Michael Johnson wisdom for this day.

Monday, October 2nd, 2017 | Filed under author

(Bowing towards Las Vegas…)

I didn’t know what to write about that might help readers shake the horrible sadness from yesterday’s news.

So, I asked the wise Michael Johnson (one of our favorite authors) for a suggestion.  He offered this story:

Throwing My Loop…

By:  Michael Johnson


     Sometimes – often, in fact – it seems impossible to understand why things happen the way they do. At times, we are lost and alone and must endure unbearable sadness. Perhaps it’s the death of a loved one, a friend, or an animal in our lives that hits us with the most powerful punch we’ve ever known right in the heart. Stunned and breathless, we fall and then fall some more, and we drift down to the bottom floor of the universe…and just sit there. Why on earth do we have to live in a world like that? I do not know…but there is some good news. I have a theory about all this. Never told anyone, but I’m going to now – because as the great English theologian, C. S. Lewis, once said, “It just seems like too much fun to resist.”
Pastor Rick Warren, of “Purpose Driven Life” fame once suggested that we live our lives thinking we have “good” times, and then we hit a stretch that’s not so comfortable, and we call those “bad” times. The preacher offered the idea that a more accurate way of describing our experience might be that our lives are like “tracks.” Actually, there is always something wonderful happening, (sometimes hard to see) and at the same time, something not so wonderful (much easier to see). For many of us, good and bad are always together. Which leads to my theory…
Really it’s not a theory at all. “Theories” may or may not be true. This is a truth. Not said to make you feel good. Real. I know. I’ve lived it. Betting you have, too.
Here it is…
When something awful happens – something really awful – there is a living force in the universe that turns its head and takes notice. At that moment, this thing starts heading our way. It’s coming. And when it gets here, it begins to make something good come from that darkness. Darndest thing. I’ve seen it over and over. Oklahoma City, Twin Towers, and more.
What is that? Some claim to know. Some say, “Well, that’s Jesus, son.” Might be. And then again, maybe He farmed the task out to some angel who had the day off. No matter how much someone claims to know, they don’t know any better than you or me. (Methodists are rarely sure about anything.) All I know is, whatever it is, it’s something awfully big. And in the middle of heartbreak, this thing comes and helps us.
Like this…
Little town in the panhandle of Oklahoma. Sweetwater it’s called. 100 people. That’s it – 100 people. When I saw the school in Sweetwater, I had to smile – it was so small. Looked like a Norman Rockwell painting. Then later, I was surprised to learn it was recently named one of the top two schools in Oklahoma. There was a young girl there.
A child diagnosed with leukemia and no hope. We talked about it some. Later, I told Superintendent Casey Reed, “The people here are remarkable.”
“Let me tell you how remarkable,” he said. “I went to see her a few days ago. The doctors say it’s a matter of hours.” He paused for a time looking away. “I asked her if there was anything she wanted. She said no, that everyone had been so nice. Then I said, ‘No, I mean is there anything you want? Anything at all?’ ”
“Well,” said the child, “actually, I’ve never had a rose. If it’s not too much trouble, I would like to have a rose.”
Then Mr. Reed turned to me. “I put that word out to the 100 people in this town. A town ravaged by drought,” he added. “The next day, those 100 people sent the child her rose…well, ‘roses’ actually.”
“How many?” I asked, knowing that thing had come to this little town.
Mr. Reed smiled, and said, “460 dozen.”

                         –Michael Johnson

Michael and his horse, Blue.

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I was trying to figure out how to layout this story… and I decided to do it with photos.

But first, here are links to the incredible SkyDog Sanctuary.   WebsiteFacebook.

For those of you who may be just tuning in, I had the good fortune to be able to release my three mustangs, (The ‘Stang Gang – Remi, Rojo and Sam), onto SkyDog’s 9500 acres Wild Mustang sanctuary.  Remi, Rojo and Sam had been with me for 8 years.  They were all from different wild bands, but they became tight as glue at my Grass Valley ranch.  When we moved to Paso Robles last year, our new property was not set up for horses – much less wild horses – and my mustangs were miserable.  So, I pleaded with SkyDog to take my three wild ones, and much to my surprise, our wish was granted.  Now they are free, again, and happy.

The day after their release at SkyDog Sanctuary.


This visit was the (almost) year anniversary of Rojo, Remi and Sam’s release to SkyDog (linked here).

The first outer gate to Skydog… ! After a long car ride to the airport, 2 planes and another long rental car ride to here, it was a sight for sore eyes!

The view inside the gates. All lovely ranch land. The iconic Skydog rock is straight ahead.


Skydog had kept Remi, Rojo, Sam and their band in a 50 acre pasture, so that I would have a better chance of finding them during my visit – which was very nice of them…  And, once I entered the designated (gorgeous) 50 acre pasture, I called and Remi came right over.  It was as if no time had passed… just like old girlfriends.  I was filled with emotion.  I love her and miss her but was thrilled that she lives here and is free.

