Friday, May 3, 2013

"Feature Friday-Wings Of Hope Ranch"

Howdy Folks,

There is a small ranch in Montpelier Virginia where once discarded and neglected horses, now rescued and healthy, help to nurture and heal children who are facing challenges. Children who have suffered abuse, neglect, and any manner of troubles can find peace, growth and love at this little ranch aptly named, "Wings Of Hope Ranch."
You can feel the peace and love at Wings of Hope Ranch
Wings Of Hope Ranch is a Christian based non-profit organization dedicated to offering new and bountiful lives to children and horses by offering a safe environment where the horses can heal and the children can learn about love and caring. Together they help each other start new lives.

Co-founders Jane Yancey and Alison Boyd had a dream in 2006 to help troubled children find their way clear and onto new starts, and that vision included horses as teachers. Both Jane and Alison were lifelong horse lovers and they knew too often horses needed to be rescued too. There plan would be to rescue horses who would then be the healers of the children. Healing together and learning from each other, horses and children each could celebrate new beginnings.

Since its beginning in 2006 the services at Wings Of Hope Ranch have been offered free of charge, and no staff or volunteers are paid. Word spread quickly of the good that is done there and the program grew and grew. Today there are approximately 2700 visits a year by children, people attending services, working and volunteering. The ranch is open 5 days a week and children come to receive services each day.

Many of the children who visit the ranch have been abused, are in family crises, were orphaned, adopted at a late age, have a family member that is dying or recently died, too often more than one of these issues all at the same time. The goal is to continue to rescue and rehabilitate horses in need and utilize these great animals and their gifts to break down barriers humans cannot touch. Many parents or caretakers find Wings of Hope Ranch to be the one thing that "works" for their child.

Wings of Hope Ranch also has an extremely successful mentorship program for the youth who graduate from the program and desire to stay involved and continue to pass on the healing by becoming a leader. It is called the "Youth Leader" program. This program meshes together these graduates with teen leaders from the community who come along side them and work with both the horses and children in the program. "It is a blessing to watch these teens blossom in this special environment." Said Alison.
Youth Leaders carry the healing forward
What a wonderful world exists on that little ranch in Montpelier. A place of love, healing and rebirth. For children and horses. Please visit their website to learn more 

Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

"Balance Starts In A Horse's Mouth-More From The Equine Wellness Symposium"

Howdy Folks,

We all know the importance of taking care of our horses' teeth and are sure to have our veterinarian or equine dentist visit annually. This weekend at the Equine Wellness Symposium one of the presenters was Equine Dentist Jamie Colder and some of the things he discussed in his presentation are too important not to share.

We talk about balance in our horse's body and feet, and Jamie explained that balance cannot be achieved if there are issues in the teeth. Jamie discussed so much important information, much more than we can fit into a blog post, but I learned a few tips on Saturday that I just had to share here.

A horse has a very long jaw and things out of order there get magnified by the movement of that long jaw. A horse is designed to chew by moving their mouth side to side and if they have misaligned teeth, or a hook (a tall tooth in the rear) they will "lift" their mouth open to avoid it when they chew. This causes muscles in the head and neck to strengthen to accommodate this abnormal motion. This also causes tightness in the neck and shoulder making it difficult for the horse to turn into it. This single long tooth begins to set up a cascade of compensation that travels through the horse. Can even cause the feet to become out of balance. Jamie practices "Whole Horse Denistry."

Jamie gave us lots of great tips on how we might see little signs that send signals we should address. One of course is if your horse has a tighter side than the other, turning difficulties going one way. And yes there are many reasons for this, but one just could be in the mouth. Or start there. He gave us a neat way to look for that "hook" tooth issue.

Lift your horse's forelock and study the top of her forehead. I certainly do not remember the names of the muscles up there, but study the forehead just below the base of her forelock, the big flat area, and look for muscling there. There really should be none, her forehead should be flat. If you see muscles your horse is "lifting" her mouth to chew to avoid the long tooth, or "hook" … Then if you look closely you will see one side has more muscle than the other. That's the side of the hook tooth. These muscles only develop when the horse must lift to chew.

