Driving down Wilson Hill, to a place I called home for many years, I feel a little flutter in my stomach. Today is one of those extra special days, when you see the results of lots of hard work. Today was the day that Oshunnah and her stallion Steely were being released on the Wild Horse Sanctuary. Matt and I brought Oshunnah home on a trip that was filled with more adventure than anyone could want. But God was with us and everyone arrived safe and sound, after a rather stressful beginning.
The sun is warm even this early in the morning and the earth is brilliant with spring and all the magical colors that come with the season. As I come down the winding road, I see the whole valley, resplendent in different shades of green, as the first leaves unfurl in tiny bits. Flowers and blossoms on the trees open up to the brilliant blue sky, caressed by the breeze and the warm sun. It is as if spring is being born.
I arrive at the sanctuary and Cat and her mom and I head down to the corrals. Dianne is finishing up some of her ongoing chores and will meet us there to let the horses go. While we are waiting, we are privileged to see some young colts running around the pasture. They are available for adoption and there are lots of colors and different looks. They are beautiful and your heart beats faster just watching their effortless movements as they race around.
OShunnah and Steely are in the pasture, two gates away from freedom. After being rounded up by helicopter and stolen from their homes on the range in Nevada, being parked in corrals away from their families, their new life is about to begin. And what a life it will be. Running free on 5,000 acres, creating new family alliances and living in an environment that is as close to being in the wild as you can get. To them, they will be in the wild. They will know no boundaries as they travel over the acreage. The only difference is that they will have abundant food and water, and never again will they be ripped from their families or chased by the flying monster we call a helicopter.
Dianne comes down with the feed truck; these horses will follow it to freedom, never again to be moved by force from fear and panic. They approach the gate and both horses are around the truck and through the gate in the blink of an eye. Oshunnah is excited, and exhibits no fear, only a vibrant curiosity of what awaits them. The two of them proceed towards us, and then go by. They take their time, stopping to smell the ground, immediately at home in their new surroundings.
After a moment, they are approached by a couple of geldings. Geldings will still fight for a mare, although they usually back down rather quickly when confronted by a stallion. There is a moment of head to head conversation, a few squeals and a definitive stomp by the stallion and the geldings retreat. For good measure, Steely chases the geldings away, proud and secure in the fact that Oshunnah is his, and he will use whatever force necessary to keep her.
I asked Dianne what her thoughts were, and she told me that this is what makes all the hard work worth it. This is the defining moment, when you can release wild mustangs to freedom, knowing that never again will they be rounded up and ripped away from their families. They can live their life, free to perpetuate their families. She gave me some fabulous quotes, and I apologize as I should have written them down. The gist of it was, the biggest rewards are 1) Being able to make someone’s dream come true (like today – and it was Cat’s dream to save Oshunnah) 2. Allowing the horses to live out their lives naturally, followed by generation after generation of new life. 3. Watching people do “whatever they can”, instead of saying it’s too hard, and doing nothing.
All in all it was a fabulous day, and I had the extreme pleasure of hanging out with Cat’s mom, a beautiful and amazing woman. We all do what we can, and it seems like God has shown each and every one of us our own unique path, allowing us to do wonderful things with his help.
You can visit Oshunnah and the rest of the wild horses at the sanctuary. They also have overnight rides where you can experience the beauty of the horses and observe them where they are wild and free. They also have babies every year that need homes, so check it out. Then stop by and see Chilly Pepper, Honey Bandit, DaBubbles, Patches and the gang.
Appreciate your support so we can continue to help these beautiful horses. Come and see Honey Bandit at the “Dog and Pony Show” in Palo Cedro on June 4th. Thanks and God Bless!
Chilly Pepper Miracle Mustang,
Equine Rescue & More
30027 State Highway 44 East
Shingletown, CA 96088