Friday, July 19, 2013

"Feature Friday – Vision Horse Healing- Kim Stephens-and-Spirit Horse Alliance-Paula Karen"

Howdy Folks,

Earning her living as a neonatal intensive care nurse, Kim Stephens understands care giving. And caregivers. Being a veteran, she understands the trials veterans can face, too. Especially women veterans. Being a horse lover and advocate, she also knows how horses can help humans heal.

Kim founded Vision Horse Healing because her passion is to help recharge hearts and minds with the tender understanding that horses can give. "Horses have a way of reaching people without talking. And many times veterans dealing with PTSD and other issues simply do not want to talk. Especially women, who suffer not only from PTSD but also MST (Military Sexual Trauma). "Too many times women will internalize their pain and not let it out, or talk about it." Kim explained. The mission statement of Vision Horse Healing is, "to create a safe place to process genuine emotion and inner healing through connection with the horse."
Kim and mustangs of Spirit Horse Alliance
One way of offering healing is retreats for women veterans and their family. Partnering with Paula Karen and her organization, Spirit Horse Alliance, they held a wonderful helping retreat among the mustangs at Spirit Horse Alliance just a few weeks ago. Kim and Paula are both coaches, trained in the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method®.  Paula and Kim have a unique partnership that was born from the connection of Paula’s son, a combat veteran who has struggled with PTSD from his service and Kim's veteran status. You can watch a short video showcasing the fabulous "Girls Like Us" retreat here - Please do it's a lovely video. The next "Girls Like Us" retreat will be August 17.

Kim and Paula are also advocates for our wild horses and Paula shelters several on her ranch. Mustangs Samwise, Valkyrie, Spirit and Shadow were brought in from the wild at a young age and are now featured in the healing herd of Spirit Horse Alliance. She and Kim understand there seems to be a special connection to between veterans and mustangs. "It seems incredible, and I don't really know why, but perhaps because they were both property of the government and have lost their footing, but mustangs really connect with veterans." Kim said.

Another wonderful way Vision Horse Healing helps is by traveling to other people's barns. Kim will travel to help with healing at the homes of folks needing a leg up. In this way people not able to travel can find healing too.

You can learn more about Kim and Vision Horse Healing on her Facebook Page here - 

You can find out more about Paula and Spirit Horse Alliance on her Facebook Page here- 

If you support the service of veterans and love horses, please share the video - 

They care and they give and it is my honor to feature them today.

Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

"We Rode Anyway"

Howdy Folks,
Chris and I had made our plans a few days ago to ride early this morning. Beat the heat. Heading for Coffee Clutch at 5:30 it was 75 and so humid my glasses fogged as I stepped outside. Air thick as mud greeted me. So did Kessy, at the porch steps, her chest damp with sweat. I asked what she thought about going for a short one, she nodded and moved kind of slow, lethargic. As we did our morning routine even the roosters seemed a bit sluggish, crowing about half as much as normal. Only a Cardinal sang today. Hummingbirds were busy at the feeders. Phoebes darted here and there, and the wrens who have a nest in the tack room started their morning feeding routine too. But they all had a "Gosh it's hot" look about them.

Sweat trickled down my cheeks as I settled into my Coffee Clutch chair next to Kessy and poured my first cup of Folgers. I aimed a fan to blow right on me. Saturday stretched out in the breeze. Too hot to ride, was my clear headed thinking. Kessy was working up a sweat under the fan eating hay. Yup, too hot. I called Chris determined to talk her out of it. No answer. Darn. It's not that I'm a big softy, well not totally, but Kessy was sweating standing still, and my joints and things are more of a bother in this weather.

Chris would be here at 7, so at 6:45 I started Kessy's pre-ride exercises and tacked up. My shirt was soaked before I finished brushing. It was over 80 degrees already. Was the air heavier, too? I could taste the humidity.

We were ready to go and I was letting Kessy pick at the grass in the yard when Chris rolled in. "I brought Sunshine along today to pony with Molly and me." She said grinning.

Sore, grouchy and reluctant I thought, oh great, it's hot and miserable, the horses will be hot too, and you choose today to pony Sunshine. "Don't you think it's too hot for that?" I questioned. Chris just smiled. Sunshine is a sweet, beautiful Arabian mare Chris has been working with for some time, and we've talked about starting her on the trails here by ponying with Molly who she loves and trusts. I really like Sunshine, think she's adorable. But boy howdy it's hot.
Sunshine, Molly, Chris, Kessy and me. And Saturday too.
We set out for the trails, Kessy leading, Molly and Sunshine following right behind, and dear Saturday taking up the rear. We all enjoyed a delightful ride. Sunshine did splendidly, it was quite obvious she enjoyed every minute. She even enjoyed Saturday's happy prancing next to her. And as always, I felt much better after our ride … Even if we didn't get to see any birds.

