Friday, February 7, 2014

Feature Friday – “Unspoken Messages – Spiritual Lessons I Learned from Horses and Other Earthbound Souls” by Richard D. Rowland”

Howdy Folks,

The pigeon landed on the edge of the roof, its golden chest shimmered in the sun. Its eyes focused directly on Richard. Paying no interest to the other back yard guests, the stunning bird watched Richard’s every move for 2 hours with eyes that spoke only to him. “Before my eyes were opened to things like this, I would have thought something wrong with the bird and there was probably a scientific reason for its presence. Now I know differently.” Richard explains he was told God can send messengers in the form of animals. “Now I know this to be true.”
But he didn’t always. Richard, a retired Kentucky police officer and Vietnam Vet had lived most of his life in what he describes as a world of black and white. “I was hard headed, opinionated, absolutely sure of my place in this world, and convinced that science-based ideology was the only truth.”

That was before his journey. A journey that started only a few years ago. A journey guided by the hearts and wisdom of “horses and other earthbound souls.” A journey that carried Richard from where he was to the spiritual and believing person he is today.

Ingeniously he broke the story of his journey into 2 halves. The first half of the book is stories about horses, a few other animals, and people, whose lives and circumstances began to teach him to see beyond the vision of his eyes. From them he learned there are no coincidences, and how to see with his spirit.
You’ll meet Buffy and her foal Peanut, and witness a spiritual goodbye from the rest of the herd. Whiskers and Sarge will climb onto your lap, and into your heart. Pal, a horribly foundered Paso, will show you how his physical challenges helped Richard face his own terrible health scare. “I was able to apply what I learned from him to go forward myself.” You can visit Pal HERE on Facebook. “Pals page has become another medium for us to teach others that founder is not the end of a horse, and cancer can sometimes be treated with nutrition, and we need to move forward with humor and hope.”

 Pearl will trot of the pages to tug your heartstrings, and wet your eyes, as her story with many layers unfolds, and you meet all the people in her life. From her you’ll learn, “There are no coincidences.”
There are others you’ll meet too, who will become your friends, and perhaps your guides. Together you’ll share a few chuckles, tears and deep thoughts. As you read these stories, sometimes your mind will race ahead of the words on the page and, you’ll wonder, as I did, why is he telling this story? Why did he let this happen? Then you’ll realize it was necessary for us to feel the spiritual growth, just as Richard did.

Your journey will carry you from part one to part two with the wisdom and reassurance that “animals are old souls with deep and ancient abilities to communicate with us, if we let them.”

In part two Richard shows how people, and their loved ones, faced with life ending, or altering prognoses and challenges, can use that ancient wisdom, and the listening learned to explore new, AND ancient, paths, ideas modalities.

Richard was given a blunt prognoses on August 21, 2008, “You have a blood cancer called multiple myeloma, and it’s incurable.”
Of course at first he and his wife were devastated, terrified, angry and scared. Then they turned their focus toward determination, hope and dedication. Using some lessons learned from Pal, and the others, and guidance from his wife, who is a holistic nutritionist by training, they marched forward to meet the challenge.

Part two tells of their choices. How things worked for them. It is not a knock on Western medicine, though at some points it might feel like it. But just as with the stories in part one, some facts and thoughts had to be shared for the reader to fully understand the journey. The journey that led Richard to find balance.
Unspoken Messages” is at times happy, at times sad, but always touching. Richard invites you into his most private moments wrestling with confusion, enlightenment, joy and sorrow. I not only recommend it, but suggest "Unspoken Messages" be required reading in our High Schools.
Back Cover
Join Richard on Facebook HERE for the book. And HERE to become friends.

Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

"Snowy and Rainy Days"

Howdy Folks,
Snowy and rainy days have a different feel about them for me than clear sunny days. Of course all days are beautiful, for their own reasons, but the "bad weather days," as we called them on the dairy farm where I grew up as a foster kid, are extra special for me. To me, they are cozy.

As a kid we had plenty of work on those bright sunny days. I would be busy hoeing thistles in the corn field, picking beans in the garden, mending fence, thinning hedgerows, maybe carrying water for wash day, or any of the other many tasks needed to be done on the farm.
There was plenty of work on snowy and rainy days, too. We still had to milk the cows, tend the horses, pigs and chickens, but the in between time, those hours when we would do the extra work, were a bit more relaxed.

Our barn was big old Pennsylvania Bank Barn with the milking stable in the middle, flanked by horse stalls, each with the splendid wooden feed troughs and hay racks above them, and box stalls for young stock when they weren't out in pasture. Between the horse stalls and milking stable was our feed room. Along the back wall were wooden slant topped feed bins for the loose oats and corn for the horses. One of my jobs was to keep the bins full. Sacks of ground feed for the milking cows were stacked along the side wall. I can still smell the blackstrap molasses in that ground feed. I loved that smell! So did the mice!
This barn is very similar to the barn to the barn on the farm I grew up on.
Back then, burlap bags were really made of burlap and no match for the enterprising mice who made certain nearly every sack had a hole of their own design chewed through it. On bad weather days it was my job to hand stitch those holes closed with a long curved needle and white cord. Some days ol' Bill (the man who raised me) would join me in the stitchin' party and it was kind of fun gathering there, working a little and talking. I suppose it was our version of a quilting party. Whether Bill was with me or not, the horses and cows were, and it was cozy in that feed room, and sort of a day off. There were other bad weather day chores, but that feed room, between the horses and cows, stitching up those sacks, well that's my treasure.

For a long time now, bad weather days, have not had much to say about my daily duties, but often they'll carry me back to that cozy old feed room between the horses and cows. I suppose at a young age I was conditioned to the gentler feeling of rainy days.
The Coffee Clutch family enjoying this rainy morning.
As Kessy, Tigger, Saturday and I enjoyed Coffee Clutch this morning, rain danced lively on the tin roof. And while my routine won't be stirred, my memories were.

Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry

Monday, February 3, 2014

"Why Do We Focus On Training?"

Howdy Folks,
Training, and trainers are of course important. To be fair many things must be taught, and learned, by both horse and person. Training is the backbone of so many of the disciplines folks pursue with their horses, from trail riding, western pleasure, showing, hunter jumper, dressage, and on and on. Sure we need to learn what we're doing. We and our horse, and that requires lessons, and training. Sometimes plenty of it.

I've heard it said every time you're on your horse you should be training. That's an interesting paradigm. I don't intend to take anything away from the importance, or benefits of training. But every time you're on your horse?

Over the years I've met folks who take lessons, and go to clinics all the time. I've met a folks who do nothing in between. They just go to clinics, and lessons. They may not ride for weeks, and sometimes, months at a time. Some folks board their horses at training barns, and only ride when it's time for the next lesson. And for them, that's perfect ... But what if it could be more perfect?
The Coffee Clutch. I start each day having coffee time with Kessy. Most days Saturday, Tigger & Miss Kitty join us.
I suggest folks can establish much deeper relationships with their horses by not always focusing on training. Mix in plenty of just being partners together time. For sure not everyone can start their day like I do having coffee in the barn with their horse. A lot of folks don't have the luxury of having their horses at home. If that's your sitution, be sure you spend time with your horse other than just showing up for lessons and training. They'll love you for it. Learn a few exercises you can do on the ground, even in the stall with your horse to help their posture and body carriage. You can see a few "Pre-Ride Exercises For Your Horse" in my blog that horses love, and greatly benefit from. And check out - "Reconnecting Your Horse To Her Feet"  to.

I believe all horses should have plenty of easy going, "don't think about nothin'," trail time. Just go down the trail, do some chatting with friends, or better yet, go alone. Just you and your horse. Don't forget to watch the birds!

The training will simply fall into place if you don't focus on it all the time. Just let it happen. Allowing yourself and your horse to work through mistakes in an unstructured moment is fun too. Let the mistakes happen and see where they lead you!  Enjoy your horse so she can enjoy you. And remember, find time for that relaxing trail time.
Kessy, Saturday and me hittin' the trail
Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry