Animals Angels’ Light Up the Sky

Every year, Animals’-Angels USA holds a vigil by candle light that lights up the sky with the love of humans for animals.  Let me put that another way:  lights up the sky with the love we hold for the others we share this planet with.  I sent a very, very personal missive to AA last year about the horses I grew up with…horses whose very presence lightened a childhood and adolescence fraught with, well, personal and family contradictions I agonized over.  I wasn’t much different from people my age, some of whom knew worse, I’m sure.

Here I offer words I wrote when the CHDC held a Memorial when the Norval Slaughterhouse in Ontario was finally and permanently shut down; the Memorial was held on May 1, 2011 (I posted on that somewhere; look thru my Horse posts).  These slaughtered equines–horses, minis, donkeys, mules and burros–were all owned equines whose service to us went unthanked, ultimately unappreciated to the point of not mere death, but a peculiarly human-engineered death…that of the terror of transport away from safety and love and human kindness to the cruel, unfeeling pathology of the abattoir.  AA’s Vigil is on December 10th of this year:  send your personal tribute to the animal(s) of your choice now.  Herman Melville said:  ‘Silence is the voice of God’…maybe so, but He can see alright, and our candles will be a beacon of love He can hardly miss.

And so I wrote to, and for, the horses who passed through Cerberus at the Norval Horse Slaughterhouse…

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Hickstead: Canada’s Hero

Hickstead:  Canada’s Hero

I haven’t been able to write about it.  I was so lost without him, with knowing that he’d departed this world.  You’ve all probably heard that Hickstead, the horse that brought Gold to Canada in the last Olympics, two days ago, at the age of nearly sixteen, dropped dead after a flawless jumping event in Verona, Italy, a major competition.  If you haven’t heard of Hickstead, whose prime rider was Eric Lamaze, I don’t know where to begin…both in how to describe the intelligence and heart of this horse and in how to describe the intrinsic–let me say that again–the intrinsic value of this glorious creature.  There is a post somewhere on my blog about an interview with Hickstead’s owner who said:  “he was a stumblebum at first…and then, he seemed to get it.  He really got it…so I said to Eric, ‘don’t do anything.  He knows what to do.  Leave it to Hicks, sit back and just enjoy the ride.’”  And truly, after watching many shows in which Hicks excelled, I must say that that is exactly how it looked to me:  Hickstead seemed to analyse each jump, and decide how he was going to take it…and he did…he just did.  Every single time.  In an interview after his death, someone commented:  “Hickstead was not only the top event horse of Canada…he was considered the top event horse ever in history…ever.”  Bless you beautiful boy, we love you and wish you godspeed to the heavens…where you belong.  You made the world a better place and the world is a better place because of you.  Go to:  A Big Ask Answered  on my blog or google Hickstead.  Enlarge your appreciation and love of our horses by learning about Hickstead, “Canada’s Hero”.  Oh, Eric, I do feel for your loss.  Please share it with all of us who were amazed and breathless at the magnificence of a horse whose qualities transcended your riding skills and our expectations.  Rest well, Hicks.

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Opposing Reader Reviews

Marie Dean, a strong supporter of the CHDC, wrote this review of Ground Manners. A Novel:

Ground Manners by Cynthia D’Errico is a rollercoaster book of thrills and heart-pounding drama.  I have never been so absorbed, and never read a book so fast before in my life – just couldn’t put it down.  Ground Manners has actually got me interested in reading again.  It was thought provoking, captivating and I so wanted to be part of the group of characters – I so wanted to meet them in person – crazy!  The love and trust between human and horse, as well as between the horses themselves is so eloquently expressed that you are engulfed in the deepest of bonds.    Being a horse owner and lover I felt so greatly the vulnerable side of the horse, which Cynthia puts into words so gently that you are exhausted from emotion.    The details of horse slaughter are few, but the terror is felt and written between the lines - the horror and evil is understood.  Powerful read!! –Marie Dean, Waterford, Ontario, Supporter of the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC).

Now here’s another Review written by someone on Amazon (and I did try to reach him to get his permission, but alas, so I hope he doesn’t mind my posting it here [csa was his moniker]):

This wasn’t quite what I expected. It dwelled a bit too long on the rescue aspect of horses and described things I really wish I could “unread”. I know there are people who need to be reminded of the cruelty of humans toward other inhabitants of this earth, but for one with a lot of empathy, it was just a bit over the top for me. The story line was easy to follow although a bit contrived and required a stretch of belief in places. The most interesting parts to read, aside from the historic aspect of the Canadian horse (of which I own several), were the interactions among the herd of horses. Those parts helped me see some members of our herd in a new light. The author did a good job of expressing the spirits of horses.

 

Of course, what I really liked

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Good News about Ground Manners. A Novel

Good News about Ground Manners. A Novel

Every now and then, I have a brainstorm…as opposed to my usual state, “bubblebrain”.  I came across Carol Upton’s site almost by chance, circuitously anyway, as most “stumbles-upon” occur on the internet.  When I read her site, I just knew that this was the person I’d been desperately wishing into existence to help me market GM and its message to the public.  Now don’t get me wrong:  I have marketing experience; I’m a pretty smart cookie, neurons only just lately starting to crumble, so I thought I’d done a pretty fair job so far.  But now, Carol…well, Carol, like one of those gentle forces of nature–like a sudden wind that knocks you off your feet, or a downpour that wets you through and through before you’ve even processed that it’s raining–just shimmers into your circle like Gwenda in The Wizard of OZ, and carefully assesses your needs, dialogues with you (as a person and as a writer), and then produces results far beyond your expectations, and makes it appear so simple and easy, that you are left quite speechless (which, as you know, is a rare state for me).  (I bet she has a magic wand on her person somewhere; it must be another ‘practical magic’ thing, eh.)   So, before I go on to list and link to the important horse websites which Carol somehow persuaded to carry her excellent Press Review of GM, let me just say ‘thanks, Carol.  I am most beholden to you.’  And one of the most heartwarming results of Carol’s work on Ground Manners’ behalf is that Yvonne Allen, who owns Voice for the Horse in Langley, BC, has asked me to provide, as a prize, a copy of my novel for their First Annual International Writing Competition.  Now, I ask you:  does lightning strike twice?  

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Saving America’s Horses. A Nation Betrayed

Saving America’s Horses. A Nation Betrayed

While at the Virginia Conference, I had the good fortune to meet Katia Louise, producer and director of the outstanding film, Saving America’s Horses.  This was a film that I’d been frothing at the mouth to see for nearly two years.  (I kid you not.)  A Humanion Films production sponsored by Wild for Life Foundation, I’d seen the movie trailer over and over again on different advocacy sites, and in addition to being a total fan of Tippi Hedren, director of Shambala, the wildlife preserve in California, who is featured in the movie (along with Paul Sorvino), I knew–I just knew–that this film could evolve public understanding of the plight of North American horses in one sitting. Katia, who is about the size of a china doll with the accompanying exquisiteness must have the inner fortitude of Samson.  

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Born to Be Hurt

Born to Be Hurt

It’s a line from the 1950s movie,  Imitation of Life, starring glorious Lana Turner.  Annie says this of her daughter, Sara Jean, who cannot accept that she is of mixed race, denies her Afro-American mother (Annie), and follows a self-destructive path until Annie, her mother, dies…much too soon and much too young.  “How,” Annie asks Lana, who plays a celebrated actress in the movie, “…how do you tell your own child that she was born to be hurt?”  

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