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Terri Farley
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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Gray Colt for Calamity Jane

Calamity Jane holds her rifle and wears a holster on her hip as she poses with her horse

Martha Jane Canary, "Calamity Jane," lived when the West was still very wild and stories about her --  even the autobiography dictated to a writer of her day -- are  probably as much tall tale as truth. 

We do know that Jane was fearless on horseback. We know she worked as a scout, leading troops of cavalry soldiers across the mountains and the range. We know she used good sense and backwoods medical skills to save an encampment of miners during an epidemic. And, we know where she is buried. 

Last month, I walked up a hill in Mount Moriah Cemetary in Deadwood, South Dakota and gazed  at Calamity Jane's grave and felt a tug at my heart or maybe my imagination.
The wild cowgirl who rode "like an Indian" had been without a horse for so long and I had a toy colt in my briefcase.
 I ran back to the car, found the little gray and sprinted back to Calamity's grave. 
It wasn't up to me to name the gray colt. I left him for her and hope that someday, someone, will do the same for me.

I wasn't the only one to leave a token for Calamity Jane. Others had left flowers and pretty stones.

Read more about
Calamity Jane but remember, legends loom larger than truths about a girl who dared things that females of her time simply did NOT do! 

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Monday, October 21, 2013


I’ve never met Michael Landsberry, the math teacher who died protecting Sparks Middle School  students today,  but I know him.

He was a former Marine and National Guardsman, but he acted like a teacher.  

I taught in the Washoe County School District, a few miles from the school where Michael Landsberry died, but proximity isn't the point. I felt this same rage, sadness and empathy when teachers died in Sandy Hook.
Don’t tell me Landsberry was in education for extra days off. A teacher who faces the muzzle of a gun, arms spread to protect the children at his back, is not thinking of summer vacation.         

Don’t tell me we should arm teachers. Teachers protect kids ; we don’t shoot them. Witnesses say Landsberry died as he tried to coax the armed student to talk, not shoot.   
Don’t tell me this is about mental illness, not guns.  I don’t know what drove that child to bring a gun to school.

I do know an armed teacher or any other “good guy with a gun” would hesitate before shooting down a middle schooler.

Teachers listen, connect and yes, protect students.   
How many more children have to die before legislators do the same?

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Wild Horses: next best thing to freedom

 Dear Readers, I've never touched the three wild horses under my protection. In my dreams, I see them roaming their ancestral lands again, someday and I don't want them to think humans are their friends. It's a far-fetched hope, I know, but they don't need my touch

when they have can rub necks with their own kind at the

Where was Sage between 2010 and last Spring?
Here's what we think:

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Calico filly's adventure: where was Sage?

Ghost Dancer and Sage left Palomino Valley Wild Horse corrals where they were fed hay every day. As soon as they were released from their trailer at the Wild Horse Sanctuary, they headed for the weeds! Yum.

 Here's what probably happened next according to Dianne Nelson and Jill Broughton of Wild Horse Sanctuary

When Ghost Dancer  Sage were released together, we assumed they “headed for the hills”. It isn’t uncommon for them to head out and not look back – especially if they haven’t had much human contact and/or the contact has been traumatic.  

Because I assumed that the mares would stay together, I always kept my eye out for both of them with more emphasis placed on spotting Ghost Dancer because her coloring makes her more identifiable.

We have a stallion we RARELY see. He’s a dark bay from the Sheldon Hart Wildlife Refuge and aside from Phantom has been the most elusive.  I’ve been a regular at the WHS for almost 8 years and just saw him for the first time last winter. I think I mentioned that we were too far away and I didn’t have a camera but I thought I saw a mare with coloring similar to Ghost. What I didn’t see was a sorrel mare.

Last summer I saw our older red roan stallions with his 2 grey girls and a sorrel mare. We were closer to the western boundary of the property and the four of them were just hanging out under some shade trees. Because they were just relaxing I left them be and didn’t approach.
Again, it didn’t occur to me that the sorrel was Sage because: 1. No Ghost with her 2. That stud had a sorrel mare before. I did note that day, that the sorrel looked to be younger
That particular day we had gone off our normal trail ride route and had stopped for lunch in a different location than usual. Since I’ve been helping at the WHS, I’ve noted that he’s had a smaller harem than most of the other stallions and he doesn’t come around very often. I recall feeling happy to have found his hang out and that his girls looked good.
Without realizing it, I’d already found Sage.

Because of lighter rain fall this past winter and spring, much of the natural grasses that are available in t remote parts of the property have been consumed, forcing some of the bands that don’t usually  come to the feed ground to come in.

So, now that I know who she is with, I can continue to follow /track her. That is as long as they continue to come into the areas we feed or ride through.
AND, that stud is older… not sure how old. It will be interesting to see what happens – will another stud try to take the girls from the “old man”? Who will Sage end up with if he passes away?
I do know she hasn’t foaled since she’s been at the WHS. I’m involved in the sorting and during our first sort, mom’s and babies stay together.
If her family didn’t come in at all in the past few years, she/they would very likely have a yearling or a 2 year old with the family and they don’t - just one pinto foal born this year that belongs to one of the greys.

I believe there is a good chance Ghost is with that dark bay guy from Sheldon. They are just terribly difficult to find. Dianne (Nelson) said she just stumbles upon them once in awhile and although she knows the general area in which he resides with his harem, they don’t have a set location where we can count on finding them. I will keep looking for her!

click the link below for

  Margaret's photos of Sage & Ghost Dancer on their independence day  

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Monday, October 14, 2013

Elusive Calico Filly Found !

Dear Readers, 
Do you remember Sage, the sorrel filly I adopted from BLM's disastrous 2010 round-up? She was part of the herd I observed to write my Phantom Stallion books. Sage was two years old when I loosed her and Ghost Dancer into the 5,000 fenced acres of the Wild Horse Sanctuary in Shingletown, California. 
Both mares seemed to disappear.  
Until now....

Subject: Sage???

Hi Terri,

Could this be Sage? I compared these to a photo you sent me. That pic doesn't show her legs so I'm not sure she has any white on her legs...but this resembles her very much, I think.

The way her forelock "parts" in the middle" and the way the blaze closest to the forelock is shaped. It's difficult to tell for certain, tho. I noted that in the pics I've attached the part of her blaze closest to the muzzle/nostrils "comes in/narrows" more than it appears to in your photo.

What do you think?

Jill Broughton

Wild Horse Sanctuary, Volunteer Coordinator
Board of Directors

Subject: Sage!!!

Thanks so, so much for finding her!
Talk to you more later!


 Tomorrow:  Where we THINK she's been

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