A tribute to the spirit of wild horses and burros

Reno, Nevada

Welcome to the page  for Reno’s A vigil on December 15.  Please sign in by placing a comment if you plan to join us.

We have the honor of holding our candlelight vigil at Velma Johnston’s ( Wild Horse Annie’s) grave site.   Join singer songwriter, Lacy J Dalton, in honoring Wild Horse Annie and the horses and burros she fought so hard to protect.  We will be lighting 148 candles, one for each horse that died due to the Calico Complex roundup of 2010 and to protest the newest roundup taking place as we speak.

    WHERE:   Mountain View cemetery at 435 Stoker Ave. just north of 4th st. in Reno.    MAP  Be sure to use the main entrance.  The road will take you to the main office, look south toward the giant white cross.  We should be the only party in the cemetery at that time ( they are keeping the gates open just for us )

     WHEN:  Thursday December 15, 2011 – 4:00pm until 6:30;pm. For those who need to come later                          than 4:00, don’t worry, we won’t  light our candles until sundown.

NOTE:  Hot chocolate and coffee will be provided.  You might want to bring a lawn chair and a blanket.  Though we will have 148 flameless tea lights, please bring your own candle to hold.

Note: we will be asking for a very small donation to cover the cost of  overtime pay for a maintenance crew to keep the gate open , hot drinks & cups, and tea lights.



     I sat down with Wild Horse Annie today.  We had quite the conversation.  I complained of how convoluted her law had become, how  it  was now a life sentence for  the very animals it was intended to protect.  She listened quietly, never uttering a word.  “ We really need your help.” I told her.  She offered  no reply.

The grass surrounding us was cool & refreshing, the day warm & clear.  I closed my eyes and  imagined a band of wild horses grazing  peacefully nearby.  How fitting it would have been.  But alas ! Imaginings are nothing more than imaginings.  There were no wild horses and Wild Horse Annie was not going to answer.

Beside me was a small and unassuming  grave marker.  In that, it was much like the woman buried there.  Beneath the name Velma B. Johnston, Wild Horse Annie, and the dates March 5, 1912 – June 27, 1977 were three mustangs, running wild and free.   As I ran my fingers across the relief and looked closer at the image, I realized there was something  unexpectedly ominous portrayed there.

The  running mustang trio had reached  the edge of a  dangerous precipice with no choice left but to jump.  The last of the three is rearing and looking over his shoulder as if deciding  whether to fight or flee.  Tears started flowing  when I put  the scene in the context of the battle we’re waging today. I started sobbing like a crazy fool and blurted out, “ Help me! I don’t know what else to do.”

It was then that a voice came to me,  a strong but gentle whisper in my ear.

  “FIGHT”    it said,    “ FIGHT LIKE A WILD STALLION.”

photo and story by Carrol Abel


15 responses

  1. cat Kindsfather

    Please let me know as soon as you have determined the site.

    Craig & I are planning the Carson City lighting, & to also include neighboring smaller towns.

    November 11, 2011 at 11:21 am

  2. Tina Winters

    Looking forward to more info!

    November 11, 2011 at 10:10 pm

  3. Other than a blizzard, I and others from our part of Nevada, wouldn’t miss being there for the world! I personally had the great privilege of knowing Wild Horse Annie. And, my husband and I live just a few minutes form Virginia City, where Annie spent so much of her time studying in the library and then pleading her case to save our wild ones in the Storey County Courthouse. God love her…………..


    November 14, 2011 at 6:24 pm

  4. Kimberly Rhodemyre

    I will be there.

    November 15, 2011 at 10:57 pm

  5. This is beautiful Carrol, may I read this at my vigil ?

    November 16, 2011 at 4:01 pm

  6. Sherry Snider

    I will be there…lookin forward to it.

    November 16, 2011 at 5:32 pm

  7. What beautiful words Carol !!!!! May I put these words on Swedens link? I also do want to read them on my virgil as well!!
    //Marie Lindberg, Sweden

    November 18, 2011 at 3:39 pm

  8. Larry and Kate Carlson

    We will be there. Please let us know how we can help.

    November 26, 2011 at 4:26 pm

  9. Sandy Malyszka

    After reading the last book written she is the voice of our wild horses cant wait to honor her fight and voice for all wild horses that roaming free! see you there, Sandy Malyszka

    November 28, 2011 at 3:37 am

  10. Sherry Snider

    Yes, I will be there

    November 28, 2011 at 1:26 pm

  11. I wish I could be there with you all that knew Annie. All I can remember is what my mom told me, that I wrote letters and sent allowance money to the wild horses in 1971. I also remember being invited to a wild horse ranch in Nevada. Sure wish I could have gone. What a story that would have made! I wonder if that was Annie’s ranch? Best of luck to all of you wonderful people on the front lines! Shine on!

    December 1, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    • Cat Kindsfather

      You will be with us all in spirit. Please light a candle in your window & post your photographic image to our online link! ; )

      December 1, 2011 at 9:22 pm

      • Cat Kindsfather

        “CANDLES IN THE WINDOW” Link listed above….

        December 1, 2011 at 9:23 pm

  12. I am organizing the Georgia vigil but it would have been awesome to actually be with those on the frontlines! Thank you so much and you will be honored at our vigil for taking photos and keeping us informed of the truth! Thank you on behalf of America’s horses, the wild mustangs!

    December 2, 2011 at 1:15 am

  13. I will be there!

    December 5, 2011 at 2:22 am

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