Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to Everyone. I hope that 2019 grants you all success with your horses and other pursuits. I have high hopes for the coming year and I wanted to share two things that underscore the promise of a new year.

First was a quote that a really nice lady sent me and it goes like this - "January 1st is the first blank page of a 365 day book. Make sure you write a good story."

And second was reading a story from World War II that I had not previously heard of.

This little known bit of history at the very end of World War II was Operation Cowboy, where American soldiers partnering with their current enemy, German Soldiers, and including several nationalities of recently liberated allied prisoners of war, AND, with the help of anti-Communist Russian Cossacks, all  joined forces to fight out-numbered against German Waffen SS troops in order to save stolen Lipizzaner horses before the arrival of the Soviet Army who would certainly kill the Lipizzaner foals and press the mares and Stallions into service hauling wagons or pack loads. Who knows, some may have been eaten by the notoriously under fed Russians conscripts.

Author Mark Felton wrote a book on this titled "Ghost Riders: When US and German Soldiers Fought Together to Save the World's Most Beautiful Horses in the Last Days of World War II."

Again, all this occurred in the very last days of World War II where American soldiers and the liberated POW's all could have played it safe, but when faced with the savagery of what would happen to the famed horses and the fact that the German unit guarding the Lipizzaner's surrendered to the Americans just to have a chance to save the horses,..well, you have an epic story.

General George Patton authorized the mission, himself a horseman, utilizing a Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron basically equipped with gun jeeps, trucks and a few supporting light tanks.  Many of the men were not new to horses and some had served in horse cavalry units, and all saw that risking their lives to save the white Lipizzaner horses, who are among the purest bred and highest trained horses in on the planet, was the right thing to do. In the end, during these very last days of April 1945, this unlikely joint force rode, drove and trucked the Lipizzaner's to safety. They were eventual returned to back where they originally came from, the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Austria.