Friday, October 17, 2014

"A Mighty Important Weekend!"

Howdy Folks, 

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 McMeel

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

Monday, October 13, 2014

"Abandon Kitty Update"

Howdy Friends!

Abandon kitty update – As I've shared before about 2 weeks ago some non caring individual dumped four half grown kitties at our house. Sweet little, big eyed, scared, babies. Three of the four we could catch and love on and we put them in the horse trailer intending to take them to the shelter for adoption. The fourth, who Ravishin' Robbie named, Bullet, was only ever seen streaking away from the cat food dish on the porch. All the shelters here proved to be full. However we were simply not in a position to keep four cats.
Lil Bit, Daniel Striped Tiger and Fluffernutter hangin' out in the tack room (We haven't yet caught a picture of Bullet)

Earlier this year Both our loving kitties, Tigger and Miss Kitty crossed the rainbow bridge, and after many years of their love, silliness and companionship, we surely miss them. Kessy and Saturday do too. We had made the decision at that time we would not have any more cats, we need to watch our pennies. Really.

We could not bear to keep them in the trailer after the second day, so we set up a feeding station in the tack room, and they loved it from the first moment. Well except for Bullet. He still shoots through the porch and seems to eat on the run. I think she/he is faster than the superhero Flash! The others, Daniel Striped Tiger, Fluffernutter, and Lil Bit, love the tack room, barn, Saturday and Kessy, and her 2 acre wood.

Daniel Striped Tiger pretty much hangs out in the tack room. Lil Bit and Fluffernutter roam the barn and stay close to Kessy. Lil Bit is soundly smitten with Kessy, was from the second day. We think Tigger showed her the way, Tigger loved Kessy. They all purr so loudly it sounds like a distant train! Lil Bit won't miss a Coffee Clutch, Fluffernutter enjoys Coffee Clutch too, but wonders around a little more, following the chickens.

The Appomattox shelter informed us they have a program for free spay and neuter, $10 rabies and distemper shots – so we signed them up!  Today we took Daniel Striped Tiger – and Bullet, who we trapped with salmon for bait, to the clinic. In two weeks we can take Fluffernutter and Lil Bit ... And folks we learned from the clinic, cats can become pregnant at four months of age. Sadly these are. We also learned most areas have free or greatly reduced spay neuter clinics for feral cats, and they nip their ears for identification so they never need be trapped again. Bullet will sport a nipped ear.
Lil Bit loves sitting on Kessy's back.
Our dear friend Chris has donated a month's worth of kitten food. The tack room, Kessy's barn and playground are all a bustle with the pitter patter of tiny feet. It looks like the Coffee Clutch is gaining new members. The only ones here not real convinced this was a good idea are the chickens; Robbie says they'll get over it.

Gitty Up, Dutch Henry