I reckon I'm happy Chris didn't answer the phone when I called to cancel. Sometimes you just have to ride anyway … I'll admit though, I like the cold better. I think. I'll let you know in about 5 months or so.

Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"Horses and Writing, similar POVs?"

Howdy Folks,
I remain constantly amazed at how the worlds of writing and horses are so very similar.

I remember when my agent was editing my novel "We'll Have The Summer" she pointed out there were some scenes that are not totally clear to the reader. She explained that, while I as the writer had a clear vision and understanding of the details and Point Of View (POV), the reader does not have the benefit of all the facts rolling around in my head. I would need to rewrite those scenes, and write as if I were explaining the underlying facts to be sure the reader and I were, on the same page. Pun intended.

It is important that the writer sees what he/she is writing, from the reader's POV. When developing a scene a writer must learn to see through their reader's eyes. He needs to feel the emotions he hopes to inspire with his written words. He needs to empathize with his reader to be sure the message is clear and understandable. He needs to take the reader along, for the reader to truly benefit. It's not always easy to step back and see what you're saying from another's perspective, but it's always important.

It is also important when working with your horses. We must take the time to see what we are asking from the horse's POV, the horse's perspective. We need to be sure that all the information we want to convey is clearly spelled out, included in the scene. Just as we would if we were writing a story, a novel. All the facts must be presented in a fun, interesting and complete fashion so our horse can follow along and understand the story we are traveling through together.
Kessy and Dutch writing together
Think of working with your horse as a writer might think about the scene. Be sure to cover all the details so they are crystal clear, one little step at a time. Look through your horse's eyes at the scene, that way what you want to present will be clear to you too. And remember to allow enough time for your horse to read and understand your message. It's a little thing that builds trust, for the reader and the horse.

Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry

Monday, July 15, 2013

"Our little Hero Saturday"

Howdy Folks,

Happy Monday Friends! … Ravishin' Robbie and I had a swell weekend dodging thunderstorms, humidity and managed to squeeze in a little work. Well Robbie did most of the work, I mostly coached. We had some water issues in the barn, which of course this recent monsoon weather made all too obvious, so a few structural changes were needed, and a bit of this and that. All finished now and this morning's Coffee Clutch saw the return of a number of Hummingbirds. During these past two weeks of heavy rain and very high humidity they had disappeared. Robbie wondered if they went into stasis in rough weather. This morning's buzzing, darting and dive bombing was a welcomed treat indeed.
Saturday and the rest of the Coffee Clutch family
A story I'm compelled to tell about this weekend is about our sweet little Saturday's huge heart. On Saturday I was fooling around getting ready for the barn repair work while Ravishin' Robbie was in town doing a little theater work. The barn repair required a little digging. I'd dig five minutes then sit fifteen minutes recovering in the shade fifteen watching the birds and butterflies at Robbie's flowers.
Saturday and Tigger relaxing together

You may recall from past posts that I have this thing on my left side where it gets all confused and literally just goes away, and I fall down. That's why we built the big mounting platform and made a few other changes. Saturday is always with me, never more than a few yards from my side. On Saturday though he began to get in my way, almost underfoot. I was digging a small ditch next to the barn and after about an hour (of mostly resting, not digging) he would actually come sit in the ditch almost against me. As I've said I'd dig five minutes and sit fifteen, and Saturday stayed glued to me. I had my normal aches and numbness, but really was not working very hard.

 I had about three feet to go when I hobbled back to the barn wall, reluctantly leaving my very comfortable green lawn chair. Saturday put himself between me and the ditch and sat down, which is very odd for him as he always follows. I scratched his head, picked up the shovel, then without warning, my left side went numb, and I fell in a heap half in my little ditch. This time I hit pretty hard.

It takes a little while for things to recover before I can get up again after these little bouts, and Saturday lay tight against me the whole time. I can't help but think he saw it coming and that's why he tried to block my way.
Saturday keeping an eye on things
Do our friends know? I think yes. My sweet mare Honey did the same thing when I fell in her yard about 5 years ago, and Kessy did once too, when we were doing a little groundwork. Saturday though was the first to seem to know before it happened. He's a great little buddy who obviously is a lot more tuned in than he lets on.

Sunday, Robbie had help and the repairs were completed, as Saturday and I watched from the shade of the big oak.

Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry