It’s already Christmas?? Hard to believe the year went by so fast! Sooo many things to see and do.
From Thanksgiving to New Years we always think about all the blessings from the past year! The people and places, the horses and their helpers, the hard work and lazy days – all the special memories.
There were heartbreaking stories of fires and loss, courageous stories of challenges and spirit.
The story of Reckless is not only remarkable – it is unusual. And once you learn about her, you will see why the Marine Corps not only fell in love with her – but honored her and promoted her every chance they got. And it wasn’t just the Marines that served with her in the trenches that honored her – her last promotion to Staff Sergeant was by Gen. Randolph McC Pate – the Commandant of the entire Marine Corps. You can’t get higher than that in the Marines.
Reckless joined the Marines to carry ammunition to the front lines for the 75mm Recoilless Rifle Platoon of the 5th Marines – and she quickly earned the love and respect of all of the Marines that served with her. Lt. Eric Pedersen paid $250 of his own money to a young Korean boy, Kim Huk Moon, for her. The only reason Kim sold his beloved horse was so he could buy an artificial leg for his older sister, Chung Soon, who lost her leg in a land mine accident.
Kim’s loss was the Marines’ gain.
It was not only Reckless’ heroics that endeared the Marines to her – it was her incredible antics off of the battlefield. You will not believe her antics when she was being ignored, or if she was hungry – let’s just say you never wanted to leave your food unattended. As legendary as she was for her heroics – her appetite became even more legendary. This horse had a mind of her own – not to mention, being very determined.
Reckless had a voracious appetite. She would eat anything and everything – but especially scrambled eggs and pancakes in the morning with her morning cup of coffee. She also loved cake, Hershey bars, candy from the C rations, and Coca Cola – even poker chips, blankets and hats when she was being ignored – or if she was trying to just prove a point.
One of Reckless’ finest hours came during the Battle of Outpost Vegas in March of 1953. At the time of this battle it was written that, “The savagery of the battle for the so-called Nevada Complex has never been equaled in Marine Corps history.” This particular battle “was to bring a cannonading and bombing seldom experienced in warfare … twenty-eight tons of bombs and hundreds of the largest shells turned the crest of Vegas into a smoking, death-pocked rubble.” And Reckless was in the middle of all of it.
Enemy soldiers could see her as she made her way across the deadly “no man’s land” rice paddies and up the steep 45-degree mountain trails that led to the firing sites. “It’s difficult to describe the elation and the boost in morale that little white-faced mare gave Marines as she outfoxed the enemy bringing vitally needed ammunition up the mountain,” Sgt. Maj. James E. Bobbitt recalled.
During this five-day battle, on one day alone she made 51 trips from the Ammunition Supply Point to the firing sites, 95% of the time by herself. She carried 386 rounds of ammunition (over 9,000 pounds – almost FIVE TONS! — of ammunition), walked over 35 miles through open rice paddies and up steep mountains with enemy fire coming in at the rate of 500 rounds per minute. And as she so often did, she would carry wounded soldiers down the mountain to safety, unload them, get reloaded with ammo, and off she would go back up to the guns. She also provided a shield for several Marines who were trapped trying to make their way up to the front line. Wounded twice, she didn’t let that stop or slow her down.
What she did in this battle not only earned her the respect of all that served with her, but it got her promoted to Sergeant. Her heroics defined the word “Marine.” She was BELOVED by the Marines. They took care of her better than they took care of themselves – throwing their flak jackets over her to protect her when incoming was heavy, risking their own safety.
Her Military Decorations include two Purple Hearts, Good Conduct Medal, Presidential Unit Citation with star, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, Navy Unit Commendation, and Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, all of which she wore proudly on her red and gold blanket, along with a French Fourragere that the 5th Marines earned in WW1.
There has never been a horse like Reckless, and her story deserves every honor and recognition she can receive.
If you haven’t seen this film yet – take a little time this evening to treat yourself to the spirit of the West and a cowboy’s passion.
The director of the movie says it best in her own words;
“When I first encountered Dayton Hyde he was living alone on 11,000 acres in the Black Hills of South Dakota, surrounded by the thundering hooves of horses and the music of song birds. His stories of the West and his passion for wildlife captivated me, and I knew I would be back to create a film about a man who found freedom in the horses he is saving. Twenty years later, Running Wild: The Life of Dayton O. Hyde captures the essence of a man who as a cowboy, a poet and an inspiration, has handed his heart over to the West. The film looks back on his rich, diverse life and looks forward to his legacy, opening the eyes of a new generation to the beauty and fragility of what is left of this natural landscape.”
To celebrate the start of the wonderful CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY time of year we are offering that special gift someone you know and love needs to have in their home! By giving the timeless GIFT of a piece of HISTORY, the TREASURE of the desert; BUCEPHALUS for $49.95 (20% off – our lowest price ever!!)
plus ++ BLACK STALLION hardback book – classic edition
by adding a small $3 donation to help children learn to read.
This is only going to be available for a very short time and comes with priority shipping (2-3 days in the US). Give the ones you love a classic gift they can leave to their children or relive the days when they ran wild like a Black Stallion!!
Give the gift that helps us all – READING – with a small gift to Horse Tales Literacy Project and make a difference . Ride through Black Friday on a charging BLACK STALLION!!
Thanks for Reading and helping children learn to read!!
Here’s a great magazine article from Western Horseman about the star of The Black Stallion film, Cass Ole’. He was one fantastic black Arabian stallion who had exceptional training from Hollywood legend cowboy Corky Randall and became quite a STAR in his own right. There were amazing stunt horses and “trick horses”, quarter horse and others, to help make the impossible – possible, but that Cass Ole’, he was something else.
To honor Cass Ole’ we’ve put the Bucephalus on sale … something to bring you a little luck as you sail on the Drake towards your own adventures! We’ll be adding more articles, some that you may never have seen, and even a whole new section with magazines and Stallion history from all over the world. Check back again soon!