The 36th AIHR and HOA national show is scheduled for September 23rd and 24th of 2017. Call (903) 407-0298 or (903) 407-3260 for show entry forms. We hope to see you at the show!
Spirit was 5 months old approx when he came with his mother and 133 other horses from the Navajo reservation. They travelled in cattle trucks to Hennessey OK, where he and the others were put on scrub land and allowed to fend for themselves.
Out of the 135 horses 35 died, including Spirit’s mother. We found him just barely hanging on still attached to her udder and the vet said that she had been dead about 2 weeks. This was in November of 2002.
He and 6 other horses were taken to a vet’s farm and the others went to a deputy sherrif’s land near Hinton.
I helped take care of the ones at the vet when he and the others were taken there. To begin with he wanted to kill any human that came anywhere close to him, can’t blame him. He was terrified of nylon jackets, so I gave him one and he tore it into little pieces. It took a lot of patience and trust from both of us to let me get close enough to him to let him know I was not going to hurt him intentionally. He was gelded on the farm and had all his shots.
About a year later Spirit and I became family. I moved him to a place that I rented, and within 3 days Spirit had laminits which inevitably went to full founder of both his front feet. The vet and I went through all the normal things, was it the feed? No. Was it the hay? No. Eventually after talking to different vets and schools we found out that Spirit founders on STRESS. He lived in this place with 3 friends a paint mini horse, a female donkey who took care of the mini and a son of one of the starving horses.
During this time Spirit, being Spirit colicked 3 times. The last time I told him, if he had had enough just to go, I would miss him and understand. To my horror, he had the unmitigated cheek to stop breathing. It seemed like hours, but his pasture buddy came and bit him on the bottom, Spirit gasp and stood up just as the vet came in. Whew!!
We were there for about a year when my Mother died. I did not know that she and Daddy had put money away for me to have a farm of my own. So we moved. Spirit, Miss Mable – donkey, Patches – mini, and Denny the other horse. I was terrified that the move would stress him and the founder would get worse. He did very well and seemed to be happy in the 40 acres that he could roam around at will.
Spirit is afraid of the dark, so there is a night light in the barn and he is also claustrophobic, so there aren’t any stalls in the barn – it is open and airy.
Once down here, with Spirit still not feeling well, I got rid of Denny as he was too rough, and it was causing problems. My farrier worked with me weekly padding, trimming and anything else he could come up with to help Spirit. Eventually I gave up – Spirit didn’t. He plodded along in pain, not about to give up at all. So I put my thinking had on and clicked on Barbaro on the internet, found a vet up at Penn State and wrote to him about Spirit. He emailed me back and told me that we needed xrays for his legs to see what was going on. Ha! Now find a vet who will come out and do it in the barn – Spirit couldn’t travel. Eventually I found one and he came, took the pictures and sent them to Penn State. The diagnosis was severe founder with some bone loss. Now the farrier and I had to get Spirit to stand still whilst we drew his feet. That was a laugh try to get him to stand still on poster board. The farrier is a quick artist and after a lot of treats and ‘I love you’ to Spirit, he did it.
Now the only thing that could help Spirit was a deep digital flexor tenotomy. Reading up on it didn’t make me very happy as they kept saying that the horses didn’t last very long. Talking to the vet, he said that those were very sick horses and this was the last resort. Luckily Spirit was healthy. What I didn’t know is that they had only given him a 25% chance to make it – no one told me!
The surgery was done in the barn with both vet and farrier working on his feet, a very sleepy horse got to his feet and the look in his eyes was ‘Wow’ this feels great. He has come a long way from that surgery 3 years ago. He has arthritis in his hips from using his back end for support when his front feet hurt so much. He is on supplements for joint problems and he has days when he hurts. I nearly lost him this past summer as he cannot tolerate heat. But my buddy again, would not give up and we worked through it. The first cool day he was prancing around making up for doing very little in the summer.
Patches died a year ago, he was still a baby and I panicked thinking the stress would start another founder attack. The big horse took it in his stride. He still has Miss Mable, and Eyore a mini donkey, Mouse a mini horse and PeeWee a micro mini horse. So he thinks he is the only big horse in the whole wide world! He now loves everyone that comes, well almost everyone. He like the others can never be ridden, they are all rescues with something wrong with them, but he is my friend, my confident, my soul mate and the best buddy one could ask for.
