New Years 2021

By JENN WEBSTER, PHOTOS BY TWISTED TREE PHOTOGRAPHY

What are you doing for New Year’s Eve? I can tell you – my family has been waiting for this day all year long… That’s not to say we expect 2021 to morph us immediately into an easier time, but we do have hope for the upcoming year. And that’s something.

Today, we’re also hoping to do a little of this:

Or maybe even this with the kids:

Like many other folks we’ll be staying home – obviously due to the pandemic – but especially because we have animals to tend to in the morning. (We’re also looking forward to Eggs Benedict for breakfast!)

However, that doesn’t mean we plan to have a boring night.

Supper will likely be take-out from our favorite restaurant. And who knows? Maybe we’ll even eat in the barn.

The kids will have special “mocktails,” which is essentially Ginger-Ale poured over Gummy Bears:

We’ve made our own holiday crackers to celebrate the changing of the annual. Stuffed with little treats inside, the kids love these things. (And as they are made from toilet paper rolls, I’m not sure there’s anything more perfectly reminiscent of 2020 than these babies…)

We’re going to make the most of it.

Once all the animals are all tucked safely into the barn for the night, we have fireworks to light up in the back pasture.

After that, if we can still handle the cold, it might be time for a fire and some roasted marshmallows.

It might not be as exciting as an exotic beach New Year’s Eve getaway, or even that of the ambience in a fancy restaurant – but it works for us.

From my family to yours – we wish you all a Happy New Year!

Goat kids provided by Callie’s Classy Critters. Photos shot on location at Hartell Homestead. Belgians owned by The Stampede Ranch.

Making the Most of Everything

Photo by BAR XP PHOTO

The following is an excerpt from my current Publisher’s Note in Western Horse Review. Considering the new restrictions / changes / happenings of the past week, I’ve needed to re-look at my own writing. My own history. I needed this reminder.

Perhaps many of you will find it helpful too…

I was 4-years-old when my sister, mother and I made these decorations together.

Growing up as the young child of a single mother, I remember a couple of tough Christmases. Money was tight, stress was high and my mother secretly worried about how she was going to pay rent. I imagine it’s not much different to what many of us are facing this year in the first ever, Covid-Christmas.

Back then, she was so worried about the normal essentials. Not to mention how she would create a joyful holiday occasion for my sister and I. Of course, we were oblivious to her concerns, as we carried along in the blissful day-to-day of toddlers.

What I remember of those trying times were hand-baking ornaments out of dough, because we had no decorations for the tiny tree my mom managed to scrape together a few dollars for. None of them had any colour – they were all brown from varnish and we baked paper clips in the tops of each, so we could string green wool through the tops to hang them. I was so proud, in particular, of the hand-rolled candy canes I made. As a four-year-old, some of the more intricate designs were better suited for Mom.

To date, my mother still decorates her tree with some of those decorations. They didn’t cost a penny and they maintain the same brown color. Yet, they withstood the test of time. And after all these years, they serve as reminders of one of the most important lessons of my life.

Make the most of it.

After all this time, I worry that my mother still frets about those Christmases. There were few material gifts for us under the tree but the truth is, she gave us something much more precious. Much more important. At four-years-old, I learned how to use what I had. How to make the most of it. And it turned out okay.

That lesson has proven invaluable this year. In 2020, “making the most of it” has become my mantra. I only hope I can pass it on to my children as well as my mother did for us.

Whatever the Christmas season looks like for you this year – I wish you all the very best. Make the most of it.

Photo by BAR XP PHOTO

THE YEAR THAT WASN’T

2020 in one picture. Photo by BAR XP PHOTO.

BY JENN WEBSTER

As we approach the end of 2020 and reflect back, it’s crazy to think about the events of the past year. In fact, some of the events were the strangest of the strange… Yet, what might be even odder is the notion that we began to accept them as normal, almost cliché. “Well, it is 2020 after all…” became catchphrase. With that in mind, here are five of the strangest happenings we noticed in the horse world this year.

