Monday, May 27, 2013


                           ©2010 Photography by Elyse Gardner
Commemorative Statue at Sacramento, CA for the Pony Express

Look over our struggle for freedom,
Trace our present-day strength to its source,

You'll find that man's pathway to glory,
is strewn with the bones of a horse.         
                                                                                                 -- Anonymous
     Greetings during this very American holiday as we memorialize the fallen of our county. This holiday commemorates those who gave their lives so America could become what we are known for today as America, a society based on the freedom of individuals to pursue life, liberty, and happiness, and to express our views about those pursuits virtually unhindered by government, assured of the precious freedoms of speech and religion, freedoms we assume and take for granted every blessed day of our busy American lives. 
        If this blog looks familiar to some, it is: I have updated a previous year's blog because its message is timeless.  I hope you will take a few moments to be reminded and give thanks for the thousands of people, horses, and burros who gave their lives.  
       I call to our attention the profound yet commonly overlooked contribution of the horses and burros, and noteably the wild horses, who were conscripted into service in our wars here and abroad.  Along these lines, I am profoundly grateful for Steven Spielberg's huge contribution of the movie War Horse.  
      It wasn't uncommon for a mounted soldier to go through as many as nine horses in his career. 
      HORSES AND BURROS ARE USED IN WAR EVEN NOW.  We traditionally think of the Revolutionary and Civil wars when we think of the wartime service of horses and mules, but burros, mules, and horses continue to serve as only they can.  

Recoilless Rifle mounted on a mule, Fort Leavenworth, KS
                History bears witness of the thousands of burros tied to supply wagons who were helplessly gunned down or shot with arrows as they stood powerless to flee for their lives.  Please take a moment to acknowledge these underappreciated, amazing little animals who are fast being wiped off our vast western lands in favor of cows, sheep, and big-money mining and mineral interests which will use many times more water than even 10,000 burros could drink, yet BLM wants only 3,000 allowed to remain wild and free.              
War Horses in Gas Masks 1918
Below:  American Horse Soldiers in Afghanistan:  (Watch the great video (nothing awful) at the link to see hor horses and burros continue to serve and protect freedom here and abroad.)
U.S. Special Forces ride horseback working with members of the Northern Alliance, Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan, 12 Nov 2001. Photo by Master Sgt. Chris Spence
      Hopefully, we will not repeat the horror we committed against horses and burros in World War I when a great many were conscripted wild horses as well as domestic.  Horribly, we brought our beautifully trained, trusting horses to fight our wars in World War I in Europe and left them there to be slaughtered.  
     I hope you will join me in taking a few moments to go to the links above and below to honor the horses and burros by learning of their immense service to us in this profound, all-out way.  On behalf of our species, we owe them so very much.  Please learn with me of their tremendous contribution.  
       Though losing one's life in service of our country is noble and profound, the greatest wound to such a hero  is for no one on earth to notice.  
     Therefore, please join me in reading this informative article, and I hope you will share it with your family and friends.  Your children and grandchildren will be the next protectors of our wild horses and burros; I hope you will share this history with them.  What a convenient way to explore history with your family

Look over our struggle for freedom,
Trace our present-day strength to its source;
You'll find that man's pathway to glory,
is strewn with the bones of a horse.         -- Anonymous

Calico horses (from "Calico" roundup of January/February 2010:  These photos are three years old.  I pray they are all well and didn't end up as anyone's French dinner. 
                      copyright Photo by Elyse Gardner, all rights reserved.
Yearling and two-year-old fillies at Broken Arrow holding in Fallon, Nevada, from Calico roundup
               Right now I will focus on the delightfulness of these horses.  For now I am anticipating with great satisfaction sharing with you the absolute delight of these highly interactive, curious and gentle girls.  The boys are sweet and eager, too, but for now, meet the captured mustang girls in Fallon, Nevada (as of May 2010.  We do not know how many remain there or where they went since the facility closed to the public in June 2010 except for a brief tour twice a year).  
Enjoy the video at the end of this post... can't wait to share that with you.
                       copyright 2010 Photo by Elyse Gardner, all rights reserved
                           copyright 2010 Photo by Elyse Gardner, all rights reserved
The fillies below were at Palomino Valley holding facility and were not from the Calico roundup.  There are thousands of wonderful wild horses in holding facilities who were driven off their homes all over the west.  I actually adopted one of these girls.
                      ©Photo by Marilyn Wargo
Fillies at Palomino Valley Center holding facility outside Reno, Nevada
                   ©Photo by Laura Leigh
Brave curious filly exchanging breath with me
                     ©Photo by Mar Wargo

Having exchanged breath, she's demonstrating the flehmen response, taking, reading, and storing my scent
                      ©Photo by Elyse Gardner
                     ©Photo by Elyse Gardner
And now for some real fun.  Enjoy,and happy, safe, Memorial Day commemoration.  
(Please DOUBLE CLICK INSIDE THE VIDEO if it doesn't play properly. Thank you.)

I remain,
for the wild horses, captive and free, and their humble burro friends,
for all who came before, and all those yet to be,
Elyse Gardner