He was the very first horse that we rescued when we moved to Red Bucket exactly five years ago today. In a word, he defined the empowerment that owning our ranch stood for. He had been starved and roped until he lost the will to fight…or the bleeding rope burns became so painful that he just froze when the rope snapped, grabbing him and tearing his flesh…over and over. They dumped him in a dry riverbed, leaving him to die a long, suffering death…taking everything from him, even his halter. His eyes were swollen with the relentless barrage of flies leaving his face scalded. While his recovery was slow, we watched him quietly blossom and transform from being thrown away as if he were worthless to having dignity, feeling valued, being loved…and loving back. Ironically this week as we are celebrating our 5th year in Chino Hills, on the Ranch the Horses Own, we are also saying good-bye to our Bilek who died peacefully of old age. Bilek leaves behind his donkey Blossom, devoted Guardian Andrea, and his forever family. In a word, we are devastated. In a word, we are grieving. In a word…we are grateful. We are grateful for having saved and served Bilek, we are grateful for having Bilek in our lives. We are grateful for the honor of doing this beautiful work…and for those of you who support us in doing so. As is our custom, we will say good-bye to Bilek on Sunday, June 25th at 5:00pm at his stall. All of his friends and those who wish to honor his life are welcome to attend.