My Birthday Wish

It’s my birthday today.

In spite of being sleep deprived and worn ragged by yet another year running this marathon I find myself awake with thoughts swirling in my head.

So much has happened this year as last… and for my birthday I want to take a moment and thank some folks that have stood with me for a very long time… and some that have recently joined those chaotic, painstaking, often very under appreciated ranks.

This work is hard. But it is vital to this cause that is driven by passion and a real fundamental desire for change. In that process you forge lasting bonds and weed out those that are not in it for the cause but are driven by destructive and often selfish reasons. A core is formed over time that creates a “herd of survivors” that can focus in the most extreme circumstance.

To all of you I say “Thank you.”

My dear “Uncle” Stevie (Steven Long) that I met a few years back via the internet. He has become a friend and a supportive editor at Horseback Magazine. He believed in me from day one and that man has never wavered. I know the recent decision means a great deal to him as a friend and a journalist and author.

In the manner of “it’s a small world” my attorney Gordon Cowan and Steven had mutual friends. It has been fun listening to them as their friendship and respect for each other grows.

Gordon Cowan and I have worked on “wild horse” issues since 2009. He listens to me when I talk and we can create a strategy that may not have made sense to some, but it has to us. He has held on with little monetary support for the amount of work he has done. He has held on in the face of the convoluted arguments from BLM and threats that actually came from those that have claimed to support this work. Without his belief in my work these cases would never have happened.

The folks at Equine Welfare Alliance where I got my start in organized advocacy for wild horses. Thank you to John and Vicki for becoming friends and colleagues. I am still a very proud member of that organization.

My dear friend RT and Terry Fitch that have watched my evolution as an advocate and journalist for the last few years and were always supportive of my work.

I have worked in conjunction with so many. Many organizations have supported this work in one form or another over the last few years. Including but not limited to: The Cloud Foundation, Elyse Gardner, Deb Coffey, Elizabeth Slagsvol, Madeleine Pickens, George Knapp, AWHPC, IDA, Mara LeGrande and all the folks in the Facebook group…. and so many others. Lisa, Gayle, Mar, Louie, Paula, Barbara, Lana, Ana, Cate, Connie, Jan, Robin, Cat, Patricia, Mike, Tom, and so many others (Some of you I apologize not mentioning you and some of you I’m not sure you want to be mentioned). All of you involved in this issue know just how tight resources are. I have tried my best to make it all stretch.

I know my multiple affiliations over time have been confusing, I apologize. But the purpose of this work is to get information and share it. Perhaps that has been accomplished and the confusion is reflective? (The Legal stuff I do is now solidified under Wild Horse Freedom Federation and the documentation is funded through Wild Horse Education But the work has always been a “mach 5, hair on fire” experience and a daily learning experience).

A special thanks to Leslie Peeples who has picked up so much slack out of her love for the horses that she has been carrying a very heavy load the last two months. I know there is so much to do and more than we can do in the moment… but we are getting a strong foundation built to create the library and field research organization I have always dreamed of with Wild Horse Education. Leslie is a “plain talking” hands-on woman that is trying to help get this “beast” of a project into a manageable formula.

And mostly I want to thank my mom. I know it’s not easy hearing things like your daughter drove through snowstorms and desert heat alone. Or knowing I was left sleeping in a truck stop after roundups ended last year without enough money to buy a cup of coffee after literally giving it all I had. Mom gave me the ability to see beyond the obstacles and focus on the next step. That simply taking the next step, as best you can in the moment of what you believe, has value beyond any physical comfort. I am eternally grateful.

The gas tank and the bank account often run dry…. but this third birthday on the road has the “Spirit tank” on full.

So tonight as I reflect… I reflect on all of you. Thank you.

These last two years a foundation has been built.

My birthday wish is that by next year we see real change in the way our wild ones are handled, changes in AML and some of the mistakes of the past (boundary lines) rectified.

Can y’all help me blow out the candles?

Yesterday I watched 147 horses get turned back to the range (photos at

Released home, 2/17


24 thoughts on “My Birthday Wish

  1. Barbara says:

    Laura, you are awesome and made out of steel but you need your rest.
    I can’t sleep either thinking of the BLM adoption coming to a near-by town here in KY. I have found 2 other advocates who are going with me to pass out anti-slaughter info from AWI amd Ginger is sending me more info. It will break my old heart to see them .It’s been a few years since I’ve gone to one and I thought it was awful–long story. I am looking for a bumper pull stock trailer to help a woman adopt a couple and who knows what I might do. I just wish I was young like you and your birthdays don’t even show. Bless you .

  2. Barbara says:

    Oops, forgot to say,”HAPPY BIRTHDAY !!” . See what old age has done to my mind and I won’t even tell you about my old body. Ha! Ha!

  3. Cat Kindsfather says:

    Happy Birthday Laura ~

    Well I’d say you got a pretty good present from the appeals court! Well done!
    Congratulations & many thanks for never giving up.

    I know how hard you have been working, and from so many angles. Your work is appreciated by so many – litigation, wild horse video and stills, and reports from the continuos roundups. Your dedication is impressive, in every kind of unbearable weather. Its American wild horse & burro history that needs recording! Thank you ~ hopefully there will be changes for better management! Wild horses & burros should be just that, wild and free for all
    of America to see, as well as international wildlife tourists.

    Hey Laura! Take the day off for your birthday please!
    Have a great time! Blessings xox ~ Cat

    P.S. I hope you have help blowing out all those candles! He he he….

  4. Lisa Benton says:

    Happy Birthday Laura! Hope you enjoy your day! Thanks again for all you do 🙂 God Bless…

  5. Bonnie says:

    Happy Birthday Laura ! Thank you so much for your tireless work. The information you fight so hard to gather has reached thousands of people who never knew the truth about the roundups..they are now getting the facts.Be careful out there! Many good thoughts your way today and always!!!

  6. kathy h says:

    ~Wishing You The Happiest of Birthdays!~

  7. Darcy says:

    Have a very Happy Birthday, & know that we are all with you every day! Thank you for your dedication & your strength, as you radiate it to us every day that you are in the field for the Horses.



  9. Bonnie Rodgers says:

    What a beautiful site to see them run for freedom,thank you for all your dedication and love you have for the mustangs. And hope you had a awesome biethday:)

  10. polopaula says:

    Happy, Happy Birthday, Laura. I wish I could send you a million dollar birthday present… or at least a new truck. I wish so much for you because your dedication to your goal and the imagination that you use to attain it is a true inspiration to all who meet you. And you are meeting more people who can help you all the time. Your message is attracting so much attention because it is intelligent, compelling, and passionate. Your inroads into the legal world are showing improving results, and you are on the verge of universal public attention. Everything is in place to make a huge change for the Horses and Burros. Again, I am amazed at what one person can do to make a change for good. I wish that I could do more, but my Birthday Present to you is to support you all that I can. You are one amazing hero.

  11. now that’s a picture to make you cry for joy!!!!!laura-you’re the bomb!(as the kids say)

  12. Morgan Griffith says:

    Happy birthday Laura. Spend your day with the horses–if you didn’t you know you’d be thinking about them all day anyway. Congratulations on the win which can lay a solid framework for further justice for our horses.

  13. gaylesuzanne says:

    Birthday Message To Laura

    Dearest, Miss Laura, My Dear Friend, Kindred Spirit And Mentor,

    Your tender words of faith, encouragement, and pure determination touch my heart and soul in inspiration! 😉

    You have shown the same beauty, strength, courage and sheer determination as we see and feel in the Wild Ones! 😉

    I humbly offer these words of inspiration to you from a Christian, Redneck CowGirl in hopes of giving you even more strength and courage as shown by God’s Precious Creations, OUR Wild Equines…

    God is asking these questions of Job, in confirmation and assurance that ALL may know that HE IS THE CREATOR…

    Job 39: 19-25
    19 “Have you given the horse its strength
    or clothed its neck with a flowing mane?
    20 Did you give it the ability to leap like a locust?
    Its majestic snorting is terrifying!
    21 It paws the earth and rejoices in its strength
    when it charges out to battle.
    22 It laughs at fear and is unafraid.
    It does not run from the sword.
    23 The arrows rattle against it,
    and the spear and javelin flash.
    24 It paws the ground fiercely
    and rushes forward into battle when the ram’s horn blows.
    25 It snorts at the sound of the horn.
    It senses the battle in the distance.
    It quivers at the captain’s commands and the noise of battle.

