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.

justicetrailer

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

justicecorral

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.





Some more BP mustang pix

20 02 2009

Here are some more pictures Deb Borches sent along of some of the other Border Patrol mustangs – two pictures show them tacked up in their finery and ready to go (or maybe afterward?), and one shows a couple of the boys enjoying some “down time.”

Josie, Okanogan and Ike

Josie, Okanogan and Ike

Boy, they sure do clean up nice, eh? One thing that struck me when I saw them in the parade was how shiny they were. Those agents sure put the elbow grease (or the Show Sheen!) to those boys before their big march!

Josie was gathered from the Twin Peaks HMA in California and is stationed in Curlew, Wash. Okanogan was gathered from the Crooks Mountain HMA in Wyoming and is stationed in Oroville, Wash. Ike was gathered from the McCullough Peaks HMA in Wyoming and is stationed in Whitefish, Mont.

Nash

Nash

I think Nash is “Kootenai” on the BLM’s information page. He was featured in a Western Horseman article about “Project Noble Mustang” and is the namesake of our apricot dun mare, Kootenai, introduced from Sand Wash Basin with Raven and Mona. Nash was gathered from Sand Wash Basin in northwestern Colorado and is stationed at Oroville, Wash.

Okanogan and Nash

Okanogan and Nash

Okanogan looks pretty fierce here, eh? 🙂 Okanogan and grey mustang Bullet led their group during the inauguration parade and looked so handsome and at ease with all the hoopla!

Thanks again, Deb, for sending these photos! I’d like to ask readers to also think about the Border Patrol agents who partner with the mustangs while enjoying these photos. Many of them are not only law-enforcement officers, they are also horsemen. Whatever you may think about the politics of protecting our nation’s borders, remember that these guys (and gals) aren’t doing their jobs from an office, and their hours aren’t 9-to-5. How many of us would like to spend even part of our job atop a mustang? I say rock on, folks, and thank you for proving the value of our wild horses!





Pictures of Border Patrol mustangs

19 02 2009
Buck and Justice

Buck and Justice

Many, many thanks to Deb Borches, whose husband is with the U.S. Border Patrol and went last month to Washington, D.C., for President Obama’s inauguration parade. She provided these pictures so we could catch a glimpse of some of the horses on their way to the big show. Thank you! She said if anyone wants to see pictures of any of the other horses (see next pic), she has more photos. Because of our specific interest in Justice, being from Spring Creek Basin, she focused on providing pictures that include him. Leave a note in the comments section if you’d like to see other horses (Deb may see the comments, and I’ll also forward the requests), and while you’re at it, please remember to thank her for providing these pictures!

Stable accommodations

Stable accommodations

All the boys: Justice, Zeus, Chase, Nash (Kootenai), Bullet, Okanogan, Josie, Ike, Brutis and Buck. It looks like Buck might have been a little shy down at the end.

Justice in his stall

Justice in his stall

Here’s a closer look at Justice. Look at his star! These pictures are the first I’ve seen that really show he has a star.

Play time

Play time

Zeus, right, and Justice chewing on Buck. According to information about the mustangs, Justice and Zeus are both stationed in Colville, Wash., and Buck is at Metaline Falls, Wash. Buck came from the Devils Garden Plateau HMA in California, and Zeus was gathered from the White Mountain HMA in Wyoming.

Party gear

Party gear

Woo hoo! Handsome boy Justice showing off his new tack for the parade. Check out his breast collar; the mustangs that went to D.C. are all part of the Border Patrol’s Spokane Sector, which patrols part of the country’s border with Canada. (I just realized this might not be Justice because of the mane orientation – might be Zeus?)

Justice and Brutis

Justice and Brutis

Look how shiny they are, even in their fuzzy winter coats. I asked Deb to give the Border Patrol agents a big collective thank you for taking such good care of these mustangs. Those are some stout boys!

Thank you, Deb, for the pictures! I so appreciate you sharing these with us!