This is a pretty darn exciting weekend for ol' Dutch, and a whole bunch of other folks, too. This weekend will be our second Inner City Slicker day at Heartland Horse Heroes. I missed the first one, absenteeism driven by my cardiac adventure. I'd written a story (you can read it here) about Michael McMeel and his program, Inner City Slickers, for at-risk youth for my Heartbeats column in Trail Blazer magazine and worked a year to bring it Heartland Horse Heroes, then went and missed the big day.
Michael always comes to an outfit's first "Slicker," that's what he calls the day the youngsters come to learn about confidence, self worth, trust and honor to the cowboy code, to make sure all the volunteers are trained and everything is just as it should be. Since I missed our big day I told Michael he had to come to our second Slicker so we could meet. During our interview for the story, and the communications to become affiliated with Inner City Slickers we had of course talked a lot on the phone, but by golly I wanted to meet the man who created a program that to date has touched the lives of over 10,000 young adults! And meet the former drummer of Three Dog Night, yup Michael sure was ... And he played at our barn dance too back in April, and of course I missed that too!
I know, I'm making this sound all about me, and by golly I must admit to some degree it is VERY important to me – But it's really about the youngin's and their challenges, dreams and desires, and FUN!
|Michael and some of our volunteers from the Slicker this spring - Nothing happens without Volunteers -|
Michael will be rollin' in a bit before noon today, and I'm sure gonna be at Heartland Horse Heroes to greet him, shake his hand, and drink a cup or three of black gargle with him.
About noon I'll mosey to the barn to meet our world class volunteers and we'll all give the horses a little "Therapy For Therapy Horses," exercises. Our horses are never asked to work without their release and relax exercises, we have the most wonderful volunteers who have mastered them ... Then at 1:00 the children from Buckingham Co School arrive for their Friday afternoon therapeutic riding session. We have a great group of children each week who continue to make terrific strides.
|Friday afternoon therapeutic riding at Heartland Horse Heroes|
Tonight we'll gather around a campfire for some volunteer orientation and visiting ... and Michael said he'll bring his guitar and pick a song or three. It's no barn dance, but it's gonna be great!
|That's the "Cowboy Toothpick"|
Tomorrow bright and early the young adults, who are the reason for this shindig, will arrive and the Slicker fun will begin. Michael has a well detailed formula for the day that helps youngsters who doubt themselves experience life changing moments. They'll be facing challenges that teach them teamwork, trust, self reliance, confidence, honor and respect. They'll rope a wooden steer, climb the cowboy toothpick, ride the barrel bull, climb the ladder, ride bareback, tell, and listen to stories and have an all around great day. And by golly I'll be there to see all the magic happen, this time.
|Horses bring their magic to heal others|
You all have a swell weekend too!
Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry