Border Patrol mustangs

28 04 2009

bp-capitol

Last week and the week before, I had the absolute pleasure and honor to talk with Senior Patrol Agent Joe McCraw and Assistant Chief Patrol Agent Lealan Pinkerton with the U.S. Border Patrol’s Spokane Sector. These horsemen – and they are that – were with the Border Patrol contingent in Washington, D.C., back in January for the inauguration parade of President Barack Obama.

I wrote an article for my paper back then about Justice, our Spring Creek Basin mustang currently in service with the Border Patrol and stationed in Colville, Wash. After the chaos settled down and the agents and their steeds returned home, I wanted to do a follow-up article. I wanted to talk to the agent who rode – and rides – Justice, and I wanted to talk to the agent who started this incredible Project Noble Mustang.

Let me tell you something, I’m not sure you could find more staunch advocates of mustangs anywhere in the country!

Joe told me, “There are not too many places I would worry about taking Justice,” and for me, that about summed it all up. Justice was gathered in August 2007; the parade – the biggest of them all, as Lee said a couple of times! – was in January 2009! Justice hasn’t even been off the range two years yet!

Something else that impressed me was that Lee said he had a goal of getting his mustangs and agents to the nation’s capital for this parade. When he said at the end of our interview that he was proud of his men and of his horses, I sure as heck believed him! The most experienced mustang of the bunch has been under saddle less than three years.

Editing down my notes into what I hope was a cohesive article was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done as a reporter. These guys gave me five pages of typed notes, which I edited down to just a few lines over two pages (my page designer knows my propensity to go long). Neither one of them could stop talking about the mustangs. So cooooool!! I hope that obvious enthusiasm these two men have for mustangs – their mustangs – came through. That made the article.

So, Joe and Lee, if you’re reading this, thank you again, most sincerely. I appreciate the time you spent talking to me, and I appreciate your care of *our* mustangs (I know they’re yours, but they’re still kinda ours, too!), and I most heartily appreciate your service to our country.

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I think that’s Agent McCraw on Justice at left patrolling with another agent and Zeus in the national forest near Colville, Wash.

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Loading up after a day of patrolling. Neither rain nor snow … can keep the U.S. Border Patrol from its appointed rounds!

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Justice at left, Kootenai (from Sand Wash Basin) is the sorrel, Ike is the black, and Roscoe may be the horse behind Ike. Don’t they look fabulous?

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Justice and his buckskin buddies. When they’re not patrolling part of the northern border (308 miles between eastern Washington and western Montana) and not wowing spectators in parades, these guys may pull duty as an honor guard.

Many, many thanks to Agent Joe McCraw for use of these photos in the newspaper (the first three were used with the article) and on this blog, and to both Agent McCraw and Agent Pinkerton for speaking to a complete stranger about the mustangs you use in service to this country.


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4 responses

28 04 2009
Lea Williams

These horses, and fine gentlemen live just north of where we live. They are proud of their mustangs. They were at the mustang adoption in western WA this past weekend and I petted Justice’s nose. They are certainly wonderful horses.

28 04 2009
TJ

Oh, I am so jealous of you! I asked Agent McCraw to give him (Justice) a hug. 🙂 Thanks so much for your comment; it was so cool to listen to both men talk about the mustangs. What an incredible partnership.
TJ

27 05 2012
BP

I stumbled across this blog and i am glad i did! I was trained to ride last year on Justice, Zeus, Starsky, and Hutch (Colville Station’s Mustangs). Justice quickly became my favorite. Justice has since been retired from his patrol duties and was adopted out to one lucky coworker!!

27 05 2012
TJ

Such wonderful news! Thank you for this update about Justice. We are so proud of him!

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