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May 20, 2014

Military Horses Saluted As Humanitarians of Horse Stars Hall of Fame

WESTPORT, CT - May 20, 2014 - In keeping with the spirit of Memorial Day, as it pays tribute to United States men and women who have died serving their country in the military and expresses gratitude to all servicemen and women, two military horses, Staff Sergeant Reckless (1949-1968) and Klinger (2000-  ), are likewise garnering accolades. Both noted for exemplary service in the United States armed forces, they have been honored by the horse world as members of the Horse Stars Hall of Fame, a joint program of the EQUUS Foundation and the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF).

Reckless, a Korean pony who stood 11 hands one inch, and Klinger, a Morgan-Percheron cross that towers above all his human associates at a height of 17 hands, are a contrast not only of size, but of time and place, their years of military service separated by more than half a century and thousands of miles.

Both horses have inspired writers to tell their stories. In 2004, Betsy Beard, devastated when her son, Army Specialist Bradley Beard, was killed in action in Iraq, came to TAPS and began channeling her grief into writing, subsequently becoming the editor of TAPS Magazine. She later researched the TAPS mascot and wrote a fictional children's book, Klinger, a Story of Honor and Hope, for the organization. Published in 2010, the book is given to children in the TAPS program, along with a stuffed horse modeled after Klinger.

Now Janet Barrett's new book, They Called Her Reckless--A True Story of War, Love And One Extraordinary Horse, is making Marines proud and winning a host of new fans for this real-life warhorse. The first full-length biography of the amazing Staff Sergeant Reckless, it tells of the powerful bond between her and her fellow Marines and what it achieved.

Inducted into the Horse Stars Hall of Fame as humanitarian horses, the category overseen by the EQUUS Foundation, Klinger and Reckless show the diversity of what horses can accomplish. Though the role of a warhorse has virtually disappeared from combat, the work Klinger does with the Army and TAPS goes on. While the public generally knows more about sport horses, and many of the finest are selected by USEF for membership in the Hall of Fame, the EQUUS Foundation focuses on promoting the other avenues open to horses.

"They are incredible animals," says Lynn Coakley, the foundation's president, "and we want people to understand just how much value they have beyond the role of sport horse, exciting as that can be." In fact, she adds, "Many horses can go on to other careers after they leave the riding ring," noting the growing field of therapeutic riding. Through its Equine Welfare Network, the EQUUS Foundation works with over 800 equine organizations, among them therapeutic riding centers and rescue organizations, providing financial support, or working with volunteers and staff to improve the delivery of services.

 
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