Friday, July 26, 2013

"Feature Friday- Holistic Horse Care Cooperative-Robin Davis"

Howdy Folks,
The Holistic Horse Care Cooperative is a community of like minded animal lovers. Originally conceived by Robin Davis who was inspired by her mustang, Windman, it's a virtual Yellow Pages of holistic practitioners. Windman was rounded up as a young horse, snatched from the wild herd where he was being groomed to be a leader. Robin and Windman found each other after Windman had lived in 5 different homes. He brought with him a lot of emotional scarring. "Windman will not talk about his scarring. He wants us to see him, not his scars," Robin said.
Some of the horses at Mustang Hollow- Windman is the grey.
"Windman wants us to know that leadership is not about domination, but inspiration and compassion." Robin explained. "He wants us to help all horses really be horses and recognized for the gifts they bring. No matter how big or small those gifts."

It was with Windman's wisdom and guidance that Robin set out to create a way to encourage people to seek wholeness and harmony with all of Creation. Horses are such servants that Robin believes it is easy to lose connection with the harmony that can exist. "As we connect with our horses we begin to see them as the whole being they are, their mind, body spirit, and emotions, we begin to connect more deeply with Creation," Robin said.

Robin created Mustang Hollow, a few years ago, so her horses could run free on 80 acres near Nunn Colorado. She was exploring different healing and training techniques there and found how wonderfully wide the variation of themes could be. Recognizing the beauty of that variation, in 2009 she hosted the first, "Holistic Horse Affair "at Mustang Hollow. Many different practitioners came together to share ideas, learn from each other, and provide a means for horse owners to have available resources to care for their own horses, in a way that fit their needs. This hugely successful event was the birth of Holistic Horse Care Cooperative.

Harmony is a key element at Holistic Horse Care Cooperative. Dozens of holistic practitioners, all coming together to honor the horse (humans, and other animal companions). Many post articles, photos, and have events around holistic practices.  Most membership also give back to community, either humans, and/or animals in a variety of ways.  You will find craniosacral practitioners, bodyworkers, acupuncturists, holistic vets, homeopaths, natural hoofcare practitioners, whole horse balanced dentistry, EFT practitioners, Reiki practitioners, natural horse trainers, animal communicators, cold-laser and light therapy, nutrition, whole horse health and wellness, aromatherapy, equine assisted therapy, energy healing, horse rescues, hands on bodywork, the list goes on. Recognizing that each horse (and animal) is an individual which calls for individualized treatment.
The Mission of the Holistic Horse Care Cooperative is to:
1. Enhance the quality of life for the horses in our care.
2. Activate interest in Holistic Horse Care.
3. Encourage dialogue and information sharing surrounding Holistic Horse Care.
4. Educate participants (horse owners, suppliers, care providers, educators and trainers) of holistic modalities, their appropriate implementation and integral partnership with existing methods of care.
5. Empower horse owners to make informed, effective and sustainable decisions.

"Holistic Horse Care Cooperative is a circle of influence that honors the horse (and other animals and people as this ripples out). Although this is primarily about horses, I am going to cast the net out to include all beings we come in contact with.  Dutch, as you know, once you start down this path, what we do for our horses transfers on to how we are with each other and with other beings. This happens organically." Inez Donmoyer, a very active and devoted member, told me. She is so very correct.
Robin Davis on the road manning the Holistic Horse Care Cooperative booth.
Whether you are a long time believer, or just beginning your journey into the holistic way, you'll find a wealth of information on their website . Please consider becoming a member, your horse will thank you.

You can join them on Facebook here -

Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

"Leader or Boss – For Your Horse"

Howdy Folks,

When I hear that old tired saw, "You need to show your horse who's boss," it gives me pause. I've never liked that approach any more than I like, "She's testing you and you can't let her win," or "You need to be the alpha mare."

"You need to be the boss," they'll say. Perhaps. But it's hard for me to wrap my head around the "boss" posture when we really want to be partners.
Kessy & me lovin' a moment
Equals? I don't know, that one I can't answer. I do know there are plenty of days Kessy is more equal than me. I also ponder the advice that you shouldn't project "human emotions" onto your horse. Really? Maybe not, but I'd rather error along those lines than be the kind of person who thinks horses don't have emotions. Or can't feel them.

Leader instead of boss? Semantics you say? I don't think so. I profess the words you think, and use, create your frame of mind and guide not only your conduct, but your emotions, feelings and attitude as well. And don't we all agree that our horses are tuned into all of them?

 Remember my post a few months back about the power of the words we use for nicknames for our horses. Even if a horse owner thinks Blockhead is a cute name for their horse, you've got to admit it makes you feel different than when you say, Handsome. Same goes for "leader" and "boss." I think.

Thinking from the boss' perspective we might be more apt to demand rather than request. Correct rather than encourage. Even if it's a subconscious, innocent thing. I remember hanging on a fence one summer day watching a respected trainer give lessons. I remember too, how many times she called out to her student who was riding her lesson horse, "make him turn," or "make him stay on the rail," always, "make him," never "ask him." That was a long time ago, but I never forgot it.

A boss perspective will have a controlling atmosphere. Rather than a guiding atmosphere. "Someone's gonna be in charge, either you or the horse," they'll say. Yet you read all over the place how you should build a partnership with your horse.

A "leading" perspective will create a true partnership. Leaders know listening is as important as speaking and allow the time it takes to accomplish the mutual goals. They allow time for understanding. Leaders can see the missteps as baby steps along the way to achieving the goal. Leaders understand each member of the team shares equal benefits, and responsibility.

Leaders offer guidance, open the way, invite cooperation, and lead by example. In my mind it's a wonderful thing to say, "You need to be your horse's leader."

Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry 

Monday, July 22, 2013

"Grandpop's Horse" - The third in my Grandpop series.

Howdy Folks,

"Grandpop's Horse" is the third in my Grandpop series. Many folks tell me they enjoy visiting with the old cowboy. I hope you will too. If you missed the first one, "Perhaps I've Just Lived Too Long," you can find it (HERE) - and there will be a link there to the second Grandpop visit, "Independence Day."

"Grandpop's Horse"

It was a surprise to find him in the barn brushing a horse instead of enjoying the air conditioning in the house. Grandpop nodded a greeting as I settled onto a straw bale, making sure the welcome breeze floating down the wide aisle could find me. They'd been together a long time, old Blue and Grandpop. "How old is Blue?"
The Coffee Clutch
"Let's see, I reckon this fall he'll be 32." Grandpop gave the tall roan a friendly scratching along his neck. "Blue and I have seen and done a lot together over the years. Yea, I'd say he taught me just about as much as I ever taught him." He pulled his hat, dragged a shirt sleeve across his forehead. "Ol' Blue was always dependable, serious about his work, and his play, too."

"You've sure got him shining. What are you doing out here on this hot day? Sure thought I'd find you in next to the radio enjoying the air conditioning."

"I was inside. Had to come out, get away from the radio when the news said Detroit went belly up yesterday. At first I couldn't wrap my brain around what they were sayin'." He settled his hat back on his head, shuffled his boot toe in the dust, then looked hard at me. "At the same time the announcer said the whole danged city had gone bankrupt he added, back in '61 Detroit had the highest standard of living in the entire country. I just can't figure how a change that big can happen." He shook his head, turned back to Blue, took a handful of his dark mane and ran his gnarled fingers through the long hair as if looking for a hidden prize. "I thought about ol' Blue, and how we've changed over the years, the things we've learned together, the things we took from those lessons."

Through the big opened barn doors I could see the mares Grandpop loved so standing in the shade of the big oak. He called that oak his story tree. He loved to gather the children there on special occasions, or just family visits, to tell stories. Sometimes tall tales, sometimes family history, but I've come to understand Grandpop's stories most always had a meaning, a value.

He pointed to the mares at the story tree. "Look at those mares up yonder. A finer bunch of horses would be hard to put together." A broad smile worked its way across his face. My younger brother was running the outfit now, but it will always be Grandpop's spread. "Yes sir, a fine bunch." He said.

Grandpop draped his arm across Blue's withers and leaned comfortably on him. "You know, I've had horses all my life. Reckon I took 'em for granted for a whole lot of years. As humans, I suppose we take a lot for granted. It's sure enough an easy trap to fall into. Took me a while to figure out not to take things for granted." He patted Blue's rump."It was ol' Blue here who really opened my eyes to that account."

My confusion must have shown on my face because Grandpop nodded. "You bet, like I said ol' Blue taught me almost as much about life my sweet wife did." He tossed me a wink then went on to explain. "Blue had great manners almost from the day he was born. Seemed to read my mind most of the time. He was just about four when I figured it was time he started earning his keep. You know he took right to it. From the first day I settled into the saddle you'd have thought he'd been a working horse a year already. Why he was smooth and just about as sharp witted as any horse I ever sat, or loved. Course as a young colt he was always full of it, so I knew a bit what was coming.

"Well it didn't take but a few months for him to become my favorite of all time horses. Not that we didn't have a disagreement or two along the way. He wasn't above remindin' me that just because I wanted something, expected it, I should get it." Grandpop chuckled. "There were more than a few times over the years he made sure I earned what I wanted. But he could always be counted on, solid, steady, reliable.

"So as time went on I came to rely on ol' Blue. I must admit I took him for granted, that he'd always be here. Always ready to do whatever I asked, or wanted. Of course I sure didn't realize it at the time, that I was taking him for granted I mean, but I sure was." He rubbed his eyes with the back of his hand, took a long breath. "You might remember the time that big cat got after the horses?"

I nodded. I did remember, it was during those years I hadn't been visiting the folks very often, so all I knew was from a letter my brother had sent me. It must have been a horrible night.

"We heard the ruckus clear up at the house. We'd been just about to turn in when it all broke loose. Horses hollerin', hoofs pounding. Squealing like we'd never heard. We had no idea what was going on. The moon was near full. We all ran out, your brother grabbed the 30-30 and got off a shot, but not in time to save ol' Blue. Blue must have taken it on himself to try to drive the cat away and was pretty tore up. We couldn't even get him back to the barn for a week. We doctored him right there under the big oak.

"That was the night I realized I'd been takin' ol' Blue, and a lot of other things, too much for granted. That was what a fella might call his wakin' up moment. I'd been through plenty by then, the war, starting a family, losing a brother, the struggles of starting a spread of our own. But somehow, someway, that night holdin' Blue's head in my lap while Doc stitched him up, well Blue's big black eye touched me deep. I knew I'd never take him or anything else for granted again.

"I happened to be thinking about ol' Blue, how this hot weather is taking a toll on him, and how we had pulled together after that awful night, and neither one of us had ever been quite the same, when that fella on the radio started all that talk about Detroit going broke. I had a powerful tug of empathy for all the poor folks in that city wonderin' how they'd get along now and I just had to get out here, away from the radio. Had to be here with ol' Blue." He looked up toward the mares and the big oak, but spoke directly to Blue, "I hope this can be those folks' wakin' up moment."

Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry

READ the NEXT in the Grandpop series "Grandpop, the Reporter and Firewood" (HERE)