Bryant Rickman, who has always been a horse lover, has made it his mission to save the unique Choctaw ponies descended from the original spanish mustangs and ridden by the Choctaw Tribe and has put most of his savings and energy into this cause. After meeting the ponies I can completely understand his attachment to them. They have have incredible strength and endurance and can be ridden without shoes as well as being able to survive in the wild given healthy grasslands and forest. We will hear Bryant's compelling story of how he brought the ponies at great expense and energy from Blackjack Mountain where the logging interests were demanding their removal to Chata Isuba and Fossil River Ranches owned by Jim Stephens. Jim has become inspired through his experience of the Choctaw ponies and Bryant to restore sustainability on his land. Jim was very generous to let us stay in his cabin on his land near Antlers, OK while we were filming. I will talk more about all of this in future blogs but for a more extensive coverage of this fascinating story you will need to see our series of Oklahoma documentaries from the Creative-Native Project.
More pictures of these beautiful ponies to come in future blogs and the film. When I was in fifth and sixth grade like many little girls who read "Black Beauty" and "Misty of Chincoteaque" I was enthralled by horses. Then when I got my first chance to ride one as a teenager I was completely intimidated and that phase in my internal fantasy life faded. After seeing these Choctaw ponies and having Golden Sugar nuzzle her head under my arm I was longing for my own Choctaw ponies.