    When God created the horse,
    HE said to the magnificent creature:
    “I have made thee as no other.
    All the treasures of the earth shall lie between thy eyes.
    Thou shalt cast thy enemies between thy hooves,
    but thou shalt carry my friends upon thy back.
    Thy saddle shall be the seat of prayers to me
    and thou fly without any wings,
    and conquer without any sword.”

    I do not know how familiar you are with Scripture, but here is an inspirational thought…

    Our Precious Lord And Savior Jesus Will Be Returning Soon On A White Horse And With A Sword,
    Riding With The Herd Of The Horses Of The Apocalypse
    (And THESE Horses Are NOT Going To Play Nice)!!!
    TEE HEE! 😉

    Hoka Hey, My Friend…

    May God Richly Bless You On Your Day Of Birth And Always, Miss Laura, My Dear Friend! 😉
    Enjoy Your Celebration Of Life EVERY DAY! 😉
    God Bless You For Being An Angel Of Mercy And A Blessing To Others For ALL Of God’s Precious Creations (People, Animals And Our Earth) So You Will Bless More Abundantly In Jesus Holy Name! 😉
    Amen! 😉
    Love, Hope, Joy And Peace Be With You, Always,
    And My Animal Children! 😉

  14. Robin Bailey says:

    Happy Birthday Laura and God Bless!! For everything you do, I just cannot tell you how much you are appreciated by all of us and most importantly, the mustangs and burros. Enjoy your special day.

  15. savewildhorses says:

    Happy Birthday, Laura! Can’t think of a better present than the court victory and then seeing horses released back to their home. Glad the spirit tank is on full now.

  16. Margaret says:

    Laura you share your birthday with my dad! So you’re in excellent company!

    Happy happy birthday.

  17. Pam York says:

    Happy birthday Laura. Your an inspiration to us all of your unconditional love, patriotism, determination, leadership, and friendship to the wild mustangs of America and the people of our nation.
    Thank you.
    Congratulations to you on your win in Fed court! … out of all bad comes good! Bless you Laura, love/peace/hope and cheers to your b-day wishes being granted!

  18. Jill says:

    Happy Birthday, Laura (:

  19. Nancy Z says:

    Happy Birthday,

    Your Mom raised you right…I would be proud if my daughter worked so hard for a cause that held deep in her heart. Happy Birthday Laura Leigh,

    With lots of Mustang Thunder and most Happiness for the New Year of you Birthday.

    Nancy Z.

  20. Louie Cocroft says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Laura! There couldn’t be anything better than seeing those Horses released….except seeing ALL of them returned to the range, where they rightfully belong. Here’s something for you

  21. arlene says:

    Dear Laura, Happy Belated Birthday, may all your wishes be granted !!!! May You Free Our Beloved Wild Mustangs………….They know what you do for them of that i am sure……Gods Speed is always wished for you in your quest………………………………..Let this year be the Year that the Wild mustangs you and all of us love and cherish be given back what rightfully belongs to them………………… Their Freedom and their Land……………….

  22. A small, but big consolation for you to see the 147 Stone Cabin wild horses have there freedom returned, Laura. You will never know the courage and strength you portray and inject into us little sideliners who want to do more to help you and the mustangs and burros. Your gusto, knowledge and perseverance teach the rest of us how to do just that. I wish and hope for you that you have personal satisfaction for your relentless pursuit to see the horses remain free and treated fairly. Your work is the critical link in this entire chain to ensure their survival. I love your writings, you always stimulate me to do more. As always, I hope I grow up to be like you!!!

  23. Happy belated birthday Laura! I know it has been quite some time since your birthday ;). I’ve been following your blog updates since last week and stumbled through this article. Hopefully all of your wishes will come true before your next birthday.

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