The Reason

On August 28, 2007, we lost a legend.

Born in the Nevada desert with a pedigree written in the sands, he was as pure as the air he breathed.

From the inside out, he was pure gold; soft and gentle, yet tough enough to survive the brutality that would have faced him in the wild. He belonged to Mother Nature & no one else, but he CHOSE me.

His amber eyes shone and melted the toughest of souls. If the eyes didn't do the trick, a persistent lick would. He won over the heart of even the toughest cowboy.

Towering at 16.2 hands, some would call him a giant. I called him my friend.

He won no races, no ribbons, no trophies. Instead he won hearts. He never competed in a halter class. Instead he spent his time visiting elderly at assisted living centers. That was where he chose to stand at attention, perfectly still, for those in the wheelchairs to judge him.

He wasn't a reining champion. He did no fancy rollbacks, sliding stops or quick turn arounds. Instead he chose to move carefully, cautiously and slowly so that he didn't dislodge the rider from his back. Whether they were 2 or 62, Buddy took care of them. I think he earned more high points this way than any national champion ever could have.

Saddles and bridles didn't fit. Maybe they were never meant to? After all, he had much more important things to do with his short life. Instead we went bareback and with a halter and lead. We didn't need anything more. We had each other.

Buddy was a wild horse from the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge in Nevada. His heritage was cavalry, old stock run by ranchers for our military. It was in his blood to serve, to protect. He did just that.

The lives he saved are countless. Mine was just the first. He showed me what true passion is, that there was more to life than a paycheck and that even a small town girl could make a difference.

Buddy went on to save hundreds of equine lives as well, many of them the wild horses on Sheldon. Lawmakers and the media have learned about the inadequacies of a poorly run adoption program there and the danger our wild horses are in. He also brought us the quiet survivors of abuse and neglect cases. The malnourished, the broken, the beaten and the forgotten. He stood back and watched them all come in, for us to care for and mend, and he waited patiently for his turn to shine.

Webster's dictionary defines legend as: a person or thing that inspires. I struggled with the term I wanted to use when writing this. Was Buddy an icon? An idol? A legend? After reading the definition, it became clear. He was my dream, my hope, my love, my reason and my inspiration. He is, and will forever be, my legend.

Darla Clark
September 8, 2007

Buddy's legacy lives on at Strawberry Mountain Mustangs, the rescue founded because of him and so many like him. Wild horses who roam on Fish & Wildlife, Forest Service, National Park or reservation lands have no federal protection under the Wild Horse and Burro act of 1971. Please help us save a part of American History. These are OUR living legends. Now we must honor them, and Buddy, by protecting them. To find out how to make a difference, please visit Buddy's website.

Name Index
Return to Hoofprints On My Heart home.

Copyright © 2007 Hoofbeats In Heaven. All rights reserved.
Text and photos may not be reproduced in any form.