On Sunday I was doing a private session at the Symposium of "Release and Relax" exercises and as I went along relieving tightness I got to the "Cheek Wiggle" exercise. That's when you lightly rest one hand on the nose bridge, and with your fingertips of your other hand, gently hold the bottom of the check bone and very gently wiggle it. This releases the cheek, neck and poll. A nifty exercises. When I attempted the wiggle I noticed the mare's jaw was ridged. Locked. This exercise will release, and it did, but now armed with the new information I'd just learned from Jamie, I knew I must look farther.

Patrick King of, Patrick King Horsemanship, was with us at the time, and together we lifted the mare's forelock and had a close look at her forehead. Sure enough she had the tell-tale muscles just below the base of her forelock and the left side, the side of the "locked" cheekbone, was a larger muscle than the right! Discovering that allows the horse owner to fix something that may have gone unnoticed. You can easily check your own horse just by studying her forehead and looking for those muscles.

But let me share one other quick test Jamie taught us, that you can do to check for balance. Look at your horse's incisor teeth. Study the teeth, mouth closed, and look at the very center two teeth. Look at the space between them. The top and bottom space between the center incisors should line up perfectly. If they do not something is off and you need your dentist. Patrick and I looked at the mare's incisors I was working on and her spaces did not line up, indicating even with her mouth closed her jaw was cocked to accommodate the hook tooth in the rear. And remember a horse's jaw is long. Think of the pressure and negative energy being sent through the body.

And yes as soon as I got home Sunday night I did both these tests on Kessy, and am happy to report all is well.

I hope you will have a look at your horse's forehead and incisors. It's easy to do and your horse will thank you! Thanks again Patti Jo Duda for organizing this Wellness Symposium!

You can find Patrick King here on Facebook  
 He can put you in touch with Jamie if you have more questions and you should get to know Patrick anyway... I'm sorry I don't have a link for Jamie ...

Learn more  about "Whole Horse Dentistry" Here-

Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry

Monday, April 29, 2013

"A Really Neat Weekend"

Howdy Folks,
This weekend I attended the second annual Equine Wellness in Waynesburg PA. From our house to Waynesburg it's a 350 mile drive through some of the most beautiful scenery you could ask for. A good portion of the trip was along route 33 across the "Eastern Continental Divide."  I stopped several times at overlooks being swept away by the beauty of valleys and mountains. The route took me through Seneca Rocks; what a sight they are! Of course the Dogwoods were blooming and I had to stop a few more times to have a look at wildflowers. At one point an entire bank was covered in Bloodroot!

Friends converged on Friday night at Pizza Hut, fine dining indeed, and we all chatted about things we had going on, and how excited we were to be part of the Symposium.

Saturday was jam packed with demonstrations all about helping horses have the healthiest happiest lives possible. From barefoot trimming, to dentistry to holistic and homeopathic treatment and care for horses, to riding in a way that makes sense to your horse, and a terrific Western Dressage demonstration. I demonstrated release and relax exercises for the horse, and showed a nifty little exercise to help horses be more in contact with their feet. There was a great talk on trail safety ... From 8:00am to 6:30pm the arena was a very happening place! I missed some of the excitement, though, when I was signing books at my table, but by golly I caught most of it.

All the presenters were top shelf and the attendees went home with lots great information to enrich theirs and their horses' lives. For a list and contacts of the presenters please see my blog from this Friday (4-26-13) here -    All theses folks would be thrilled to chat with you.

Sunday a few of us gathered for private sessions with folks who wanted more, "Hands On" lessons. That was a real treat for me to get to watch Patrick King give a riding lesson. I truly enjoyed that. So did Marilu and her horse Flame. A bunch of us hung around the barn a while just getting to know each other better. It was an honor for me to meet all of the presenters and clinicians there! Thank you Pattie Jo Duda for all the hard work you did to bring all this together!

Even the ride home was fun again. I took a different route, more highway, but it was also very scenic and offered a few irresistible stops of different views. I ate a late lunch at a lookout surrounded by Dogwoods and Redbuds just ablaze with flowers, and a view that was breathless. Just over the edge I watched a pair of Cardinals flit from branch to branch.

Got home to big ol' hug from Ravishin' Robbie … Kessy nickered at the porch, Saturday and Zoe bounded to the car … Then settled in, just in time for "Once Upon A Time." … I love that show!

What a neat weekend! Hope yours was too!

Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry