Horse Soldier Sgt Bart Decker Afghanistan. Image from sgtmacsbar.com.

Horses of September 11th

Horses have always played an integral part in the history of the United States. Following the terrorist attack in downtown Manhattan on September 11, 2001, horses have contributed so much, from healing those left behind on the homefront to carrying our courageous soldiers on the battlefront.

Here are introductions to two stories, related racehorse trivia and that touching Clydesdales video.

First up, healing horses.

by LORIE RUSSO GREENSPAN

Cross-posted from The Progress

In the 10 years since the terror attacks of Sept 11, 2001 killed John Salamone, his wife, MaryEllen and her three children have tried to find a way to heal.

A chance afternoon spent at a friend’s farm in New York, riding horses, gave the family their release.

The experience led Salamone to Christianna Capra, CEO of Spring Reins of Hope-Growth in Pittstown, which provides equine assisted services using horses as “teachers” and “therapists” under the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association model.

After the horse-riding experience with her children, Salamone came to believe that “just hanging out with horses” helped to center her kids and allow them to experience a moment of peace. Soon after 9/11, all three Salamone children began to ride horses but her daughter Anna, then 3, in particular, bonded with the experience.

“The special relationship they formed with the horses became a life metaphor for them, and enabled them to realize that they had the ability to gain control and earn acceptance with the horses, something much bigger, as the events of 9/11 were in their life,” Salamone said in a press release. “While many people offered help after 9/11, the horses were their best “therapists.” Continue reading >>

See also Horses Healing Wounded Vets, CBS News >>

Secondly, war horses.

Horse Soldier Sgt Bart Decker Afghanistan.  Image from sgtmacsbar.com.
Horse Soldier Sgt Bart Decker Afghanistan. It was this unit the inspired what has come to be known as the Horse Soldier Statue which now resides at Ground Zero, downtown Manhattan. Image from sgtmacsbar.com.

SECRET MISSION: THE HORSE SOLDIERS OF 9/11

In the wake of September 11, 2001, the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), also known as the Legion, was called upon to play a major role in our Nation’s defense. Within hours of the terrorist attacks, Soldiers from the Group were deployed in support of the Global War on Terror.

From October 2001 through April 2002, Special Forces Operational Detachments – Alpha (SFOD-A), or A- teams, from the 5th SFG (A) conducted Unconventional Warfare against Taliban and Al Qaeda forces.

Individuals from these Green Beret A-teams have been recognized as “Horse Soldiers” due to their requirement to advise and assist their Afghan counterparts, formed under the moniker of the Northern Alliance, while riding horseback, a form of transport not used in the U.S. military since the cavalry of old.

In less than six months the 5th SFG (A), a regimental-sized force, effectively destroyed the popular base of the Taliban government and toppled the terrorist-sponsoring state of Afghanistan. Read more, view video >>

Racehorse Trivia

Even racehorses are woven into the fabric of this event such as with this bit of trivia.

Don Kaplan writing for the New Daily Post reported last year that:

What are the odds?!

On the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the first three winners at Belmont on Sunday were horses wearing the numbers 9, 1 and 1.

The fact that it happened at a local track that served as one of the staging areas for workers and emergency vehicles in the days following the destruction of the World Trade Center made the outcome even more stunning.

“The odds were probably about a million to one,” said David Jacobson, the trainer at Drawing Away Stable, which owns Say Toba Sandy and Wishful Tomcat, the day’s first two winners.

“It’s unimaginable,” he said. “We were amazed.” Read more >>

What are the odds indeed?

The Clydesdales

Finally, what would the memorialization of the September 11th attack in New York City be without the powerful, healing grace of horses.

For this, we return to the Budweiser video featuring the world famous Clydesdale horses, paying tribute in their very own unique and majestic way.

There are so many other ways horses have been a part of September 11th, and we are so very grateful for them. We hope the examples of their strength and courage have uplifted you in some way today.

2 thoughts on “Horses of September 11th”

  1. Thanks for “linking” horses to the remembrance events of 9/11. Horses –a symbol of strength and companionship, loyalty and courage. We sure do need them in today’s world of uncertainty.

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