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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Un Natural Horse keeping

In 2012 my young colt Sterling fractured his coffin bone.  This is a piece of my experience at that time.
So many lessons to be learned from one moment in time..  Since Sterling has been in the stall, I have been fragmenting the herd.  Two horses in the barn, three on the trailer and 4 on the track.  And with the exception of Sterling always being in the barn, they rotate.  Valentine is obviously disturbed by this turn of events. I'm pretty sure she is feeling x-communicated or at least, not in charge of things.  She eats outside and rarely comes into the barn, only when she wants to. She runs away  and feels generally distrustful.  Patches calls for whomever is not home but relishes her turn in the barn.  Jessie steps up and goes to work or stays in the barn whatever I ask of her.  Summer doesn't usually stay inside but does come to work and Harley never stays in the barn and is now earning his keep as a therapy horse for people in early days of recovery from addiction to drugs or alcohol instead of being Sterling's gelding!
Valentine Harley and Summer lunching at work

Whew and keeping horses inside - I find it hard to imagine why people do this when there is nothing wrong.  When the horses come out, even the really grounded ones,  they are spooky, flighty, worried.  It makes no sense to do this to horses on purpose on a regular basis.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Fun and Games Workshop!

It was a fun time we were after and we found it! 
The goal was just to spend some time with our horses before the holidays and winter took over our attention! 
There were horses and people of all ages and skill level, just out to have a good time in a relaxed environment but with some focus. 
No saddles, no bridles, no shoes, no problem!

The first thing we did is just get in the space with our horses and meet and greet everyone and every thing! Here at ICOH (In the Company of Horses Inc.) we have peafowl, guinea fowl, a duck (Howard) cats and horses including a miniature pony,. 
Not to mention jumps, tires for going between or to stand on, a car wash blowing in the breeze bamboo poles for jousting and hula hoops hanging from the trees all to help our horses not worry about us or our stuff! 
In the afternoon everyone had the opportunity to play at liberty, either in the round pen or in the big field! That was fun!  Everyone was able to get connected by spacial awareness and by energy.  
On day two we rode.  After visiting about the day before we prepared our horses for riding by dragging things, cones, barrels, balls, poles and our bamboo, all to prepare for this days riding games which included "Moving Day" where everyone mounted up and hooked up something to a rope and began moving things from one place to another. This "purpose" game helped the people and the horses feel the need to cooperate and not to worry so much.  For the horses who were not ready to drag their own things, they followed other horses brave enough to move stuff.  Before lunch everyone was able to move everything together! This game prepared everyone, horses and humans mentally physically and emotionally for things that could show up on a trail or in a show arena.  The horses were all calmer, braver and more partnered by lunch time.  
After lunch we had a go at our own version of Doma Vaquera and precision with our long poles by skewering a brass ring!  There was a prize for the one who could be moving on their horse and skewer a small ring with their long bamboo pole and the youngest rider with the smallest horse took home the prize! 
The last game of our workshop was the double barrell pattern; set up like a barrel race only mirrored so your first turn is to the left on one pattern and then to the right on the next pattern in an effort to have our horses even and less one sided.

A great time was had by all! 
For more information about future dates for this workshop, check in on our website! 

Monday, November 26, 2012



I've been learning about Feel - For the horses of course but this is another of those universal conversations.

Having some Feel keeps us from getting into a fight. I'm talking about horses again, but I suppose it applies to humans as well!

Having some Feel keeps us in the present moment interacting with what is and allowing what will be. Saying Yes and yes and yes.

Having some feel allows us to dance, play, run, sing, ride, fly! And we all have it. But;
WHAT does it take to develop our feel into peace, art and harmony?

This is where freedom comes into the equation. You need to be free; in your mind and your heart to experiment and express yourself.  So you might say you need to be emotionally free; available to laugh; look silly; move; fail!

Find some kids to hang out with. Before they begin to worry about who is watching or what they look like, they are free to be, it's not courage like when you have a bunch of concerns and you let them go, it's truely  natural! That's why horses love kids. They are fascinated by them, like us, we are fascinated by their world of discovery and wonder in even the smallest of things, the every day most common things are flat out fun.
Go watch this video

Did you watch it?  Are you still laughing? It was so great, that boy has feel, he was fully in the present moment interacting with what is and allowing what will be, saying yes, yes, YES.  He knows he had fun even taking a bow and blowing kisses!

We'll talk more later - go watch it again!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Stall rest ~

Blog –
At five weeks into what could be six months of stall rest, I must say I’m proud as ever of my young Sterling Archer. He does have an incredibly regal name Valiente Silver CrossWind, Sterling is his barn name and Archer came because he’s quite a character often downright comical!  He is incredibly interested in people, curious, connected, loving and friendly.

This is Sterling shortly after I gave him one of Uncle Jimmie's Hanging Balls (no kidding that’s what it’s called). It is a ball full of seeds; coated with honey.

This was Sterling yesterday having an Energy Healing Session with Ginger Krantz.  His energy has been quite high lately, ever since I spent all of last week at Mid Atlantic Equine Medical Center with Hearty.  This photo was taken after we spent about ½ hour with him upright, then we left him be and went to work on Hearty.  She choked on a hay cube last Saturday.

It was soaked, but obviously not enough.  Sterling laid down and let us continue to work on his healing foot and his active mind. My friend and budding Equine Massage therapist Lisa Sitko made this card for me for it was on my birthday that Hearty’s choke finally was cleared and her life saved by the brave Veterinarians at Mid Atlantic Equine Medical Center. She is eating hay soup until her esophagus heals, so she is keeping Sterling company in the barn and getting hand walked several times per day.

But this day is one dedicated to hoof care.  We are waiting for Esco Buff to come from Rochester NY to reset Sterling’s magic shoe. 
It is designed to hold his foot absolutely still.  After it is on, the whole wall gets an epoxy materiel that attaches that rim to the hoof wall.  It’s not moving.

Here’s why

This is a radiograph of his right hind foot.  Horsin’ around no doubt that vertical crack was found in his coffin bone which is the big bone inside the hoof.  You cannot see this on the outside.
So this is what we do now. And we look for ways to enrich his time in this lovely airy box stall.  And just when I get feeling down about spending so much time in a stall, my friend says “it’s so great that you have stalls!”

Ahhh to not have to know the gap. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

On Leadership~

Three foundations of a great life written by Michael C. Jensen is Jesse Isidor Straus Professor Emeritus at the Harvard Business School and Chairman of the Social Science Research Network, Inc. (SSRN). This article is adapted from his commencement address at McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University, in May, 2011. It is based on eight years of research into leadership with colleagues Werner Erhard, Steve Zaffron and Kari Granger. Links to the talk and other work on which this article is based are at:
The full article and easy to follow instructions are in the online magazine (link below)

This is the ultimate gift and everyone can have it! enjoy! 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

In today's newspaper

Article in today's paper!

These horses are truly special

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Posted: Thursday, September 15, 2011 5:00 am | Updated: 6:57 am, Thu Sep 15, 2011.
His name is Josiah. He is 10 years old and has autism. When he visits In the Company of Horses’ therapeutic riding program at the Majoda Stables in Moorestown, his favorite equine is Patches.
One day Josiah looked in the face of the paint horse and was convinced he detected a light flicker in its eyes. It caused the boy to wonder. And think. And explore.
In the months that followed, Josiah repeatedly returned to the stables and talked about experiments he conducted at home as he tried to find out about that flickering light. He drew diagrams and pictures of what he believed the light source was. He asked his mom to get him books about horses. His learning fuse had been lit.
“Josiah eventually learned that the light in Patches’ eyes was actually him,” said MaryAnn Brewer, president of In the Company of Horses, founded in 2006 and based in Pemberton Township. “What being around Patches did was make him curious to find out why.”
Brewer, 49, a 1980 graduate of Lenape High School, said the kids come, get on horseback and ride, offering them body stimulation along with emotional and cognitive connection.
“I’ve had autistic kids who went through the program who talked for the first time because of it,” Brewer said. “You can’t measure what that means.”
Brewer said horses and humans have a long relationship in the world of learning and growing. In stepping into the world of horses, people are affected physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
The therapeutic riding program combines the living power of equines with the accepted standards and practices of psychotherapy, physical therapy, group therapy, character education, life skills, leadership training, and team building to produce uncommon results.
In one-hour sessions, equine specialists work in concert with mental health professionals to help those with challenges clear life’s hurdles.
“We need people to see that horses can be used for more than just riding,” Brewer said.
Brewer didn’t have horses as a child, but a friend in Monmouth County did. The love affair began. It continued into adulthood, when she graduated from Parelli University in Colorado, the top horsemanship program in the world, and when she bought a farm, which 12 of her horses call home.
“Horses don’t care about race, or socioeconomics, or whether you’re the president of Johnson & Johnson, or if you’ve been incarcerated,” Brewer said. “What they do is give honest feedback.”
There’s an old “MASH” episode in which Col. Sherman Potter says, “I’d still rather spend a day with a horse than with most people.” I sense that Brewer and the old colonel would have gotten along just fine, same as the horses at Majoda and their riders with challenges.
“The big thing is these people are getting out in the world and doing things others do,” Brewer said. “For example, if there are weak kids with cerebral palsy, riding may be one of the few things they can do. Riding helps them build courage and learn how to take risks. When you can learn to make a 1,200-pound animal do what you want it to do and go where you want it to go, imagine what that does for your self-confidence?”
Brewer recently heard from a man whose 25-year-old son has Down syndrome and who attended her therapeutic riding program. He said that last summer his son participated in the Gloucester County Dream Park equestrian disciplines for those with special needs, but had not ridden since and began failing to thrive.
“The father said doctors didn’t know why this was happening,” Brewer said. “They ran tests and everything. They concluded that the son was just depressed.
“But through psychotherapy they learned he wasn’t thriving because he wasn’t seeing and riding his horse every week. He was experiencing symptoms from lack of being with the horse he had a relationship with for two years. It just shows you the benefits of what a horse can do.”
For more information, visit
Phil Gianficaro’s column appears weekly.