Tag: Strawberry Mountain Mustangs

Revisiting the story of Ben and Ranger.

The power of forgiveness displayed by our animals.

Last Sunday’s Picture Parade was mainly photographs of Jean out with our ex-rescue horses Ben and Ranger. Let me share the one of Ben as it is relevant to what follows.

p1160488A regular reader, Susan Leighton, the author of the blog Woman on the Ledge, commented (in part):

Ben and Ranger are handsome! They are known as roans, correct? I have always loved horses.

I didn’t know but said that I would ask Jeannie (and they are Chestnuts, not Roans!). It then struck me that republishing the post that was first presented back in March, 2014 might be of interest to others beyond Susan.

First, understand, for it is not specifically spelled out in this post, that Ben was removed by the Sheriff because he was being starved, being beaten and having air-gun bullets fired into his chest (the scars are still visible)!

Here’s that post from 2014:

ooOOoo

Welcome Ranger – and Ben!

Our new boys- the story of two horses!

Regular readers of Learning from Dogs will remember a post just over a month ago The lone Ranger. Essentially, that explained that we had visited Strawberry Mountain Mustangs in Roseburg, Oregon and, subject to their approval, had decided to adopt Ranger, a 15-year-old gelding.

Ranger, when first seen in February.
Ranger, when first seen in February.

Thus it proceeded to the point where two-days ago Darla, of Strawberry Mountain, ably assisted by Cody, brought Ranger and Ben to us here in Merlin. It’s been a wonderful twenty-four hours (at the time of writing this). Why Ben? Please read on.

Destination!
Destination!

Darla and Cody making a safe and timely arrival a little before 10am last Tuesday.

Ben, our new foster.
Ben, our new foster, being coaxed out by Darla on the lead-line and Cody behind him.

Why did we take the two? Last October, Ben had been found starved and showing the signs of a great lack of confidence. He was ‘rescued’ on orders of Darla’s local sheriff because of Ben’s condition despite being in private ownership. Darla was certain that Ben had been physically beaten in recent times, hence him being very wary of strangers. Thus his relationship with Ranger was part of his journey of returning to a healthy, confident horse. Darla offered us the opportunity of fostering Ben because Ranger had become a good companion for him. Darla explained that Ben was a very wary horse, especially of sudden movements from men.

Jean leading Ranger; Darla leading Ben.
Jean leading Ranger; Darla leading Ben.

Another 100 yards and the start of a new life for these two gorgeous animals.

Hey Ranger, is this for real!!
Hey Ranger, is this for real!!

In the those first few minutes after Jean and Darla led the horses to the grass paddock, Ben seemed to have an expression on his face that suggested it was all too difficult to believe! Ranger just got stuck into munching! But not to the extent of not enjoying a back-rub!

"I think I'm going to like this, Ben!"
“I think I’m going to like this, Ben!”

In the afternoon, it was time to bring Ben and Ranger for an overnight in the top area where the stables, food and water were. Ben was very nervous at coming through the open gate and for a while there seemed to be a complication in that Ranger kept thrusting at Ben as if to keep him away from the fence line separating the horses from Allegra and Dancer, our miniature horses.

But in the morning, yesterday, things seemed much more relaxed. To the point that when Ben and Ranger went back out to the grass, Ben was much more relaxed towards Jean and me, as the following pictures reveal.

Jean offering Ben some treats.
Jean offering Ben some treats.

oooo

Yours truly doing likewise.
Yours truly doing likewise.

OK, want to turn back to Darla.

To give an insight into the awe-inspiring work of Darla and her team (and many others across the Nation) and to recognise the need of the authorities to have such outlets as Strawberry Mountain, here are two photographs of Ben shortly after he was removed from the people who had stopped loving and caring for him.

Ben2 when found
Ben as seen last October.

oooo

Ben as seen last October.
Ben close to starving.

Strikes me as only one way to end this post is with the following as seen on Darla’s Facebook page.

asasa
Author unknown.

Thus this post is offered in dedication to the good people all over the world who know the value of the unconditional love we receive from animals and do not hesitate to return the same.

Darla, Cleo and Cody setting a wonderful example of unconditional love.
Darla, Cleo and Cody setting a wonderful example of unconditional love.

How about giving the nearest animal, or human, a big hug telling them at the same time how much you love them!

Celebrating Ben and Ranger.

The joy these horses have given us.

It’s almost impossible, at times, to get one’s mind around life’s events.  I’m not wishing to be overly philosophical but, nonetheless, it doesn’t do any harm to muse from time to time about the nature of things.

Take our two rescue horses: Ben and Ranger.

They have now been with us for coming up to three months.  Considering how terribly they were treated before being rescued by Darla Clark of Strawberry Mountain Mustangs, it’s a privilege to experience the way that these two horses have so rapidly put their past behind them.

All of which is a preamble to this photograph taken just a couple of days ago.

Ranger (LHS) and Ben enjoying our open grassland.
Ranger (LHS) and Ben enjoying our open grassland.

Just look at their shiny coats!  Just look at them so happily munching away on the grass.

Now look at how they were not so long ago.

Ranger, when first seen in February.

Ranger, when first seen in February.

oooo

Ben2 when found
Ben as seen last October.

So back to present, happy times.

The last photograph is of Jean having just put a halter on Ranger so that the two of them can be taken in at the end of the day.  Ben follows Ranger in without the need of a halter.  Ben and Ranger are inseparable!

P1140659

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Tomorrow, the celebration of another beautiful animal!

The wide open spaces.

Our horses, Ben and Ranger, now graze in our main pasture.

Nearly six weeks ago, we welcomed our two rescue horses to our home.  Then a week ago I reported that Ben and Ranger had settled in. The final part of embracing these two wonderful horses was to offer them grazing facilities out in the main area of grassland.

Thus as soon as an electric fence had been installed, Ben and Ranger faced a great deal of fresh grass!  Admittedly, for just a couple of hours a day to prevent them from getting fat.

So three photographs of two very happy horses!

Wow! This I can't believe!
Wow! This I can’t believe!

Ben is to the left in the above picture; Ranger head down nibbling grass as if it was going out of fashion!

Grass, grass and, yes, more grass!
Grass, grass and, yes, more grass!

 

This time it is Ranger looking at the camera in the above picture, with Ben filling his chops!

Thank you Mum & Dad! Oh, excuse me for speaking with my mouth full!
Thank you Mum & Dad! Oh, excuse me for speaking with my mouth full! (Ben to the left.)

Unlike Jean, I have had no previous experience of horses.  I have been bowled over by the speed at which these two wonderful creatures, both with a background of suffering cruelty from humans, have embraced me. And Jean; of course.

Six weeks ago I could hardly touch them.  Now they will nuzzle my hands and let me rest my face against their heads.

We have so much to learn from our creatures.

Ben and Ranger have settled in!

Can’t believe how quickly a month has gone by!

This last Tuesday, the 15th April, was a month to the day after our rescue horses, Ben and Ranger, arrived here in Merlin.  There was a post on the 20th March called Welcome Ranger – and Ben!

Here’s a picture from that day:

Jean leading Ranger; Darla leading Ben.
Jean leading Ranger; Darla leading Ben.

Here’s a picture of Ben from sadder times:

October 2013: The Sheriff’s department have passed Ben to Darla.

So with no further ado, here are four photographs taken last Tuesday, the 15th April.

Waiting to greet Jean and me in the morning!
Waiting to greet Jean and me in the morning!

oooo

Ranger totally at ease with his 'old Dad!'.
Ranger totally at ease with his ‘old Dad!’.

oooo

Ben, behind Ranger; both loving up to Jean.
Ben, behind Ranger; both loving up to Jean.

oooo

Ranger loving up to yours truly!
Ben loving up to yours truly!

Jean is used to horses from previous times in her life but, for me, horses are not animals that I am familiar with.

But after a month of getting to know Ranger and Ben and them getting to know me, I find them adorable!

Welcome Ranger – and Ben!

Our new boys- the story of two horses!

Regular readers of Learning from Dogs will remember a post just over a month ago The lone Ranger.  Essentially, that explained that we had visited Strawberry Mountain Mustangs in Roseburg, Oregon and, subject to their approval, had decided to adopt Ranger, a 15-year-old gelding.

Ranger, when first seen in February.
Ranger, when first seen in February.

Thus it proceeded to the point where two-days ago Darla, of Strawberry Mountain, ably assisted by Cody, brought Ranger and Ben to us here in Merlin.  It’s been a wonderful twenty-four hours (at the time of writing this). Why Ben?  Please read on.

Destination!
Destination!

Darla and Cody making a safe and timely arrival a little before 10am last Tuesday.

Ben, our new foster.
Ben, our new foster, being coaxed out by Darla on the lead-line and Cody behind him.

Why did we take the two?  Last October, Ben had been found starved and showing the signs of a great lack of confidence.   He was ‘rescued’ on orders of Darla’s local sheriff because of Ben’s condition despite being in private ownership.  Darla was certain that Ben had been physically beaten in recent times, hence him being very wary of strangers.  Thus his relationship with Ranger was part of his journey of returning to a healthy, confident horse. Darla offered us the opportunity of fostering Ben because Ranger had become a good companion for him. Darla explained that Ben was a very wary horse, especially of sudden movements from men.

Jean leading Ranger; Darla leading Ben.
Jean leading Ranger; Darla leading Ben.

Another 100 yards and the start of a new life for these two gorgeous animals.

Hey Ranger, is this for real!!
Hey Ranger, is this for real!!

In the those first few minutes after Jean and Darla led the horses to the grass paddock, Ben seemed to have an expression on his face that suggested it was all too difficult to believe!  Ranger just got stuck into munching!  But not to the extent of not enjoying a back-rub!

"I think I'm going to like this, Ben!"
“I think I’m going to like this, Ben!”

In the afternoon, it was time to bring Ben and Ranger for an overnight in the top area where the stables, food and water were.  Ben was very nervous at coming through the open gate and for a while there seemed to be a complication in that Ranger kept thrusting at Ben as if to keep him away from the fence line separating the horses from Allegra and Dancer, our miniature horses.

But in the morning, yesterday, things seemed much more relaxed. To the point that when Ben and Ranger went back out to the grass, Ben was much more relaxed towards Jean and me, as the following pictures reveal.

Jean offering Ben some treats.
Jean offering Ben some treats.

oooo

Yours truly doing likewise.
Yours truly doing likewise.

OK, want to turn back to Darla.

To give an insight into the awe-inspiring work of Darla and her team (and many others across the Nation) and to recognise the need of the authorities to have such outlets as Strawberry Mountain, here are two photographs of Ben shortly after he was removed from the people who had stopped loving and caring for him.

Ben2 when found
Ben as seen last October.

oooo

Ben as seen last October.
Ben close to starving.

Strikes me as only one way to end this post is with the following as seen on Darla’s Facebook page.

asasa
Author unknown.

Thus this post is offered in dedication to the good people all over the world who know the value of the unconditional love we receive from animals and do not hesitate to return the same.

Darla, Cleo and Cody setting a wonderful example of unconditional love.
Darla, Cleo and Cody setting a wonderful example of unconditional love.

How about giving the nearest animal, or human, a big hug telling them at the same time how much you love them!

Just words!

Odds are you have already seen this!

Reason I state that is, as of yesterday morning, some 19,070,066 viewings of the following video had taken place.

But so what!

That number shows that despite the advertising insertions, despite the video promoting a commercial concern at the close, there are plenty of us who want to be reminded of the power of words.

Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care

for people will hear them and be influenced by them

for good or ill.

Buddha.

Footnote:

Jean and I were pottering around yesterday afternoon getting everything ready for Ranger’s arrival planned for Tuesday.  In the back of my mind was some self-criticism for just sticking today’s post up in front of you, in the sense that it was just too easy.  Not that the message isn’t powerful but does it relate to the essence of this blog – exploring what we can learn from dogs?

Then it struck me as blindingly obvious! Of all the things that dogs offer us humans, the one key aspect of their integrity is their unconditional love.   The way that dogs love us acknowledges our existence at a ‘being-to-being’ level.

That’s the power of that short video. That the passing lady stopped and acknowledged the existence of the blind beggar-man.

We all need to be reminded of that all the time!

A village called Rescue.

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.

Ranger
Ranger

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:

Hello Melinda!

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.

Take care,

Darla

Melinda replied:

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.

ooOOoo

Buddy’s Story

Buddy.
Buddy.

Because not all mustangs are created equal…

THE REASON

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
Buddy: The legacy

 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.

ooOOoo

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.

The lone Ranger.

The story of a horse.

You will recall that yesterday I very briefly mentioned our trip to visit Strawberry Mountain Mustangs, our meeting with Darla and the outcome.  Namely, that subject to an adoption agreement being signed and approved we hope to be able to adopt Ranger.

Here is Ranger’s story.

Ranger
Ranger

Ranger is believed to be a quarter-horse (a quarter thoroughbred, as I now have learnt) that earlier on in his life was a roping and barrel-racing horse.  Ranger is a little over 15 hands.

He has been abused in the past.  Evidenced by the scars of previous ill-fitting saddles and from being wary of having his ears touched.

Originally Ranger came to Strawberry Mountain because he was found abandoned and starving in an Oregon forest.  After he became a settled horse at Strawberry, he was adopted out to a family.  But after some months of being ridden he threw his riders by spinning so quickly they came off.

He came back to Darla and eventually was adopted out to a different home.  But after some months with his next owners, the habit of spinning riders off his back resurfaced.

Back he came to Darla but his age, he is about 15 years-old, and not being a secure riding horse were against him.  Darla was unhopeful that he would ever be found a home.

Hallo, my name's Jean.  Will you come and live with us, Ranger?
Hallo, my name’s Jean. Will you come and live with us, Ranger?

But in our case, I don’t know how to ride and Jean is not interested in riding Ranger.  His age is a bonus because it reduces the odds of Ranger outliving Jean and me.  So Ranger seemed like a perfect match.

Jean and Ranger getting to know each other.
Jean and Ranger getting to know each other.

So that’s where we are just now.  As we progress in getting our fencing done and our adoption approved (fingers crossed) then there will be more to report.  We have come a long way from wild mustangs but this truly feels like the most sensible way to help given that our experience and facilities are not sufficient for us to handle a rescued Mustang.

P.S. the comments and the ‘Likes’ to yesterday’s post were wonderful.  Both Jean and I are touched beyond measure.

Lost your heart to a horse!

Apologies for the brevity of today’s post.

Yesterday, Sunday, Jean and I went North in Oregon to visit Strawberry Mountain Mustangs to explore the pros and cons of adopting a horse previously rescued by Darla, of Strawberry Mountain.  It was a long day and by the time I sat down in front of the PC it was already past 5pm.

So for today going to offer you two pictures from our inspiring time with Darla and all her magnificent horses, most of whom have backgrounds that would make one weep.

Tomorrow, I will write more fully about what we are discovering when it comes to adopting a horse.

Trust me, a horse with its tongue in your ear is very ticklish!
Trust me, a horse with its tongue in your ear is very ticklish!

 

oooo

Ranger, the 15-year-old horse we hope to adopt.
Ranger, the 15-year-old horse we hope to adopt.

oooo