If you’re like me and into “good” music, you’ll know that Rolling Stones song with the line, “Wild horses couldn’t drag me away.” Well, pretty soon, if things keep going in the direction they’re heading, they’re going to have to update it to say “Wild horses can’t drag me away.” Why is that? Because one of the well-known icons of American pastime, the wild horse, is slowly disappearing. Not disappearing as in a magic wizard is spiriting them off to some alternate dimension or disappearing as in they are mutating to exhibit a latent invisibility gene. No, I mean disappearing as in they’re being rounded up and shipped off.
Instead of running around majestically the way you see them in beer and pick-up truck commercials—manes flowing as they trot through the Wild West with unbridled (pun intended!) force, a huge cloud of dust rising in their wake—they’re cordoned into holding pens for “adoption.” You don’t even want to know what that actually means. And it’s not the point of this blog anyway.
What I want to write about is how we’re slowly losing yet another piece of our history; something that I feel is a pretty special piece of nostalgia.
It’s not just for me. I know what horses look like under the wide open Western sky. I’m worried more about my kids and my future grandkids. There are so many things they will never know or understand. Some of that’s good. But some of it’s bad. They’ll never know what a microfiche is or how to read one. Not once will they have to thumb through a card catalog at the library looking for that needle in a haystack with the right Dewey Decimal number on it. Saturday morning cartoons are something they will never enjoy. The slam of a flimsy screen door echoes in my mind and I dearly wish my kids knew the sheer joy associated with that sound. The list goes on and on.
We’re losing pieces of the past quicker than I can count and horses, the iconic wild horse, are on the way out too. Not only will they be a thing of the recent past and talked about like dodo birds and passenger pigeons, but the ultimate sadness is that they’re not being pushed to extinction by Darwinism, but by Man, for meat and profit.
I can see it now: On an outing to the movies with my future grandkids, there in the dark as we watch computer generated horses bolting across the screen, I’ll whisper to them….”I remember when there were wild horses.” And my grandchildren will respond with a snort of disdain as children so often do when adults bring up the inconceivable past: “Boy you are old Grandma! Imagine that, real wild horses!”
Why can’t we just let beautiful things be? Until we learn to do that, I say to the horses, run! Get those hooves moving and rip through the prairie as if your lives depend on it. They just may.