Sometimes the simplest gifts are the most meaningful. The story behind this donated horse blanket at Standing Rock will give you chills.
When Dr. Charmian Wright traveled 900 miles to provide care to the injured horses at Standing Rock, she encountered another beautiful gesture.
Dr. Wright wrote the following on her Facebook page:
"The last day I was at Standing Rock, we noticed that someone had anonymously left a bundle at the edge of the Crow Creek Spirit Riders' camp. It was a green horse blanket, worn but in good shape. It had been meticulously mended and was still decorated with some chestnut horsehairs. A typed note with a photo had been carefully tucked into a ziplock bag and bundled with the blanket."
The note reads as follows:
"Please don't think I'm giving you this old blanket as a cast-off. This blanket kept my beloved Appaloosa mare warm through the winters. I lost her 5 years ago at the age of 9 to a metabolic disease. I've hung onto this ratty old blanket for five years because it still has some of her hair on it, and it's all I have left of her. While it may have repairs and not be the prettiest blanket you've ever seen, you'll find that it's a quality blanket and that it has all of the leg straps and is in good working order. I couldn't bring myself to wash it. Washing the last of her hair and sweat down the drain just hurts too badly.
She was the bravest, kindest, most loyal mare I've ever known. She fought so bravely at the end, never giving up the will to live. Even though her muscles were melting inside of her, she was still trying to stand and was eating and drinking what water I would give her in a syringe. I've never seen an animal with such a will to live. I feel that her blanket is infused with her spirit and that maybe some of her fight and determination can help one of your horses during your fight for our water and future.
I've hung on to this blanket all of these years, unable to put it on another horse or get rid of it. Every time I see it, I'm reminded of her amazing spirit and am grateful that the Creator chose me to be her human while she was here. She had other blankets but she only liked this one. All of the others have gone on to be used by other horses, but I never let anyone else wear this one. Parting with it is difficult for me, as I feel I'm giving away the last bit of her I have. But your fight is more important than my sentimentality, and your horses may need a bit of extra strength and warmth through the coming winter.
So you see, I'm not giving you an old piece of trash. I'm giving you a piece of my heart."
What happened to this wonderfully generous and meaningful gift? Dr. Wright describes a perfect exchange:
"I handed the lovingly folded blanket to one of the Spirit Riders. He held the bundle close to his chest and stood quietly for a moment in the November North Dakota sunlight."
The protestors, or water protectors as they prefer to be called, at Standing Rock are mostly Native American. They are protesting the construction of an oil pipeline that they say encroaches on sacred land and has the potential to contaminate water sources.
Many water protectors have horses at the camps in Standing Rock.
All images: Charmian Wright via Facebook
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