Friday, April 5, 2013

"Feature Friday- Katie Holme and Healing Horses"

Howdy Folks,
Eighteen years ago Katie Holme suffered a horrible incident that left her suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). For years she endured the devastating life changing effects and trauma while pursuing conventional therapies and treatments. Relief and comfort remained out of reach. Katie even sought out untraditional therapies with little results.

Her struggle for peace continued when a horse named Chief came into her life. Katie had heard Chief had been abused and neglected, and something inside her demanded she rescue him. It was while healing Chief that Katie began to heal herself. Even though weak, tired and confused, Chief carried Katie to a place of peace and harmony with the world. She began to heal and find strength and then a focus. Chief helped her understand that he, and other horses like him, could help heal other people like herself. Traumatized, wounded, neglected horses could help heal traumatized, wounded, neglected humans. Through Chief, Katie knew that to be true. What could she do with that knowledge?
Katie and Chief
Katie set about finding a way to use the truths Chief had given her. With her heart full of hope, and Chief's encouragement, she founded "Healing Horses," a non-profit organization in Fort Mill, South Carolina with a mission to "rescue, rehabilitate and offer sanctuary to horses who are victims of trauma or abuse, and to leading people with troubled hearts and spirits to a pathway of healing through the Horse."

At Healing Horses the rescue and rehabilitation is done with the horse's perspective as the guiding light. Each horse is guided gently back to health, physically and mentally using the, “The Healing Wheel” – The 7-step program formulated by Katie. 1) Rescue. 2) Evaluation. 3) Plan of Care. 4) Intensive care. 5) Re-education and Training. 6) Reconnection with people. 7) A New Start!
Relaxing with Katie and other Healing Horse family members is important during the healing process.
"Humans Healing Horses and Horses Healing Humans" is the motto at Healing Horses. After they've gone through the healing process the rescued horses in turn offer their love, strength and guidance to healing those humans who have been hurt and need healing of their own. Their program "Healing Hearts With Healing Horses" is a specialized healing program using the horse as guide and teacher. Since each person is different and faces his/her own unique challenges, the program is tailored to meet each individuals needs.
A "New Start"
A "New Start" is given both the horse and the human at this little piece of heaven called "Healing Horses." Thank you Chief for giving Katie her New Start! And thank you Katie for passing it on!

Healing Horses also offer horses with love to give for adoption. Visit their website to learn more about them, and how you might be able help them help.

Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

"My Thoughts on Having One Horse"

Howdy Folks,

Last week Linda Tansek asked if I would share my thoughts of having just a single horse. My reason for wanting to keep only one horse is both health and financially driven. If I could I would have 3 – 5 as we used to. Coffee Clutch followers and Facebook friends know that I do have only one horse, my mare, Kessy. You may not know that before Kessy I had other single horses, my Competitive/Endurance horse, River and the fabulous rescue horse, Honey. All did fine being the only horse here.

Allow me to describe, "here" because I do believe their home environment plays a big part. A barn that allows Kessy to come and go as she pleases, about an acre to roam in among trees. No grass to speak of, but free choice hay in a slow feed hay bag 24/7. No grain, but some fruit and fresh vegetables. She also has her free roaming chickens, 2 cats and 3 dogs. Her barn is 30 feet from the house and her yard is our back yard, she can and will come right up to the back door. Sometimes she'll nicker softly to get my attention.
Kessy's barn allows her to come and go as she pleases. Our chickens do too!
Kessy has been an "only horse" for 34 months, she moved in with us in May 2011. Kessy had never been off the farm where she was born. She was 7 when she moved in with us. They had lots of horses. I believe she made the adjustment to being an only horse right away. So did River and Honey, but as I said, I suppose their "home" here had something to do with it, the free style roaming and pets and chickens, and our back porch. And don't forget I start each day with our Coffee Clutch. And sometimes I write in the barn, but only when it's warm. Now everyone who would like to keep only one horse may not be able to do everything we do here, but I share our set up as "food for thought." Perhaps it might help you to make your own plans.
Kessy is free to roam her wooded acre lot. The dogs cats and chickens roam with her.
Also I do a fair amount with Kessy, the release and relax exercises, we ride 2 or 3 days a week, groom her almost daily and other little things. But there are plenty of days that all I do is feed her, too.
Kessy, Saturday and Dutch working on a story together.
I've been told because of the herd thing horses need other horses to be happy, "they are herd animals" they say. Plenty of folks with one horse have ponies or minis as pasture buddies, or other companion horses. I think that is wonderful, if you want it. I was told a few years back, after River left and I was looking to adopt a horse, I could not adopt with only one horse, I needed at least a companion horse. I did not adopt there ... did that horse I wanted to give a home to find one? I don't know.

I know this is a touchy subject with strong opinions on both sides, but it's my opinion a horse can and will thrive and enjoy life if they are the only horse. Just as is the case with any horse be it your only horse, or part of a herd, how we care for, play with and learn from them are the most important things to that horse.

One final note, Kessy is just fine when we go riding with others, too. No excitement, no separation anxiety, no crowding on the trail. She is confident in herself, trusts me and enjoys herself. I think everyone needs to make this decision for themselves, but I think a single horse well cared for is perfectly wonderful. I also have several friends who have only one horse and are doing splendidly. I do think diet, exercise and no confinement to a stall is very important, but then I think that is very important for all horses.

Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry

Monday, April 1, 2013

"Bird Watching at Peaks of Otter"

Howdy Folks,

On Saturday Connie and her puppy Judy, Ravishin' Robbie, and I went on a trip to Peaks of Otter winery. They were having a wine tasting event, and folks who know Connie Bloss know that's more than she can resist. I was invited along as the group's designated driver, being the only teetotaler in the bunch. Well myself and Connie's brand new little puppy, Judy.
Judy & Dutch relaxing as the wine tasting commenced.
The winery is a positively beautiful place nestled in the foothills of the Peaks of Otter Mountain just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. First we enjoyed a leisurely stroll down winding path through Peach and Apple trees and rows of grapevines to visit the goats, turkeys, pigs, lamas and chickens. Everything in the "farm" is arranged neat, clean, safe and easy for children and families to enjoy.
View of Peaks of Otter from yard in front of gift shop
Then back up the hill to the gift shop for the ladies to guzzle, I mean, taste wine. Judy and I had a seat in the lounge area to watch the festivities. When we found out they would be sampling over 20 wines, Judy and I decided we would retire to the outside and do some bird watching.
Ravishin' Robbie & Dutch strolling back to the gift shop.
The view from the lawn out front of the gift shop is simply perfect, down over an apple orchard and in the distance the Peak of Otter Mountain. Judy and settled in the sun warmed grass and took in the view. The bird watching was positively wonderful. From our perch on the bank we saw a Pilliated Woodpecker, Red Winged Blackbirds, Cardinals, Crows, lots of Robins and the treat of the day were the Bluebirds. 

The entire time we watched over the orchard several pair of Bluebirds flitted from tree to ground gathering nest building material.

Judy and I managed to sneak in a nap in the sun, too.
Judy & Dutch snoozing in the sun.
The results of the wine tasting? They told me to tell you, they had kissed the Devil, whatever that means.

Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry