Friday, August 30, 2013

Feature Friday – "Volunteers"

Howdy Folks,
Live and Let Live Farm Rescue is a busy place. Teresa Paradise and the rescue welcome any sentient being that needs help, a place to recover, a new start. The lovely farm tucked in the forest of NH has horses, goats, donkeys, chickens, dogs, cats, pigs, parrots and guinea pigs, and many more animals in all stages of rebounding. This magnificent rescue was/is the dream of one woman, Teresa - but it is the devotion, and the dream of many other wonderful folks, too. They are the caring and tireless people who change bandages, sit up all night with a sick horse, feed over 200 animals each day, and do countless other chores, all with love and dedication. They are the volunteers.
Volunteers at Live and Let Live Farm Rescue attending my "Therapy for Therapy Horses" clinic
As I visited Live and Let Live this past weekend I was once again struck with admiration for the hard work, caring and love of the many volunteers going about their duties. Never a complaint, always happy to do whatever is needed to be done, and there is always plenty to do here - and at every rescue, therapeutic riding center, horse sanctuary or any of the thousands of non-profits that exist solely to help others.

Traveling about as I sometimes do to visit these wonderful organizations, or just visiting on the phone for interviews to write the stories about, "People and Horses Helping Horses and People," I always notice the volunteers. I thank God for them.

Volunteers give up large chunks of their lives, so that other lives may be made better. Volunteers spend their own money for gas, drive their own trucks and cars so that others might be transported to the healing and loving places. Volunteers work in the heat and the cold so that others might be a little more comfortable. Volunteers sit up late at night pouring over paperwork to fill out just one more grant application so hay, fuel, feed and equipment might be purchased. Volunteers organize fund raisers to keep the supplies coming. And the electric and vet bills paid.
Volunteers sharing love at Beauty's Haven Equine Rescue
Volunteers put their heads together to help solve problems. They share new and inventive ideas that create better ways to help those without voices. They travel at their own expense to get accredited, certified so that they might be of greater help. Volunteers cry with the lonely, the hurting. They wipe the tears from sad faces. They laugh with the joyous and celebrate even the smallest victories over challenges. They cradle those who cross the Rainbow Bridge. They hug those who must let go.
Heartland Horse Heroes therapeutic riding center
Many things make it possible for these wonderful organizations to help so many, humans and animals. Today there are hundreds of Equine Assisted Therapy centers helping folks with challenges ranging from Veterans with physical and emotional challenges to battered women and at-risk youths as well as many other healing places. And the hundreds of sanctuaries to protect our wild horses, rehabilitate ex-show and race horses, PMU mares and so many other horses who need our voice, our love, our caring. Those voices are the voices made possible by the devotion of volunteers.

As a writer and horse advocate I humbly tip my hat to the wonderful and selfless volunteers who help so many. God Bless and Thank You.

Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry

Thursday, August 29, 2013

My Wonderful Trip to Live and Let Live Farm Rescue –

Howdy Folks,
Last weekend I had the pleasure of visiting Live and Let Live Farm Rescue in Chicester NH, to guide volunteers in my "Therapy for Therapy Horses," exercises. These exercises, a combination of Connected Riding/Ground Work and TTeam Touch I learned while working with my mentor Diane Sept, a Certified Connected Riding instructor, are wonderful for all horses.

Teresa Paradise is always looking for ways to help the horses heal and recover from their traumas and she knew it would be helpful for volunteers to learn some of the exercises. Working with the recovering horses to release tension, encourage proper body carriage and relax in their body, will also soften muscles and encourage better blood flow carrying away toxins, and supplying nutrients to healing tissues, bones and muscles. I'm thrilled to say there is now a core group of volunteers who understand and will implement the basics of these exercises for the horses. And can introduce them to adopters of horses at Live and Let Live!
We started Friday night with a Pot-Luck and discussion in the big indoor
Knowing the basics, the meaning and fundamentals it will be easy for volunteers and adopters alike to learn much more by buying Peggy Cummings' latest book, "Connected From The Ground Up." And Linda Tellington-Jones' latest book, "The Ultimate Horse Behavior and Training Book." I thought it proper and helpful to share those resources here.

Starting the "Basics"
Friday we had a large group of volunteers, each working with horses at different levels of recovery and it was wonderful to see the horses' responses and the volunteers begin to feel, and see those responses. Every horse ended the day lighter on their forehand, able to lift their back and softer and relaxed in their muscles. Many horses for the first time, in who knows how long, knew where their feet were. The volunteers ended the day better able to hear the horses, and had a clear understanding of how to carry the healing forward. The volunteers at Live and Let Live are so devoted, and worked so hard to master the basic exercises, that for Feature Friday this week I'm going to write a post featuring volunteers; for without them how would the rescues, sanctuaries, therapeutic riding centers and many other wonderful organizations function?
After releasing Hank's, Poll, Axis, neck, spine and inversion muscles he was able to stretch and release his neck. At first he was unable to release, but in just 5 minutes we got this this lovely release.
Saturday and Sunday we opened the clinic to everyone as a fundraiser for Live and Let Live. Some folks brought their horses, others borrowed horses from Live and Let Live, and everyone, horses and people, had a great time. We started with the basics on Saturday morning, moved onto exercises in motion in the afternoon. On Sunday we explored these exercises while riding. We had a really terrific group who really got it now have new tools in their toolboxes to help their horses maintain proper and healthy body carriage.

I'm introducing Fenway to the "Piano String" release ... Many times horses can not release and lower their heads until we help them release their hind ends. Fenway is getting a huge release here.
There was plenty of time for socializing, and eating, too. You bet there was plenty of food, starting with tables full at the pot-luck Friday night. Throughout the weekend Teresa kept the tables loaded with pizza, BBQ, hot dogs, doughnuts, and cookies – Oh gosh too much to eat … I think I gained 5 pounds!! There was always buckets of coffee too.

I found time for bird watching on the drive up, and back home. Saw some great birds along route 90 in MA … it's a very busy 6 lane through marshes and swamps, but I had to stop. And hold my hat on as I sat on the guardrail. I reckon folks thought I was a bit silly, but I saw Great Blues, Cattle Egrets, Red Winged Blackbirds, Cormorants and even a few diving ducks!

It was a wonderful weekend meeting Facebook friends for the first time, and seeing friends I saw there last year. I look forward to coming back next year! … I'm a horse advocate and I LOVE celebrating folks like Teresa Paradise, and meeting wonderful folks like all those I had the honor of spending time with last weekend. Thanks to all of you and God Bless!

Gitty Up ~ Dutch