Former BLM Mustang Escorts Fallen Marine To Arlington Cemetery


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.


DC Military
Bureau of Land Management
Bureau of Land Management

Last Photo: Adam Skoczylas


Last Remaining Marine Mounted Color Guard To Appear In Rose Parade

Marine Mounted Color Guard

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.

Marine Mounted Color Guard

The riders are trained to recognize that horses are living creatures capable of thinking, feeling, and decision-making, no different than you and I.

Marine Mounted Color Guard

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.

Marine Mounted Color Guard

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.

Rose Bowl Marine Color Guard

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.



USMC Mounted Color Guard

Wild Horses Saved By Billionaire’s Wife


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.

Wild Horse Adoption Center

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.

Horse Relocation

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.”

wild horses

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

What If Your Horse Is Stolen?


Debi Metcalfe reunited with
her stolen horse “Idaho”.


If your horse is stolen go directly to:
Stolen Horse International at


A Shelby, North Carolina  woman
has made it her mission to find stolen horses.

Debi Metcalfe and her husband, Harold, lost a family member. Their horse, Idaho, was horse-napped, in broad day light from their pasture.

A year later, they found Idaho in Tennessee.

This is how Stolen Horse International and was born and has now celebrated over 10 years of success.

The website has Idaho Alerts which are similar to AMBER Alerts for missing children where members are alerted when a horse, tack or even trailers are stolen.

An estimated 40,000 horses are stolen each year in the United States.

During the Metcalfes’ search, someone set up a Web space for the couple and after finding their horse, they decided to help out other people on the Web. That’s how her site was started.

“We got so much help, I thought I owed it back,” she said.

Since founding her organization, Debi has written a book and been part of television news stories, newspaper and magazine articles and her expertise was used on Fox’s “America’s Most Wanted” in August.

She appeared as the cover story on The Gaited Horse magazine in an edition that sold out and was most recently featured on “Weekend America,” a Public Broadcasting radio show.

We do a lot more than stolen horses,” Debi said. “That’s how we were started, but we do so much more now.”

Her priority is working with people whose horses are missing first. That comes ahead of fundraising and other functions.

“We try to stress that even if the horse is not found alive and well, it’s better to know than have questions,” she said.

Inspiration … Debi has empathy for the people she helps.

On the NetPosse site is a list of stolen or missing horses across the United States. Also included are photos, dates and current status.

Below are just two of the many horses that have been stolen. 
For complete listings:  Click here:


Stolen:  LPS Mr. Jalapeno
Bay Morgan Gelding Missing in California suspected to be in Arizona – Feb. 6, 2007


Fleabitten Grey Arabian Gelding Stolen after dark from Therapy Progam in Newton County, Georgia – Feb. 3, 2008


If you have a horse that has been stolen or strangely disappeared, do not hesitate.  Contact immediately.

If you recognize the horses pictured above, click on the name of the horse for more information.

It takes everyone working together to keep our horses safe and in their own homes.


A Mustang Artist Named ~ Cholla


Many people make money with the talent of their horses, some on the race track, others in the show arena, or the jumping fields, even the rodeo grounds, but this horse is different.

This horse is an artist.


Cholla, is a gorgeous copper colored Buckskin, Mustang/Quarter Horse with black mane and tail, standing 15.2 hands and weighing in at 1300 lbs. He has a dorsal stripe down his back complete with zebra like markings on his legs.

Named after the infamous cactus, Cholla, he was born in Nevada in 1985 from a Mustang Stallion and a Quarter Horse Mare. His owner, Renee, got him just before his fifth birthday, the first and only horse she had ever owned.


The early years of Cholla’s life were rough.  He was broke the old fashioned way, with ropes and force.  It didn’t work for Cholla. It taught him not to trust man. It has taken years for Renee to fully gain his trust, and he is still quite the wild thing with a mind of his own.

It was certain that with Cholla’s intelligence, no one was going to manipulate his mind. He had a bigger future than rope training ahead of him. He was an artist in waiting.


It all began when Renee was painting the fences. She had a very observant horse looking over her shoulder. Knowing that Cholla loved to hold things in his mouth, Renee tacked a piece of water color paper to the fence and showed him one uneducated stroke.

Cholla took the brush in his teeth, stroked the paper. He got both the concept and a carrot right away.

With a big sturdy easel and non toxic water colors, Cholla’s artistic career was off to a galloping start.

Cholla applies the paints to his art and no one moves the easel, or rotates the paper.  He does get help with dipping the brush into the watercolors as he tends to knock things over, but he is the creator of his own masterpieces.


Cholla creates his art standing at his easel while holding a true artist’ brush with his teeth.   He mindfully directs his brush with fine and deliberate strokes creating the artistic essence that only a horse named Cholla can reveal.


Cholla’s art speaks for itself and his style is present in each piece that he brings into existence. His natural expression and intelligence come through in his creations and his Mustang wildness can be seen emerging from each canvas.


Cholla’s art has been exhibited in galleries around the country, including Art At Large in New York City.


Even with all this fame, Cholla is still a horse that hangs out in the deep grass of the pasture content to munch the day away.


But the minute Cholla sees the easel he comes trotting and Cholla is again a happy and dedicated … artist.


Link:  Cholla’s Website

Link:   Video of Cholla at work

Thanks to the artist, Cholla, and his owner, Renee,  for permission to post these works of art.

All artwork holds a copyright.

March Update
Cholla will have 5 framed originals showing at
The Grand National Art Show & Sale in
San Francisco at the Cow Palace.
This is an invitational show only in April 2008.

Wild Horses Roped Into Border Patrol Duty

Descendants of the same horses that carried soldiers, prospectors, Plains Indians and Spanish conquistadors will be deployed next month by the federal government to help patrol the most rugged reaches of the northern border.


Billed as operation “Noble Mustang,” the U.S. Border Patrol believes this new team of wild horses will not only tighten security but also save taxpayer dollars.

Wild horses are uniquely suited for the backcountry mission, said Danielle Suarez, public information officer for the agency’s Spokane sector. After generations of living in the mountains of the West, the horses have developed unrivaled sure-footedness, musculature and the ability to endure harsh conditions.

“These legends will help us to defend our borders,” Suarez said. “We need horses physically capable of getting into remote and isolated areas.

The mustangs are protected by an act of Congress as “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West.” But with their population unchecked, the herds have faced starvation after overgrazing rangeland and wildlife habitat, especially during droughts.

The same mustangs that will be used to hunt drug runners, human traffickers and potential terrorists were trained by convicted criminals. Since 1986, inmates at the Skyline Correctional Center in Canon City, Colo., have broken and trained the captured horses.

Working with the horses is a special privilege at the state prison, Suarez said. The training requires extreme patience and trust, he said. “The horses actually help tame the prisoners.”

Most are between 3 and 4 years old and were rounded up in Wyoming late last year. Two are from Nevada, and another is from California. “They’re extremely, extremely tamed,” said Suarez, the agency spokeswoman.

Along with the training, the mustangs were given names by students. In early June, Sisko, Hidalgo, Spurs,
Okanogan, Kootenai, Ike, Chase and Slash will again find themselves roaming a rugged Western landscape.

Only this time, the mustangs will wear saddles, feed on oats and work for the Department of Homeland Security.

The Spokesman-Review, By James Hagengruber, May 17th, 2007