Friday, May 31, 2013

"Feature Friday- Beauty's Haven Farm and Equine Rescue"

Howdy Folks,

The mission of Beauty Haven Farm and Equine Rescue (BHFER) is to help the horses in most need of help. "We don't try to bring in the easily adopted horses. We focus on those most people would give up on. They are the ones who call out to us for help." Founder, Theresa Batchelor explained. They also network with other rescue organizations and individuals offering guidance and support. "Anything we can do to help horses in need and those trying to help." One way they conduct outreach is by maintaining a Facebook page and a daily blog. "With this effort it is my hope that by sharing our stories of recovery and rehabilitation and placement we can encourage others not to give up."

Beauty's Haven Farm is named for the Arabian mare who helped heal Theresa after surgery to remove a tumor from her spinal column left her quadriplegic and was told she'd never walk again. But with much determination, physical therapy, and faith, she did regain use of her limbs. However, Theresa has no feeling or proprioception below her neck - she is what is called an "incomplete quadriplegic." 
Theresa & Beauty
While she was recovering, and longing to ride again, Theresa had received word a mare had been seized by the county. That mare, who at that time was in terrible condition, physically and mentally, was Beauty. Together they started on a journey of healing each other. Beauty understood Theresa was different and made every effort to work through her own issues to understand and learn Theresa's verbal requests, as the normal physical training and body language were things Theresa could not offer. Horse and human melded, and became a solid team. Theresa knows it was a blessing that Beauty chose her to be her person.

It was that process of healing together that caused Theresa to want to do just as much as she possibly could to save as many horses as possible. So in 2006 ,with much support from her husband, Bob, and their children, Theresa founded (BHFER) a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to help as many equine friends as possible when they are in need.
Loving life again
On average BHFER rescues and helps thirty-five to fifty horses begin new lives each year. With a friendly and vigorous adoption program they have a very successful placement record. BHFER is blessed with a solid and growing team of volunteers who work tirelessly to help the horses recover and thrive. And many of the volunteers are being healed by the horses they are caring for.

While there is no formal program in place to offer equine assisted therapy to individuals, plenty of it happens here. Some volunteers are teens who need a solid anchor to realize the beauty in life, and from the recovering horses they learn about trust, respect and honesty. Some battle with PTSD, or physical issues of their own. "We see every day the healing the horses give to the volunteers. As the horses heal they give back to the people, strength, love and connection. Horses give so much and ask for so little. It truly is horses and humans beginning new lives together." Theresa explained.
Exercising horses and having fun too!
Watch for my HeartBeats column in the July issue of Trail Blazer to read more of the wonderful story of Beauty's Haven Farm and Equine Rescue.

Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry

Visit Beauty Haven's Farm Facebook Page here –

Their web site – Here -

Trail Blazer web site -

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

"David Lichman – The Journey Continues"

Howdy Folks,

Last Friday (5-24-13) our Feature Friday story was "David Lichman's-Benifit Tour-Horses Helping Humans." A North American tour to benefit equine-assisted programs and youth organizations coast to coast. ... Today I'd like to share a story I wrote a story about David's journey to become the Master Trainer/Teacher he is today that first appeared in the April 2012 issue of HoofBeats magazine.

David's commitment to helping horses and people is wonderful and powerful ... I think you'll enjoy the story of his journey.

 "David Lichman – The Journey Continues"

"There's a reason certain horses come into your life. And you might just continue to get the same kind of horse until you learn the lesson they were meant to teach you."  About 20 years ago David Lichman was working with a stallion and making no progress. He was so frustrated he was ready to give up and send the stallion home. He called a friend, a spiritual healer and trainer, for advice. She told him, "You can send the horse home; but you'll get another just like him, and you'll keep getting horses like this until you learn how to help them." It was at that moment, David realized that learning to help horses teaches us something valuable about improving ourselves. 
David and Scotty
 David did not grow up with horses. He grew up in a suburb of Boston.  But he always had an unexplainable tug on his heart drawing him to horses. As a youth, whenever the family would attend fairs, carnivals or the circus, he could always be found with the horses. He still has, and treasures, all the horse books his Aunt bought him in his childhood. One special book had plans for converting a two-car garage into accommodations for one horse and one car. In junior high school he found a boarding stable he could ride his bike to and work in exchange for lessons. David would spend all day there on weekends just to be around horses and horse people. He tried, without success, to convince his father into making the conversion to their garage and buying his first lesson horse, Rex. 

The Lipizzaner Stallions from Vienna came to The Boston Garden when David was about 13. "Something about those horses just thrilled me, and I never got over it," David said. Later, in college, he was delighted to discover he could take horseback riding and he signed on. But, unable to have a horse of his own, he never found the inner fulfillment he so desired.

It wasn't until he was in his second career that he would begin to chart a life filled with horses. As a young man, David played music for a living, and his music took him to California where circumstances led him to change his career and his life. He went back to college where he earned a degree in software engineering. He also met the wonderful woman who would become his wife. Both Nancy and he had a strong love of horses. They married in 1983 and purchased their first horse.
 Soon they had two horses, gaited horses. "It was that time in our lives when we were just starting out with horses. And starting out with gaited horses, we were showered with advice. Some good. Some not so good," David laughed. "Somehow we managed to ride them and go to horse shows. We even won a few." Together they sifted through the readily available advice and through trial and error, mostly error, they began to understand horses. 

In 1985, at the California state fair, David attended the Cavalcade of Horses colt starting. For 18 days in a row he watched Ray Hunt work with a different green, unstarted horse in the blistering afternoon heat. As he watched Ray, he saw a kind of communication and cooperation he'd not yet experienced. "I'd been fooling with horses for a couple of years by then, but when I watched Ray, my jaw dropped. I'll never forget. It was my miracle moment," David said. He took what he saw there and began to try to emulate Ray with his own horses. "Some things worked, but mostly what I learned from Ray was how much I didn't know," David said.

The next year at the Cavalcade colt-starting exhibition, David discovered Pat Parelli. Again, for 18 days he watched Pat start 18 colts in the oppressive California afternoon heat, and he knew he could learn much more from Pat. David signed up for Pat Parelli's mailing list and even ordered videos. David tested his own resourcefulness though. Instead of buying some of the Parelli products, he made his own. "I wasn't gonna pay what they wanted for his special 12-foot rope, so I made my own. But it more resembled an anchor chain than a rope!" David laughed.

The Parelli ranch at the time was in Clements, California, less than an hour from David and Nancy's home. One day in the Parelli mailings was an invitation to come ride with Pat for a week. The cost, $400. "I laughed and said no way I'm gonna drive an hour and pay $400 to ride with Pat Parelli." That was a decision he later regretted, but for the next seven years David continued to study the Parelli way, buying videos, going to free events and the rendezvous at the Parelli ranch, and improving his horse communication skills. During this time David began to take on horses to train and even do exhibitions.

The tug in his heart to help others understand continued to move him forward. But he knew he needed more. He knew the horses were telling him he could do more. Where would he find the answers? He knew he must continue on this journey to find a way to help people understand their horses and experience the great relationship he was discovering with his own horses.
Scotty, Thirteen, Julio and David
 The methods and lessons he'd learned from the Parelli system made so much sense to him and the horses and students he'd been working with, that David's heart told him he must pursue becoming a Parelli instructor. One of the first requirements was to send a video for evaluation. David chose a video of an exhibition he'd just done at the California state fair in the same arena where he'd first seen Pat. It was even the same announcer! Later, Pat would tell David that when he watched the video, the sound of that announcer's voice gave him chills as he recalled those 18 colt-starts in the smothering afternoon heat. Another requirement was to ride with Pat. "I learned more riding with Pat for those two weeks than I'd learned in seven years trying to do it on my own," David laughed.

Watching Ray Hunt was the shining moment that first showed David it was not only possible, but imperative to listen to and understand a horse's heart, fears and needs. It was Pat Parelli who gave David something he could hold onto. "If you slow down and listen to the horses, they will tell you everything you need to know about them. And yourself." David said.

In 1994 David became a certified Parelli instructor. Today he is one of Pat's top rated instructors with a 5-star rating. His travels take him across the world putting on clinics teaching Pat's ways and helping people to understand their horses. He has met countless, wonderful people and thousands of horses of all breeds and disciplines. He also has a program called "Long Distance Coaching," where students can send him videos for evaluation and instruction. To learn more about this and other programs visit his website

In the course of David's journey there have been many horses that have spoken to him."They've helped me to not only grow myself, but they've helped me learn how to help others, too." His journey has taken him places where he's witnessed the healing power of the horse, mentally and physically. David's mission now is to help people understand and feel the power of the horse's spirit, so their lives can be enriched. He feels the horses are working through him to help their owners understand. David says, "When you feel down, horses can make you smile. Even when frustrated, if you have love in your heart, you have to smile because you'll see the love in your horse."
Smiles all around
The world is a better place for the journey David Lichman has taken, and we thank his Aunt Ruth for buying young David his first horse books. His journey continues, and he invites you to join him.

Gitty Up ~  Dutch Henry

Links -

Feature Friday "David Lichman's-Benifit Tour-Horses Helping Humans."

HoofBeats magazine-

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

"Splendid Morning"

Howdy Folks,

Whippoorwills' calls drifted through our bedroom window rousing us even before the roosters began their morning crowing and cackling ritual. I chuckled when I surmised they'd decided to sleep in today but were awakened by competing Whippoorwills. From the bedroom window I can see the skyline begin to brighten behind tall trees, it hadn't yet.

Fumbling about I made coffee and got myself ready for Coffee Clutch with Kessy, the Whippoorwills encouraged me to get a move on, for a few more moments, then on cue, as the sky grew alive with color, they stopped. But the roosters were by then in full cadence. All 7 of them!

As I did my morning barn chores the Wrens who have nests in the chicken house accompanied me with a combination of scolding chatter and alternating flute like song.

Settled in my chair next to Kessy, Saturday at my feet, Tigger on my lap and Miss Kitty next to Saturday, I poured my first cup of steaming Folgers, gazed skyward and thanked God for a splendid morning. Something I do each morning, sun, rain, snow or wind. For isn't every morning splendid?
The Coffee Clutch Gang
 As Kessy munched the Wrens continued to sing, a hummingbird visited the feeder, and the Phoebes "chipped" as they darted here and there snaring insects to feed their nest bursting brood. Their nest is on a ledge in the rafters in Kessy's stall and those youngins are only days away from taking flight.

Doves and a Towhee joined the chickens at the scratch. A Yellow Warbler added his airy tune to the morning's glow. The woods around Kessy's barn are thick now with shining green leaves, giving a feeling of almost being swaddled in nature's beauty. Far distant in those thick woods a Wood Thrush's melody floated on crisp air, weaving between the thick leaves to surround the barn with the clearest notes of a most perfect background singer.

I hope you are having a splendid morning too!

Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry