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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Beyond the Book: Wildhorse Annie

One of my all-time favorite cowgirls is Velma Bronn Johnson. Velma was also known as Wildhorse Annie. Annie had polio when she was a girl, and for the rest of her life she lived with chronic pain. She was on her way to her secretary's job one day when a chance encounter changed the course of her life. 

She saw a trailer full of half dead, gravely injured mustangs on their way to a pet food factory and was horrified at the abuse the poor mustangs had suffered. She investigated the treatment of mustangs and found that roundups and transport were always dreadful. Armed with facts and figures, Wildhorse Annie went on a campaign to save the mustangs before they went extinct.

She fought Congress, powerful ranchers, and went on stealth missions to free the horses. American children were inspired by her message and wrote endless letters to Congress. The only issue to receive more mail was the Viet Nam War. 

In 1971 the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act was passed, largely because of Wildhorse Annie's work throughout the years. Her devotion to her cause made her a national heroine, but unfortunately, mustangs are still shot from helicopters, rounded up and sold as pet food, and what's even worse, some are bought at auction and shipped to slaughter houses where they are sold as food for people. 

You can find more information here.

This series of cowgirl posts is in honor of my Rest Thy Head heroine Peyton O'Malley who came to Rest Thy Head and learned to ride horses and camp in the wilderness. She also fell in love with Jake Douglas, a true cowboy.

Picture:By ISPMB [see page for license], via Wikimedia Commons
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