Yes, Pop

My grandfather (Pop) died three days before Memorial day several years back.
A man you needed to comprehend the language of “grumble” to understand.
An original Teamster he delivered dairy in Brooklyn with a team of percherons.
He fought in WWI and took his eldest sons with him to fight in WWII.
Pop was not a “touchy-feely” kinda guy.

So when he displayed any emotion besides annoyance I noticed. (No disrespect Pop, you know how much your grumbling made me smile).

When I was very young I had my first horse. I was one of the only kids in my “neighborhood” to go to school smelling like horse poop… my favorite fragrance to this day.

So Pop told me a story: It started like most of them did. He liked to try to gross you out… he lost most of his audience that way, but he only drew my attention.

“You know people eat horses?”

“Aw pop, get outta here.”

“They eat soldiers, too.”

“Ok Pop, what ya’ got.”

My grandfather then told me the story of the horses that went to Europe with them. He told me how his unit had Mustangs. He choked up as he noted the spirit of Freedom we were sent to Europe to defend and how the Mustang was the living embodiment of that spirit.
How the strength, love of Freedom and the will to “never give up” was wrapped up a package of loyalty. The best “man to have your back.”

“You put your mask on him first cause he can carry you out. You can’t carry him and without him you’re dead.”

Then in true Pop fashion he said, “So we left them there to be eaten.”

Pop then walked away.

The sense of betrayal, not only to the horse, but to the concept of “American” stuck in my 10 year old heart like a knife.


Isn’t it about time we begin to recognize the contribution these horses have given to our country?
Can’t we actually get it together long enough to recognize the value of America’s horses?


I’m on the road and just got the “go” sign….

I pray with you all this Memorial Day that the way toward communication to actually protect, not just manage, our wild horses shows itself. And that we all step down that road with the strength and will our wild horses can teach us.


11 thoughts on “Yes, Pop

  1. Linda says:

    My grandfather drove his dad’s team when he was a kid, delivering coal in winter and ice in summer. He always had a soft spot for horses, and understood my passion for them. He couldn’t serve in the military (flat feet), but was an air raid warden and coastline spotter in WWII.

    Memorial Day rememberances and blessings to all those who have protected and continue to protect our freedoms at home and abroad … men, women, and the canine corps. And to the noble horses and mules the cavalrymen proudly called “fellow soldiers”.

    Laura, I think of you every day. Be safe in your travels.

  2. Barbara Warner says:

    L:aura, this is so moving. Thank you.

  3. Barbara Warner says:

    I forgot to check the boxes–tears in the way.

  4. Jan Eaker says:

    laura, I was down in TN visiting my daughter beg of May, there are a lot of Amish there, I went to buy some strawberries, et all from one of their farms, to my delight, they were baling hay with a team of 6 Bekgians pulling the baler, and it struck me that I need to talk to these people, learn from them, because when all the oil is gone, and that day is sooner than we want to think, I’m thinking that my horses are going to be getting me around, and doing things that oil powers now.
    So yes we need to appreciate these horses now, for what they are to us today, what they gave to us in the past, and what they will mean to us in the future.
    And I know, there is something absolutely delightful in the horse smell of a barn and pasture full of horses. I fell in love with it(and horses) at the age of 3 and it is still my favorite smell in the whole world! No one else in my family gets it.

  5. Barbara Warner says:

    Jan, most of the Amish use their horses up and then send them to slaughter. It may look like the answer but I think solar and wind power would be . I have seen thin horses pulling Amish buggies in the heat of summer and in the cold of winter. Only once did I see an owner show any kindness to his horse. Mostly to them they are just beasts of burden and nothing more. Many Amish in PA send their horses to Sugar Creek.

  6. Suzanne says:

    I hope so too, Laura. I hope so too.

  7. Jan Eaker says:

    I wasn’t extolling the virtues of the Amish as horse owners, I was simply stating what kind of energy they used, and these particular horses were in great shape; wind and solar is great, however, is it being developed???? Is money being out into it, to make it afforadable for the entire country????
    I’m well aware of the Amish reputation, they are not the only ones who misuse horses, and not all of them mistreat their horses. from an article I just read, the kill buyers are after the fat, healthy horses these days.
    My point was that horses need to be apperciated, for all they’ve done for us, and for what they may have to do yet again.

  8. sandra longley says:

    In world war 11, the united states only had 1 calvary regiment and was used in the philippines where the terrain was too rugged for mechanized vehicles..other allies still used some horses mostly in the desert wars. World War 1, was the last war to extensively use horses in battle.

  9. sandra longley says:


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