My camera had run out of battery, so a Horse and Man friend was taking photos for me (Thank you!). Remi came right over and started smelling my hair. Foxy nearby.

And then she yawned several times… a release of some sort. I’d like to think she was happy and relieved to see me again… dunno. She liked my hair, for sure.

Then it was time to bond with Rojo… He was standing close enough, but at a distance.  He clearly knew it was me… but he was standing on the periphery.

Here Rojo gave me a kiss and all was good again!  That is Foxy, harassing the camera lady!  Incredible Wrangler Jon the Kindheart is with Remi.  His pup is nearby.

That’s my boy!!

And then they all wanted love… Rojo, Remi and Foxy.  Look how shiny and healthy they are!  Thank you, Skydog Sanctuary!

But where was Sam?… She was up in the trees.  I know she heard me, but she was being very shy. So, I went to her.


At this point, I had an apple – so I ventured up into the trees to commune with Sam.  She watched me arrive and just stood there.

Interestingly, Rojo and Remi came up too, but none of the others.  Not even Foxy!   And even more interestingly… I had an apple, yet Rojo and Remi didn’t harass me for it.  They kept their distance.  I couldn’t believe they gave us space!

I was able to sit on the ground and give Sam the time to come over and eat the entire apple, bit by bit, with me.   She smelled my hair and rubbed her face on my cheek.  I drunk her in.

There were no photos, but I will never forget those moments.  So sweet.

SOME OF THE OTHERS! – and I’ll come back to the ‘Stang Gang…

I wanted to see some of the other horses up at Skydog – and I needed to get my phone that was charging in the barn – so we left these guys for the time being.  Here are shots of others…

Do you remember Swayze? He was our Bucket Fund for March, 2017. He was incredibly skinny with Cancer? Well, look at him now!

This was Swayze when he arrived at Skydog.

Do you remember Read? He had a halter embedded in his face?  He is fat and happy now!

This is Read at the feedlot when Skydog rescued him.

Now Swayze and Read are best of friends – and both VERY healthy! The Drop in the Bucket Fund helped both of these horses. Thank you! It is so rewarding to see them like this – happy, healthy and free!


These are more healthy horses… so friendly and happy!  (Read and Swayze in the background.)

This was the Mama and Baby pasture. I didn’t get my camera out fast enough here … I missed a few of the babies!  We were in the gator, zooming around because I had very little time – and the ranch is HUGE.

I love this shot of the buckskin…! Hey, Whatcha doin’?!  All the horses at Skydog were at peace and healthy.

This is the most gorgeous Zedonk! He is in a 50 acre paddock with his best friend, the mini hinny.

This is the mini hinny (so adorable!). I’m sorry that I took this photo through the fencing of the 50 acre paddock… but we were in a gator and moving fairly quickly… I had only about an hour left and we had so much to do and see!


Jon asked if I wanted to watch my horses be let out onto the 9500 acres… SURE!  So we raced back up to the 50 acre pasture where they were, and opened the gates!  It took a bit of convincing, but once they realized that we were letting them back out, they took off!

Sam and Remi were the last to be coaxed out of the 50 acre pasture… We had to use grain!  They didn’t get it that we were setting them free onto the 9500 acres.

Here they are, running down the aisle while we follow them in the gator! They knew where they were headed now! Remi is in front, Sam is following. I think the buckskin in the rear is Montana. The rest of the herd is already far ahead – Rojo included.

Eventually, they were so far ahead of us, we lost sight of them… but finally we saw their backs down by the river… they are the little brown clump just left of middle here.

As we got closer…Rojo in the center, Remi to his left and Sam next to Remi.  All totally free.

Wrangler Jon, the kindheart (he was so good with all of the horses!), he thought they might need food to stick around for photos, but they didn’t… That is Rojo on the left and Remi with Jon.

I sat on the ground and they all came over, even Sam!

And they settled right next to me, like we were having an afternoon nosh together… Rojo, Remi and Sam.

Remi asked if I might have another apple…?  She is sweaty from running!

Even Sam came in for another sniff.

I love this photo of Remi.  She’s smiling.

And then it was time to leave. Bittersweet. But as I mounted the gator to race back to my rental car to race back to the airport (I had stayed longer than I should have… of course), I swung around out the back and saw Remi, looking beautiful next to the huge rock of Skydog. Oh how lucky we are… so very lucky. Thank you, Clare.





Riding Warehouse
Your purchase with Riding Warehouse through this link helps the Bucket Fund!

Supporting The Bucket Fund through Amazon Smile
Please choose HORSE AND MAN, INC when you shop via Amazon Smile through this link.

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!