Our Smokin’ Anniversary Issue!
Who’s Your Favorite Buckle Bunny ?
The good, the bad, the beautiful!
Photo courtesy of Bristol MacDonald
FEATURES 8 Herd roun’ the waterin’ trough...Calamity Cate 10 The Gather...2011 roundup of wild horse fotogs 22 From here to extinction...Darcy Grizzle 32 Wake Up Call ...Patricia Kelley 38 Buckle Bunny of the Year Contest...Subscribe, Vote! 48 A Second Chance...David Lappen 54 Tough times, tougher choices...Tanii Carr 68 Good Reads by Carol Upton 71 There’s a mare...Rob Pliskin 74 Voice for the Horse Children’s Writing Competition \\
"These horses belong to all the people of America and they exist on lands that belong to all the people of America." Velma Johnston aka Wild Horse Annie
Publisher Equine Angle Marketing & Publicity California, USA
Editor in Chief ~ Producer Cate Crismani
Contributing “Wriders” Tanii Carr * Cate Crismani Darcy Grizzle * Chris Heyde Jeff Hildebrandt * David Lappen Patricia Kelley * Rob Pliskin Carol Upton * Yvonne Allen
Buckle Bunny Cover/Pictorial Photographer Flint Burckart Contributing Photographers Christopher Ameruoso * Darcy Grizzle Patricia Kelley * Tanii Carr * Yvonne Allen
Advertising Posse Rich Richardson 760.696.6304 “Calamity” Cate Crismani 818.642.4764
SUBCRIBE TODAY Paypal Online & Apple iTunes Store www.truecowboymagazine.com By check (USA only) made out to: Equine Angle 15443 La Maida Street Sherman Oaks, CA. 91403 trueCOWBOYmagazine, trueCOWBOYradio, Buckle Bunny, Buckle Bunny Corset(s), Vivo Los Mustangs are trademarked and owned by Equine Angle/Cate Crismani. All rights reserved. No portion of tCmag may be reproduced without written consent. tCmag has the right to final edit of total magazine content inclusive of articles, ads and photographs. We reserve the right to refuse or accept any advertisement and content. Gracias & besos, tCm.
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herd roun’ the waterin’ trough or from the desk of Calamity Cate There has been a lot of fur-flyin’ most recently as our Government opted to covertly alter the wording of the USDA De-funding bill and, yes, the USDA is now funded to inspect horses, domestics at the moment, but slippery slope for the wild ones as well. A similar slimy action taken by Senator Conrad Burns back in 1971 that upset the very core of the Wild FreeRoaming Horse & Burro Act...last minute, undiscussed, un-voted on and boom, in...as we slept. Are stateside horse slaughter houses on the horizon as USDA inspectors clear our horses as Grade “A” meat for overseas human consumption? I shutter at the thought and work harder to get the word out...you should as well...plenty of good sites to stay connected to besides tCmag... www.awhpc.org www.ewi.org awionline.org savingamericashorses.org A new year, a fresh start! January is our BIG Anniversary Issue and a wrap up of 2011...Amen. tCm Anniversary issue features our Premier Buckle Bunny of the Year 2011 Contest (pg 38)...you get to vote for your FAV Buckle Bunny when you join our posse and subscribe to an annual membership, receive tCmag monthly on your computer or get annual tCmag app at iTunes Newsstand….then come on in and vote...www.truecowboymagazine.com/saddle_up_subscribe Always ahead of the curve, tCmag now offers :30 and :60 “commercial” spot uploads and links in tCmag online and app editions promoting YOU, your merch, event or service...Very cool stuff! AND, We donate a percentage of all our ad revenues to a horse rescue/ sanctuary...win, win, win! It all goes around! We are all connected, si-no? Lets talk...here to help! Besos, Calamity Cate
The “Freedom Collection” from
featuring the Wild Horse photography of Kimerlee Curyl Designed by Pamela Robbins
The Gather A photographic round-up 2011 was another year of blood, sweat and tears for our wild ones and all of the advocates who work so hard to raise a awareness of them. We have been so fortunate to have such talented photographers become part of the trueCOWBOYmagazine family and contribute their beautiful images of the wilds in the wild as well as in captivity, an unfortunate end to their freedom and our heritage herds. In order to honor and recognize our talented “eyes” trueCOWBOYmagazine is having it’s premiere, annual Wild Horse Photographer of the Year Contest (WHPOY)...you must be an annual subscriber to tCmag either online or Apple app in the iTunes News Stand...that’s one of the perks of joining our posse, supporting our mission to raise awareness of the plight of the wild mustangs and burros in the USA… it is an honor to help the wild ones! www.truecowboymagazine.com/saddle_up_subscribe www.truecowboymagazine.com/apple_iphone_ipad_app. The Winner and WHPOY 2011 will be featured in our imminent print edition along with a trueCOWBOYmagazine silver buckle! As you can see from the following “gather” of wild horse photo’s, these mighty animals are fat, healthy, happy and content...don’t believe anything different...in fact, email me if you want to take part in our tCmag Buckle Bunny Wild Mustang Ride for details...if you’ve never seen a wild horse, this is the ride for you! Four days of riding, scouting, camping, eating, drinking, sharing, singing and star-gazing! Kindly subscribe and vote for your favorite Wild Horse Photographer of the Year 2011...and be eligible to vote for your Favorite Buckle Bunny of the Year as well...details on page 38! Gracias & besos, Amigos...Peace and prosper in 2012!
by Terry Fitch
by Bristol MacDonald
by Steve Simmons
by Dena Stapleton
by Tony Stromberg
by Andrea Maki
by Tom Doody
by Darcy Grizzle
by Matthew Bailey
by Jeanne Nations
by Cat Kindsfather
From Here to Extinction By Darcy Grizzle
As one of the Director’s of America’s Wild Horses Advocates (AWHA), I am directly involved in documenting one of the herds near Las Vegas, Nevada called the Wheeler Pass Herd located in a small remote mountain area called Cold Creek. AWHA strives for education and awareness of our wild mustangs and burros across our state, and nine other Western States where the wild horses and burros roam in their Herd Management Areas (HMA). We also are dedicated to on the range management in lieu of roundups and we promote eco-tourism and adoptions. For the last two years, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has stated that there are over 38,000 wild horses roaming free on the land that was set aside for them primarily but not exclusively, in the “1971 Free Roaming Wild Horse & Burro Act”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Wild and_Free-Roaming_Horses_and_Burros_Act_of_1971. In Fiscal Year 2010, the BLM has rounded up and removed over 10,000 wild horses and in Fiscal Year 2011 another 8,400. In the first six months of Fiscal Year 2012, they plan to remove another 6,000. Now I don’t know how you do math, but 38,000 minus 10,000 minus 8000 equals 20,000 left roaming free. The BLM’s head count, even after the round ups, does not seem to change. It remains at 38,000. The BLM claims the herds double every four years, using a reproductive rate of 20%. This calculation is based on the whole herd, not simply the mares. We all know stallions and foals don’t have babies, so this figure would appear erroneous, at the very least, exaggerated. When the BLM does put horses back on the range after a “gather”, they skew the sex ratio’s to 60% male, 40% female.
Our Wheeler Pass Herd was last gathered in 2008 and is scheduled for rounding up in 2012, early 2013. The BLM stated back then, there were sixty-one horses left on the range and they returned nineteen stallions and twenty-one PZP’d (birth controlled) mares. Based on their 20% reproductive rate, there should be 175 wild horses as of October 2011. This takes into account all 105 horses, regardless of gender or age. The BLM’s estimate as of a flyover count they completed in last March , is 271-325. Impossible if there were only 105 total left in Wheeler Pass and 21 of the mares were given birth control and couldn’t possibly have foaled for a year, minimum, but more likely two to three years. The Appropriate Management Level for this 273,000 acre Wild Horse Territory according to the BLM is 47 – 66 Wild Horses. This is well over four thousand acres per horse. There are no sheep or cattle grazing here, only wild horses, burros, elk, mule deer, mountain lions and coyote. The BLM also states that the wild horses and burros are starving, that there is not enough water for them, that they are degrading the riparian areas and range lands without any proof to substantiate these claims. I am up in this territory every month, sometimes three times a month, and have witnessed none of these claims. Part of my documentation includes photographing the different bands and keeping track of what mare had what foal, the sire and approximate ages. In my “Photography Website”: http://www.redbubble.com/people/ dgrizzle, I feature some of the wild horses and babies, fat and healthy, drinking peacefully around a natural watering hole. I have one image of a wild stallion and three mule deer grazing together in harmony.
For Nevada, a State with the wild horses on quarters and license plates, why are we not promoting them as tourist attractions? The rural communities would benefit from the newly created jobs and revenue and the economy would benefit as a whole. It seems the BLM and Department of the Interior would rather only graze cattle and big game for hunting. Large mining, oil and gas corporations pay huge leasing rates to the BLM to extract, frak, and ultimately destroy the land and water making it virtually impossible to support life of any kind in these areas. Water rights and leases have also entered the fold and the Southern Nevada Water Authority would like to build a pipeline from White Pine County all the way to Las Vegas. This pipeline will devastate the land and all the wildlife areas. There are now over 40,000 wild horses in long term holding pens in the Midwest, facilities closed to the public and supported by taxpayers. To add insult to injury, the BLM is pushing to create non-reproducing herds hatching a plan to castrate stallions and then return them as geldings to the range. If that is not “managing to extinction”, what would you call it? For more info on the Wild Horse & Burro’s please visit the websites below: Wild Horse Freedom Federation http://www.wildhorsefreedom.org/ The Cloud Foundation http://www.thecloudfoundation.org/ Ecology Law Quarterly http://elq.typepad.com/currents/2011/02/ currents38-02-wagmanmccurdy-2011-0215.html Report to Congress http://www.equinewelfarealliance.org/uploads/ Report_Congress_BLM_WH_B__Program_FY11.pdf America’s Wild Horse Advocates http://www.awha.info/
Handful of Legislators Condemn H AWI press report submitted by Chris Heyde
It would appear that some in Congress are all talk when it comes to seriously reducing federal spending and decreasing the size of government. Despite overwhelming objections from the American public and the horse community, and despite Congress’ own supposed belief in fiscal restraint, the fate of America’s horses was undermined by three Members of Congress and their staffs behind closed doors this week. For years, an amendment to the annual Agriculture Appropriations bill has prevented tax dollars from being used to "inspect" horse slaughter facilities in the U.S. The House of Representatives voted this year to again include it in the Fiscal Year 2012 Agriculture Appropriations bill, but three members of the Conference Committee, Representative Jack Kingston (R-GA), Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI), and Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), removed it from the final bill. A fourth member of the Conference Committee, Representative Sam Farr (D-CA), was the lone objector. "I have been in Washington for a long time and this move baffles me. Both parties talked about making the hard cuts in federal spending. Yet behind closed doors, three of the four men thought it was a good use of taxpayer dollars to ignore their colleagues, restore a federal program that will cost Americans at least $5 million a year and pull limited USDA inspectors from ensuring the humane treatment and safety of our nation’s food supply. To make matters worse, this was all done to appease a few foreign companies and Big Ag," said Chris Heyde, deputy director of AWI’s government and legal affairs department.
Horses to USDA Approved Abuse
This action shows the true nature of some elected officials - that they are more concerned about helping special interests than doing what they were elected to do.” Some legislators are trying to disguise what they did as helping the horses, but there is substantial evidence of horses suffering at taxpayers’ expense when slaughter was permitted in the U.S. While a recent GAO report attempted to connect an increase in abuse to a cessation of horse slaughter in the U.S., the authors noted that there was no actual proof other than claims put forward by pro-horse slaughter proponents. With this cynical move, there is now only one avenue left for ending the tragedy of the slaughter of horses for human consumption: Swift action on the GAO’s other recommendation - passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. "AWI commends Representative Farr (D-CA), ranking member of the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, for being the sole member of the Conference Committee to stand up for America’s horses and fiscal responsibility,” noted Heyde. “We look forward to working with Representative Farr and other Members of Congress on passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act.” The Animal Welfare Institute is calling on everyone who has horses and cares about the welfare of America’s horses to demand that Congress pass the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act immediately. Contact: Chris Heyde, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.awionline.org (202) 446-2142
WAKE UP CALL By Patricia Kelley A new tide of consciousness is rising in the horse industry. It’s calling forth great change. It’s a wake-up call for an industry that is out of sync with what the majority wants—and what this new era is calling forth. This new consciousness is bumping up against a very protective “old guard” of industry elites, big money and their old, tired, dinosaur era thinking. This dying behemoth fears loss of control, and their old, backwards, patriarchal ways of doing business. The horse industry is not isolated from the (r)evolutionary change that is happening everywhere, although you’d think so by the egregious behavior of the major horse registries, equine sporting associations, mega-breeders, and the affiliated services that make millions off their unconscious practices. They continue to do as they please with complete disregard for consequences. Sound familiar? We are witnessing this same rising tide of change in our US (and global) economy, political and financial structures, and all the old ways of power and control that the now identified “1%” has enjoyed for way too long, at the expense of the great majority. “A problem cannot be solved at the same level of consciousness that created it.” — Albert Einstein Change can be very painful. However, pain is often necessary for deep and profound change in humans, and in societies, to shift consciousness. We are all being called to do better; to live and act consciously. To be conscious is to be aware of how one’s impact affects everything. The industry is being forced into change after years and years of runaway greed, over-breeding, very poor business and marketing practices and a growing and shameful disregard for the horse. This multi-billion dollar industry exists only because of its hero— the horse. Yes, the magnificent horse has been all but forgotten by the “old guard.” Their answer is slaughter. It’s no answer to their gross and willful negligence.
The good news is this. Out of the greatest chaos and pain, wonderful, new, lifeaffirming change can emerge. It’s the chaos theory in action. What rises before us now is the greatest opportunity in our history with the horse to birth a new, conscious industry that honors the horse—and provides new opportunities for everyone to mix our love of horses with a conscious livelihood that serves the greater good. How are we going to get to a healthy, holistic, conscious industry that is based on doing the right thing, including breeding policies that don’t support rampant over-breeding, spurred on by a “race to be the biggest” by associations an d breeders that have no care or concern above profit? And, racing and sport futurities that encourage over-breeding, creating “throwaway” horses because of injury or failure to perform? If the only contest available was a “maturity,” horses would be treated better and brought along slower, minimizing injury and rejection at an early age. We must as a collective begin a serious commitment to education. The education must be directed at both the public and the industry. The general public needs to learn more about horses, their importance and all the opportunities within the industry to participate. And there must be comprehensive education within the industry on the new economy and how that impacts choices, best business practices, conscious communications, connecting with ideal new clients, developing new supportive ancillary services and products, and more. This is where we must start. We must continue our sacred activism, but we have to do more to turn this titanic around. Changing the slaughter laws (it’s even more urgent now with recent legislative developments) is critical. We must support this urgency for change with focused public and industry education. A complete turnaround will take years—and we have to start now. The current and new generations are critical to a changed industry. go to next page
Forward, creative, open-minded thinking is a requirement for success in the new era horse industry. Part of the education I recommend is learning to look at ways to align our businesses with the new reality while staying true to our hearts and our innate talents and gifts. That means looking within and connecting with our internal guidance and matching that with new opportunities. I’m not recommending people abandon their businesses and start over. Only to align with better practices and new, emerging opportunities. Potential new owners are generally more conscious and are seeking “values” rather than just value. Baby Boomer grandparents want older, seasoned and trustworthy mounts for themselves and their grandkids. I’m a Boomer and I know I don’t want to be hitting the dirt like I did when I was younger. “A 2007 AARP study found that 85% of Boomers rank themselves from either “somewhat spiritual” to “very spiritual.” This does not reflect religious affiliation, but instead reflects a rising consciousness. This is more and more typical and is something that tends to happen in later years if one hasn’t experienced an awakening prior to their Boomer years. In 2008, Dr. Carol Orsborn wrote that, “today, 50+ers (especially women), are looking for meaning and renewal….” This means that they are not going to engage in a renewed dream of owning a horses or taking riding lessons from a breeder or trainer that abuses their horses or sends their overbreeding “rejects” to slaughter. Gen-xers (1965-1977) and the Milennials (Gen-Y 1978-1987) both come with their own needs. As a general rule, they are independent out-of-the-box thinkers, want things quicker, and social responsibility is important to them, especially the Gen-Y. To reach these buyers (including the re-entry Boomers and their families) takes a whole new approach. And it’s got to be transparent and conscious. They can and will smell the rat of unconscious, liefilled, abusive behavior. They will be very interested in your values, how you treat them, your horses and your employees and if you have conscious regard for the bigger picture. Because of the “get things now” technology era most have grown up in, they are going to be more interested in seasoned, trained horses that they can enjoy and “experience” now—not later after years of training. The older horse is going to be very highly valued. go to next page
When we look at the statistics below, itâ€™s a no-brainer that the industry must change and in big ways. Between 1997 and 2005, the Horse Industry grew by 55%, the number of horses increased by 33% and the number of horse owners increased by only a mere 5% during the same time. Equine Industry Statistics: From EquineDestiny.com) 80% of first time horse owners get rid of their horse within 5 years. Every 5 minutes an American horse is slaughtered for human consumption. 92% of horses going to slaughter are in good condition. In just nine years (1997-05), the American horse industry has grown from $25.3 billion to $39 billion, an increase of 55%. The equine population in the United States has expanded from 6.9 million to 9.2 million horses, an increase of 33%. Meanwhile, the number of horse owners has risen from 1.9 million to 2.0 million, a modest increase of only about 5%. The new buyer, owner and those who might want to simply enjoy horses on occasion are looking for something far different than what is being offered by the â€œold guard.â€? They are seeking the experience of connection, to connect with the horse and to feel the joy of this connection, whether that be riding or working with horses from the ground. This is being witnessed already in the wonderful ways horses are being used in therapy and teaching of all kinds. This desire to have a complete experience of connection will require redeveloping your programs and client services in many cases. The new buyers and clients are seeking providers with congruent values to their own. What are these values? They are many, but include, integrity, conscious regard for all life, social and environmental responsibility, kindness and honesty.
We love our Buckle Bunnies, don’t we? Not only have they brought such beauty to trueCOWBOYmagazine but they have brought global, international attention to the plight of the wild mustangs and burros In the Great U.S.A. Each Buckle Bunny is a horsewomen and a wild mustang advocate and each is on top of her game! So we thought, let’s acknowledge them and recognize the wonderful contributions these gals, our Buckle Bunnies, made to raising awareness of the wild ones in 2011, with our Premiere Annual trueCOWBOYmagazine Buckle Bunny of the Year Contest. You get to vote for your favorite BBOY 2011, once you've subscribe to tCmag...voting is for posse subscription members only, you see. Paypal for our online annual subscription and via your Apple account for our app in the iTunes News Stand. If you want to subscribe so that you can vote for one of our stunning Buckle Bunnies, simply go to www.truecowboymagazine.com/ saddle_up_subscribe then put in your info, your BBOY vote and submit...No muss, no fuss and sooo very much fun! or www.truecowboymagazine.com/apple_iphone_ipad_app, to subscribe to our annual app, then come on back to link above and vote as instructed there. If you are already a member of our posse, go on in and vote at www.truecowboymagazine.com/saddle_up_subcribe for both online and app subscription posse. The Winner and BBOY will be featured on the cover/inside pictorial of our printed issue in the next few months and will receive gifts from our wonderful advertisers and clients ie: belt buckle, cowboy hat etc. So if you’d like to send in a gift for our BBOY shoot me an email at email@example.com And yes, I will keep you posted on tCmag’s 2012 Print schedule...Yup, PRINT! You’ve been demanding it and we feel its time deliver! Gracias and besos, Beautiful Buckle Bunnies and our loyal posse...Peace and Best Wishes n 2012!
Photographed by Nicolette Jansen
by Flint Burckart
by Ann Felipe
Jessica Jean Tourino by Flint Burckart
by Bristol McDonald
by April Visel
By Robert Schoeller
Liz Alvarado by Linda Vanoff
by Flint Burckart
A Second Chance By David Lappen
I’m feeling less scared now, not like when I first got here. I was all alone. There was a light above me, but I couldn’t see the sky. I was in some kind of cave. Parts of the cave were made out of dead trees. I bit at them and inhaled deeply to calm myself. Looking back I realize it was warm, there was lots of hay on the ground to lie in, and plenty of food and water. That didn’t make it any less scary. The food smelled and tasted strange, not like the fresh green plants that I ate with my herd. I could smell and hear other horses. They called out to me, asking who I was, telling me my place in the new herd, chattering on. Other parts of the cave were made of something hard and cold. There were humans at first, but they quickly left me alone after they shut me in. I paced around, smelled the air, kicked at the walls. I called out to my mom, even the horses in this strange herd. No one came to get me out. I was stuck there. I don’t know how long I walked in circles before I got too weary to move. I lay down and slept, but that didn’t last long. I must have been in a deep sleep, too deep a sleep to be in without the protection of my herd. That’s probably how it managed to sneak up on me, the human. I leapt to my feet and reared up, but she didn’t attack. I thought at first I’d scared her off, but she stood her ground. She didn’t walk away, but she didn’t press me either. She made soothing sounds, not like the other humans I’d run into. After awhile she moved toward me slowly. I ran to the back of the cave and pinned my ears at her. She kept the pressure on. She was the leader of this new herd, and wanted me to know it. I settled into this realization and let her approach the edge of my cave, just to the dead trees that I’d bitten before I fell asleep. Then another human came in, a man.
I hadn’t had very good experiences with humans up to that point, especially men. In the past few months men had chased me and my herd, trapped us, and separated us. It was awful. They weren’t very nice to us at all. They yelled and swung at us, sometimes hitting us. They circled us and pressed at us as they rode on top of other horses. It was very scary and confusing. The dust rose around us in clouds. The hoof beats of my herd thundered in my ears as we ran. It was so loud I could barely hear the whinnying of my mom. I ran, trying to catch her. Dust and clumps of dirt filled my eyes and stung them. Tears streamed down my face. My heart was racing. It was so hard to breath! My mind went blank from shear panic. The next several days and weeks were endless streams of movements. Men pushed us apart into different traps. They loaded us into caves that moved. When they opened the caves, the outside world had changed. I didn’t recognize it anymore. It looked cold and dark, no fresh grass, only dirt and more traps. They moved me through these “pastures” and one day into another one of those moving caves that brought me where I am now. The woman and the man both made soothing sounds as they watched me. I tried to scare them off, but my rearing and kicking didn’t work. They stood their ground and watched me, just like the older horses in the herd did. They put food and water in my cave, and then left me for awhile. This activity was repeated for several days, each time they came closer and closer until I finally let them touch me. I was terrified. The first touch from the man against my neck sent warning shocks through my body and made me very scared, but instead of hurting me he just rubbed me. It felt sort of nice, kind and gently.
Eventually I let the man put something on my head while the woman watched. She called it a “halter”. He pulled on it and I understood that the pressure meant I was supposed to follow him. He led me to a round trap, with a deep sandy bottom. We both got inside and then he squared his shoulders to me and sent me to the outside and ran me in circles; first one direction, then another. We did this every day for many days. We did other things too. He put things on my back, and in my mouth under the watchful eye of the woman. I didn’t understand, and definitely didn’t like it at first. I let him know too. I reared and kicked. I even tried to bite him. He never hurt me, but he did put pressure on to let me know he was dominant, and always with the woman telling him what to do and watching. That didn’t stop me from trying to sneak in a kick. One day, he got on the back of another horse and tied me to that horse. We walked together in a pasture. It was kind of nice. The big horse and I liked each other, and that night I stayed in the pasture with him. They all became my new herd; the man, the woman, and the horse. I don’t know what will happen next. I keep looking all over this new place for my old herd. I still haven’t found them, and I still get scared sometimes. The new herd protects me and feeds me, and someday I will protect them too when I get bigger. I hope that my mom is still with the old herd, or found a new herd to protect her. I miss her. ______________________________________________________ Editor’s Note: This piece was written from the point of view of a wild mustang by our newest contributing writer, Mr. David Lappen of Ft. Worth, Texas who got in touch with me and joined our posse via our Apple App at iTunes…we LOVE that! I encourage all of our readers to get in touch with me… maybe you too can make a difference for our wild ones!
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here in the wide world can man find
Nobility without pride, Friendship without envy Or Beauty without vanity? Here, where grace is laced with muscle, And Strength by gentleness confined. He serves without servility, He has fought without enmity. There is nothing so powerful, Nothing less violent; there is nothing So quick, nothing more patient. All of our past has been borne on his back. All our history is his industry, We are his heirs, he our inheritance. Ladies and Gentlemen â€“ The Horse. ~ Ronald Duncan ~
Tough times, tougher choices By Tanii Carr
It’s no secret that the past few years have been difficult for a lot of people, good people. If you’re involved with horses at all, you’ve probably seen stories of people walking away from their homes and abandoning their horses (and other pets) to whatever fate awaited them—usually starvation unless discovered by caring people who got them help. Some horses have been left at horse shows, their owners hoping that a compassionate person would take them home. And of course, some have been taken to auction usually bound for slaughter. As the economy plunged taking in its wake the livelihoods and lives of people all across this great nation, more and more horse owners have been faced with the difficult and often emotional decision on what to do with the horses they can no longer afford or keep. Some have tried selling or giving them away, but that’s difficult because there’s always the possibility that they won’t be treated well once they’re gone. These are the problems I faced in 2010 when my husband and I lost our ranch in Southern California; a place that embodied a lifetime of hopes and dreams that included four beautiful horses, all of whom I knew as distinct individuals and were part of my extended family. How do you “get rid of” family? Though it seemed almost impossible at the time, I kept hearing how difficult it was for people to even give away their horses, I was committed to doing whatever it took to find great homes for them.
First there was Chloe. A registered palomino Paso Fino mare, 9 yearold and green broke. Chloe was born to us in 2011. . She is gorgeous, smart, a show-off and a bit “bossy.” When her trainer taught her to put her front feet on a block of wood, we all applauded, whereupon he had her put her feet down on the ground. But when the applause stopped, Chloe looked around and, on her own, put her feet back up on the block of wood! We again applauded. She put her feet back on the ground, but when the applause again stopped, she put her feet back on the block! She must have been a Broadway performer in an earlier life! I got the word out to trusted horse friends about needing a new home for Chloe. I had many responses (I sent pictures), but had each person come to meet her and, if she did well with them on the ground, had them ride her in our arena. I “grilled” each person as to their ambitions with her and what her new home would be like. I wasn’t concerned about her ending up at the auction because everyone who came out was a referral from people I trusted—mostly in the natural horsemanship movement. This whole process took several weeks, but she finally went to a 4H horse group nearby with a wonderful youth program. I was able to visit her and see her progress and when it appeared that they didn’t have a “forever” youngster for her (as I said, she could be “bossy”), I continued to work with the head of the program to find her a great forever home. It took a year, but with persistence and the help of our 4H director, Tracy, Chloe now has her permanent home with a family whose children love and adore her!
Being Paso Fino owners already, they knew how to work with her to bring out her best—she’s very talented in the right hands. Ultimately, it was a win-win-win for all concerned! Now I can sleep at night knowing she’s in good hands. Pele was a registered chestnut Paso Fino mare, 21 year-old, Chloe’s mother. Pele came to us very pregnant in 2001. She had lost her first baby a couple of years before we got her, so I was very conscientious about her care to ensure a safe delivery, so much so that for the last couple of weeks before Chloe was born, I slept outside on a cot next to her stall. On May 29th, my husband and I went for an early dinner with our son to celebrate his birthday. When we got home, I gathered up my pillow and blankets and headed for the barn. As I was making up the cot, I heard a commotion. Pele’s water broke; she was in labor. My husband and two friends gathered to keep an eye on her. Somewhere around 11pm, our Chloe presented herself….partially at least. Pele let me wipe the placenta away from Chloe’s head after which the rest of Chloe’s body was on the ground. Pele was a superb mom. All the neighbors wanted to see her baby and while she was protective, she let people approach at the corral’s edge to admire baby. I know, in my heart, that Pele waited for me to get home that night so I could be part of this wonderful miracle and as a way of letting me know how much she appreci-
I went through the same process with Pele that I did with finding a suitable home for Chloe. I “thought” I had the right person, so I released her to her new home where she was going to do a lot of trail riding. Some months later, I got a call from the person who had taken her, telling me that it wasn’t working out. That she was fighting with any horse put next to her. She was coming up lame and wasn’t being ridden. It was a disaster! When I went to see her, she looked awful! Clearly, she was unhappy. Her feet were in desperate need of a trim. She seemed genuinely happy to see me but that was little consolation, because I left soon after I saw what condition she was in. A year after thinking I had placed her in her permanent home, I still had to find her the right situation. Again, I went on the search and through my vet, discovered a great family who had several acres where they allowed their existing band of three assorted horses to wander the entire property except at night. When I visited the place, it was evident that the horses were healthy and happy and living the life they were intended to live—in a herd grazing all day. The person who had taken Chloe was a good man. He was as frustrated as I was that it had not worked out, but was willing to work with me to get her properly placed. When she stepped out of the trailer at her new home, she was a changed horse! She was bright, alert, and whinnying at the other horses. When placed in their arena, she galloped around, tail held high, ears forward, prancing around as if she owned the place!
When I saw the other horses gather around the railing to meet and greet her, I knew she was in the right home! Another happy ending!
Now for Miata our 16 year-old registered Paso Fino bay mare. Miata was a gift from a young and very talented rider who didn’t have time for her. What we didn’t know was just how awful her feet were! The egg-bar shoes and pads, when pulled, revealed hoof-wall separation and an infection that was so bad, it had resulted in a black “ooze” that was working its way up her leg with a smell that could make you gag. Ultimately, it took over two years of daily care (soaking, hand-walking, herbal remedies, massage), and three complete sets of new feet, to get her to a point where she could be ridden comfortably (with boots). So when I realized that I was going to have to find her a new home, I was tempted to think that no one would take a horse that was still going to require extra care. Good thing I didn’t buy into that idea! Because not only did I find just the right person for Miss Miata, but the woman felt honored to carry on with what I had started! Miata has a fabulous home with a wonderful and caring woman. My dear horse is doing at least as good as she was at my place, and perhaps even better! What a relief!
Now for my wonderful and special friend, Refinado, a grey, registered Paso Fino gelding. When we lost our ranch, Ref was 31. I had had him for more than 15 years. He had been a show horse with some of the baggage that comes with that distinction. When I got him, he had the worst contracted heels I’d ever seen. But despite this handicap—and the internal damage it had caused—freeing him from his tiny shoes allowed him to be sound over any terrain. What a remarkable horse! A young neighbor friend, Sarah, became his mentor and gave him a purpose for many years. He took her over hills, through water and varied topography, and through parades—all barefoot, bitless and bareback. They were a great pair! However, in recent months, his memory had begun to fade, he had become herdbound in the extreme, and the melanomas that he had when I acquired him had become numerous, making it difficult for him to urinate. If I was to take any horse to our new place, it could only be one horse. I knew, in my heart, that Ref would not make the transition even if he made the trip to our new place (he didn’t like trailers).
After considerable deliberation, Charley and I decided to put him down rather than risk injury in the trailer ride, have him suffer deep depression from being separated from his herd mates, not to mention what had become evident that his days were numbered due to the melanomas. Sarah wanted to be there, even though she knew it would be hard to confront. She brought her brother for moral support. We all told him how much we loved him and how much he had enriched our lives and when it was over, Sarah took clippings from his mane and tail as remembrances. Empiezo, our 16 year-old chestnut, registered Paso Fino gelding. A former national champion western pleasure horse, Empy was to be my partner for the next several years. I had had him for a year and though I had ridden him prior to acquiring him, I had spent recent months working with him mostly on the ground. While he displayed many playful and endearing qualities, he also manifested traits consistent with horses that are pushed to perform beyond their tolerancesâ€”signs that I ignored. One day while working him on the ground at liberty, he bit me on the shoulder, lifted me off the ground twice before letting me go and running off. Once I realized that I was not dead or irreparably injured, I knew that for whatever reasons, he and I were not a good match. He had to go. go to page 64
Once again, I found myself needing to find a new home for a horse. I pursued my objective with as much intention as I had with my other horses, albeit for different reasons. Again, I was faced with what other people told me: “You’ll never find a home for a dangerous horse like that!” I didn’t agree. Just because I was not the right match for this horse, didn’t mean there wasn’t someone out there who could be. Through a series of connections, I found Mick, a natural horsemanship study and teacher in Texas who also happened to own Paso Finos! I was completely honest about Empy and what I had encountered as I didn’t want anyone else to suffer at the hands of this otherwise wonderful and talented horse (I have this thing about wanting to sleep at night.) Mick knew of a young lady serving in the military who had a horse ranch not far away. She had always wanted a Paso Fino but couldn’t afford one. And, as bizarre as it may sound, she specifically wanted a horse out of the legendary Capuchino (Empy’s sire), but again could never have afforded such a horse. April had a good track record of taking difficult horses and turning them around (I made sure of that before we went any further). And on top of everything else, one of the premier natural horsemanship trainers in Texas was willing to work with Empy—at no charge to her—for six weeks to handle his issues prior to giving him over to April! Can destiny be any more obvious? I just saw a video of Empy as he is today—a happy and healthy horse that is being used daily, and with inexperienced riders! He looks calm, ears forward. While I could beat myself up over not being a good enough handler, he is where he should be. The fact that his new owner is out there protecting our rights and freedoms makes the whole experience worthwhile. go to page 66
One more horse rehoming story. Cia: a buckskin Paso Fino mare, estimated to be in her teens, not registered. We acquired this “free” horse and thought she would be just a wonderful addition to our herd at the time. This “shy” girl, proved to be dominant with the other horses, but rideable. After getting our new horse trailer and Excursion, my husband, Charley, just had to go out trail riding. When Charley’s horse, Pele, refused to get in the trailer, he decided to take Cia who readily obliged. Never mind that Charley had not ridden her, let alone bareback, we had never ridden in the place we intended to go. My “macho” husband refused to listen to reason on the matter, so off we went. If you’ve ever been to a rodeo and seen bucking broncos with all four legs—usually straight up and stiff—two or three feet off the ground, you will get the idea of how Cia “dismounted” Charley. After flying through the air and landing on hard-packed ground some 20 feet away, Charley had shattered his right femur bone (“I’m sure I just sprained something.”) Ten days and $60,000 later, Charley had a plate and seven screws in his leg. Some people would have put the horse down in an instant. Not us. Even Charley knew that he had violated everything he’d ever been taught when he got on that horse. He did not blame her, but we both knew that whoever took her would have to promise that she’d never be ridden again, EVER! Amazingly, we found the perfect person for her: A friend of a friend who wanted to breed gaited mules! We also found out after Charley’s accident that she had a rib that was out of place, hence her “reaction” to him getting on. We got her a chiropractic adjustment to handle the problem, but the fact that she had “learned” that bucking people off was a solution to a problem, we could not trust her to be a safe riding horse. go to page 70
Blogged The Journey Continues
GOOD READS Reviewed by Carol Upton www.dreamsaloud.ca I have been blessed with many animal friends in my life, but you were unique. I had a connection with you since your wobbly foal legs held you up and until your aged arthritic legs no longer allowed you to stand. ~ Denise Lee Branco In the award-winning Horse at the Corner Post, Denise Lee Branco writes straight from the heart about her deep, lifelong connection to her quarter horse, Freedom. At an outsiderâ€™s first glance, there may have been nothing special about this particular foal. Yet, Branco and Freedom connected almost immediately, soul to soul. Sharing hugs, playing racing games alongside the fence, and winning nd 2 Place in a Kindergarten Western Pleasure Class, the two youngsters formed a powerful relationship. All that changed as Branco neared college age and her uncle took a fancy to the horse. Thinking Freedom would have a great temporary home, Branco let him go, only to discover some years later that he had been sold. What ultimately takes place is an astonishing tribute, not only to the profound relationship between a girl and her horse, but also to the deep support of a family that understood this bond and cared enough to see it through. The strength of this book lies in Brancoâ€™s skilled and honest storytelling. The reader is there every step of the way, reminded of the animals that may have graced their own life. Brancoâ€™s hope in writing about Freedom is that it will encourage animal adoption. This inspired family reading achieves all of that and more. Visit her at: http://www.horseatthecornerpost.com/
COWBOYS? by Jeff Hildebrandt Do cowboys still find time to rhyme when cattle’s bedded down? Or do they just hop in their cars and beat it back to town? Do cowhands still swap stories like those hands did years ago? Or is that bit of history gone like the buffalo?
The romance of the range lives on around the campfire’s light in the minds of all the wannabes who spend each day and night doing what those cowboys did a hundred years ago. And it’s up to full time buckaroos to let them think that’s so.
They long to ride Ben Johnson style with smooth and flowing grace. Have a showdown with a grizzled cur and spit right in his face. They’re living out a fantasy in hats and chaps and vest, pretending to be real cowhands in the wild and wooly West.
Say what you will of tenderfeet, of dudes and wannabes but if the West is to survive it’s up to folks like these. Cause, were it not for wannabes, why use a horse at all? They’d round up cows from ATV’s while making cell-phone calls.
From page 66
There is a bright spot in all of this. I do not regret having my horses, even if I had to find them new homes. They taught me so much! Through finding them new homes, I met some wonderful and caring horse people—what a blessing! In the past few months, our business has blossomed! My husband is in such demand that he has a waiting list of clients! I am now looking for “the right horse” for me at this stage of my life. I’m taking my time to find a good partner with a renewed passion for horses and riding. I don’t think I would be so excited if I had not taken the time and effort to do right by my extended horse family members. I think because I did what I did, I will be rewarded with a very special horse. If you do what you know is right, even though others may differ or try to change your mind, you will be rewarded with that calm certainty that comes from maintaining your own personal integrity. If you have compromised in the past, don’t beat yourself up. You can change the future.
There’s a Mare By Rob Pliskin There’s a mare flying ‘cross the range Mane tangled in the wind That’s blowing ‘cross the vast Nevada steppe Her tail’s an endless banner A riffling in the breeze And she’s far from being close to winded yet You won’t see words as she flies by Upon that silky tail But pictures painted in red filaree Of all the mares and their bands She’s running to protect with Des colores of her heart to keep them free Under the moon this desert night She’s circling with the herds No dallys taken nor none gave away Outrunning all the hungry men With money in their eyes Giving peace to her remuda one more day So if you look inside your heart Des colores you will see and If you find they seem to be the same Splash them on your wild flanks And wheel into the wind To follow the mare with the tangled mane Cause she can’t do it by herself It‘s never just been one To hold back the howling hounds of hell Make your peace and join her give Your courage as a gift For the mares and their herds I wish you well
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Voice For The Horse Children’s Writing Competition Youth under the age of 18 have the unique opportunity to participate in the first Voice For The Horse Children’s Writing Competition ~ Subject Wild Horses. Participants must include with their written essays an answer to this question: What do you think the horses would be telling you if they could speak? “The reason we ask you to do this is because horses do not have a voice, at least one that is audible and that we understand,” explains Yvonne Allen, a certified equine practitioner and Voice For The Horse (VFTH) Founder of the competition website. The writing competition was inspired by Atticus, the Wild Stallion from Deadman Valley, British Columbia, Canada who was captured this past winter of 2011 along with many other herd members and rescued by CritterAid /Project Equus in the Interior of B.C. The organization’s mandate is that “through education about the sentience of horses and their true needs, VFTH aspires to promote our heritage with horses from our past, present and for our future years ahead through the voices of our children and other horse lovers of the world.” This year’s Grand Prize Winner will win a trip for two to the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros (ISPMB) ranch located on 680 acres of the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation. Included with the Grand Prize is a Gift Package of educational equine related material including DVD’s and books to enhance any horse lover’s library! The writing competition provides a unique and free learning opportunity with the hope that children will have the opportunity to share their love for horses across North America through their writing. It is broken up into two age groups, 12 and under and 13 to 18 years of age and is open to children in the United States and Canada to participate. Entries are due by March 1st, 2012.Visit the Voice For The Horse web site at www.voiceforthehorse.com for contest details. Contact: Yvonne Allen 604.833.3983 Yvonne@voiceforthehorse.com