversified friends to break bread and publicly give thanks for the simple fact that we did not wake up under six feet of dirt and that we have the power to effect positive change upon life’s upcoming events.

Perhaps, we equine advocates should quietly tick off a few of things that we could, and should, be thankful for this day.

If you are lucky enough to live with horses and/or donkeys you might be thankful that:

  • all of your equine companions were standing on four legs this morning
  • you received a clean bill of health from your vet’s last ranch call
  • there is ample feed in your tack room and hay in your loft (and beer in the barn fridge)
  • you were greeted with loving nickers when you walked out into the pasture today
  • hugging your horses gave you strength to jump another life hurdle last month
  • the sense that the equines breath life into your land and spread magic in your pastures
  • you cannot fathom a life without them

For those who’s hearts are tugged by the wild ones that grace our public lands we are thankful that:

  • we, collectively, have the power to effect change and can protect those wild equines that are a positive addition to our western plains
  • our hearts race when we see the magic and drama of family bands running free and enjoying their freedom
  • the wild ones have taught us about family, freedom and the bonds that hold a herd, tribe or society together
  • we have each other

Perhaps the last entry is the one that speaks the loudest to us, this day…we have each other. When the chips are down and we feel like we just don’t have the strength to fight another battle we do have the ability to look into an equine eye, center our souls and hold the hand of like individuals who not only feel the same pain but also understand the elation of doing what is right, just and required to help ensure the future safety and well being of our equine brethren, be they wild or domestic, for generations to come.

Have a peaceful and thoughtful day today as you gather strength and reassurance from family and friends ‘cause’ we will be saddling up later and hitting the rugged trail as there is a lot of work to do and if we don’t do it, no one else will. The wild horses and burros are in need and we are the cavalry; tomorrow we will pick the sword back up and ride on.

Keep the faith, my friends, and have a happy Thanksgiving.