Friday, May 4, 2012
I first met Honey in 2009. She was born in the wild of the Black Hills, a descendant of Don Juan Sulphur and Sulphur de Ore, with Spanish bloodlines that date back to the 1300‘s, long before the Spanish Conquistadors came to Mexico.
Sulphur de Ore, Honey's dam
Don Juan Sulphur, Honey's sire
I always saw Honey standing in the back of the herd or off to the side, but I never witnessed any of her herd-mates pushing her back or away from herd. She always had this sweet inquisitive look on her face, like she wanted to come closer but was just too shy.
Honey’s coloring is yellow dun with a bi-colored mane, dorsal stripe, and zebra stripes on all four legs; all characteristics unique to Spanish mustangs. She was born with black tipped ears too, another Spanish trait, but shortly after her birth the winter was so cold that her ears were frost bitten and the black tips fell off.
I respected her space. I liked talking to her and I think she liked it too. I could see it in her eyes. I decided to call her Honey for her coloring and sweet disposition.
In 2010 I entered my first photo contest ever. It was an international photo contest through the Equine Photographers Network. I chose a picture of Honey taken on a cold December morning. I received an honorable mention award in the category of “Head Study.”
But the real prize was captured within the photo its self. I was photographing her and talking to her (like always), telling her how beautiful she is. She nickered back to me and I caught it in my shot. You can see the expression of her nicker on her nose. Its a present just for me, and I will cherish it for all of my days
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
My Saddest Goodbye
I have put off writing this entry since February. My deep sadness wouldn’t let me speak, but now its time.
In my entry titled “Inspired by Simone,” I briefly mentioned an animal cruelty case the Montana Horse Sanctuary assisted the Sheriff with. These eight horses lived together for years, enduring endless hardships at the hand of Lisa Cano. This was her second offense with animal cruelty.
Horses have a deep sense of family bonds in their herds. They love each other just like you and I love our family, and these eight horses cared for each other; all they had was each other. Once seized, and rehabilitated their bonds would soon be broken.
10/26/11 Intake photo. Jane Heath, Executive Director of Montana Horse Sanctuary, and Annie. She was so malnourished that she couldn't produce milk for her baby.
One of the mares, Annie, had a superb bloodline in racing. Bloodlines mean more in breeding and horse racing than the welfare of the horse. Horses like Annie are continually bred back to back for their profitable offspring. When the offspring doesn’t win enough money/races, off to slaughter they go. Many race horses are slaughtered before the age of five.
Annie came to the sanctuary with her little colt named Auggie. He was so tiny and malnourished, but sweet as can be.
11/01/11 Auggie and Annie
Over nearly six months, I watched him change. He gained strength, romping and playing and his curiosity was sweet. During this time the animal cruelty case against Cano was being built, and just when everything seemed to be going in favor of the horses, a bomb was dropped. Apparently Cano had signed over ownership of Annie and Auggie to a man days before the seize; and the man was adamant about getting Annie and Auggie back, even though the horses were not fully rehabilitated.
12/19/12 Annie and Auggie
It was like a sucker punch in the gut that took my breath away with the blow of the news, Annie and Auggie were to be returned to this man, a breeder who knew that Cano wasn’t taking care of the horses. Again, the big issue was money and bloodlines.
01/22/12 Auggie's first taste of snow. He licked that for half hour!
Everyone at the sanctuary was devastated. I cried off and on for days, even now the salt hits my face thinking about Annie and Auggie. Where is the justice?
I will never forget the soft nose kisses Auggie gave me daily. I pray that Annie and Auggie will be alright, but my inner self tells me otherwise.
I miss them so much.