Friday, March 22, 2013

"Feature Friday-Inez Donmoyer-Unicorn Dreams Wholistic Touch"

Howdy Folks,

Inez Donmoyer, founder of Unicorn Dreams Holistic Touch, is a Certified Equine, Canine, and Small Animal Massage Therapist and Reiki Master Practitioner. Her life revolves around helping horses and companion animals live healthier and feel better. Her passion includes helping that bond between horses and their people to be as perfect as possible through a whole health and well being approach. As part of her practice, Inez donates 10% of services paid to reputable 501c3 animal related organizations (rescue, therapy, K9, service dog, etc) in the client’s name. She is an animal advocate and donates her services to local Rescues, Shelters, Therapy Animal organizations, and Therapeutic Riding Centers.
Inez demonstrating release at "Lost & Found Horse Rescue" photo by-Jen Kolberg
Inez says she was born with a "horse gene" and began riding her pony Speckles when she was four. She credits Speckles with giving her the thirst to learn. Her next teacher was Kasey, a rescue horse who really needed rescuing. Inez was twenty when she took in Kasey and together they shared many happy hours. It was then that Inez began to go to horse expos and meeting the great trainers, and first realized it's important to look at life from the horse's point of view. As she explored the new-to-her ideas, she and Kasey made wonderful strides together. Kasey, Inez says, was truly a fine teacher. Through the years there have been other horses, each tasked with, and accepting the job of teaching Inez more layers of understanding. And encouraging her to learn more.

It was in 2009 that Lighting Bug, a 12 year old Tenn Walker really helped her begin to put all the pieces together. He had spent his youth in a "show barn" and while he had much to learn outside that kind of life, Inez and he loved the lessons they taught each other. Suddenly, too soon, he had a bout of laminitis. Inez could not understand it; Lightning Bug didn't carry an extra pound. That's when Lightning Bug really began to teach Inez. She dove into the books of Pete Ramey and other natural hoofcare practitioners, and joined Dr. Kellon’s ECIR yahoo group lists in 2010 and cruised the internet for more information. 
Inez & Lightning Bug "Her greatest teacher"-photo by-David Kapper
This led her to learning more about nutrition, diet, ECIR and laminitis. It was Lighting Bug who urged her on by giving her a thirst for knowledge as she tried to understand how this could happen to him.
Inez began to connect dots. At this time she had just begun her journey into my equine massage certification then her canine and small animal massage certification (Bancroft School of Massage in Massachusetts. 200+hrs per program). She was, and still is, also in the process of earning her grad degree from the Maryland University of Integrative Health. This same year (2011), she also “found” and joined the Holistic Horse Care Cooperative. And so her journey deeper into integrative and holistic therapies began.

In 2011 Inez founded Unicorn Dreams Wholistic Touch to offer Equine, Canine and Small Animal Massage/Bodywork, Animal and Human Reiki services and Aromatherapy to promote thriving health and wellness –and teach others how they too can create a healing environment for animals and humans. Inez seeks to bring wellness and comfort to the animals she tends. Oftentimes she will incorporate energywork to the massage session if the animal calls for it.  She looks at the whole picture. How is the animal moving? How is his diet? His feet? His environment?

Inez knows that the animal/horse is the greatest teacher if one will just observe and "listen." She endeavors to show and teach others what they can do and what to look for, stressing the importance of balance in all of the animal. In the case of the horse, the whole horse paradigm is a key component. Integrative therapies are her main interest and helping people help their animals holistically is something she strives to do.
Inez gives Chance release at "Gentle Giants Draft Horse Rescue"-photo by-Amanda Rose
In her words "It was thought that when I 'got older' the equine obsession would begin to temper & fade. If anything this 'phase' has only grown stronger. My 'equine obsession' still consumes my thoughts, only now, instead of daydreaming about pretty pony manes, I am wondering if that gelding I saw the other day with his temporalis muscles in spasm has had his teeth checked or his feet addressed. How do his incisors align? Why is he standing with his feet camped under him? I am thinking about how to approach this with a client, how to tell them that in order for him to have the full benefit of the bodywork, those things must also be taken into consideration. Then my mind wanders into nutrition. What is that horse eating? How much exercise does he get? How is he emotionally? Is he happy? Each answer leads me to another question and observation, another hop down the rabbit hole. Yes, I am indeed horse obsessed. And dog obsessed. Well let’s just say I am obsessed with animals. Obsessed with their wellness and overall vitality. I am holistically and animally obsessed and I hope this hunger is never satiated."

Inez says her quest for knowledge continues and she will tell you she is a "forever student" and will continue to learn so she can help others. Thank you Speckles, Kasey and Lightning Bug for instilling that desire to learn and help others in Inez.

If you would like to talk to Inez check out her website 

Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry

Thursday, March 21, 2013

"First day of Spring Trail Ride"

Howdy Folks,

We rode into our shadows, the sun on our backs. Kessy stepped lively as she is wont to do on brisk, sunny, windy days. And by golly it sure was a windy first day of Spring yesterday. Trees swayed, dried oak leaves rattled overhead and branches banged together, filling the air over the trail with sounds not conducive to settling a horse's nerves. We had done our pre-ride exercises before tacking up and Kessy was confident and solid, but still pretty full of herself as we set out down the trail behind the barn. I wanted to go find the first spring flowers, so off we went. Saturday lead the way.

Riding into our shadow
My plan had been to take some pictures of the Trout Lilies under the Mountain Laurel, and the Myrtle at the old cemetery to share here, and even though Kessy behaved perfectly I didn't do very well. Our camera is tiny and old, and although I leaned low out of the saddle, the pictures just did not get very well. I got that one above of our shadow, I love to watch our shadow as we glide down the trail, and the one here of Saturday leading the way … but friends, my flower pictures were all failures. Sorry.

Saturday leading the way up the trail
We had a delightful ride trekking through the woods off the trail where I knew the Trout Lilies and Wintergreen would be. I snapped pictures at each great spot, though with my leg being like it is, I was not willing to dismount, so I shot from the saddle just hoping some would turn out alright.

When we got to the old cemetery the Myrtle was awash with blue. I even took a photo of Saturday sitting in a patch of blooms. It would have been just the sweetest picture. He sat just next Kessy at my stirrup on a bed of blue looking up at me. Sadly, by then I'd known the batteries in the camera were worn out, it kept shutting off, but I took a few, turning it on for each shot. Sure enough none of those pictures made it. But I hope you can picture in your mind.

We had a great ride, saw Chickadees, Pilliated Woodpeckers, Titmice and several butterflies. I do have this one picture, though not very good, of a Trout Lily. I'll try again next week for the Myrtle and even try to get Saturday to pose again.

We found this Trout Lily well off the trail near the stream
Have a fun day & Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

"Happy Spring!"

Howdy Folks,

Ah yes, today is the first day of Spring! According to the fellow in charge of telling us all about the weather on TV, it arrived here at Appomattox, VA at precisely 7:02 this morning. Equinox they call it. That means literally, equal night; from the Latin, aequus (equal) and nox (night), because around the equinox, night and day are about equal length.
I love Spring, the rebirth. Ravishin' Robbie says it is her favorite time of year. I don't really have a favorite. I love the changing of the seasons. Each season brings its own blessings and excitement. From the Spring's bursting forth of wildflowers, Robbie diving into her gardens, birds singing in the tree tops, the return of our Hummingbirds, the tall Maple trees boasting red buds. To the Summer's heat, baby Blue Birds and Phoebes in the nests, dozens of Hummingbirds at the feeders, fresh vegetables and flowers from Robbie's gardens. Then Autumn brings us Fall flowers, the Fall Equinox, majestically painted tree foliage, scores of fledgling birds flying about, pumpkins and squash from Robbie's gardens. Of course some of our Spring and Summer birds leave us but the Juncos come and add their unique fun to the coming of Winter. Winter, here in Appomattox we get just a taste of snow, every few weeks during Winter we have just enough snow to paint beautiful scenes all around us, pine boughs dusted in white, our snow covered dirt road with just a single set of car tracks down the middle ... And of course there are those delightful Winter evenings snuggled in our cozy little house with Ravishin' Robbie enjoying her world famous hot cocoa and ginger snap cookies.