Spirit is 9 years old. He made it even though the vet didn’t give him much of a chance. He is as stubborn as his mother and has a mind of his own. He and his friends have the run of the field and barn, and a small shed which we call the sweat lodge.
First time I saw Jenny, Vickie Ives from Karma Farms was pointing out two horses that she would like me to help her train. The way Jenny looked at me was as if to say, “What are you looking at, punk?!” I smiled and said I wanted to work that one.
I bought Darlin’ Sportin’ Jenny myself when I was 12. My dad made the mistake of calling me randomly one day to tell me that if I raise half the money he will match it. I was training Jenny at the time so I immediately thought of her. I was so determined to own her that I raised $1,250 in six months that dad had to match for a total of $2,500. I would bring bags of pennies even to pay for her. Tommi told me later her mom would take my bags of pennies to the bank, and with a smile and a laugh she would tell the startled bank teller that a child was buying a horse. I remember the day I bought her. My hand shook as I signed my name. I remember wondering if my name written in my cursive looked grown up enough to own a horse. As soon as she was legally mine I dashed out of Vickie’s house, ran down the hill, and threw my arms around a startled three year old mare that was still learning about the love of a twelve year old girl.
She and I have accomplished many titles together. Jenny is a Reserve National Champion and Regional Champion in NATRC with her scores always in the 90’s. It is always funny when a 13.1hh Spanish Mustang passes a bunch of Thoroughbreds and Arabians and they cannot keep up after their riders have talked my little mustang down. Same thing has happened with Quarter Horses in pole bending; she has won me money in Dallas at play days. She has also won many first, especially in pleasure class, in Tejas shows, including Adult Champion with me. She is now even a Dam of Champions in HOA when her foal, Chimaira, won halter champion in her age group at the AIHR/HOA National Show. However, I think our greatest accomplishments are the times when she has touched others’ lives.
Jenny and I volunteered at Great Results Equine Assisted Therapy Center for two years. We daily helped mentally and physically handicapped students cope with their disabilities. Jenny is a very hyper horse that I normally would not let children ride but she changes for the handicapped. She adapts for each person. She seems to understand her job and takes it very seriously. Jenny demands to nuzzle each child when they mount up. If they are in a wheelchair she places her face in their lap. The two students I will never forget are Ben and Dylan. Ben is a little boy that says very little and has cerebral palsy and autism. His chances of walking like an average child were slim. After a month of having him ride Jenny I did not show up to the therapy center for two weeks due to school. When I came back I saw a wonderful sight. As I walked Jenny out of her stall Ben saw her and did not walk to her, but ran. His mother couldn’t even keep up! He stopped a few feet from Jenny. She reached out and nuzzled his cheek while he smiled. Dylan was a little eight year old boy with autism too but his was very severe, non-verbal autism. Jenny would prance with Dylan to make him laugh. She loved that boy. When teaching the children to get the horse to move, we tell them to say go! and to tap the horse’s mane. Though he had never spoken a word we had hope. One day he spoke his first word to my little horse. He told her to Go! Everyone nearby started crying tears of joy and I gave Jenny one of the most love-filled hugs I have ever given her. Unfortunately, Jenny has been fired from her job after two years. During my first two months of college I was working two jobs and just did not have the time to go to the center to volunteer. During that time Jenny thought I had abandoned her. She went off her feed, and gradually became depressed and angry. Eventually no one could open her stall door without her charging them. I got the call to come get her. She was very angry at me and the world it seemed. I took her straight to the farm and rode her as fast as she wanted to go and for as long as she wanted to. After that she was her normal self.
I now have her living with me again. She is happy and content. I use her to teach riding lessons. Due to her size compared to me I do not compete her as much as I did before. I have thought of selling her but I do not think I ever will. We are, I guess you can say, kindred spirits. As an early teenager I was going down a dark path and she saved my life. Now we get to work together to help other people change their lives. Because of her I am getting a bachelors in Equine Studies and a Masters in Counseling so I can use horses to counsel abused children and at-risk youth. I hope that when I start my dream career she will be there with me; working together just like we have all these years.
“My Wild Blue Roan” (Even if he did turn out to be a Gray)
By Lona Patton
Near a place they call Adobe Town,
an HMA located in Wyoming.
Nineteen hundred ninety six, was the year at hand
On the 27th day of March
Our herd was happy grazing, out there upon the land.
One cold morning, behind Willow Peak,
Was the day in which they took me,
They found us grazing, by a spring.
Two-legged’s came and caught us
at our home by Willow Creek!
They chased us like a mountain lion
and forced us in a cage.
this cage, they called a corral.
That put us all into a rage!
I saw a bird, flying without wings,
and it made an awful loud roaring sound!
It flew above our heads, there was chaos all around.
I saw two-legs sitting up upon the backs
of my relatives and distant brothers,
they came running up behind us,
with things held in their hands,
yelling things at all of us
that we couldn’t understand!
They chased us with some scary things,
tied onto some long sticks …
They waved and shook them at us,these sticks held in their hands!
They scared us so bad, our hearts did pound!
Our hooves echoed, like the sound of a thousand drums,
beating loudly on the surface
of a cold hard ground!
They closed us in- just as I turned,
to look for a place I could flee,
When suddenly I realized
that my freedom would no longer be, ”
“Oh Lord, my creator…”
“What will become of me!?”
He stood within the holding pens,
waiting for a strange new home.
A home he really didn’t want.
He wanted to be free!
I could see the longing in his eyes.
but if he was going to survive, he somehow knew it had to be.
How he longed to be free again
to run wild with his majestic band!
Back with the only family that he has ever known,
to play and run, back in the desert sand.
His heart, how it ache’d, to run wild and free again,
in the back country of Wyoming,
Back to Adobe Town and the Willow Creek
The home that he now misses, and the
Meadowlarks that sing!
He stood there staring back at me …
with big warm, dark eyes that sparkled as the sunlight kissed them gently.
Did I just witness a spark, a glimmer of hope, of growing curiosity?
I watch him now, watching me, I pray for his comfort,
and then I add,
“Dear Lord Above, Please listen to my prayer,
will you help him learn to trust me,
help me show him that I care,
somehow help me to let him know, if you would kindly guide me.
That he could find an honest friend,
if only he’d except me?”
“In return this is my promise, I’ll give him a good home,
I know that he can never be
again wild or free to roam,
I’ll do my best to give him all that I can afford.
The best feed that I can find, a shelter, and good water,
this I promise Lord.
But most of all dear Lord above
I will give to him a home
that’s filled with compassion,
care and lots of love.
With gentle hands I’ll try to teach,
the wondrous things you’ve taught me.
Please bless us both with patient, understanding minds.
I know that you will guide me.
“I thank you Lord,
for everything that you have given me.
I ask you now my Dearest Lord
If you’ll help this little mustang
to find a place down deep inside
to give to this two-legged,
a chance to win his heart and trust,
that with me he can confide.
Then softly I begin speak, “Beautiful wild blue roan,
with a crescent moon and a tiny star, kissed by your desert home.
Touched by the sun and Red Desert moon,
So lovely and so beautiful, like a dreamy moonlit dance,
You move about so gracefully, hold up your head and prance.
Would you possibly consider
living at my home?
Although you’re body
may not be free, I’ll let you’re spirit soar …
like an eagle flying high, if you wish for it to be.
I’ll let your spirit be free and wild as it was meant to be.
Wild and beautiful blue roan… Moon Dancer Mine,
would you possibly consider, living at my home with me?
Come join us and become a part of my family.
With a nod and a nicker, his frightened and unsure answer
echoed in the month of May crisp Wyoming air.
Yes he would come home with me!
He needs and wants a family to share.
Welcome home my wild one!
Welcome home my friend …
Adopted May 18
I’m standing here at my new home
where I will reside,
inside of a corral, with a two-leg also inside.
Should I run or should I stand?
Oh Lord! She touched me with her hand!
I run …
quietly she follows,
I run some more …
yet still she is there,
not really chasing, but following me, slow.
I look for an escape,
Oh my creator, where can I go?
There is nowhere!
Still, I run …
I’m tired of running, she will not go away!
“Blue roan, you can trust me”
I then hear her say.
So I stop, turn and face her
and quietly I stare,
She stops too,
waiting, looking back and standing there.
What does she want?! What should I do?
Then softly she speaks to me…
“Blue roan, I promise not to hurt you”
Within me something stirs,
my mind spins in a whirl!
As I find myself approaching
this two legged girl.
I want to run! But instead, I stand.
She touches me, as she reaches out her hand.
My heart, it jumps and quivers
but still I do not flee.
Her hand is soft and gentle,
somehow it comforts me.
My body, how it quivers..
She reaches out again,
as she pets down my neck,
I can’t take it, it’s too much!
she is scaring me
with her every touch!
I have to run! I cannot stay!
it will not go away.
Once again, she follows me,
quietly and slow,
I run and as I try to flee.
I feel there’s something’s different,
in my mind – I know,
There is now a new feeling
deep inside of me.
Away from her I find myself
feeling more afraid and lonely.
Again I stop and face her,
again, she stops to …
quietly, she waits there.
What am I supposed to do?
Slowly I walk back to her.
She speaks to me
with a kind, soft whisper …
“Everything is going to be O.K.
just wait and you will see.”
She touches my muzzle ever so softly,
then turns…and quietly,
she just walks away.
Then looking back
she says to me …
as she brings to me some hay,
“We’ll finish this, my new friend …
on another day.”
He’s at a new home now,
no longer free.
Yet he knew somehow,
this was meant to be.
It was a long and lonely ride home,
Nothing would ever again be the same.
Never again, to be free to roam.
He soon fell asleep…the Great Spirit came,
as a vision in his dream,
saying “chunkwakan, horse …
do not weep. Your new home
will not bring you any shame.”
“Go now, meta’ kola, go now my friend,
My prayers with you I will send.”
“And when you are afraid,
just look up to the sky,
you’ll find me here waiting …
for your spirit to fly.”
“So walk the good trail,
and be not afraid.”
“Your two-leg is gentle, I know she’ll be kind,
If you give her your heart, I think you will find …
she will also give hers, and a true friendship
“Akita Ma’niyo… observe all as you go,
If you’ll just trust in her,
somehow this I know…
Keep yourself willing to learn and forgive.
When you open your heart, you begin to live,
Then open your mind …
and soon you will see,
Your spirit is still wild and free.”
Good morning my wild blue roan,
I hope you had a good night.
It’s a wonderful day… you won’t be alone,
you’re such a beautiful sight!
Well hello to you too! Your nicker’s so sweet.
I’ve a feeling today…that our two hearts will meet.
I know you are scared,
heck, I am too.
But I think we’ll be friends
before this day is through.
I’m brushing you now,
I hope it feels nice.
I’m sorry you lost your freedom,
I know it was a sacrifice.
But I’m happy you’re here,
now sharing my home…
allowing me to stand so near.
It’s time, I see
to give you a name.
I’ve thought long and hard
on what it should be.
I look at your face and there I do see …
gentle eyes looking right back at me.
For the cresent moon with a tiny star,
as if they were put there
from the heaven afar.
I know now, what your name should be.
Moon Dancer ~ Wacipi Wi
A friend, you are mine, ~ Metawa.
Yes, that’s what it should be …
Moon Dancer Mine,
Metawa Wacipi Wi.
A few years have gone by
and it wasn’t so bad,
it has proven to be
even a better home then I had.
Though I am no longer wild and free
My spirit is, I still run and play,
But what is even better for me
is she brings me my water, my grain, my hay.
No more do I search for water each day,
across miles of earth …
only to end in dismay,
my water tank is full …
and fresh every day.
For me she has
much love and pride,
she does not try to hide.
Although she was told
how crazy I’d be,
she tells the whole world
how much she loves me.
She says I’m a mustang
with pride in her voice,
she could have had any horse,
but picked me, she says,
by her own choice.
She loves me a lot
this much I know,
when it’s cold outside
with three feet of snow,
I no longer shiver
and shake in the cold,
my two-leg she gave me
a warm place I could go.
She brushes the mud
and the dirt off his back,
then she scratches him
with just the right knack.
She pets him soft and gentle you see,
as she whispers “Metawa …
you’re still somewhat free,
and I’m so glad you’re here
living with me.”
His spirit’s not broken as some said it would be
his heart is not heavy, it’s as light as can be.
Even though he now lives
Sometimes he misses roaming the land,
running and playing in the Red Desert sand,
drinking cold water from the Willow Creek spring
as he listened to the meadowlarks sing.
Then he remembers the long cold winter months
pawing through the snow, searching for a blade of grass,
as he shivered with cold, and waited for the winter to pass.
He’s now thankful to be living at his new home,
as green grasses he finds in the pasture he roams,
he still listens to the beautiful sound
of the meadowlarks
and the birds that abound.
Then he thanks his creator
our Lord up above,
for his home that is filled
with compassion and love.
He looks up to the sky,
and there he does see …
like the clouds that float by,
his spirit is still wild and free.
They said I could never ever break you,
They said I should send you off to be glue.
