Friday, August 31, 2012

Trapped Horse Jeremy and His Best Buddy Misty

I really like this story becasue it proves that animas have feelings too and can have best buddies and form relationships.  I'm so happy that Jeremy is safe and with his best friend Misty!  ~Declan

Trapped shire horse Jeremy had donkey mate by his side

By on Aug 30, 2012

Jeremy was stuck in the pond for about three hours.

Elderly shire horse Jeremy, who nearly drowned in a pond in England on Wednesday, had his donkey mate, Misty, nearby throughout the ordeal. She never left his side, firefighters report.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service came to the aid of Jeremy, 27, who was bogged in the pond for three hours before being pulled free.

Firefighters from Broughton and Heywood found the one-tonne gelding up to his neck in the pond at Scotson Fold Farm in Radcliffe.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue’s specialist Water Incident Unit used their animal training to rescue Jeremy, and were assisted by the RSPCA.

Jeremy was stuck in the pond from 9am for more than three hours before being hauled to safety.

Looking on were Jeremy’s owners, Jenny and Jayen Renshaw, and his best friend, Misty.

Jayen said: “I stood back I can’t handle seeing him being moved around, it was a close call. The vet gave him a lot of antibiotics and stuff to calm him down. He’s an old guy – he’s 27 years old.

“Misty was standing over there with him. I think she had to turn away at times too! They’re like little and large – they’re best buddies.”

Station Manager, Kevin O’Connor said Jeremy was up to his neck in water and suffering from hypothermia.

“It kept trying to spin in the water every time we got ready to pull it up, it would turn round. It was very close to dying, but the donkey never left its side.

“We also had to protect the owners of the horse from danger. It was lucky no-one broke their leg.”

This wasn’t the first time Jeremy has had to be rescued from water by firefighters. Jenny said: “Many years ago he went in the canal and the fire brigade were involved in getting him out then, too.”

Monday, August 27, 2012

Children 4 Horses Teams Up With the Postcard Posse


Please join the Postcard Posse Campaign and fight for our horses by letting your Congressman and Sentors know we want them to pass the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act!!  It's super easy to join, just order your postcards, sign them and drop them in the mail.  They will come pre-stamped and already addressed to your legislators for you!!  The Postcard Posse Campaign is a GREAT idea!!  

My goal is to litter legislators desks with thousands of Postcard Posse postcards.  Since they are postcards, they will go straight to legislators without all the security checks like for letters and because they look the same, they can be easily counted.  Well over 1000 postcards have already been sent from 33 states and I want to make that number go even higher with my version and have them going to legislators from all 50 states!!  Just imagine my smiling face with my favorite girl Scarlet, in every legislators mailbox, telling them we want a horse slaughter ban in the USA!!  Wouldn't that be great!! 

I am so excited that we have been able to team up with the Campaign, and I am hoping you really like my postcard design and the facts I wrote for our legislators!!!
Please use the link below and simply choose how many you would like by clicking on the appropriate "Buy Now" button and your order will be sent to you.

Here are the links - please SHARE!!



There are also "Thank You" postcards available to send to legislators who are already co-sponsors - just say you want them in your order.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

"Dark Horses"

All the pictures on this blog post are from the Cloud the Stallion Facebook page.  Some of the horses pictured have been rounded up and are available for adoption.  Please go and check them out on Facebook and on the Cloud Foundation website.  

My family and I rocked out at Soulfest this summer up on Gunstock Mountain and one of my favorite bands, Switchfoot was there.  They are one of my favorites because their music is really inspirational and I like what they have to say.  They were AWESOME to go see and hear live and were just as good live as on their CDs!  We saw a bunch of other great bands at Soulfest too and I am so glad my parents brought us there.  I can't wait to go back again next year!!

This is one of Switchfoot's songs called "Dark Horses" and I want to share it with you today because it makes me want to keep fighting for the horses, and I hope it does that for you too.  I really like the words how it's talking about being born for the blue skies and sunrises and how we can survive the rain and all the pain. And I really like then end of the song where it says,
                                                                      Keep running with the dark horses
Hope makes the blood change courses
Keep running with the dark horses
Stand up with the dark horses
Keep running with the dark horses
Hope makes the blood change courses

WE CAN NEVER GIVE UP ON OUR HORSES AND WE MUST KEEP FIGHTING FOR THEM!!  I will not stop fighting until we have won for the horses!

Here are the lyrics for the song and a super cool video of them singing this song!  I LOVE SWITCHFOOT AND THEIR MUSIC!!!!!  ~Declan

"Dark Horses"

I made my mistakes
I seen my heart cave in
I got my scars
I been to hell and back again

Born for the blue skies
We’ll survive the rain
Born for the sunrise
We’ll survive the pain

We’re singing…
Hey, you can’t count us out
We’ve been running up against the crowd
Yeah, we are the dark horses
We’re singing…
Wait! It’s not over now
We’ve been down but we’ve never been out
Yeah, we are the dark horses

We found the way out
The city takes everything it can
But outside the crowds
I can feel my lungs again

Born for the blue skies
We’ll survive the rain
Born for the sunrise
We’ll survive the pain


We're singing
La la la la la la la
La la la la la la la.


Born for the blue skies
Born for the blue skies
Born for the sunrise
We’ll survive the pain

We’re singing…
Hey, you can’t count us out
We’ve been running up against the crowd
Yeah, we are the dark horses
We’re singing…
Wait, don’t care what they say
We know we’ll find a way
Yeah! We are the dark horses


Laa la-la-la-la-laa
Laa la-la-la-la-laa

[Faded Voice:]
Keep running with the dark horses
Hope makes the blood change courses
Keep running with the dark horses
Stand up with the dark horses
Keep running with the dark horses
Hope makes the blood change courses

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

ThoroughbredEd Strives to Change Racing Biz

This story is about a program called ThoroughbredEd, that is working to put horses first in the sport of horse racing. ThoroughbredEd is really cool because they save horses from slaughter too because sometimes race horse go to slaughter after they are done racing.  I also like that they are enforcing good horsemanship.  I hope their idea works and they save a lot of horses!  ~Declan

ThoroughbredEd strives to change racing biz

Dr. Ken Lian
The sad-eyed racehorses coming off the track were a sight Dr. Ken Lian, DVM, was never able to shake.
And despite, or possibly because, he had been a longtime fan of horse racing, it always seemed to him that the life of a racehorse could be improved.
In the summer of 2010, Lian and a collective of like-minded veterinarians, race trainers, farriers, animal-welfare advocates, horseman and backside workers, formed Thoroughbred Education Foundation, Inc., nicknamed it ThoroughbredEd, and went to work.
The goals were lofty.
The foundation aims to foster good horsemanship from within the industry, bringing the sport back to a time when the horse came first.
By availing themselves of social media tools like You Tube, where they’ve uploaded a video, and the more traditional messaging tools such as article and book publication, the foundation hopes to bring positive change to the racing industry.
“Our goal isn’t to scare people, but to integrate people,” Lian says. “My wife and I love the sport of horse racing, but we don’t like some of the practices. The message of ThoroughbredEd is that we should make positive changes from within, before somebody else makes the changes for us.”
In this week’s Clubhouse Q&A, Dr. Lian explains more.
Q: What is Thoroughbred Ed?
ThoroughbredEd is an all-volunteer racehorse rescue and education foundation. Our organization helps teach people about the breed and the sport, with the hope of reducing the number of unwanted horses by developing educational programs that encourage good horsemanship.
In the past, horsemanship was taught within families, and passed down through the generations. But, with our society becoming more urban, we have fewer horsemen developed from our traditional farm system. So, we are trying to institutionalize best practices within the industry, with the ultimate goal of making racing safer for our horses, and relevant within the sports world.
Horsemanship is not something that is taught real well in a structured environment. Skills are learned over lifetimes and are passed down. It was a way of life that horsemen understood because it was a part of how they grew up. In England and in certain parts of the country, it hasn’t been lost.
Q: How did such a diverse mix of people get on the same page?

Highgunner kisses Kaylee Black
In the summer of 2010, Thoroughbred Education Foundation, Inc. (ThoroughbredEd) was formed with board members Sheryl Fulop DVM, myself, Bob Ferber, Tenna Hansen, and Theresa Black.
The team’s collective backgrounds include thoroughbred racing, breeding and training along with veterinary medicine, animal welfare legislation, horse shoeing, natural horsemanship, show training and rescue.
Sheryl and I recognized that having a multi-discipline team collaborating with Thoroughbred racing provided the best opportunity to make the changes needed to reduce the number of “unwanted Thoroughbreds.”
The board members also recognized the importance of working with people on the backside, past and present, to understand the racing industry. These backside horsemen on our team include Larry Damore, Kenny Black, Jerry Lambert and others who have graciously spent time with us discussing the industry at Santa Anita, Del Mar, Hollywood Park, Pomona etc.
From their collective experiences, we can start to understand the evolution of the industry, from its roots in good horsemanship to today’s racing culture, which involves a prevalent use of chemicals by some trainers, and high-volume training of horses.
Q: On the backside, you’ve found people who care deeply about horse welfare.
Yes! There’s a group of people who really care. I would say there’s a lot more people who want positive change, than most people would probably guess. But they don’t have a voice, and that’s one of our roles: we want to give voice to people who don’t want to be out in the public.
Q: You’ve helped foster a love of racing and racehorses among your own staff. Please tell us about that.

Chelsea Fields and TooSexy
That’s right. Chelsea Fields, who now holds the title of volunteer director for ThoroughbredEd, is a vet tech in an office where I work, and she didn’t like racing. I introduced herTooSexyForMySaddle, a racing prospect I own, who was receiving foundational training at a local ranch.
TooSexy was being taught to learn the body language of people and to accept them. It’s our belief that when you’re starting a Thoroughbred, you work first with their mind, and then you condition the body.
One thing Chelsea understood right away was this was a horse who loved to run, who wanted to run. Her  work ethic was so incredible that someone once said to me that if she ever did make it out to the track, there would be no bottom to the effort she would give.
Q: TooSexyForMySaddle never made it to the races—why was that?
TooSexy had sustained a hyperextension injury of her back leg when she was a foal, and wound up developing a problem in her opposite leg. The veterinarians said that she could do everything but race.
Q: One of TooSexy’s new jobs is that of star. She appears in the pages of a coffee table book titled Empowerment Through Thoroughbreds, as well as in a soon-to-be-released reality show on ThoroughbredEd’s You Tube Channel.
TooSexy is a compelling horse. She’s got a swagger to her. It’s like she knows she’s good looking, but not in a diva sort of way. Instead, it’s as though she says to you, “I’m pretty and I know it.” She moves like that.

Chelsea Fields rides TooSexy
Chelsea Fields bonded with her right away. She wound up working with her, helping to lunge her, and later on, when they’d both bonded, she started riding her for pleasure.
In the book, TooSexy was an empowering example to many, especially Chelsea, of how great a horse with good foundation training can be. Chelsea watched her train for racing and watched her gain foundational skills, and it showed her what passionate animals they are, animals that want to run. And, when they’re trained with good horsemanship methods, they are not sad-eyed horses; they’re truly happy.
Q: Another racehorse, Highgunner, is also helping ThoroughbredEd to get out the good word about the breed.
Highgunner is a Thoroughbred who returned to the track after being rescued. He is both an ambassador for the breed and an advocate for change.
To understand the true Thoroughbred spirit, one must recognize that a horse like Highgunnerloves the racetrack as much as he enjoys a bonding moment with a child. His “Don’t stop me now!” attitude is one shared by Thoroughbreds in all disciplines.
In a lot of ways, Highgunner mirrors the plight of so many horses who had inadequate “before care” and wound up being “unwanted” at the end of their racing careers.

Dr. Sheryl Fulop kisses I Love Lulu
This was not the case in previous generations. Good foundation skills, whether in a college athlete or Thoroughbred racehorse, greatly affects their chances of being “wanted” in their next career.
Q: ThoroughbredEd believes it is the horse that draws the race-going public to the sport. Please explain.
As an industry, we have lost our understanding of how to market the breed. Many feel the “gamble” is what sells.
When, in fact, it is the connection with the breed that draws “true fans” to the sport.
We had the pleasure of meeting Game On Dude with our volunteers a few months ago.
He is such a gentle, kind horse, that in no way fits the stereotype of a Thoroughbred. Our volunteers, many having little experience with Thoroughbreds, are now fans of the breed for life.
Q: Chelsea Fields is a prime example of someone who wasn’t interested in racing until she met a racehorse, wouldn’t you say?
In many ways, the poem below, written by our Chelsea, captures what we have heard from the backside horsemen and helps convey how we should move forward in our industry.

Kaylee Black on the backside
Their Sport
They bring life to a sportAnd make it their ownThe sounds of their hooves, the heart beatTheir breath, it’s spiritAnd they touch our souls with their majestyBut humble us with their beautyFor it is their sport, not our gameThat they wish to share with us
—By Chelsea Fields

5-Year-Old's Pony Shot K

I'm really sad that Kinsey's pony was shot.  I hope it was an accident and not on purpose and that Kinsey will get a new pony to love on soon.  ~Declan

5-year-old’s pet pony shot

Posted: Aug 21, 2012 9:57 PM EDT Updated: Aug 22, 2012 8:11 AM EDT
Link to video
A young girl who saved up enough money to buy a horse is now heartbroken. Her equine friend was shot to death in his pen.

A lot of little girls grow up loving ponies. And family members said 5-year-old Kinsey Lane of Ferris decided at the ripe age of 3 that she wanted one of her own. So she started saving her money.

"We've never had a baby doll. We've never had a Barbie doll. She just wanted to play with horses," her mother Shannon Lane said. "She started saving nickels and dimes and a dollar when she cleaned her room. She saved birthday money and she would even do without when her sisters got ice cream from the ice cream man."

The day finally came when all that pocket change added up to $450, enough to buy a docile 9-year-old blue roan listed on Craigslist.

"It took to her like water. It loved her, and she loved it," Lane said.

Before long Kinsey and Flicka, as she named it, were inseparable.

But the little girl's world came crashing down on Monday when she discovered Flicka has been shot in the neck.

"Next thing I know she comes running in the house screaming, ‘Mama, Flicka's dead. Flicka's dead. Somebody shot her,'" Lane said. Others have been contacting Lane through email at

Family friends have started a Facebook campaign to raise enough money for a new pony and so far it has been successful.

The Lane family is beyond grateful. But they are still looking for answers about Flicka's death. And Kinsey is still trying to understand that her best friend is gone.

"Even if it was an accident, I'm right here. All it takes is for someone to come and say, ‘It was an accident. I wasn't paying attention to where I shot and I want to do right by it,'" Lane said.

The family did file a report with the Ellis County Sheriff's Office and the case is being investigated.

Lane said her daughter claims to have seen a man with a gun. But she admits the 5-year-old was pretty shaken up and that may not the true.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Rescued Horse Saved From Abuse By 17 y.o. Cowboy

There is no such thing as a unwanted horse and this story proves that AGAIN!!  I really like this story because Mogan takes the time to let these horses become comfortable and doesn't just rush through getting them reasdy to go.  It's not about hurrying up so they can make money, it's about taking the time to get to get to know the horses and understand them.  ~Declan

Rescued horse is retrained to be a 'bombproof' pack animal
By Diana Marcum, Los Angeles Times

August 19, 2012, 6:27 p.m.

More than 60 horses have been found starving in the Central Valley over the last 12 months. This summer, one, Comanche, is being toughened up to be a High Sierra packhorse.
Morgan Austin, a 17-year-old cowboy, approaches Riata, a horse that was neglected and abused. "She just needs more pets than most horses," he said. (Arkasha Stevenson, Los Angeles Times / August 19, 2012
HUNTINGTON LAKE, Calif. — Comanche has one pale blue eye, one deep brown and a prancing gait that has cowboy Morgan Austin suspecting this mystery horse once paraded around an arena.

Until two weeks ago, Comanche wouldn't let anyone in the saddle. It took Morgan, 17, two months of talking to him "real quiet-like," slipping on a saddle blanket, then the saddle, before he could hoist his own lanky frame onto the brown-and-white quarter horse.

Now, on a day when the sky is pale with heat and ragged breaths of wind kick up thick, sticky dust, Comanche and Morgan lead the way down a boulder-strewn Sierra trail. Clifford Housley, the pack station foreman and head trainer, rides behind, blocking the way should Comanche try to bolt back. Morgan reaches out to snap pine branches with a loud crack and slaps his stirrups against granite, part of training Comanche to be a High Sierra packhorse.

PHOTOS: Rescue horses

"He has to be dead broke," Morgan said. "That means bombproof — you could ride that horse through a thunderstorm without him blinking."

Usually, a horse expected to carry tourists through the wilderness would be raised in the mountains. But these are brutal times in the horse world. Comanche, a flatlander, is being groomed for this job as a way to save his life.

The number of abandoned horses has more than doubled nationwide in the last five years, according to rescue groups. But in the Central Valley, where banks foreclosed on homes and ranches at one of the highest rates in the country, the numbers are even harsher. The Central California Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals went from rescuing a few horses a year to taking in 60 abandoned horses over the last 12 months. Drought and incentives to convert crops to ethanol helped double the price of hay to as much as $20 a bale. It reached a point where even a purebred horse sold for less than the cost of feeding it for a year.

People who had collected the animals as prized trophies left herds to starve.

Comanche was one of 15 horses abandoned on a Sanger, Calif., ranch by a man who had won a $40-million Super Lotto jackpot in 2001. It was one of a string of high-profile mass horse-abuse cases in the Central Valley last winter.

"Horses are a luxury item, and the economic crisis turned the horse world upside-down," said Beth DeCaprio, who runs Grace Foundation horse rescue outside Sacramento.

On the trail, Comanche, who was dangerously thin when he was rescued, has come to a creek. He pulls back his head, sends rocks clattering with his hooves. Morgan, who also rides broncos and ropes steers, is calmly fighting for control.

Housley brings his horse behind Comanche and herds him across the water. Then they turn him back to recross the tiny creek. The return trip is worse. Comanche rears, pawing the air.

This is one of those moments when things can quickly go wrong and someone gets hurt. Housley and Morgan can list the parts of their bodies that they've broken, pulled and twisted.

But once the strange, hissing water is left behind, Comanche settles down.

"That horse is wound tighter than an eight-day clock," Housley tells Morgan.

"But you're going to be OK, right, boy?" Morgan says, patting Comanche's neck. "You've just never crossed creeks before."


At D&F Pack Station, owner Sue Walker is trying to pet two young colts adopted at the same time as Comanche. They were rescued from a group of 18 horses found starving and nearly wild at a ranch in Clovis in the valley below. They were probably foaled in the field.

They push their muzzles close to Walker but shy away when she reaches to touch them. For some reason, however, they let children pet them. She always sends the kids who are going on trail rides over to their corral.

To hear of horses being abandoned was once rare, she said with a shake of her head.

"Every once in a while you'd hear about a horse being abused and you'd just want to shoot the person, but it was one or two horses and life went on," she said. "But then it was 30, 60, 100 horses left to starve. And I thought, there's something we can do about it, at least for a few of them, so let's go do it."

Walker and her husband, Randy, told Housley to grab a saddle and drive with them to Fresno. They were going to adopt as many horses as they could find jobs for at the station. The SPCA was holding more than 30 horses.

Randy Walker knew Housley, 22, was the right man to do the choosing.

"Clifford can spend 20 minutes with a horse and before even riding it tell you everything about it," he said. "It's the craziest thing. I've seen him just put his head on their head like they're communing."

Housley wasn't crazy about the responsibility.

"I'm not going to lie to you," he said in a velvet drawl that may have something to do with his spell over horses. "I was nervous putting a halter on them and trying to guess whether they'd ever been ridden before I got on.

"Also, it's like going to the pound. You save the one dog, but you have to see all the ones you leave behind."

Many of the horses had suffered too much muscle damage to be suitable for trail work. Comanche was stronger because he'd been the friendliest, and neighbors couldn't resist giving him apples.

"You know that part bothered me more than all the rest," Sue Walker said. "The thought that someone could pet and feed one horse and watch the others dying."

Housley gave the nod to the two younger ones because they seemed to desperately want contact, although fear held them back. He said he also liked a skittish bay thoroughbred from the wild group, but he couldn't explain why.

"She's going to be a lot of work. She won't ever be a horse you can just stick anybody on," he told Randy Walker.

"But you like her?" Walker asked.

"She's going to be a lot of work," Housley repeated.

"The way I see it, Cliff, in cases like this, there's everything to gain and nothing to lose," Walker said and then told his wife to add the price of the filly to the check she was writing.

They named the horse Riata. So far, they can barely get a halter on her. Housley still likes her best.


There's a late-afternoon lull. The last trail ride has left in a lazy, hanging cloud of dust. Riata, tied to a hitching post, has finally stopped her piercing whine.

A 6-year-old girl back from her first ride comes up to show Randy Walker that she is still holding the horseshoe he gave her the way he taught her: sides up, like a smiling face.

"That's right, he tells her. "If you turn a horse shoe upside-down, the luck runs out the bottom. You have to keep it upright."

Morgan is by the tack shed, practicing his rope tricks. He forms a big wagon wheel shape with the rope and then jumps through it.

He'll go back to high school classes, dressed the same as now: cowboy boots, hat and saucer-sizedMother's Dayrodeo belt buckle. Both sides of his family have been running cattle in the Fresno area for generations. Polite and sunny, Morgan has the personality of a teenager born into a life that he's never doubted suits him.

He is positive that Comanche can become a horse entrusted to carry even children or grandparents or the terminally ill campers who come once a year to ride. He thinks Comanche will be ready by the end of this summer, certainly by the next.

Housley, five years older, is reserving judgment.

He senses a sweetness and patience in Comanche — perfect traits for a trail horse. But the horse bears personality scars.

"You can see he was broke real rough. It's a different style of training, and we don't do it around here because, well, it's just not nice," Housley said. "But, now, Comanche thinks that anything he does has to be great. Ask him to move over a couple of inches and he jumps 2 feet. He's flashy."

Housley, who is trying to transform from a seasonal, good-time cowboy to year-round employee, knows how hard it can be to dump the flash for steady dependability.

On a recent night after too much to drink, he rode his horse, Jesse James, into the local saloon, stood on its back, removed a sombrero kept on the wall, and rode out wearing the sparkly embroidered hat.

But in the two years since the Walkers bought the packing station and put their faith in him, he's found his place. He believes Comanche and Riata will too.

If not, they will still have a year-round home at the Walkers' winter ranch, below in the foothills.

But if Riata learns to trust Housley, she'll be his personal trail horse. If Comanche proves himself, he'll be entrusted with carrying strangers into the wilderness. Every summer, on trips somewhere in the High Sierra, he'll be a dead-broke, bombproof testament to second chances.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Opie Found After Being Stolen a Decade Ago

In this story, a woman is reunited with her horse after 10 years!  The horse was stolen and was just found he remembers her even though Opie was only a few months old when he stolen!  I hope you like this story.  ~Declan

Touching video shows the moment a woman is reunited with her horse a DECADE after he was stolen 

This is the moment a tearful woman saw her beloved horse for the first time in ten years, after he was stolen from his pasture ten years ago.

In a heartwarming tale of reunion, Michelle Pool told the Today Show how she thought she would never see her beloved white and tan Saddlebred Pinto, Opie, after thieves broke in to her father's pasture and made off with him.

Opie had been staying on the Texas ranch while Pool recovered from back surgery and she was devastated to learn of his disappearance. 
Reunion: Michelle Pool's horse Opie was stolen ten years ago
Reunion: Michelle Pool's horse Opie was stolen ten years ago
The thieves had dragged him out through a hole in the fence and loaded him into a trailer, fleeing down Interstate 10.

Desperate to get him back, Pool walked up and down nearby roads knocking on every door to ask if they had seen her horse.

The 40-year-old posted fliers and appealed for help finding Opie on horse recovery website Stolen Horse International, scouring the internet for any sign of him but to no avail. 
'I had to explain to my kids that there are people in the world who take things that don’t belong to them,' she told the show. 'They were scared one of the other horses was going to get taken. 

'I said, "We’ll find him, we won’t stop looking".'

In the ensuing years Pool divorced, moved to Arkansas and was forced to deal with the reality that she might never see her horse again. 
Touching: Pool broken down in tears as she saw her horse again
Touching: Pool broken down in tears as she saw her horse again

She had had him since he was a 'sweet as can be' 10-month-old foal and his loss had hit her hard.

'My old horse lived and died on my property at 30-years-old,' she said 'I keep them for life. They’re mine. They’re my four-legged children.'

All hope seemed lost and Pool had all but given up when a few weeks ago she was called out of the blue by Debi Metcalfe, the woman behind the Stolen Horse International website.
Miraculously, she had located Pool's horse, a decade after he was taken.

'We found your horse, I'm 150 per cent sure,' Metcalfe told a joyous Pool, who broke down in tears as she saw a picture of Opie for the first time since in ten years.

Metcalfe had been contacted by Deanna Bordelon, who had gone to see Opie after he was advertised as being for sale on Craigslist, his name changed to War Bonnet.
Heartwarming: Pool hadn't seen Opie in a decade
Heartwarming: Pool hadn't seen Opie in a decade

Alarm bells rang for Bordelon after she was told a long and complicated story of how the ad poster, Della Brade, had come to own him. 

Brade claimed she had been given the horse by a pastor eight years ago, the pastor having allegedly found him wandering on I-10.

Bordelon Googled Opie's story, skeptical about what she had been told, and came across the Stolen Horse International site. 

'I clicked on it and there was a list of stolen horses, and all of I sudden I see a thumbnail of Opie and look at the photo I’d taken of him on my cell phone,' she said. 'It was an exact match.'

Bordelon contacted Metcalfe who worked with police to confirm the identity of the horse and get in touch with Pool.
Joyous: Pool was worried Opie might not remember her but she needn't have been
Joyous: Pool was worried Opie might not remember her but she needn't have been

'It was a good day when all the pieces of the puzzle fell in place quickly,' Metcalfe said. 'It rarely happens like that.'

On hearing of his recovery Pool got in her car and drove through the night, plagued with fears Opie might have forgotten her. 

But she needn't have worried.

The horse immediately remembered his owner, greeting her by resting his head in her arms and rubbing up against her.

'There is hope,' Pool said. 'You can get them back.'

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Texas State Selling Horses to Slaughter

Ohhhh noooooo!! This cannot be happening!  This is so bad - we have to keep other places from selling horses to slaughter too!  ~Declan

State Selling Big Bend Ranch Horses to Slaughter
Story and Photo by Steven Long  August 14, 2012

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – Texas Parks and Wildlife joins the Texas Department of Corrections in a state agency disposal method for eliminating surplus horses that many Texans are certain to find offensive.

Eleven horses from the stables of Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas’ largest recreation area, are being sold to a well known Presidio businessman known for deporting animals to the kill box of a slaughterhouse in nearby Ojinaga, Mexico just across the Rio Grande.

Big Bend Ranch is the setting of my new novel, Ruby’s Passing. It is available in both print and in the Kindle format at

The horses are being sold for the princly sum of .25 cents a pound as meat on the hoof for canner prices. The transaction was discovered in open records requests obtained by  Texas animal welfare investigator, Julie Caramante.

To: Deirdre Hisler Cc: Barrett Durst; Rod Trevizo; David Riskind
Subject: Horse Sale
In an email correspondence obtained by Horseback TPWD officials discussed pricing of the “excess” horses.
From: Dan Sholly

I don’t recall receiving an answer (could be lost in my e-mails) to my question about sell pricing. Are we willing to take canner prices for our horses? Is that all they are worth? No blood lines? No high potential for more than dog food?
I am supportive of reducing the ramuda.

Earlier this year Texas Department of Criminal Justice sold 80 prison horses, animals that are coveted by the public in TDCJ’s rare auctions. The horses went to slaughter in Ojinaga.

Sauceda is the headquarters compound of Big Bend Ranch State Park.

Horseback Online learned of the sale when a memorandum from a TPWD official was provided to the magazine by Caramante.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Girl Saves Horse From Fire

A girl named Courntey saved a horse from a wild fire by riding the horse 5 miles with no saddle, briddle or bit. This story is awesome and also amazing!  ~Declan

August 11, 2012
Girl’s five-mile ride saves horse from blaze
By Chris Jones The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Editor’s Note: Earlier this year, then 14-year-old Cortney Townsend, came to the rescue of a 16-year-old Ohio girl whom she had never met. Veronica Llewellyn of Wadsworth, Ohio, arrived in Oklahoma after an 1,100-mile trip to compete in the 2011 Grand National and World Championship Morgan Horse Show, only to find that her horse, Rebel, was sick and wouldn’t be able to compete. Cortney had been preparing Gulfwind Wild Finale, know as Rocky, for competition, but she was not showing at that time. Rocky and Llewellyn made a winning combination and captured the Low Working Hunter Reserve World Champion title, and also won the Grand National Hunter Seat Equitation 17 and Under Over Fences class and were a strong third in the AMHA Over Fences Medal Class.

Gulfwind Wild Finale “Rocky” is a champion, high strung and not easily loaded into a horse trailer.

In the midst of wildfires and 113-degree heat, Cortney Townsend made a harrowing five-mile ride to get Rocky away from danger.

Cortney began the hot and windy morning of Aug. 3 at Celtic Cross Equestrian Center in Norman, where she volunteers and trains for the 2012 Grand National and World Championship Morgan Horse Show.

It was about noon when Cortney said she, her trainer Marilee Tussing, and Mike Bomesberger, the barn manager smelled smoke.

“We saw white smoke, then it turned black, and it was coming closer,” Cortney said. “We began moving horses by horse trailers to Thunderbird Stables.”

It was a frantic race for a time as Marilee Tussing, owner of Celtic Cross, contacted owners to alert them of the fire, and they began moving the 20 horses, among them two pregnant Clydesdale mares.

Smoke and fire seemed to surround them.

“The fire was coming straight at us at Thunderbird and we had to move again,” Cortney said. “Rocky has trouble loading and he wouldn’t get in the trailer. I either had to leave Rocky or ride him to the barn at Thunder Valley Ranch on 108th St.”

She called her grandparents, Edward and Betty Edwards of Norman, and told them what she planned to do.

“I was scared,” Betty Edwards said. “Cortney wouldn’t leave that horse for anything.”

The grandparents knew Cortney was in danger but were unable to help her because by the time they were aware of the situation Highway 9 had closed. They said they began to pray.

Fleeing the Fires

“I had no saddle, no bridle or bit,” Cortney said. “Rocky was really nervous, and all I had was a rope and his halter. That was it, and there were cars all around me on Highway 9. It was like the world’s gone mad, and I thought, don’t look back, just keep going forward.”

They stopped once for shade and water, but Cortney said it seemed to make things worse. A person with a horse trailer offered to help, though Cortney said she knew Rocky wouldn’t get in.

“I thought that ride would never end,” Cortney said.

At Thunder Valley Ranch there was water, grass and a short time to run in the pasture.

The respite was short lived as the wind shifted and they had to keep moving. This time Rocky, the hardheaded champion who likes to show off in the show ring, cooperated.

He got in the horse trailer and was transported to Robinson Equestrian Center in Oklahoma City where he is staying until training begins again at Celtic Cross Equestrian, where the arena is the only thing left standing.

The only recognizable items left from the fire are burned bits and stirrups, and the melted remains of Tussing’s grandmother’s china.

“We got all of our people out, all the horses, dogs and even the barn cats,” Tussing said. Once we get water, fences and hay we will have our barn family back together again.”

Tussing said her riding school is dedicated to equestrian education and the glory of God, and things will continue.

“I am exhausted right now, but I have to keep going,” she said. “I am a music teacher at Southgate Elementary School in Moore. I have been there 31 years, and my music life and farm life make a great life. I love it.”

She said she isn’t angry and needs to save her energy to keep going and concentrate on immediate needs.

“I just need some hay, that’s the biggest need,” she said.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Little Big Man Breaks a Leg and Drowns in "Suicide Race"

This is another news story about the "Suicide Horse Race" in Washington State.  Multiple tragedies have happened to the horses and even sometimes to riders.

PLEASE help make this STOP by sharing stories like this to raise awarness and do not attend events like this.  ~Declan

Tradition keeps dangerous horse race alive
By Sara Dover   CBS News   August 10, 2012 5:51 PM

PLAY CBS VIDEO  Warning: The above video contains content some may find disturbing. Video provided by The Humane Society of the United States shows footage from the 2005 and 2006 Omak Suicide Races in Washington State, in which some horses running down a steep hill stumble and fall.
(CBS News) This weekend, as it has for nearly 80 years, the rodeo in Omak, Washington will attract thousands of residents and tourists to its city to watch up to 20 jockeys and their horses sprint down a steep embankment and into the water.
Fans of the "World Famous Suicide Race" call it an adrenaline-pumping tradition that brings the community together. Animal rights activists and others, however, cringe watching the stallions plummet into the river down a 210-foot-long, 62-degree slope called Suicide Hill, the dust kicking up behind them as onlookers cheer.
Organizers of the Suicide Race are used to defending the tradition shared with the Colville Native American tribe. An estimated 23 horses have died since 1983, according to the Humane Society of the United States, including one this week.
A six-year-old thoroughbred named Little Big Man, owned by Jerry Ford and ridden by Jason Muesy of the Spokane Indian Reservation, broke his leg while struggling to keep his footing in the water during a qualifying race. He ultimately went under water "and surfaced downstream," according to a statement by the Suicide Racers Owners and Jockeys Association.
But the association determined the course was safe and continued with qualifications and a race on Thursday night.
Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of the Humane Society, likened the Omak Suicide race to dogfighting and cockfighting - both of which are in the United States but attract tourists in other countries.
"It's just one of these microcosms of cruelty that exist in the world," he said.
Participants in the Omak Suicide Race ride down a 62-degree slope to the Okanogan River August 15, 2004 in Omak, Washington.
Participants in the Omak Suicide Race ride down a 62-degree slope to the Okanogan River August 15, 2004 in Omak, Washington. 
(Credit: Jerome Pollos/Getty Images)
The Suicide Race dates back to 1933, when two Okanogan County stockmen began a rodeo as a way to attract business to their town. The race, inspired by Indian endurance races in the neighboring Colville Indian Reservation, was a way to drive more people to the rodeo show.
The evening Suicide Race remains the main attraction of the four-day festival that takes place during the second week of August, attracting people from as far away as Israel. Defenders of the race generally respond to critics with two arguments: the event is a tribute to the area's Native American heritage that brings the community together and the race is safer than people think.
The Owners and Jockeys Association said it was "traditionally done as a rite of passage" and "a demonstration of our young warriors and their horses' ability to become one." Horses are adorned with paint, feathers, and other Native American symbols. There is an opening prayer before the race.
Ronda Lemmon, a registered nurse, is one of 120 volunteers and feels passionately enough about the rodeo to have dedicated her time toward it for over 20 years. "The Colville tribe is very sensitive and very concerned," she said. "Their horses are like family."
George Marchand (L) and his nephew Loren Marchand wrap their horses legs in preparation for the Omak Suicide Race August 15, 2004 in Omak, Washington.
George Marchand (L) and his nephew Loren Marchand wrap their horses legs in preparation for the Omak Suicide Race August 15, 2004 in Omak, Washington. 
(Credit: Jerome Pollos/Getty Images)
City officials also maintain the event is important for community building and deny it's a form of animal abuse. Omak City Administrator Ralph Malone insists the horses are cared for with respect and must be "willing to go down the hill they go down independently" in order to be sent down it carrying a rider.
"[The race] has been a part of my life for 50 some years. While yes, there is risk involved with it ... they are extremely valuable animals," Malone said. "Proper treatment of them is taken very seriously. We did lose a horse during practice this year and everyone's saddened by it. However, if you compare this particular race even to other forms of horse racing, I don't think you find it significantly worse or different."
But not everyone agrees. Dr. Heather Evergreen, an equine veterinarian in Monroe, Wash., who witnessed a 2006 race, wrote on behalf of the Humane Society that "if they truly cared about their horses ... their horses would be at home safe in their paddocks eating their dinner, not here tied to a horse trailer awaiting significant trauma, injury, or even death."
Animal activists also doubt the fact that horses are ever "willing" to go through with the suicide race. Horses are big powerful animals with thin legs that buckle and break as they're charging down a steep hill, Pacelle described.
"There are people who do extreme sport. Ultimately it's their choice," Pacelle said. "It's not the choice of the horse and they're forced to participate."
The Humane Society said it doesn't have access to official death records, but reached the count of 23 deaths from media reports over the years. It is unknown how many horses died during training, the practice trials or after the race.
A Wall Street Journal reporter witnessed a horse break its back and be euthanized in 2007. According to the Humane Society, two horses died in a collision and third died after the race in 2004. In 2002, one horse drowned in a practice run and another was euthanized after a collision.
In her testimony, Evergreen wrote the Suicide Race has obvious risks: the risk of running full speed with a large group of horses, the risk of landing the initial jump off the top of the hill, going down the steep hill, and the possibility of drowning in the water - like Little Big Man.
Video catches a horse stumbling down Suicide Hill during an Omak Suicide Race in the mid-2000s.
A still from video catching a horse stumbling down Suicide Hill during an Omak Suicide Race in the mid-2000s.
 (Credit: CBS News/The Human Society)
Lemmon, the volunteer, still insisted that the race is a lot scarier than it looks. She said horses are thoroughly prepared and that there are rescue boats and ambulances on both sides of the river and in the arena.
There are only 15 participants this year, Lemmon said; some jockeys pulled their horses from the race because the river was a little high.
Over the years the Humane Society has approached local council members and tribal leaders in an effort to make the Suicide Race history, but without much success.
While the Suicide Racers and Owners Association insists the race "has never been about stardom, money or glory," Humane Society's Washington State Director, Dan Paul, said he believes "economic benefits to the region" have "likely trumped these officials' interests in the welfare of horse."
"It took us a long time to end cockfighting, it's taking us a long time to end seal-hunting," Pacelle said. "Just because [organizers] are persistent doesn't mean animals need to be hurt needlessly."
Organizers said they are set on keeping their tradition just the way it is - name and all.
"It's definitely intense, that's all I can say," said Lemmon, who is one of 150 volunteers who help organize the rodeo. "I get excited every year. I literally get chills every time I see it, when I see it."