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 wildhorseeducation.org)