They never believed
you could be gentle or true,
They could not see what I saw in you.
I am ever so happy now,
with you here with me,
my mustang, my friend, forever to be.
When I walk out my door,
you’re there by the gate
anxiously waiting for me …
without any hate.
You love me too, this much I know,
with all of the gentleness to me that you show.
When I bring out your saddle,
your always there waiting
and ready to go …
to ride by the river in the tall grass,
up in the hills, or in a meadow,
Whenever we travel to a horse show,
You’re willing and able
to give me all that you know,
and when we are done, and ready to leave,
I wear ribbons with pride, pinned to my sleeve.
You’ve won ribbons, and plaques
and awards just for me,
I want to shout…so the whole world can see,
though you were born wild and free …
You’re as gentle and kind
as any horse can be,
if they’d open their heart …
then open their mind,
I know that they would see
what a wonderful horse a mustang can be!
You’re my beautiful mustang
and my wonderful friend.
I vowed to the Lord
to Him, the credits I’d send.
Thank you Lord for guiding me,
give the best home I could
to Metawa Wacipi Wi
Dedicated and Written for me by my owner … Lona Patton
For all the wild horses roaming free today
and not knowing what tomarrow will bring.
~~~ The End ~~~
Getting to Know the Horses of the AIHR – Unwritten, aka Rhett
If anyone had asked me in the Spring of 2010, what would I wish for if I had three wishes, I would have answered, “World peace, an end to hunger, a decent supply of hay for the year or cheaper feed prices. I would not have said, “another horse.”. I had horses, all of whom I cherished and they were enough. I also had donkeys, cats, dogs, chickens, geese, ducks, a pot bellied pig and a peacock, many of whom were rescues. I definitely did not need nor was I looking for another horse. At age 71 I was slowing down as far as taking in horses went. (The term ‘never say never” comes to mind here.)
The AIHR hosts an annual Open House in April each year and in 2010 I was expecting my friends, Vickie Ives and Laura Christensen who were coming for the celebration from east Texas and bringing with them two horses, a 2 year old colt, Jack Sparrow, and Laura’s gelding, Heyoka. Jack Sparrow had been sold to Scott Nelis who was coming to the Open House to pick his colt up. Vik and Laura arrived around 10 pm on Friday evening with horses in tow. We unloaded them and put them into adjoining pens. After that we went to the house for a visit before going to bed.
Rhett’s first night home at Rancho San Francisco. The next morning I got up early and went down to the barn to feed my brood. There I was met by a very agitated Jack Sparrow who was nickering and pawing at the wall of the barn. He was intent on getting my attention. At first I thought he was just hungry, but it was more than that. He demanded my attention and I could not, would not respond as he was promised to someone else. So I ignored him and went about my morning chores.
He persisted, banging on the wall and nickering loudly for nearly an hour. At that time Vik came down to the barn to feed the two horses, and I went over to greet her when she exclaimed, This is not Jack Sparrow! This is Unwritten! How could this have happened? True, this colt and Jack Sparrow were similar in age, size and color, but as long time and experienced horse people neither Vik nor her trainer Jerry could understand the “mistake.”. When things quieted down after more laughter and exclamations and a call to Scott to tell him not to bring his trailer – they would meet up at a later date for Jack Sparrow’s delivery, I knew I had to talk to Vik.
By this time I had decided that Unwritten had engineered this whole event. He had gotten himself to exactly where he knew he was destined to be, and that was with me. No doubt about it, and I had to agree with him so I sat down with Vik and asked her if he could be mine. Thankfully she was agreeable, and so Unwritten, call name Rhett, found his forever home. He went back to east Texas for a time so he could have more training and be gelded. I showed him at the 2010 AIHR National Show and at the 2011 National he really outdid himself by winning his halter class and was Reserve Champion O Indian Horse at Halter. The amazing Rowdy Yates was Grand Champion O at Halter, so we were in very good company!
I am pleased to say that Rhett is now home with me on my ranch near Lockhart (south of Austin in central Texas) and thriving. He is one of the sweetest horses I have ever been privileged to have in my life and I am beyond grateful to be his friend and partner.
Here is a poem that he and I wrote together:
He arrived by mistake(or so they said)
He was the wrong colt( or so they said)
But the expressive brown eyes used different words.
No mistake am I(so he said to me)
No mistake the trip across Texas(so he said to me)
I am yours – forever(so he said to me)
**Story written by Rhett’s mom, Nanci Falley**