On thy grave the rain shall fall
from the eyes of a mighty nation.
Thomas William Parsons
From these honored dead we take increased devotion
to that cause for which thy gave
the last full measure of devotion …
that we here highly resolve
that these dead
shall not have died in vain.
His name was Marine Sgt. Trevor Johnson, a young Marine who was killed by a roadside bomb while serving in Afghanistan.
He was a fifth-generation boy from Montana who grew up riding horses, herding cattle and mending fences.
When the young soldier was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on a cold winter day, a symbol of the fallen soldier’s ranching roots helped to escort him there.
Lonesome, a horse donated to The Old Guard’s caisson platoon from the Montana Bureau of Land Management lead the caisson that carried Johnson’s casket.
Lonesome was born at a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) holding facility in Butte, Montana on Oct.12, 1995. As a young foal, he was freeze marked, a white identity mark that is clearly seen, today.
Lonesome was eventually adopted by Mark Sant, a BLM Archeologist. Sant soon learned that Lonesome was exceptional in many ways. He was smart, strong and had a great personality.
When Mark Sant heard the Old Guard was looking for large black mustangs for their Caisson Platoon, he could think of no greater honor than donating Lonesome to be a part of that prestigious team.
Lonesome, the stunning black mustang of the Caisson Platoon, has since participated in hundreds of funerals as well as the funeral for former President Ronald W. Reagan, and the 55th Inaugural Parade.
Lonesome has turned out to be a wonderful ambassador for the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program as well as a beautiful, well-trained and loved member of the Third Army’s Caisson Platoon.
How the horse came to assist in the interment ceremony for Marine Corps Sgt. Trevor J. Johnson at Arlington took some initiative by Mark Sant. Although he had never met Johnson, he wanted the Marine’s family to have a symbol of the state as they mourned the loss of a loved one so many, many miles from home.
Mark Sant e-mailed the office of Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer to seek help finding Lonesome – the horse Sant had donated to the military several years ago.
An Aide for the Governor contacted the Montana National Guard, which in turn contacted the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, or Old Guard, which assists in burial services at Arlington National Cemetery.
It’s not a request the Old Guard hears often, but one that was easy to oblige, said Major Steven Cole. “It’s stories like this that show the depths of care that all Americans have for their service men and women,” Cole said.
Cole further stated that to his knowledge, Lonesome is the only mustang from Montana.
Lonesome, front left lead horse
Just as Marine Sgt. Trevor took the lead in the battlefield, Lonesome took the lead on that day in Arlington Cemetery.
A Montana-grown horse carried the body of one of Montana’s brave soldiers.
Last Photo: Adam Skoczylas
Since 1967, the Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard, stationed in Barstow, California, has been representing the United States Marine Corps at events and ceremonies throughout the country.
What sets this color guard apart from any other military color guard is the fact that “America’s Heroes” are riding “America’s Living Legends,” wild mustangs captured and adopted from the Bureau of Land Management’s “Adopt a Horse and Burro Program.”
In addition, the team only rides Mustangs of Palomino color. Several of these horses have been trained by inmates in Carson City, Nevada.
The riders are trained to recognize that horses are living creatures capable of thinking, feeling, and decision-making, no different than you and I.
The Marines learn to respect there mounts as individuals with different personalities.
Being aware of each horse’s potential challenges every rider to be a better horseman and stronger leader of Marines.
In January 1985, the Mounted Color Guard made its first appearance in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, and has been given the extreme honor of the first military unit to lead the parade.
Since 1990, the Mounted Color Guard has participated in every Tournament of Roses Parade.
They will, again, be featured in the Rose Parade, this year.
The USMC Color Guard travels all over the United States participating in parades, rodeos, and many numerous events and ceremonies.
The Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard is the only remaining mounted color guard in the Marine Corps today.
The horses continue to be ambassadors for the Wild Mustangs that remain a link to the history of America.
In Lebanon, Ohio the Antique Horse Drawn Carriage Parade has become one of the most anticipated Christmas celebrations. People travel afar to see this time honored tradition.
The unique Christmas parade features more than 100 antique horse-drawn carriages parading through the streets of beautiful historic downtown Lebanon.
Each year, hundreds of horses and thousands of local Lebanon, Ohio residents prepare for the coming of Christmas.
As night falls, historic buildings and candle-lit streets provide the perfect backdrop for this parade.
People of all ages line Lebanon’s charming downtown streets, candles in hand, anxiously awaiting the first of 100 horse-drawn antique carriages to pass by.
Held every year on the first Saturday in December, this Christmas parade has become one of the most unique and beautiful holiday celebrations in the Midwest.
Source: Examiner News
Photos: Warren County, Ohio
Using horses to assist in the patrol of the United States beaches began as early as 1871. The beach patrols were normally done on foot and at that time were operated by the Life Saving Service, a predecessor of the modern Coast Guard.
The inspections were done with foot patrols who watched the coastlines for ships in distress. Horses were used to haul boats from storage sheds to the launching point to rescue crews from ships run aground.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Coast Guard put into action a wartime beach patrol. In 1942, the Coast Guard officially saddled up.
Horses were now the authorized means of patrolling the U.S. beaches. This allowed far more territory to be covered faster and more easily than men on foot.
The U.S. Army provided the horses and the Army Remount Service supplied the riding gear. It was the Coast Guard that provided the uniforms for each rider.
The word was quickly sent out that the Coast Guard was looking for men who knew how to ride and handle horses.
Applicants answering the call to duty ran the gamut of experienced equestrians. This included polo players, cowboys, jockeys, rodeo riders, stunt men, horse trainers, Army Reserve cavalrymen and more.
During World War II, there was great concern about enemy vessels nearing U.S. shores, allowing adversarial forces to invade the nation.
The beach patrols gained increased importance as security forces. There were three basic functions: to look for and report on any suspicious vessels operating in the area; to report and prevent attempts of landings by the enemy; and to prevent communication between persons on shore and the enemy at sea.
The mounted units soon became the largest segment of the entire beach patrol. Within one year after the Coast Guard authorized the use of horses, there were nearly 3,000 horses called to duty.
The use of horses allowed patrolmen to carry radios, rifles and sidearms when astride. Being on horseback further provided an advantage in the event a patrol had to run down a suspect or block an escape.
Mounted patrol teams required at least two riders. In some cases dogs worked alongside the horses. The use of these animals added to the patrol’s ability to detect persons or situations that might not be observed by the patrolmen.
“While it was not their mission to repel an invasion from the sea, the Coast Guard beach patrols performed a vital function insofar as the morale of the America people was concerned,” said Chris Havern, a Coast Guard historian. “The beach patrols provided a presence that re-assured the American homefront that they were being protected by a vigilant armed force.”
The work of beach patrols – either on foot, in vehicles or on horseback – could be very difficult. However, these were strong, highly motivated men dedicated to do their part for the war effort. A declassified report about the beach patrol from 1945 provides a glimpse into the morale of these men:
“Despite the many difficulties encountered and overcome, the morale of the men was universally high…Where horses and dogs were used, consideration of the animals was often more important than the comfort of the men. Upon them, as much as upon the welfare of the handlers, depended the sustained vigilance of the patrols…The methodical tramp tramp of weary feet plodding their beats back and forth, amid fair weather and foul, stood as a constant reminder that the military duties on the home front are often as essential to victory as the more exciting activities to the far-flung battle line.”
After World War II, the Coast Guard never again used mounted patrols. But this unusual part of the service’s history illustrates its unending flexibility and adaptability.
It is a shining example of how the Coast Guard lives up to its motto of Semper Paratus: Always Ready.
Source: The Coast Guard Compass
Photo: U.S. Coast Guard
Easter morning, 1900. New York City’s Fifth Avenue
(Courtesy of the National Archives)
New York circa 1900. “A Fifth Avenue stage.”
New York City circa 1908
Circa 1910 “Fifth Avenue and Forty-Second Street, New York.”
( horses and motorcars)
Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives
They hover as a cloud of witnesses above this Nation.
Henry Ward Beecher
And they who for their country die
Shall fill an honored grave,
For glory lights the soldier’s tomb,
And beauty weeps the brave.
With the tears a Land hath shed
Their graves should ever be green.
Thomas Bailey Aldrich
Filled with history and heroism, adventure and rivalry, and, ultimately, the alliances between horses and people, Nobody’s Horses will stir the emotions and imagination of horse lovers, humanitarians, and anyone who loves an uplifting tale of second chances.
Descended from the greatest horses of the American West, the wild horses living on the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico were national treasures and living legends.
But in 1994, after years of suffering through periodic droughts, food shortages, and all the dangers accompanying life on a military weapons–testing site, scores of horses suddenly died. And almost two thousand more were in such dire straits that they were unlikely to survive.
Large-animal veterinarian Don Höglund was called in to organize and lead a team of dedicated cowboys, soldiers, and other professionals in removing the surviving horses and their offspring to safety.
Nobody’s Horses tells the dramatic story of these noble animals’ celebrated history, their defiant survival, and their incredible rescue.
Link: University of Nebraska Press
Link: Amazon Books
Time Running out for Wild Mustangs on Goverment Land
Recently, news reports hit the papers that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) could no longer afford to feed and house the wild horses and burros in their holding pens while they awaited adoption.
The Bureau of Land Management was on the verge of slaughtering 2,000 of the mustangs because they’d not been bought at auction and were too expensive to continue to feed.
Now, 33,000 horses live in holding pens, each horse costing $1,500 a year to feed. By law, if they can’t be auctioned or adopted, they are to be slaughtered.
Recently, the land available to the horses has been drastically reduced by 19 million acres, so the government has had to round up more and more mustangs.
That was until just a few days ago when Madeleine Pickens, wife of billionaire T. Boone Pickens, dramatically stepped in to come to the aid of the animals.
She offered to adopt not only the 2,000 mustangs and burros, but the entire herd of 30,000 unwanted horses that were rounded up by BLM and are kept on federal land.
The BLM agreed to work with Mrs. Pickens to locate an area of federal land that she could rent or purchase for the animals.
In doing so, Mrs. Pickens earned the ABC Person of the Week Award. She is an animal lover and as a horse breeder and a philanthropist, she has always considered that people must be responsible for the care of animals.
“Animals don’t have a voice, and as long as man is their protectorate, we have a responsibility to take care of them,” she said. “We cannot abandon them.”
After her husband gave $7 million to the Red Cross to help Hurricane Katrina victims, she wanted to help the animal victims, too.
“I managed to hire an airliner, a cargo airliner and I went on my first trip down to Baton Rouge and we picked up 200 dogs,” she said. “I think we got about 800 dogs and cats out to California and Colorado and got them adopted out.”
So when Pickens heard that thousands of wild mustangs might be euthanized, she wouldn’t sit still for it.
“Our wild mustang must be our national treasure. We must not be slaughtering it,” Pickens said. “The horses have no natural predator. Their only predator is mankind, when we do the wrong thing.”
Wild horses, which date back to the time of the Spanish conquistadors, roam free on federal land in 10 western states and share that land with herds of cattle.
“Can you imagine somebody suggesting that you euthanize 30,000 horses? It was abominable,” said Pickens, who lives in Dallas and has a ranch in the Texas panhandle and a home near San Diego. “That will never happen.”
“If all these cattlemen have access to all this BLM land, what if I bought a ranch and I can get access to the BLM land and then we shared it,” Pickens said of her plan.
“They can have their land and we’ll have ours for our horses. This way, I can create a sanctuary and we can take in all the horses that are homeless so that no one will ever be turned away.”
Pickens said she is in negotiations to buy about 1 million acres for her wild mustang sanctuary in the West, a land mass slightly larger than Rhode Island. And it will be a place where anyone can go and see these wild horses running wild.
“I think a lot of people would love the opportunity to go and see what America’s really like, to see our true heritage, which is the wild horses.”
With the generous rescue plan from Mrs. Pickens and two other rescue organizations, the wild mustangs and wild burros got the intervention they so desperately needed … and just in time.
Re-written from news sources:
Website: Madeleine Pickens’ Project
Link: ABC: Pickens Person of the Week
Link: The US News and World Report