Horses are art in motion. When still they are the calm and peace of the world. When they run, it’s with invisible wings. When they trot, it’s as if each step springs them into heaven. Few things in nature compare to the beauty of the horse.
How many a child has felt the call of the wild horse who responds only to them? How many feel they could win any kind of battle when astride a horse? How many dream of the moment that they and the horse become one with the same zeal as many dream of a championship?
Many, I know. They inspire and empower us. And most of all they instruct us: listen, watch, become one with them and their gentle calm or their wild nature or their joyous run.
From the shy autistic child to the recovering drug addict to the soldier with post traumatic stress, the horse has stepped up time and again to aid in their healing. Their beauty alone is a balm to our hearts. To brush one soothes us. To befriend one is to have a stalwart companion through the worst of times. And to ride one is to gain a glimpse of heaven.
Those who cast aside the horse as a mere ‘animal’, an object to dispose of as they will without regard for it’s nature are diminishing humanity as well as the horse. We need them now. We always have. We need the reminder that to tame all of nature means to lose some of it’s beauty. To cast aside a companion who has stood by someone through all is to toss away a piece of one’s existence that was as important to them as a limb.
We need the horse. We need the horse even more than the horse needs us. For the things you would trade it for: wealth, land, money or power, don’t last forever. But friendship, hope, faith and courage do. They must.
In this last video, the situation between those who under rate horses is largely summed up with : :The heart of the problem is there is no value put on wildness.” Or, I would add, on beauty. Or anything that truly matters. Far too many would sell it out, destroy it for money. But the inspiration that is the horse is worth far more.
Well, here it is. The summation of much of the world’s woes, as once again, revealed through the horse world. The fox guarding the chickens. The corrupt judge sitting over his son’s trial. The blind man driving the automobile (no offense to the blind intended, the way technology is headed, it’s only a matter of time).
The first is that the BLM went back on it’s word and went ahead with a mustang roundup they’d promised and sworn was cancelled. Color me shocked. A branch of the government, lie to it’s citizens? Of course they would. What bothers me is that no other branch of the government seems interested in holding them accountable. You have perjury and animal cruelty in one fell swoop, yet no one ever arrests them. What does it say about our government, that it is no longer being held accountable to it’s citizens for such misuse of funds and power?
The second is this bit of news of the confusion over slaughterhouses. Now the Native nations – and for the moment, I won’t try and sort out which ones – are apparently divided, with some in favor of it. Some still believe the horse is sacred and are firmly opposed. But the others claim ‘overpopulation’ and ‘overgrazing’ and insist that slaughter would solve their problems.
I can’t help note that if so, they should be trying to get the slaughter plant, with its associated environmental hazards on their own reservation land. Apparently they don’t mind foisting it off on someone else. They don’t seem to be vying for the jobs associated, they just want the horses gone.
I don’t claim to know what the ratio of horses to other livestock is on the Native reservations is, or whether they have a problem. I do know slaughter isn’t the answer. But it’s a sad thing to think that people some of whom have been called ‘people of the horse’, and for some of them, still think it sacred, would consider this an acceptable solution. What is it about today’s society that people are so ignorant and determined to remain so in the name of greed and convenience?
Third, is the trial of the Tennessee Walking Horse trainer. Now what makes me shake my head at this is on the Ethics committee of the Tennessee Walking Horse Trainer’s Association. Ethics. Oh, really, ethics. The man thought nothing of soring and intentionally injuring these animals for a ribbon, prize money, or trophy. I can’t imagine why anyone would reward anyone for cruelty. But the idea of the man being on an ethics committee!! It’s incomprehensible. Talk about the blind leading the blind!
It’s an odd thing about culture that comparing someone to an animal is considered an insult to the human. I for one, would think it would be the other way round. They would likely be insulted to be compared to once. Politics is a prime example. For the donkey became associated with Democrats in part via Andrew Jackson being called a jackass. As for the elephant, combined with the aforementioned donkey incident, he joined a cartoon by Hurst where the elephant represented a terrified group of Republican voters. Neither animal was attached as a compliment to the party.
So the two main political parties are associated with an animal. The donkey with the Democrats, the elephant with the Republicans. Neither animal, for their part, should likely appreciate the association. Neither party (in general, for there are always exceptions) has put their mascot’s needs anywhere on there ‘things to do’ list.
Republicans (in general) tend to be associated with sport hunting and the like. I’ve seen numerous signs for this lately. Now when I think of killing an animal for sport, images of buffalo herds wiped out spring to mind. I don’t think disagree with killing animals for food, but I do have doubts about killing for sport. It seems dangerous – for ‘sport’ implies fun and killing should not be fun. Democrats (in general) don’t have any such obvious associations. However since their own mascot is the donkey, you’d think they would notice the cruelty inflicted by their own government on them. But no, nary a word is said..
How does this relate, you may wonder? Well, it’s not directly sport but sheer greed that kills animals, a desire to put human wants above nature’s needs. Ivory from their tusks gets them slaughtered and habitat reduction (big animal needs big habitat) reduces their numbers even more. The latter is, at least, understandable as a byproduct of sharing space with humans. As for the donkey, the wild version roams in several places. One of those is our National Parks. The response of the park service is to label these lovable creatures, such an undervalued and important bit of our history, vermin. In reality, they wipe them out to make room for the animals sport hunters prefer in order to lure them to the park. Also Republicans are associated with big cattle and mining lobbies. Is it a coincidence these are the ones who want the wild horses and burro (AKA donkey) off the Federal range land for their own cattle? Or that mining and alternative energies are also on this land and accessing them will affect the wild creatures – including wild born horse and burros – water supply.
Nor have either side (in general) remarked on the fact that the Wild Burro (AKA donkey) is also a protected species on Federal lands, and yet the very agency designed to protect them is rounding them up to extinction even faster than the wild mustangs. Have they done anything? Not a comment from the President or the party so far as I can tell.
Obviously neither party is asking the animals what they think. In fact, they don’t even ask most Americans. They just pretend it isn’t happening and keep doing the magicians trick: keep the public attention focused somewhere else. Don’t ask about the corruption and bias, then we’d have to deal with it and go against these large groups funding our campaigns.
Animals and Perspective
Finally, while I love the eagle as mascot, it’s also associated with the Roman empire and it’s fall, as well as pride and arrogance. Whenever I see the politicians up there making over bloated promises that they can’t keep – for they promise individual action on what takes a whole congress to decide, usually – I wonder how it translates into other languages. I know it’s hyperbole and it still turns me off. No wonder other nations think us arrogant, if this is their example. We set out to elect a leader, but our choices are usually limited to someone whose parroting the party line or their supporters. Is their an individual in there? With conviction and courage? Do they believe what they say and have a plan, whether I agree or not? Or are they just a puppet for a party?
I’ll finish by pointing out I’m not a ‘party’ person. I tend to vote the individual, which is increasingly difficult. Nor do I disagree with hunting. There is a danger at anything that encourages enjoyment of killing for fun, especially when there are so many other ‘shooting’ sports that exist without the need to kill. What I am is an animal lover. I believe animals bring out the best in us. They inspire us in their wild state. They comfort us when domestic. They heal the sick or injured in therapy programs. And yes, they even put food on the table.
Why does a politicians view of animals matter?
Animals reflect the best and the worst of us and this is why I look at a groups stance on the animal issues. Don’t care whether horses are slaughtered for consumption? Well, whatever your opinion of the horses place – livestock or companion – a politician should care that his citizens are exposed to meat full of medicines that cause Aplastic Anemia in people. Local politicians, at least, have let the people trying to promote it that they don’t want the environmental fall out in their town.
The same is true of the Bureau of Land Management and the wild horse and burro issues. You don’t have to care about wild horses or bureaus. You don’t even have to care about the range. What everyone – and certain every politician, who is supposed to support his citizens – should care about is the tremendous amount of wasted tax payer money, the suspicious lack of oversight and scientific evidence to support their claims. In a time when jobs are short and the economy a wreck, how can they afford to just ignore this?
The Animals View
Ultimately, I think it should be the animals who are insulted. We are supposed to be the dominant species, the wise, intelligent ones, with empathy and an ability and imagination to see things as others see them. Yet in these areas animals have been known to put us the shame. From the elephant who gets stuck and the whole herd who gathers around to help to the wild stallion who defends his mares and challenges the helicopter, they never put greed above the lives of their own. They aren’t perfect: they kill each other, fight, and there are rogues even among the animal world. But then, we are supposed to be the smart ones, the ones better than that. The shame of it is, we don’t act like it.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by life. So many issues, who has time to research them all? It’s so easy to just ‘believe’ what we want to believe or what we are told by the government, corporation, boss, coworker, friends or family.
But sometimes the little issues we ignore are the small stones preceding an avalanche. And sometimes the politicians and big corporations are using some issues to direct us from others, so that we don’t consider the danger: if they will lie and sell out in small areas, who is to say they aren’t selling out in others.
Sometimes you just have to speak out. Some of us use our voice. Some use bumper stickers, or hats or t-shirts. Some even use graffiti. Our art is our voice and when we ignore the signs it’s the first thing that has funding cut. Teach the kids math they think not art, as if creative problem solving and expression isn’t just as important in life.
We’d rather go for pop culture thought. So try this one: Take a look at the history of the Star Wars galaxy. A great Republic is deceived by one man from within and destroyed. That’s not just fiction. It’s the history of our world too. It’s a case of misdirection. We get busy looking at the ‘big’ issues that the ‘big’ news covers and we miss that issue over on the side that is evidence of the corruption within.
Assumption is a dangerous thing. It can cost us money. It can cost us time, or our dreams and hopes. It can also cost our ethics. You can be as loyal as you like to political parties or your favorite corporations. But if you love something, you don’t ignore it’s flaws, you try and correct them. And it takes a lot of money and influence for these people to get elected. Easy for them to forget what it’s like for those of us without it or to swing the other way and assume we won’t care what they sell out.
My personal issues to go to war over (metaphorically speaking)? Well, naturally the biggest ones involve horses.
But lest you think I’m just deciding based on my love for them, here is my decision making for who to believe and side with on issues:
Facts. Prove it, don’t just tell me and expect me to believe.
Listen to both sides.
Follow the money and the motives. Who stands to gain on either side?
Is it really my business at all?
My first war is this:
The Bureau of Land Management’s management of wild mustangs, which they are charged under the 1971 act protecting free roaming horses and burros as American symbols of the west. I for one, wanted to believe they were doing just that, from the time I first read “Mustang, Wild Spirit of the West” by Marguerite Henry.
1. Congress asked them for proof of their decision making process and how many horses were left. They could not provide it.
2. They ask for huge funding to roundup and warehouse them even though they still have not proved the need.
3. They are trying to keep journalists out. Their is currently a lawsuit about it. But photo and video of horses literally being hit by helicopters has been captured. This behavior would get any other pilot in trouble.
The horses injured in the roundups are so high in number that any civilian would be arrested for animal cruelty.
4. Fact: In spite of the law, the places the horses have been allowed has been whittled down. When they are removed due to ‘too many for the land to support’ (again, they have shown no proof) cattle move in. Millions of cattle can fit but a few hundred horses can’t? I’m no math expert but something doesn’t compute.
The BLM’s conclusion: round them all up, geld the stallions and just have show herds.
Their reason: they are overgrazing and horses non native and never mind the law.
That isn’t ‘free roaming’ it’s slow extinction. No stallions = no foals = death of the wild mustang.
They can’t prove the overgrazing.
The horses originated here before dying out, so it’s a native species returning. But the cattle were never native.
They can’t prove the horses numbers. But even their claimed ‘goal’ of how many horses left takes us to a level too low for them to survive given the genetics involved. That can be proven.
It’s MY LAND and YOUR LAND, yet the Bureau of Land Management and the local states and ranchers act as if it’s all ‘THEIR’ land. It’s the land of American citizens. All of us, not just them.
And it’s MY MONEY and YOUR MONEY. So our government claims it’s out of money yet they can supply the BLM with millions of this money for roundups and holding of mustangs without any proof.
Why? What is the Bureau of Land Management and Department Interior’s Motive for this?
The head of the BLM is a rancher and the board tends to elect those with like minds.
Some have tried to get the BLM to combine with the Office of Surface Mining.
The Dept of Interior has come under fire for being too closely aligned with mining interests. The BLM is closely aligned with Ranching
What do the opponents, those who resist the roundups have to gain?
Big bills as they drive to the roundups and try and witness them. Bills for land, rooms, and transportation and meanwhile time off from other jobs.
More bills as they fund lawyers who are going against other lawyers who are paid by the deep pockets of our own government.
The final warning on the BLM though is their response to criticism. They repeat the same old line without answering any scientific challenge, ignore all protests in meetings, keep the rounded up horses on private land so no one can witness their treatment and just try protesting on their website. They flat refuse to take emails in objection. Sometimes they say it but others it just doesn’t work. Normally I’d think that was just a glitch. But not now.
The worst part they claim they keep journalists out for their own safety. Right. Journalists with horse experience.Journalists are embedded in war zones with the military and going out in hurricanes and disasters. But they can’t watch a roundup? They might spook the horses. More than the helicopter hitting them spooks them?
These design ideas hit me whenever I get…MAD! I expect they’ll keep coming. It’s an odd form of inspiration born of fury. Fury that my country is being corrupted.
I suddenly experienced an upsurge in my ‘Don’t let the Wild Horses fade away’ designs at Zazzle. Not surprised, its’ bumper stickers. Think I’m the only one whose concerned at the deception?
I’ve also sold several: “Mustangs are an American Heritage, Don’t You Dare Sell out My Share’ featuring a buckskin charging.
I’ve got one whole Cafepress shop devoted to a bay stallion battling a mountain lion. T- shirts, mugs and more. That idea would be easier than battling humans. At least the lion just wants dinner. No, humans are a worse predator. We take more than we need and show little little at the long term damage.
Don’t take what I say at face value. Research it yourself, just for a few minutes a day if you can. If you won’t or can’t buy my t-shirts or bumper stickers, at least speak out and spread the word. Sign the petitions. Let your political leaders know that it’s your money and land and you want accountability in how it’s used.
Oh, and regarding creativity: nothing against cows, but when is the last time you were inspired by one? But the sweeping beauty of the west, the galloping wild horse have inspired true history and fiction, art and beauty, called out to tourists who are shocked to arrive and find the same horses are being wiped out. The Mustang is a symbol of freedom as surely as the American flag and bald eagle. It symbolizes the hard working cowboy, the native american battling for his land, it even has a car named after it.
What is it worth to me? Will I ever get to see a wild Mustang? I don’t know. I live in the East. But they are mine too, not the local western states. And I have seen the wild Chincoteague ponies during the annual roundup. One sight of how packed that town is and the idea that horses aren’t a tourist attraction gets blown out of the water. What about the people who claim they are cockroaches? Hm. Funny. I’ve never heard of a cockroach being a cow pony, or inspiring movies or winning Dressage championships like Pedro. And a horse only foals once a year and a wild one has no guarantees of survival. As far as I can see, the only similarity to a cockroach is that a horse is a life form.
One thing I guarantee you. I don’t come up with these designs just because I’m looking up for a sale. The inspiration has to go somewhere. It may as well be into the art.