Let Freedom Ring! Texas Style

Grumpy Grulla and her band being captured

Grumpy Grulla and her band being captured


They were conceived in the wild. Their parents were cruelly captured and auctioned off at the bottom of their Pryor Mountain home on the Montana-Wyoming in the fall of 2009, the last such helicopter roundup to be conducted in this stunning wilderness. 
Rather than see them go to holding, TCF adopted and purchased four wild horse family bands and one bachelor stallion.

It was a reckless adventure in rescue and our learning curve was steep, stressful, and expensive which you can read about in the Natural Horse Magazine article, What Price Freedom! 

Grumpy and band

Grumpy and band

The spring after their capture three foals were born, two colts and one filly. I named them Diego, Diablo, and Annie. All three were eventually removed for halter training with the goal of adopting them into safe, forever homes. 

Diego, the son of Cavalitta and Conquistador, is now a wonderful and very tall (16.2!) trail horse. He is owned by Eric and Amy Seelig of Erie, Colorado. Here are Eric and Amy on a ride above my ranch. Amy is riding her Salt Wells mustang, Luna, with Eric on Diego.

To see a shakey, little video I filmed of them riding while I was riding click here. Ann Evans is in the lead on Cloud's birth sister, Smokey (Grumpy Grulla's daughter).

Diablo and Annie quickly became known as Freedom and Patriot when they were adopted by Teresa and Brian Strickland of Dripping Springs, TX. 

This fall I was thrilled when the Strickands invited me to come visit them and speak at a fund-raising event for TCF at their beautiful home. I couldn't wait to see Freedom and Patriot again!

What a fun event. Brian served as the master of ceremonies and introduced his friends and neighbors to our mutual friend Sue Delaurentis who lives nearby at Red Horse Ranch.

Sue brought Andy, a mini-horse owned by Little America Miniature Horses. Andy and Sue show us that the little guys can do the same things she and her husband, Allen Pogue, expertly teach the big horses to do. To learn more go to ImagineaHorse.com.

Here I am with Allen and his right hand man, Shane Bookbender holding the Cloud book and DVD that Allen bought for this outstanding little boy.  Hope you enjoy them Shane!

Liquid refreshments were served by a pair of darling, miniature Sicilian donkeys. Another crowd favorite was my friend, Kristi Herring and her young Grant’s Zebra, Pearl. Kristi helped to train Freedom and Patriot. 

And then it was my turn. I spoke to the guests about TCF and our mission to keep our wild horses and burros in their homes on the range. But I was upstaged by the real main event. As I was speaking Kristi was putting Freedom and Patriot through their pedestal routine!  

The next day Kristi’s husband Craig Herring took Teresa and other family members plus me "on safari."  We toured a stunning conservation ranch where Craig works, home to endangered species being raised with the hope of reintroducing them to their native lands. A baby Addax (native to the Sahara) had been born that morning and Craig gave us a close up look at this adorable newborn.

Delicate Dama Gazelles

Delicate Dama Gazelles

Graceful Dama gazelles, also native to the Sahara desert raced by and we found Pere David deer from the sub tropics of China lying peacefully in a natural pool.  As a person with a life-long fascination for all wild animals, this was a special, and unexpected treat. Thanks Craig!

However, the biggest thrill came on my last day with Teresa and Brian. I rode Freedom! Teresa rode her tall quarterhorse, Millennium with me riding on the petite and stylish filly. We toured the neighborhood—through cul de sacs, across sidewalks, past homes with scary Halloween decorations and barking dogs. Little, once-wild Freedom was solid as a rock. Sue and Kristi helped train the filly and they did a great job.

It’s been a long journey for Patriot and Freedom. My wish for each and every adopted mustang is to have what these two have---the love and commitment of wonderful people like Teresa and Brian! 
Happy Trails!

PS. Patriot is the son of Chalupa and Bo (a full brother to BJ, owned by Ann Evans and yours truly). Freedom is the daughter of Mae West and Trigger. Please consider making a contribution for the care of our Freedom Family bands in Montana. 

Thanks for caring!

Kayah Swanson