  1. GIRL JUMPS LIKE A HORSE – Yes, you read that correctly. Ava Vogel, an Edmonton, AB, teenager made international news this year when she was scouted by Ripley’s Believe It or Not for its newest book. On her hands and feet, Vogel can gallop and hurdle over obstacles and mimic a horse. The highest she’s jumped is almost four feet in height. And if you don’t believe us, find her on Instagram @jumping.like.a.horse.
From the Instagram feed of @jumping.like.a.horse.
  1. HORSES USED IN PROTESTS – It’s not uncommon for horses to be used in protests. For ages, they have been ridden by mounted police during riots and demonstrations. They offer added height and visibility that officers wouldn’t normally have on their own two feet and as such, allow people in the wider area a better chance to visualize the police. However, the recent use of equines by demonstrators in civil rights protests across the US this year have flipped the mounted police narrative on its head. Black cowboys and cowgirls showed up on horseback in several demonstrations fighting for racial justice. Their equine partners gave them the edge they needed, capturing the attention of media, celebrities and inspiring the general public across the globe.
From the Twitter feed of Lil Nas X. Black Lives Matter protesters caught the celebrity’s attention when they rode into downtown Houston on horseback.
  1. FRANCE’S EQUINE MUTILATIONS – Since the start of the year, France has experienced numerous horse slashings across the country. Some animals have been mutilated, while others have died as a result of injuries. The national police confirmed in a press release that almost 200 investigations were in progress as we neared the end of 2020. With no suspects, nor motives for the atrocious acts, horse owners began to take matters into their own hands by using drones to supervise pastures at night, installing electrified gates and surveillance cameras and placing locks wherever needed. Increased police efforts were also been made, including an agreement between horse organizations in the country and authorities to reinforce efforts in the prevention of attacks against horses in the country.

  1. NO DERBY SPECTATORS – For the first time since the 1945 Kentucky Derby was affected by World War II, Churchill Downs was forced to move the 2020 Kentucky Derby from its historical first Saturday in May, to September 5, due to the pandemic. Officials also ran the event without spectators, citing increasing cases of COVID-19 in the area – making it the first ever Kentucky Derby to run without fans.

  1. COWBOY SECURITY INFLUENCES THE WORLD – When the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, OK, closed down earlier this year, they decided to put their head of security, Tim Send, in charge of social media. The decision proved to be a brilliant one as Send, who was unfamiliar with Twitter, Instagram and selfies at the time, struggled hilariously through posts and tweets. With access to the entire museum on his own, Send captured the hearts and attention of the world with his innocent approach to the internet – becoming an international social media darling in the process.

Boerderij Cheese Fondue

A ranch version of a Swiss classic.


By MIKE EDGAR, PHOTOS BY TWISTED TREE PHOTOGRAPHY


Celebrate the season with a big, beautiful platter of cheese, charcuterie, bread and seasonal fruits. This gooey indulgence is a festive family tradition in many households, but is a delicious treat at any time. Serve it around a holiday table and make an entire evening of memories from it.

INGREDIENTS
½ Pound Cave Aged Gruyere Cheese
½ Pound Raclette Cheese
2 Tbsp. Cornstarch
1 Garlic Clove peeled
1 Cup Dry White Wine
1 Tbsp. Lemon
2 Tbsp. Brandy
½ Tsp. Dry Mustard
Pinch of Nutmeg
Assorted breads and cured meats for dipping.


 METHOD

  1. In a small bowl, coat the cheeses with cornstarch and set aside. Rub the inside of a ceramic fondue pot with garlic, then discard.
  2. Over medium heat add the wine and lemon juice to the fondue pot and bring to a gentle simmer. Gradually stir the cheese into the simmering liquid – melting the cheese slowly encourages a smooth fondue. Once smooth, stir in the brandy, nutmeg and mustard.
  3. Surround your fondue with all your meats, fruits, bread and family and enjoy.
  • Thank-you to the French 50 Bakery in Okotoks, AB, for providing the bread for this recipe.

Remembering our Aboriginal Veterans

The lapel pin commissioned by the Royal Canadian Legion
to commemorate Aboriginal Veterans
.

BY DEBBIE MACRAE

While not officially recognized by the Federal Government as National Aboriginal Veterans Day, November 8th, was inaugurated in Winnipeg in 1994 to recognize the efforts of our Indigenous Veterans and aboriginal participants.

Even before the War of 1812, territorial expansion was being guarded and defended against invasion by encroaching military and political interests. As British territories became vulnerable to attack, thousands of First Nations and Metis warriors were mustered to defend their borders during the War of 1812. More than 10,000 First Nations fighters participated in virtually every battle from the Great Lakes region and the St. Lawrence Valley.

Not only were they physically honed with stealth, patience and marksmanship, they brought a different element of communication not privy to the enemy.

During the Great War, 1914 – 1918, the interest from indigenous participants continued; requiring that volunteers travel extensive distances, learn new languages, and adapt dramatically to cultural differences, previously unfamiliar.

Hunters became snipers and reconnaissance scouts. In World War II they took on a new role; that of Code talkers, converting sensitive radio messages into languages like Cree, an Algonquin homeland dialect thought to be approximately 2,500 to 3,000-years-old from the great lakes region. Other interpreters would convert the messages back, preventing interception by the enemy.

It is believed that by the end of the conflict in 1945, over 3,000 First Nations members had served in uniform. However, the numbers were understated as unknown numbers of Metis, Inuit, and other Indigenous recruits continued to enroll in the Royal Canadian Navy, and Royal Canadian Air Force, as well as the Canadian Army. It is estimated that as many as 12,000 Indigenous people served to defend Canada’s interests during the 20th century.

Their efforts did not stop there. Large amounts of food, money, clothing and supplies were donated on the home front including the use of portions of their reserve lands for defense installations, rifle ranges and the construction of airport facilities.

Many returned to service in 1950 during the Korean War, after having seen action in World War II – and many more did not come home.

Their service continues – from NATO service in Europe to performing international peace support operations worldwide. Service in Afghanistan and even in Canada in remote locations along our east and west coasts, finds our Indigenous military personnel maintaining a vigilant presence to serve and protect in both local and international operations. In recognition of the contributions of all Aboriginal Canadians in war and peacekeeping operations, having served, or contributed on the home front, “To Aboriginal War Veterans in Canada and to those that have Fallen…”, the National Aboriginal Veterans Monument was erected in Confederation Park on the east side of Elgin Street between Laurier Avenue West and Slater Street, in Ottawa, Ontario.

The work is that of artist Lloyd Pinay, and depicts a large bronze eagle on the top, with four men and women from different Indigenous groups across Canada, beneath. The four “spiritual guides” understood to be critical to military success are the powerful wolf, bear, bison, and caribou, defending each corner.

The monument was unveiled on National Aboriginal Day, June 21, 2001 by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, C.C., C.M.M., C. D. former Governor General of Canada and Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Forces.

In 2005, the Government of Canada participated in a sacred Calling Home Ceremony with Indigenous Spiritual Elders, Veterans and their families in an Aboriginal Spiritual Journey. This special ceremony was intended to invite the spirits of the war dead, and those who served in the World Wars, to return home to their families in their ancestral homelands.

A cultural illustration was created for the event, symbolizing each of the three main participating Indigenous groups:

First Nations People were signified by the Eagle’s Feather, held in the highest regard as the messenger of the Creator. The feather is the link between Creator and the People.

The Inuit symbol was that of the Inuksuk; traditional markers constructed for direction, sighting windows, hunting caches, or fishing locations, as well as another “virtual” being for hunting or companionship.

The colourful Metis Sash originated amongst the voyageurs. Its diverse functionality varied from emergency sewing kits for hunts, bathing cloths and towels, saddle blankets and emergency ropes or halters. Many of the voyageurs had mixed heritages, and the sash became an integral symbol of Metis culture in the West.

In appreciation of their contribution, the Royal Canadian Legion commemorated the Aboriginal Veterans with a lapel pin depicting those symbols. Centered on a dreamcatcher, (originally an Ojibwe symbol of protection), is the Legion Poppy encircled by the Metis sash. Suspended on either side of the Inuit Inuksuk are two Eagle feathers, symbolic of the First Nations people. Unique and beautiful in design, the pin is truly a symbol of unity and honour.

On November 8th, we honour those First Nations, Metis, and Inuit people who have long-served the proud tradition of military service and peace keeping for our country. We thank you.

We acknowledge Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, Veterans Affairs Canada, Artist Noel Lloyd Pinay, and Fred Gaffen, without whose contributions this article would not be possible.

Classic Pork Chops

By Chef Mike Edgar, Photos by Twisted Tree Photography

Now that meal prep is top of mind for many, here’s a pork dish that is easy to make and features a delicious cranberry touch. Thick and juicy oven-baked pork loin chops, smothered in a savoury, brandy reduction and topped with a cranberry-mustard are a wonderful way to enjoy a sit-down meal with your family.

BRINE

2 Cups Water
1/2 Cup of Salt
1/2 Cup Sugar
6 Cloves of Garlic
2 Tbsp. of Whole Black Peppercorn
Handful of Fresh Thyme
2 Cups of Ice Cubes

BRINE METHOD
Dissolve the salt and sugar in water. Add aromatics. Bring to a boil and pour over ice cubes. Stir until melted.
 

PORK CHOPS METHOD
Sear your pork chops to start. Place two double cut pork chops, (bone in) into the brine for a minimum of eight hours. Remove from brine and dry. Preheat your oven to 425℉. Sear pork chops in a cast iron pan, for approximately five minutes a side. Place in oven, flipping every three minutes until you have an internal temp of 145℉. Bring out and rest for a minimum of five minutes.
 
SPICED SQUASH PUREE

1 Butternut Squash, Diced (Uncooked)
2 Tbsp. of Butter
1 Tbsp. of Olive Oil
1 Tsp. of Allspice
1 Tsp. Turmeric Powder
1 Tsp. of Ground Ginger
1 Tsp. of Salt 
1 Tsp. Pepper
1/4 Cup of 33% Whipping Cream
1/4 Cup of Water

SPICED SQUASH PUREE METHOD
Roast squash and spices in a preheated 425℉ oven for 25 minutes, until soft. Place in a blender with water and cream and puree.


CIPOILLINI ONIONS
1 Onion per person, Peeled
 
CIPOILLINI ONIONS METHOD
Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Pre-heat oven to 425℉. Roast onions seven minutes per side.
 

When arranging your pork chop plate, the asparagus & goat cheese strudel pairs well with the spiced squash puree.


ASPARAGUS & GOAT CHEESE STRUDEL

12 Asparagus Stalks
1/2 Cup Goat Cheese
3 Sheets of Phyllo Pastry
1 Tsp. of Salt
1 Tsp. of Pepper
1/2 Cup of Melted Butter
 
STRUDEL METHOD
Lay one sheet of phyllo pastry down on the cutting board, and brush with butter, repeat two times. Cut the phyllo into four rectangles. Season with salt and pepper and place three asparagus on each rectangle and then crumble equal portions of goat cheese on top. Roll phyllo around the asparagus and goat cheese. Roll to wrap them towards the centre of the spear. Preheat oven to 425℉. Place each pastry on a greased baking sheet and place in oven for six minutes a side.
 

This sweet and savoury brandy reduction is the perfect addition to pork chops.

BRANDY REDUCTION 

2 Cups Chicken Stock
2 Cups Brandy
1 Cup Honey
1 Tbsp. of Tomato Paste
Handful of Fresh Thyme

BRANDY REDUCTION METHOD
Place all ingredients in a pot and bring items to a boil. Boil until the consistency is that of a syrup.
 
CRANBERRY MUSTARD

1/2 Cup Yellow Mustard Seeds
1/4 Cup Brown Mustard Seeds
1 and 1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 Cup Maple Syrup
1 Cup Dry Cranberries

CRANBERRY MUSTARD METHOD
Cranberry Sauce:
Soak cranberries in water for two hours. Strain the water off. Puree in a food processor with half the maple syrup.

Mustard:
Place all mustard seeds and vinegar in a jar. Seal the lid. Shake well. Let sit in a dark place for 48 hours.

After 48 Hours
Remove half the mustard seeds and puree in food processor with the cranberry sauce and the remaining maple syrup.
Mix with the remaining mustard seeds. Serve with your pork chops. 

Ansel, Our Photoshoot Dog

Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

BY JENN WEBSTER

Just in case you’re not on our subscriber list, we thought we should bring you all up to speed on our latest photoshoot, appearing in the Jan/Feb issue of Western Horse Review. Through this publication, I truly believe we are changing the world in a perhaps small, but significant manner. Even via western fashion photoshoots.

One of the ways we are doing that this issue, is by bringing your attention to the Heaven Can Wait Animal Rescue Foundation out of High River, AB. WHR readers have probably noticed, fashion photoshoots have become an important part of our editorial over the last few years. This issue was no exception. The only difference this time was that we included “Ansel,” the Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute-mix, seen in the spread you can find starting on page 46. (Trust me, you’re gonna want to renew your subscription if you haven’t already: www.westernhorsereview.com).

A sneak peek of the Jan/Feb 2020 Photoshoot, featuing “Ansel” and “Pickles” the pony. Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

With a western winter and skijor theme, Ansel fit right in. He even made friends with “Pickles,” the pony belonging to my kids who casually walked inside the mansion we used for our shoot location, like she had done it a million times before. (Gotta love good-minded animals!)

Now here’s the real story. Ansel is the survivor of an atrocious hoarding situation that occurred in Milk River, AB, five years ago. He was one of 201 dogs seized by the Alberta SPCA from a property occupied by April Dawn Irving, 59. Animals found there were malnourished and dehydrated, with parasites and filthy, matted fur. Some had broken bones and gaping wounds. Five dead dogs were also found on the property.

Heaven Can Wait provided emergency care for Ansel and three other huskies, as well as three Komondors and an Irish Wolfhound. All eight were brought to health – treated for parasites, vaccinated, spayed and neutered, groomed, and fed with supplements for weight gain and coat health. After being worked with and having their personalities assessed, they were adopted into loving homes.

Ansel is now thriving and was a pleasant addition to our photoshoot. Aged six, he lives with a Calgary, AB couple and a Siberian husky companion. He is affectionate and healthy, and loves his home comforts and outdoor adventures.

Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

Heaven Can Wait is a no-kill shelter and serves a wide area of rural communities in southern Alberta including farms, ranches and acreages. It has approximately 40 dogs and 150 cats in its care. Many are available for adoption, although some are considered sanctuary animals due to health or behavioural issues. The rescue has an ongoing need for donations – its biggest expense is veterinary care. For information on how to help and details of adoptable animals, visit www.heavencanwait.ca or follow their Facebook page.

We learned in December 2019 that sentencing in the Milk River case was delivered at Lethbridge Provincial Court. Irving was banned for life from owning animals in Alberta after pleading guilty to four counts of causing an animal to be in distress. Although issued $15,000 in fines, she did not have to pay due to time served in custody.

Ringing in 2020

BY JENN WEBSTER & ALL PHOTOS BY Twisted Tree Photography.

Make-up by Ivonne Arsenault of One Beauty, Calgary, AB
Hair by Michelle Walsh of One Beauty, Calgary, AB

How are you ringing in the New Year? We’re skipping the resolutions and the big bash parties this time – instead choosing to spend the evening with friends and family and the genuine people in our lives.

Here’s what our evening will look like:

Friends gathered, with drinks in hand, dressed to the nines in the amazing western lifestyle clothing now being offered at Lammle’s Western Wear.

(From Left to Right): Cruel Denim horse print burgundy women’s shirt, $79.95; Cruel shimmer duster with lace, $89.95; Rock & Roll Cowgirl Take No Bull striped women’s blouse, $79.95; Rock & Roll Cowgirl velvet bell bottom women’s leggings, $59.95; Tuf Cooper performance stretch poplin brown and cream men’s shirt, $74.95; Powder River Outfitters wool heather men’s charcoal vest, $119.95; Tribal stretch velvet burgundy rose women’s shirt, $69.95; Miss Me Abstract Life bootcut women’s jeans, $149.95; (Sitting in Front) Ariat Showtime Ancho Chile women’s top, $69.95; Ariat Lady Luck bomber White Sands women’s jacket, $109.95; and Scully floral embroidered western sport coat, $239.95; Stetson Diamond Dot burgundy print men’s shirt, $89.95.

There will be lots of food. Mostly appetizers, so people can visit and graze as they go by. Finger food is the perfect compliment for a New Year’s Eve get together. Like these chicken schnitzel and smoked salmon sliders, prepared for us by Chef Mike Edgar:

Or this plate of Arancini, which are small balls of rice stuffed with a savory filling, coated in breadcrumbs, and fried.

Or this delicious Prosciutto & Melon Caprese Salad…

Prosciutto & Melon Caprese Salad
INGREDIENTS:
• Prosciutto x 10 slices
• 1/2 cantaloupe thinly sliced
• 1/2 honeydew thinly sliced
• 5 Red vine tomatoes quartered
• 5 balls buffalo mozzarella quartered
• Fresh figs cut in half x 5
• Fresh nectarines quartered
• Fresh basil leaves x 10
• Fresh mint leaves x 10
• Extra virgin olive oil
• Aged balsamic vinegar
• Salt & Pepper

METHOD: Randomly place Prosciutto, tomato, cheese, melon, figs, nectarines, mint, basil on your choice of serving platter. Drizzle with oil and vinegar so that everything on the board has a bit of each on it. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

****

Before the daylight fades away, we’ll grab the horses and our skies or snowboards and charge out for a little bit of skijoring fun.

And then, it’s time to warm up a bit around the fire…

There is nothing more comfortable than Manitobah Mukluks when you simply want to unwind.

Of course – if you know us – we usually get a second wind around 9:00 pm. So then it’s time to pull out the cocktail dresses and boots…

All dresses from Blondie Boutique. Jewelry by RKR Jewelry. On Him, outfit all from Cody & Sioux. Boots all from Alberta Boot Co.; (LEFT) Blue / Gray Python ladies boots, $785; (ON HIM) Peanut Brittle Alligator men’s boots, $1,800; (RIGHT) Electric Blue Lizard ladies boots, $975.

And when New Year’s Eve finally winds down, there’s nothing better than a hot bath and a whiskey.

Wishing you all a wonderful and safe New Year’s Eve!

Horses with Heart – Sergeant Reckless

Reckless with her main caretaker, US Marine Sergeant Joseph Latham.

BY DEBBIE MACRAE

She was truly a gift of love – her life exchanged for a limb. His sister had stepped on a land mine and $250 meant that Kim Huk Moon could buy her a leg prosthesis. It was the Korean war. But to do so, he had to let his filly go… He cried.

Purchased as a pack horse on October 26, 1952, the little filly was originally named Ah Chim Hai. The translation in Korean is “Morning Flame” or “Flame of the Morning.” Moon called her Flame. She was thought to be of Mongolian blood, but she did have some Thoroughbred similarities. She weighed less than 900 pounds and stood only 56 inches or 14 hands high.

As a pack-horse, she would learn to carry 24 pound shells for recoilless rifles used by the Recoilless Rifle Platoon of the 5th Marine Regiment of the Anti-Tank Company, 1st Marine Division. Her name, Flame, was modified to reflect a contraction of the name Recoilless – and she became known to the Marines as “Reckless” – quickly becoming part of the unit and creeping into their tents, their hearts – and their meals – eating everything from scrambled eggs to potato chips and drinking Coca-Cola and beer with the best of them. At one point, she consumed about $30 in poker chips! Not your usual equine fare.

Reckless was taught to be a Marine. She was trained in battlefield survival skills; she would lie down under fire. She knew not to become entangled in barbed wire. On hearing the cry “Incoming!”, she learned to run for a bunker – and even appeared to take interest in the operation of the rifles she was carrying. She learned to deliver the guns and shells to the front lines, and when learning a new route, required to be led only a few times before she learned the route on her own. There was a standing order not to ride her, but on one occasion that order was violated and Reckless sprinted through a minefield with her mount, surviving in spite of her rider.

During the Battle of Outpost Vegas on Vegas Hill in March of 1953, she made 51 solo trips in one day, covering over 35 miles and carrying over 9,000 pounds of ammunition – rider-less, no lead, under fire. She travelled through rice paddies and steep mountain ridges, carrying her load; sometimes guns, sometimes ammunition, even the wounded. They would tie them on, send them back down, and at the bottom, they would turn her around, slap her rump and she would head out again.

The whole battle lasted 3 days. She was wounded twice. At the end of the battle her fellow Marines were so grateful for her service, they offered her a beer, which she drank down lustily, like a true soldier, and begged for more.

Sergeant Reckless beside 75 mm recoilless rifle, circa 1952 – 1955, Andrew Geer, Public Domain.

On one occasion, Reckless approached a group of Marines, and nuzzled one unsuspecting marine on the back of the neck, nipping him in the process. He jumped and started screaming obscenities at her yelling at a Marine Lieutenant to remove the nag from his presence. The Lieutenant blasted the marine, “That horse has done more for the United States Marine Corps than you have, or ever will do. And besides, she outranks you. If I ever hear you talking to that horse like that again, I’m going to have you written up and court-martialed.” 1 Sgt. Reckless, America’s War Horse by Robin Hutton

Her role didn’t end on the front lines. She packed telephone lines for her platoon – stringing as much wire on her own, as 12 men on foot. She was the first horse in the Marine Corps to have engaged in an amphibious landing.

Her platoon played on her “Reckless” reputation, challenging Kentucky Derby contender, Native Dancer, to a “Paddy Derby” on the “Upsan Downs,” over a 1.5 mile course of rice paddies and hills, carrying 192 pounds of ammunition and no riders. Their challenge went unrequited, although Native Dancer would come in second in the Kentucky Derby, thereafter winning the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, and the Belmont Stakes in New York. All in good fun, Sergeant Reckless won her own red and gold blanket with insignia, and was promoted again to staff sergeant (E-6) on August 31, 1959 at Camp Pendleton, California, where she was honored with a twenty-one-gun salute and a 1,700-man parade of Marines.

Reckless was a hero. She was awarded two purple hearts, and the battle of Outpost Vegas prompted a promotion to the official rank of Sergeant for the only animal, before or since, in history.

Sergeant Reckless was retired from active service with full military honors in 1960. Her Marine Corps documents provided her with free room and board in lieu of retirement pay. She was treated like the VIP she was, well cared for and respected. She bore two colts and two fillies, at Camp Pendleton, the last of which survived only a month.

Eight years after her retirement, Reckless would injure herself, ironically by falling into a barbed wire fence. She died under sedation for treatment at approximately 19 or 20-years-old.

As we approach the Anniversary of Remembrance on November 11th, we salute our war heroes, and war horses, with honor and respect for the service they have offered in the protection of our countries, our front lines, and our troops.

Sergeant Reckless is honored with a statue by sculptor Jocelyn Russell in Semper Fidelis Memorial Park at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, a memorial at Camp Pendleton, as well as a monument at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky.