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From the RF Telegraph

Hanging Up His Spurs – Billy Jack Barrett Retires From Remount Foundation

If you’ve been around Remount in any capacity, you’ve undoubtedly heard from or about Billy Jack Barrett. He may be a legend, but he’s not a myth. He is the real deal. Billy Jack Barrett, or BJB, was raised in Texas and enamored with the cowboy way and horses as the son of a cowboy Baptist preacher. During high school and college, Billy Jack took his love of horses and racing to the next level, and he started racing a Thoroughbred mare on the weekends to supplement his income. His racing days introduced him to top legends in the equine industry, including American Quarter Horse breeder Walter Merrick. This relationship would be a lifelong friendship. In 1965, being drafted into the U.S. Army would sound like a setback, far from it. Billy Jack thrived as the last horse buyer for Fort Carson’s 4/12 Cavalry program. Out of the Army, Billy Jack returned to the cowboy and horse racing life until his forever life call came in 1980. The U.S. Air Force Academy superintendent called up Billy Jack, asking him to manage the 1000+ acres of the Academy dedicated to the Academy’s Equestrian Center. For 40 years, Billy Jack served as the manager of the Pine Valley Ranch, expanding the facilities and building what is known as the best equestrian program in all of the armed services.

At the USAFA Equestrian Center, Billy Jack Barrett and Jeanne Springer, who later co-founded Remount Foundation, observed horses’ profound healing effect on combat-wounded veterans. At the time, this understanding of the undeniable human-horse connection through therapeutic exercises for combat trauma was not widely accepted by scientific, medical, or military communities. However, their pioneering work would change that, paving the way for a new approach to veteran rehabilitation.

Creating today’s Remount Foundation was not just a “file the paperwork; you’re in business,” Texas Two-Step. No, it was more of a complicated tango that required the charisma and cowboy story-telling power of Billy Jack Barrett, along with BJBs unique life circumstances that included recognition of the horse’s effect on people and his determination to not give up on people. Billy Jack and his wife Anne are known for championing the adoption of older orphans and mentoring those society has given up on. The one-of-a-kind personality that is Billy Jack Barrett led him to become acquainted with the Who’s Who of both the military and the world of horses–Audie Murphy (the most decorated U.S. soldier of WWII); General A.P. Clarke (WWII prisoner of war and former Superintendent of USAFA); General Macke Steinhoff (Germany’s leading fighter pilot ace in WWII); and countless other distinguished combat veterans.

Remember that friendship established during high school? It was re-established during his time at the USAFA Equestrian Center. Walter Merrick took this picture with Billy Jack at the Equestrian Center three years before Walter passed away. Walter told BJB during that visit, “Billy Jack, what you are doing for orphans, veterans, and their families is more important than standing in the Winner’s circle!”

Billy Jack Barrett, you have won.

BJB announced his departure from the leadership of Remount Foundation as of June 1, 2024. Remount’s Board of Directors and Jeanne Springer are planning for the RF family to thank Billy Jack for his decades of service—details will be announced on remountfoundation.org when they become available.

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