Mustang Compassion

March 5, 2010

I received an e-mail from Michael Blake today that updated me a bit on a situation he’s been dealing with at the ranch. I’ve hesitated saying anything, but in order to share what he wrote, (which he gave permission to do) it’s necessary to mention that Michael lost his wonderful Mustang mare Samantha in December. She was in her mid-late twenties and passed peacefully, but losing a loved one is never easy on any of the family members left behind.

Samantha shared an extraordinary bond with Michael’s retired riding horse Little Boy and her loss has affected him deeply. As Michael explained to me, “he has no idea where to move with his life.” I’m sure it’s been heartbreaking to watch him suffer without his long-time companion.

Little Boy got sick and Michael began to wonder if he was going to lose him too, but today’s note gives reason to hope that Little Boy may be okay.

A testament to Mustang compassion:

“I have to tell you what happened this morning. Little Boy has survived and is eating well but he still stands alone wishing Samantha could somehow show herself. This morning before I went down to feed, I was watching them from the studio. As usual Little Boy was standing alone while Mariachi and Hope were standing together fifteen or twenty yards away. Mariachi turned around and walked over to where Little Boy was standing. Your herd stallion began to rub Little Boy’s face with his own. For about ten minutes they rubbed each other then Mariachi turned away once more and returned to Hope. Like all herd stallions, he knows when others need help and he gives it. This morning he gave a good feeling to a twenty-year old, castrated domestic. Mariachi is a marvelous individual. MB”

Of course I cried like a baby when I read this. There really is something so very special about that horse. His presence, his wisdom, his kindness…

El Mariachi

Related story:Rescuing An American Icon

29 Responses to “Mustang Compassion”

  1. Billie Says:

    Mustangs are truly magnificent in many ways.

  2. Maureen Says:

    That is a very touching story, Pam. So incredible on so many levels. Thank you for sharing it.

  3. jo bunny Says:

    wow. now i’m crying, too. what love. what compassion. what a magnificent animal. thank you for sharing that… & please share our words of peace & healing for michael, his family, & little boy when you see them again.


  4. How lovely and inspiring. And some think horses don’t have emotions.

  5. LindaH Says:

    Thank you for sharing Pam. I was just telling Mariachi’s story to a friend today. What beautiful complex beings these animals are like Little Boy–and what a special one is your Mariachi!

  6. Laura Evans Says:

    What a wonderful story, Pam, thank you for sharing it with us. When I look at your photo’s and read your words I always feel like I’m a part of it. You manage to bring the observer into your subject. I was wondering, were you ever able to find that Breyer model that looks so much like El Mariachi? I have looked and looked on ebay and not been able to find it. Like I told Susan, it’s not an exact copy but if it were any closer he’d have to charge them royalties.

  7. Sandy Elmore Says:

    Animals have a powerful sense of everything around them. I wish that all humans could be so compassionate. Wouldn’t the world be a better place?
    Thanks for sharing that wonderful story Pam.

  8. Ronnie Says:

    And what has been done to these intelligent, loving, knowing animals. And continues, by the BLM.

    It is so true that horses have “horse sense.” Meaning, they just know what humans and animals need. A way of “knowing.” Sometimes you don’t know what is bothering you, and the horse lets you know. And you cannot hide your feelings from a horse.

    This story El Mariachi is so beautiful and profound. My heart. My tears.


  9. Beautiful. Thank you.

  10. Deby Zimmerman Says:

    How is it, that those who work for BLM can’t see this compassion and love that these animals exhibit? To hear the cries of those separated forever in those roundups is heart breaking to say the least, yet they are only treated as dumb animals. Wild or domestic, they ALL have compassion and love within and as proven here, DO show it when times arise that bring about that need. El Mariachi only did what the compassion in his heart directed him to do about another that he cared for in his own way. How wonderful that Michael was able to witness this show of concern to see that Little Boy wasn’t totally in his sorrow. Thank you Michael, and Pam for sharing this!!! My deepest sympathies to you and Little Boy, Michael, I know that pain you are feeling, and Little Boy is truly blessed to have a friend like El Mariachi……….

  11. HeatherinNS Says:

    Thank you Pam (and Michael Blake)-a beautiful testament to how wonderful
    these creatures are. El Mariachi is a gift from God…

    It makes me sadder to think of the captive Calico horses, who need that same compassion and unconditional support, having lost their families, their support systems, their homes, their whole “raison d’etre”. (Reason for being.)

    Wouldn’t it be nice if WE humans- the ones who profess to have intelligence and true compassion, could be just as kind and compassionate to them?

    But then…I don’t believe the BLM is comprised of human “beings”, just human “do-ings”!

  12. Deby Zimmerman Says:

    AMEN Heather!!! Well said!

  13. pnickoles Says:

    I know I have many comments to respond to, and I will, but very quickly I just wanted to say that I know that El Mariachi’s gesture towards Little Boy is not really that unique in the animal/equine world. The animals have such a capacity for love, forgiveness and compassion. I wish everyone could take their lessons and apply them to their own lives. It truly would be a much better world for all of us if that were possible.

    I also wanted to mention that Michael does read the Blog, so he does see your messages. I’m sure he and his family appreciate them.

    Michael has been an advocate for the wild horses for over 20 years and continues to write and speak on their behalf. He allowed me to share his note because he understands there has to be some good stories to help sustain us in this fight to save the remaining wild horses. This was one of those stories for me.

  14. mustangdreams... Cat Kindsfather Says:

    Thank you for sharing this story. Sweet of Mariachi to nuzzle up to little boy.
    Very sorry for MIchael. I hope he will adopt another mare for him.

    I enjoy your photography so much and all your stories. This was sad with a bit of a sweetness……..

  15. Kim Wright Says:

    Beautiful touching story; I am so sorry for the loss of your Samantha. My sympathies to you and Little Boy.


  16. no words, sweet tears… mar

  17. kate bremer Says:

    Thanks for sharing the story, Michael and Pam.
    It helps my heart today!

  18. Lyn McCormick Says:

    Yesterday I sent one of the mustangs to the trainer. He hasn’t been away from the herd since he came to the farm 3 1/2 years ago. It has left a big void in the herd – they all look at me like, “what did you do with Snickers?” It makes me sad, that he even has to be trained, but it is good insurance if for some reason he doesn’t live out the rest of his life on our farm. I can’t imagine why that would be the case but that is why I call it “insurance.” Since I co-mingled the mustangs with the domestic horses 2 years ago things have never been better. I have never had such a cohesive, happy herd of horses in all my years of pasturing and caretaking for them. It has been truly an amazing experience.

  19. LoriProphoto Says:

    Thank you Pam and Michael for sharing. It warms my heart, I spend many hours just watching my horses through the kitchen window and seeing them interact, they are indeed wonderful sensitive beings. Michael I hope that you can find someone for Little Boy to call his own but knowing that El Mariachi is there for him and hearing about his action warms my heart.

  20. Amanda Davis Says:

    Poor Michael. Thank god he has El Mariachi and Hope. Perhaps Hope will also help Little Boy through this or mayble Michael will get another mustang mare when he is ready. Human beings can learn a lot from the bonds horses can have with each other. Unconditional love and I wouldn’t live without mustangs in my life.
    Great blog!!!

  21. TJ Says:

    My most sincere sympathies to Michael and Little Boy and their family on the loss of lovely Samantha. This is, indeed, the kind of story we need to read … sadness with joy in a way that can’t be measured or exploited. Thank you both for sharing this moment.

  22. Margaret Says:

    Pam:
    I found MB’s email awhile back. Not sure that he got my note…Anyway I thanked him for taking in Mariachi when he needed someone to take him in. And not knowing that he had just lost this mare. Makes me understand why I may never have heard back from him.

    In one way Mariachi just makes you want to hug him so bad. But I’m pretty certain that he doesn’t like people all that much–so that thougth might just be lost on him LOL! He just seems to be a very understanding horse in so many ways.

  23. pnickoles Says:

    Thanks so much to all of you for your heartfelt responses. I truly appreciate the time you’ve taken to read and share your thoughts on this story and I will make sure that Michael sees your notes of kindness.

    Laura – no, I’ve never found El Mariachi’s Breyer likeness although I’d love to see it one day.

    Lyn – someday, I really would like to meet your “herd.” Yours too Lori. 🙂

    Margaret – the only way I could hug or touch El Mariachi would be in my dreams. He’s still a wild horse. Michael honors him by just letting him be what he is. How special is that?

    We will be visiting Michael and the horses this month. It always seems like such a long time between visits. An update will follow…

  24. Kelly Militello Says:

    Stories like these are what life is all about. Thank you Pam and Michael for sharing the same cares as so many of us. It is so encouraging that so many care for the animals that are such a part of our lives. My prayers and blessings go out to all of you.

  25. pnickoles Says:

    Thank you so much Kelly. 🙂

  26. Robin McCrae Says:

    Thank you for this beautiful story which shows the quiet, clear keen sensing of the horse in the presence of another horse’s sadness and loss. I am grateful for the gentle centering, the presence of my horse Zane, also mustang, everyday. Zane has a brilliance for being in the moment, always. Lots therein for me to learn!

  27. pnickoles Says:

    Beautifully said Robin! 🙂

  28. Paula Scougal Says:

    I am trying to reach Michael Blake mustang advocate, I would love to work with him in saving our mustangs from the evil BLM. He can e-mail me back.I hate what is happening!

  29. Theresa Hoff Says:

    Thank you Pam for this wonderful story. I look forward to many years of heartwarming stories about all the mustangs whether they be in captivity of in a sanctuary. You are an angel for making sure Mariachi&Hope had a chance to find a home in Arizona.Of course, Michael is another wonderful human angel for continuing to live and breathe Mustang rescue! Blessings to you all, may you all prosper by the very nature of your hearts
    desire to save these magnificent creatures.


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