Never a day where there isn’t something new to learn; and an opportunity to make a difference.
What prompted the heading and sub-heading of today’s post?
Well, I’ll tell you (you knew I was going to, didn’t you!)
I have mentioned Melinda Roth before on Learning from Dogs, most recently on February, 20th in a post called Oregon wolves, and book writing.
I have also previously mentioned Strawberry Mountain Mustangs back on the 18th February, in a post called The lone Ranger. That was where we spoke of visiting Darla and Troy who own Strawberry Mountain Mustangs, near Roseburg in Oregon and coming to the decision, the very happy decision, to adopt Ranger; whom we hope to welcome to our home in Merlin in about 10 days time.
Anyway, Darla was made aware of Melinda’s blog, Anyone Seen My (BLEEP)ing Horse? and left the following comment to one of Melinda’s posts, that comment from Darla being reproduced in full. Please read and absorb Darla’s comments because of the power of her words in relation to saving horses. Plus, later on there’s a plea from me for a competent web-programmer who could help Darla. But, please read on:
What a wonderful blog… there are no words, but sometimes I guess when a mutual passion is shared, you don’t necessarily need them, do you? Thank you for sharing this.
It’s been a great honor to meet Paul & Jean, and we are working toward getting Ranger delivered to them in the coming weeks. While he is not a “mustang” in the common sense of the word, he is a rescue, once abandoned in the Ochoco National Forest, brought here for rehabilitation and care. He’s a sweet, kind gentle soul whose eyes will sometimes give you the hint of the abuse he suffered some time during his past. Now, more often than not, he lets his guard down and will melt into you for the treats and scratches that used to be so foreign to him.
By adopting Ranger, Paul & Jean open up a space for a more critical rescue to come in. Maybe a wild one, they seem to find their way here – often after being abused or mishandled by their first adopter – as you have seen. Those animals are not the clean slate that comes from the desert and they have often learned what it takes to survive against the humans who don’t understand them. Other times, we will get a wild one who’s heart will always be wild, who was never meant to survive in captivity, and we work hard to find a suitable sanctuary for those animals to live out there days. And… we also get those amazing beings who seem to forgive us all for our actions, and seem to meld into what we expect of them – and except for that glimmer in the eye – they seem to forget the wide open spaces. My boy Buddy was that way. (Read about him on our sadly outdated website… http://www.strawberrymountainmustangs.com)
If it’s not a wild one, it will surely then be a starving creature at death’s door, sent to us by one of the law enforcement agencies we work with. Regardless of breed, we’ll take them in. Make them well, learn “who” they are, and try to find them their human. Sometimes it takes months, sometimes years. We’re in no rush.
I look forward to some day meeting you. I sent Paul some links to information about the Sheldon wild herds, a group that is very near and dear to me. Maybe he can share them with you? Sadly, Fish & Wildlife plans to have them completely eliminated this year I believe.
What an honor to have you comment here. And what beautiful words. I wish I could do what you do… I will visiting your site and hope to speak with you soon.
That reply from Melinda prompting this further comment from Darla (my emphasis, by the way).
I get the feeling you DO, do what I do. It takes a village. You may not be “hands on” – but you know horses. You spread the word. You encourage rescue. All of that IS what rescue IS. Don’t discount a bit of it just because you aren’t hanging out your shingle as a rescue organization. I appreciate the thought, but we’re all in this together.
Hope you found Buddy’s story – The Reason – and enjoyed it. The rest of the website is out of date since our web designer became ill. I’m not tech savvy, and prefer to be in the barn anyway…so there it sits.
That short sentence from Darla inspired me to write today’s post – hence the post title.
So with no further ado, here is Buddy’s Story.
Because not all mustangs are created equal…
On August 28, 2007, we lost a legend.
Born in the Nevada desert with a pedigree written in the sands, he was as pure as the air he breathed.
From the inside out, he was pure gold; soft and gentle, yet tough enough to survive the brutality that would have faced him in the wild. He belonged to Mother Nature & no one else, but he CHOSE me.
His amber eyes shone and melted the toughest of souls. If the eyes didn’t do the trick, a persistant lick would. He won over the heart of even the toughest cowboy.
Towering at 16.2 hands, some would call him a giant. I called him my friend.
He won no races, no ribbons, no trophies. Instead he won hearts. He never competed in a halter class. Instead he spent his time visiting elderly at assisted living centers. That was where he chose to stand at attention, perfectly still, for those in the wheelchairs to judge him.
He wasn’t a reining champion. He did no fancy rollbacks, sliding stops or quick turn arounds. Instead he chose to move carefully, cautiously and slowly so that he didn’t dislodge the rider from his back. Whether they were 2, or 62, Buddy took care of them. I think he earned more high points this way than any national champion ever could have.
Saddles and bridles didn’t fit. Maybe they were never meant to? After all, he had much more important things to do with his short life. Instead we went bareback and with a halter and lead. We didn’t need anything more. We had each other.
Buddy was a wild horse from the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge in Nevada. His heritage was cavalry, old stock run by ranchers for our military. It was in his blood to serve, to protect. He did just that.
The lives he saved are countless. Mine was just the first. He showed me what true passion is, that there was more to life than a paycheck and that even a small town girl could make a difference.
Buddy went on to save hundreds of equine lives as well, many of them the wild horses on Sheldon. Lawmakers and the media have learned about the inadequacies of a poorly run adoption program there and the danger our wild horses are in. He also brought us the quiet survivors of abuse and neglect cases. The malnourished, the broken, the beaten and the forgotten. He stood back and watched them all come in, for us to care for and mend, and he waited patiently for his turn to shine.
Webster’s dictionary defines legend as: a person or thing that inspires. I struggled with the term I wanted to use when writing this. Was Buddy an icon? An idol? A legend? After reading the definition, it became clear. He was my dream, my hope, my love, my reason and my inspiration. He is, and will forever be, my legend.
Darla Clark September 8th, 2007
Buddy’s legacy lives on at Strawberry Mountain Mustangs, the rescue founded because of him and so many like him. Wild horses who roam on Fish & Wildlife, Forest Service, National Park or reservation lands have no federal protection under the Wild Horse and Burro act of 1971. Please help us save a part of American History. These are OUR living legends. Now we must honor them, and Buddy, by protecting them.
In Buddy’s memory, we are erecting a much needed hay storage barn. We’ve lost several ton of hay to mold already this year. The hay barn will protect the hay and keep our rescue horses safe from any illness caused by hay affected by inclimate weather. Will you help continue Buddy’s work? Please, give whatever you can to help carry on Buddy’s legacy. Buddy made a difference; you can, too.
So here’s another great way you can really help.
Did you pick up what Darla wrote in her subsequent reply to Melinda? Here it is again:
The rest of the website is out of date since our web designer became ill. I’m not tech savvy, and prefer to be in the barn anyway…so there it sits.
The Strawberry Mountain website is not a complex one. Darla deserves support in so many ways. OK, are you a web programmer or do you know one? If not, could you share this post as widely as you can. Because there must be someone out there who could offer Darla some pro-bono help so that her website is updated. The many horses under Darla’s care deserve the best ‘voice’ in the universe.
So please help in any way possible. Thank you.