Thomas Smittle

Thomas is of Yaqui and Commanche decent. He began to gentle and saddle-train Mustangs at The Saddle Horse Training Program at Stewart Conservation Camp in 2009, under the tutelage of Hank Curry, who encouraged him to excel. He currently holds the all-time top seller in the history of the program. He became involved with LifeSavers last Spring in Fallon, Nevada, trimming horses in a tilt squeeze. Jill Starr saw something special in his work and knew he would be right for the Mustangs she rescues. He believes the challenges that Mustangs present is that they have been misunderstood. “I like to learn about their problems and then help them work through them, so they can go forward for adoption.

The horses are always teaching me something new and reminding me that life is beautiful, but fragile. There is a parallel between the plight of the modern-day Mustang and Native Peoples: Being rounded up, forced into holding facilities, away from family--and then being trained and so forth--it is what happened to my People. I would like to join this ride to give something back in return to the Mustang, for the healing they have given me, as they continue to save my life on a daily basis with their medicine. I feel it is important to understand the suffering the Cheyenne went through on their exodus, as so much of that time is a “romantic dream” to most and like the Mustang, the Cheyenne were just trying to survive. It is an honor for me to join this ride.

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