Friday, August 23, 2013

Feature Friday - Teresa Paradis- Live and Let Live Farm Rescue -"Carrots For The Horses."

 Howdy Folks,

Since I'm here this weekend doing my, "Therapy For Therapy Horses" clinics I thought it appropriate for Theresa and Live & Let Live Farm Rescue be our Feature Friday today. How better to tell the tale of how this wonderful woman came to create the largest shelter, rescue, and sanctuary in NH and all the good that is done there, than to share here the story I wrote for Trail Blazer. "Carrots For The Horses" was published in the July 2012 issue of Trail Blazer. 

 "Carrots For The Horses."

Just outside Chichester NH there are 70 acres of peace, love, healing and restarting for animals great and small who have, through no fault of their own, lost their homes, families and loved ones. This place is called, "Live and Let Live Farm Rescue (LLLF)." Teresa Paradis founded LLLF in 1997 with the love and support of her husband, Jerry, daughter Heather, and 5 horses, 2 dogs, 2 cats and a parrot she had already rescued. The only way to tell the story of LLLF and the healing that happens there is to let you know, who is Teresa Paradis, and perhaps just a bit about the journey that brought her here.
Teresa getting love ...
Teresa, coming from a troubled childhood herself, always looked to animals for her own healing, love and support. Her first recollection of how deeply animals can care for us was her little beagle, Tippy. Twice as a young girl Tippy intervened when Teresa's safety was threatened. Once when a pack of free running dogs came charging at her, Tippy, a tiny dog with a huge heart, disregarded his own safety and plowed right into the pack. Teeth gnashing and barking fiercely he drove the dogs away. Another time, as Teresa was walking alone a man stopped his car and tried to harm her. Tippy attacked with the viciousness of a dog three times his size and the man sped away. Teresa knew it was that love and connection between her heart and Tippy's spirit that forged the foundation within her to somehow, someday, find a way to help as many animals in need as possible.
Mooney trimming the grass at the entrance
As a young girl she lived within walking distance of a horse farm that raised and trained Thoroughbred race horses. She had always been drawn to horses, even though she never knew any. From a distance she loved and watched the beautiful horses graze, prance and play. She hatched a plan to do babysitting and use that money to buy a bag of carrots for the horses. 

Only one problem stood in her way. She had no way of getting the carrots to the horses. She decided she would sneak to the farm's mailbox and put the carrots inside with a note, "Carrots for the Horses." Her system worked flawlessly. For weeks she would sneak to the mailbox and tuck a bag of carrots inside, and then sit at her favorite vantage spot and watch the horses.

One day as she approached the mailbox she was startled by a man's voice. "Are you the young lady who's been leaving carrots for the horses?" Sheepishly Teresa whispered she was. The man replied, "I'm Morris Vallee, would you like to give your carrots to the horses in person?"

For the next few years Teresa lived a young girl's dream. She had a series of fun jobs that allowed her to live within the horses' spirit. Morris was a kind and gentle man who had a special way with horses. Because of his gentle ways, his horses often did well in the races, and lived a happy life on the farm. Through him Teresa learned a happy and good side of the racing industry. His teachings helped Teresa learn to love horses even more. Too soon, while traveling, Morris died in a truck accident. The farm soon closed.

Teresa found work at Suffolk Downs Race Track in East  Boston MA as a groom, walker and handy person. What a very different world this proved to be than the peaceful, wonderful world with her old friend Morris. It was while working there that Teresa was introduced to the other side of the racing industry. It was while working there that she realized that one day she would work at a rescue. She just knew she had to be a part of helping horses in a big way.
Rehabilitation can sometimes require a little song
Time and life marched on; Teresa married, raised a family, and divorced. "Life has its ups and downs and nobody knows what crooked roads bring us to the fields we settle on." Teresa said. 

Teresa and Jerry knew each other for years, but each had their own lives. Then one day Teresa got word Jerry was very ill. Teresa had already been rescuing horses and other animals and it was that inner spirit that reached out and told her to go to Jerry. Through the illness and healing they formed a bond that would mold them together each filling a void in the other.

Jerry had the land, Teresa had 5 rescued horses and a passion. Together they set out to save, heal and restart precious lives.

Jerry does most of the construction and road building, yes the road building. One of the beauties of LLLF is the way Teresa and Jerry uses the land and nature to help heal the broken lives of horses, ponies, dogs, cats, goats, pigs, chickens, parrots and any animal who needs help. The farm is laid out along a wonderful meandering trail through the sheltering trees. 
Paddocks along the winding way ... This is the corner of Sanctuary & Rescue
Along the trail Jerry built a series of spacious corrals each with run-ins that are home to 2 or 3 horses. Plenty of room to run, plenty to eat, a place of shelter, and an abundance of loving care and attention provided by the farm's several hundred volunteers.
Puppies getting baths after arriving at LLLF
The entire farm embraces visitors with the feeling of love, care and security. It's part of the healing magic of LLLF. Just walking the tour along the dirt road through the trees by the horse paddocks makes a person feel welcome and happy. That's exactly the feeling Teresa set out to create with the park like layout of the dirt road system on the farm.
Socializing PMU babies - The offspring of mares from Pregant Mare Urine Farms - 2 years ago LLLF rescued 104 "Premerians" ... 40 were pregnant mares ...
You see at LLLF they not only heal animal's hearts and lives, but people too. With no formal program, in fact nothing at LLLF is formal, everything is relaxed and free. There are many human hearts healed here too. Not only the hearts of the adopters, but many of the volunteers who care for the horses and other animals come for healing, too.

Early on Teresa recognized that many of the volunteers came from broken homes or were far too often victims of domestic violence, or other forms of life changing stress and challenges. 

She also noticed how these volunteers began to heal as they did some of the hundreds of things that needed to be done each day to care for the horses. She began to set up loose guidelines, and she structures the teams and chores to allow each volunteer to receive the most healing that they might need as well. Each volunteer is allowed to proceed with their duties at their own pace, providing the time and atmosphere for them to absorb the healing that even an abandon and neglected horse can give the human heart.

While all the necessary veterinarian care is provided without hesitation, the farm practices natural and holistic approach to healing and care. All horses are barefoot and hooves well trimmed. On a regular basis clinicians are brought in to teach volunteers and adopters basic natural horsemanship skills. Patty Sanborn, a Quantumbio feedback specialist comes by weekly, and as often as needed, to administer care for horses and other animals as they recover from their ordeal. Because of their excellent care LLLF has an excellent recovery rate for the horses and other animals they rescue, but the few who can never be adopted can live out their lives in happiness and peace in the LLLF sanctuary.

Since 2002, when they became a 501(c) 3 Non-Profit, they have rescued and found forever loving homes for 50-60 horses a year with a 95% success rate. How do they do that?

Teresa has a program that is very unique and highly successful.  She says she is not trying to just adopt out horses, but matching horses to the right people for forever homes. She lets the horses choose. The first step to adoption at LLLF is, "Sponsorship." An adopter signs up for 30 days as a horse's sponsor, which places the horse on hold, while the adopter visits and gets to know the horse, and the horse can bond with the adopter. During this time Teresa participates in the visits and activities and monitors the progress. If all goes well at the end of the sponsorship the adopter may take the horse home, or sign up for another 30 days. If she feels it is not quite the best fit, Teresa will suggest another horse or, as often happens, another horse may choose this human, and the "Sponsorship," will start again with a new horse.

LLLF has several more programs to help horses and other animals. One of those is their, "Outreach Feedbank Program." This program is designed to keep horses and other pets in their loving homes if their owners come upon temporary hard times. LLLF can provide hay, feed, limited veterinarian care and other support to those people who might come upon such hardships as layoffs, illness or other conditions that may otherwise force them to give up loved pets or horses. It is in the, "Help Thy Neighbor," spirit that Teresa and the volunteers work in an outreach manner to keep as many horses and pets and their loving families together, and prevent once cherished horses from a one way ticket to the auction barn.