So you can see how it might be hard for a fellow like me to have a favorite season when all seasons have so very much to offer. I must admit though, I'm ready to hang the Hummingbird feeders, they should be here in just a few weeks now. The Phoebes have started their first nest in the barn, I've been watching them gather mud and dried grass and carefully tapping the little adobe balls in place on their shelf in the barn rafters for a few days already. The Blue Birds haven't started nests yet, but are singing and Robbie has seen them flying in and out of the nest boxes.

Robbie has already planted peas, lettuce, chard and spinach. But, as has become a custom around here, the chickens have pretty much … unplanted them. Eventually Robbie will prevail and her garden will be beautiful and abundant.

Kessy and I heading out for a First Day Of Spring ride … even though our high today is predicted to be 20 degrees below normal at a windy 40! We rode on Friday and had already seen Trout Lilies blooming under the Mountain Laurel and the Myrtle (periwinkle) in the ancient cemetery was starting to offer its pale blue flowers too. Who knows perhaps today we'll see our first Rufus Sided Towhee or Indigo Bunting.

We send you wishes for a wonderful Spring day!

God Bless & Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

"Easy Exercises To Relax and Release Your Horse Anytime"

Howdy Folks,

Here are a few simple little exercises you can do anytime at all. They are wonderful relaxing exercises that ask absolutely nothing of your horse. All the exercises I promote, which I learned from my mentor Diane Sept, give to the horse, which is so very important. Some exercises require the horse to participate with movement and thinking, which is both healing and beneficial. This little ditty requires nothing of the horse, except that they enjoy it.

The first thing I'd like to show is the "Mane Wiggle." Stand next to your horse, in a neutral, relaxed posture, grasp her mane in one hand and lift enough to create a firm connection, wiggle your hand, her mane and neck, gently. As you wiggle you'll see her neck loosen and begin to wiggle, she may drop her head (as you'll see Kessy do in this video). She will begin to loosen and jiggle through her neck to her face, and back through her withers, shoulders and down her back. This is very relaxing and you can do it often.

The second video demonstrates what I call the "Forelock Wiggle." Again stand by your horse in neutral and relaxed, grasp her forelock, lift gently and wiggle. Watch for the release of her neck, face and jaw. Her bottom lip will release and wiggle. 

The third video shows the "Tail Hair" wiggle. Relaxed and in neutral, stand behind your horse, grasp some tail hair near the top, and wiggle. This will release the tail, the end of her spine all the way to her sacral joint, and even more.

I hope you will incorporate these easy and fun exercises into your regular routine. These little wiggles really give to your horse, helping them to release and relax.  The "Mane Wiggle" can be very useful when you need to calm your horse. They love it.

Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry

Monday, March 18, 2013

"The Rain Pounded The Roof"

Howdy Folks,

We huddled in the barn as the cold rain pounded the tin roof. Saturday sat by my side wet and shivering. Tigger tried to burrow deeper into my lap. Kessy tugged and munched on her hay even as half a dozen chickens scratched, pecked and clucked around her bedroom. I poured my second cup of steaming coffee from the thermos and cradled the cup in my hands, warming them. The smell of fresh coffee wafted up. I took it in. 

Cold, wet and dark, same as yesterday morning. March has sure been tossing hard weather at us the past few days. Undeterred, Mr. Cardinal sat high in the Oak calling in the soggy new morning. A few Juncos too, braved the rain to refuel at the chicken scratch. The chickens though, mostly huddled in the chicken house or in the barn with Kessy, me and Tigger. Sweetness, Zoe and Miss. Kitty had decided today again it was just too miserable out to join us and had stayed in the house.

The Phoebes darted from rafter to rafter, either searching for spiders or checking out the best place for this year's first nest. It's always such delight to watch them build a nest then raise their brood here in the barn. A Carolina Wren came inside too, craftily examining corners and beams. I wondered if he was looking for insects or a place for a nest. That would be neat, Phoebes and Wrens with a nest in Kessy's barn. The wrens usually nest on the porch or the chicken house.

Doesn't look like the weather will give Kessy, Saturday and me a chance to hit the trail for a day or two. I'm sure ready to go again, even though we've had this mid March set-back, things out in the woods are moving ahead with all their springtime duties. On Friday we had gone out and saw half a dozen butterflies, and Trout Lilies blooming. The Myrtle (Periwinkle) was just beginning to bloom at the old cemetery too, can't wait to see that carpet of blue

We send you wishes for a wonderful day. Stay dry and warm!

Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry