It was back in the 1950s and this fiery little mare lived halfway around the world in Korea. Her name there was Ah-Chim-Hai, or "Flame of the Morning," and she was living her life as a racehorse. But when the Korean War started, some U.S. Marines bought her and took her to the battlefield to help them carry equipment. They renamed her Reckless.
This change in circumstances had to be quite a shock, don't you think? But Reckless quickly adapted. She learned how to safely step over barbed wire and how to kneel in bunkers for protection; she readily jumped in and out of makeshift trailers and on cold nights she often slept with the Marines inside their tents.
Her assignment was to carry the heaviest ammunition across dangerous, open terrain. And here again she proved her intelligence and her bravery. Once she'd been led along the path a few times, she kept making the trips by herself, even under enemy fire. One day she made 51 trips, covering about 35 miles, and delivering 9,000 pounds of ammunition. Even though she was hit in the face by shrapnel and bloodied, she kept going. The men were impressed.
It was just this sort of bravery that earned Reckless real sergeant's stripes, which were pinned to her blanket during an official ceremony. From then on she was known as Sgt. Reckless-and humans had to salute her! (I like that! Where can I get some of those stripes?)
Now, about that appetite! I've been known to enjoy a few people treats on occasion-doughnuts and bananas being two of my favorites-but Reckless grazed the whole human buffet. She ate scrambled eggs and bacon and drank coffee with the men. She devoured peanut butter sandwiches and washed them down with Coke. Once, she even ate some poker chips. (She must have confused them with potato chips!)
After the war was over, the Marines wanted to bring their brave friend home with them but the government wasn't willing to ship a foreign horse to the U.S. (Where's the gratitude??) Not until the owner of a cargo line read about her and offered free transport did Sgt. Reckless make it to America. Eventually she settled in at Camp Pendleton, a Marine base north of San Diego, California. There she continued to march alongside her fellow Marines in daily activities and still made time to give birth to four foals. When she was retired in 1960, the Marine Corps awarded her free housing and feed for life. She died eight years later and is buried on the Camp Pendleton grounds.
Here's to one feisty and phenomenal filly: Reckless!
What would Christmas be without horses? Bells
on bobtail ring as people dash through the snow in
a one-horse open sleigh. (I hope that poor, short-tailed
horse lives in a fly-free stable!) The 2012 Christmas tree for
the White House is delivered by a pair of very handsome Clydesdales.
(I admit I do have a thing for the burly sort with a Scottish
accent in their whinnies.) In many parts of the country, riding
groups deliver toys on horseback. And every January 1st, the
mares, the minis and I gather around the television to watch
the almost two dozen equestrian groups prance through Pasadena
in the glitzy Tournament of Roses Parade. Really, why else would
you watch this parade, except for the horses?
Not much to do these days except stretch out in the sun and wait for lunch and then wait for dinner. Usually one of us stands guard while the other two napyou never know what those little prankster miniature horses are going to attemptbut the other day felt so warm and lazy that all three of us stretched out at once. (Apparently this gave Diane heart palpitations as she came running out to make sure no catastrophe had struck.) Easy there, writer girl. Go back to your air conditioning and your computer.
Anyway, the mares and I got to nickering about our favorite horse movies. Vicki likes Black Beauty. Its a classic, of course, (and a tearjerker) about a very nice horse mistreated by a number of people. (I think they might have cast me in the part of the older and wiser Ginger. Sometimes youve just got to give stupid humans a good kick.) Ribbon voted for Seabiscuit which kind of surprised me because shes the quiet sort, not typically interested in racing. But its an excellent movie about a courageous horse. Me, I like adventure: scenes like the buckskin horse galloping headfirst down the mountainside in The Man From Snowy River or the black stallion swimming to safety with Alec after the ship sinks in The Black Stallion get my heart pumping! Its awfully difficult to nap thinking about such adventures!
Spirit and Hidalgo and War Horse came up for consideration but by that time the hay cart was rumbling near and we scrambled to our feet. A fresh flake of good hay makes even a dog day a good day to be a horse. Cheers!
The farrier visited the other dayRicky, nice guy, easy with the raspand while he was talking about all the used horseshoes he had in his truck, I got to thinking about how popular those little paperweights are with people. For hundreds of years, apparently, youve looked to such misplaced footwear to deliver good luck.
Anyway, heres some of what I learned:
- A found horseshoe is supposed to be luckier than a purchased one.
- A shoe
with seven holes (a lucky number) is considered the best. (Ricky
says he hasnt seen a shoe with
- A horseshoe
is typically hung above a door but can be nailed onto a boats
mast, a gate, or your horses
- The shoe should be hung with the ends up (like a U) to keep the luck from running out.
can be welded together to create hat racks, bookends, picture frames,
coat hooks, table bases
Heres hoping you each find a lucky horseshoe of your own. Personally, I have four!
Well, Diane says I've been a sloth because I haven't
kept up with this blog as promised. Hmph! It's not as if I just
nibble my way around the pasture all day. There's road construction
nearby that requires my constant surveillance, two of the other
mares want help writing their memoirs, and those minis are ALWAYS
getting into trouble. But a promise is a promise, and so I, Sammi
Wilson, promise to update this blog at least once every three months.
Okay? Okay! So, with the holidays coming and my pasture mates always
hungry, I'm sharing my favorite recipe for horse cookies. They're
ridiculously easy to make and your own horse friends will love them.
From me to you. Enjoy!
On the opposite end of the scale, a Belgian gelding aptly named Big Jake was just named the tallest living horse in the world. (Is there a tallest dead horse category?) He stands 20.3 hands highnearly an entire mini taller than my 14.2! In other words, if Cherie climbed into my back (which would never happen as I am not a circus pony) she could look him in the eye and invite us both over for dinner. Why would we want to join this gentle giant? Because he gets to eat about 40 pounds of hay and 8 gallons of oats EVERY DAY! Do you know the sort of measly diet Diane keeps me on?
Out on the track another phenomenal mare just made history: the six-year-old Zenyatta won her 17th straight race, securing the longest winning streak for unrestricted races in modern Thoroughbred competition. Whinnies to this unparalleled winner!
And red apples and blue ribbons to all of you other champion fillies out there!
"The world's best athlete is a girl with four legs"
That's my favorite quote of 2009 and I have it framed in my stall. It's what sportswriter Joe Draper said about the phenomenal filly (and aren't we all?) Rachel Alexandra. She ran eight races in 2009 and won every single one of them. Beat the girls by twenty lengths in the Oaks. Beat the boys in the highly respected Preakness and Woodward, becoming the first filly or mare to ever win the Woodward. I love this girl! Here's wishing success to all girls-fillies, mares, or humans-in 2010!