Each Sunday afternoon the enchanted roads and trails are opened to the public for guided tours for folks to feel the love and meet volunteers and visit the horses. As the visitors stroll along the guides introduce each horse to the visitors. They stop at each of the 28 paddocks and enjoy the moment. It is often during these visits that new friendships that last a lifetime begin. 
And many folks feel the tug on their hearts to become part of the loving family of volunteers who help re-start lives.

LLLF is run entirely by volunteers and survives on your generous donations.

To learn more about LLLF and their programs Visit their website, (HERE) 

Please join them on Facebook (HERE) 

And if you visit, please take carrots for the horses.

Gitty Up,
Dutch Henry
Powder says, "Thank You."

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Gone For The Week – Heading For NH to Live And Let Live Rescue for Therapy Horse Clinics

Howdy Folks,

I'll be heading out tomorrow morning for a week, so there may not be blog posts, or facebook visits until next Wednesday or Thursday.
I'll sure miss my Ravishin' Robbie
And the Coffee Clutch bunch ...
I'm pretty excited about this adventure. I'm off to do  "Therapy For Therapy Horses,"" clinics at Live & Let Life Farm Rescue in NH. ... I will be featuring Live and Let Live Rescue on Friday's Feature Friday - I'll be posting the story I wrote about them for my July 2012, Heartbeats column in Trail Blazer. Be sure to watch for it, it tells the story of why Teresa founded Live & Let Live, and what they do there. A truly remarkable place. 
I'll be stopping at my sister-in-law and brother-in-law's in PA on the way up to rest, stock up on vittles. And whoop up on Henry in a few games of chess. He's a great chess player, just not as good as me. Well most of the time he's not anyway. Every now and then the pieces move his way, but we don't need to talk about that. Ever.
Thursday, bright and early I'll fire up my geriatric Tahoe again, which will have really needed the night's rest, and set out for the next leg of the journey to Live & Let Live Farm Rescue; hopefully with no wounds to lick from Wednesday night's chess matches with Henry.

I'm excited to take a leisurely drive through up-state PA and on into NY through MA and into NH. Mrs. GPS says the trip from Reading PA to Chichester NH should take about 8 hours, but the Tahoe is old, and so are my legs, and I'm pretty sure there will be a number of times I'll need to stop for a little bird and horse watching. So I reckon we can toss that time-for-the-trip-estimate away. I'll get to Live & Let Live … sometime Thursday evening.
Friday we'll have our "Therapy for Therapy Horses" clinic for the volunteers. Teresa Paradise (owner/founder of LLFR) would like a core of group volunteers to master the basics of these wonderful exercises for the rehabilitation of the rescue horses, and to be able to teach the adopters so they can continue them, for the horses they adopt.
Inversion Muscle release. This is wonderful to release the tension in the inversion & pectoral muscles (just thought I'd show an example here)
Saturday and Sunday will be a 2 day progressive "Therapy for Therapy Horses" clinic for outside folks and horses, as a fundraiser for Live & Let Live. We'll start Saturday morning with the basics, followed after lunch with, "Exercises in Motion" then Sunday morning we'll do "Exercises in Saddle." This will be an exciting clinic and folks will come away understanding and hearing their horses on a level they never imagined before.

Monday morning I'll wake up my, by then, well rested Tahoe and head for home. I'll be stopping to rest and visit a few friends in PA Monday evening. Then set out on the last leg of my adventure Tuesday morning, on the way back to my Ravishin' Robbie, and Kessy.

So, while our facebook page and the Coffee Clutch blog may be quiet for a week or so. Know that it's for a good cause. As I say, "It's For The Horses." And who knows, if I'm up to it, and I can figure how to get my computer to work away from home, perhaps I'll drop a few lines on Facebook.

Have a wonderful week and God Bless!

Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry

Monday, August 19, 2013

"Magic" - A Horse Story With No Riding -

Howdy Folks,

Yesterday I posted on Facebook, in appreciation of the friendship shown there, and here in the Coffee Clutch we'd have a fun contest for an idea for a story. I asked folks to share their ideas, and to vote for the one they liked best. We had over 20 suggestions, lots of fun, and votes. Every idea was terrific, and I could have never made a choice. We even ended by having a tiebreaker! … My promise was I'd write the story and post it here today. So Melanie Foster-Bowles, here is our story, based on your idea "horse story with no riding."


She knew she was not supposed to be out here. Not alone anyway. But how long did anyone think they could keep her from coming back? The grass was damp, chilled her bare feet. If they knew she'd come barefoot to the back pasture, well they'd have something to say about that too. It's not like they had been apart all these months, but in the barn with father and sister worrying about every step, every move was not the same as being with him alone. The accident wasn't his fault. The trail had simply given way. She shuddered when she thought of the long fall. 
Kessy Saturday & me writing a story
It was early. The sun had just begun to peek above the horizon forcing its way through the clouds. But it had been necessary to sneak out early, before father headed for the barn. He'd been so worried, so, she smiled when she finished the thought, bothersome with his loving attendances to her every need.

Nodding, smiling as if to reassure herself, she said out loud, "I told myself, today would be the day." She missed their time together. The quiet moments just being horse and person enjoying each other's company. He had always been her teacher. Her best friend. Her strength. All along he'd carried her. Even from the beginning, way back when she first started riding and father had worried that her condition made riding too dangerous. She laughed, "We showed them all, didn't we, Magic?" She'd named him that the first day. His heart was like magic to her. His strength made her feel strong. Strong enough to run with the wind, although even before the fall, running was not something she did well. "But together we can fly!" Became her chant.

She'd heard him calling for her those first weeks while she lay in the bed too broken to even be wheeled to the barn. Tears filled her eyes when she remembered his nicker the first day father pushed her chair to the barn.

The visits had not been frequent enough, not for him, and not for her. How was she supposed to heal, get strong, cooped up in a stuffy old house far from her strength. She'd begged for more visits, but it had been a very cold and damp spring and the doctor had expressed great concern. So visits to the barn had been limited to only the few sunny days. Not nearly enough, scarcely a day a week, then only short visits.

He would be just over the rise, in the hollow they loved so much, among the tall trees. Their very own playground. Her walker was difficult to maneuver in the long grass. She looked over her shoulder, back to the house. Seeing no one, and feeling brave, stronger than she had in months, she positioned the walker off to her side, took a shaky step. All on her own. Needles shot through her back, but she stood. She couldn't resist. She cupped her hands to her face, and with all her strength screamed, "Magic." 

She lost her balance, tumbled into the wet grass, but managed another call on her way down. Then a giggle. "Oops." She'd tipped her walker over. Getting up would be a struggle without her walker. She lay on her back, searching the sky for a little light, but the clouds were thick. "Don't you rain on me." She pointed a threatening finger to the gray sky.

She managed to roll onto her stomach and prop herself up on her elbows. "Magic, I could use a little help here, before father finds me." Her voice broke off in a giggle. "He's gonna have a lot to say about this." It hadn't seemed this cold when she left the house, but she was cold now. Maybe this hadn't been such a great idea. Her legs had pins and needles, even her hands ached. "Come on body, deal with it," she ordered. She'd had a lifetime of ordering her body to obey her commands.

So absorbed was she in barking commands to her body, she didn't notice Magic until he nickered. He stopped just ten feet away, eyes and ears glued on her. His eyes so big, his ears tilted so forward, she had to laugh. "Come here you big beautiful boy … I could use a hand. Or neck."

Magic lowered his head to her. She grabbed his mane, and clucked. He backed one step, a game they had often played, helping her to stand. One arm draped over his lowered neck, slowly, step by step they started for the barn. Her plan had been for a little playtime in the hollow, or at least a longer visit, but a slow walk together would not only have to do, it would do wonderfully. She could see lights on in the house. "Uh oh," she told Magic. "You might need to help explain this to father."

Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry