July 12th, 2024

Soldier paints therapy horse to honour Blackfoot heritage

By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on June 25, 2022.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman Retired Sgt. of the local Malitia Unit, Preston Crow Chief paints Blackfoot symbols on Lethbridge Therapeutic Riding Association's horse Joe Friday at Galt Gardens as part of AHS National Indigenous Peoples Week celebrations.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

As part of celebrations for National Indigenous History Month, a retired Sargent of the local Malitia Unit painted Blackfoot symbols on a horse from the Lethbridge Therapeutic Riding Association.
Retired Sargent of the local Malitia Unit, Preston Crow Chief joined the Lethbridge Therapeutic Riding Association horses on the park event Friday at Galt Gardens and painted symbols on Joe, one of their horses.
“The purpose was to come here and give Joe all the blessings that I received by honouring him with the symbols in Blackfoot here and the hope is he’ll get all that luck that I had coming back overseas unscathed, healthy joyous and free and that the riders he’s going to work with will also have those same blessings,” said Crow Chief.
He said that the significance of painting a horse is like asking someone to hold a flag during Remembrance Day according to the veterans he has spoken to about it.
“This is the way of paying your respects to an indigenous war veteran, to pay respects to their horses and that’s basically it so that it is significant in that respect,” said Crow Chief.
He said he chose the symbols he painted on Joe based on what he has gone through personally.
“If I didn’t do any of these symbols, I probably wouldn’t use them. I would if I’m around another veteran, I guess I probably ask hey can I use the hand palm today and he or she probably say go ahead,” said Crow Chief.
Executive director of the Lethbridge therapeutic riding association, Jason Schriner said it was an absolutely beautiful honour that Preston bestowed upon Joe.
“This blessing today I think speak to truth and reconciliation Commission and call to action 22 in particular. We’re bringing aboriginal methods of healing into western contemporary medicine,” said Schiner.
He said they believe in the power of horses to heal by sharing the burden of care, healing and caring for people and we have a lot to learn about the great role of horses in Blackfoot culture.
“Preston and Charlie, and men and women like them, have a tremendous amount to teach us in bringing that healing to our community,” said Schriner.
He said Joe has been with the Lethbridge Therapeutic Riding Association and is the first one to be blessed in this manner.
“And I think the first time in a long time for us here in Lethbridge to see anything like that, so we are absolutely thrilled for this,” said Schriner.

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