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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Old school meets new thought~

I came across this woman based in the Netherlands who has done her homework and has devised a new and clear way to share an ancient knowing.
Check her out!

  Cool video;
website/blog/more videos.

Here is a photo of Maestro "the problem horse that started it all!"  
academicartofriding1 255x300 Maestro

Ancient wild horses help unlock past

Ancient wild horses help unlock past
This is a pretty interesting site with lots of research being done into the past about genetic diversity in our horses. There are articles about Lusitano's and other wild Iberian horse herds. Interestingly enough there is even
some research shared about wild SEAHORSES!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

EAGALA Advanced Training~ The art of improvisation creates great partnerships!

In the Company of Horses Inc. just returned home from the bran new training created by Lynn Thomas, the co-founder of the international certifying body of the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) .
We journeyed to Long Island to Pal O Mine Equestrian Center where we spent three days in the company of fourteen people who came to learn how to create even quicker results facilitating learning by way of the horses!

Any mental health professional who works both in the office and in the arena, knows clients find the solutions to life's problems much quicker in the company of a horse. The horses actually become the human client's  issues on a live storyboard and play out the solutions with them!

On this story board, this little one armed  wooden bunny became their metaphor for  their
"Higher Power"  The horse was labeled as the metaphor "us exploring." 
It's fascinating work and while working through our 'issues' can be challenging it can be lots of fun. What we spent three days practicing was how to be a better facilitator/team member/ listener/ sounding board through the actor's world of improv!

You've seen it on Saturday Night Live when an actor throws out a one liner and another just picks it up and runs with it, then they toss it back and forth until it flows into a whole story. Well, that's an art.  And when there are 14 people doing that on the first day, it's hard!  But by the third day when we were doing it in our own familiar facilitation teams, it was easy and fun and the best part is, it's all about the horses.  So the client gets to explore their own answers to their own questions through the activity of the horses in real time, in real life and the focus is not on them, making the client in the arena feel safer and more willing to map their AHA! moments onto their own lives.

Sometimes over our three day training the team from In the Company of Horses Inc. were the facilitators and sometimes we were the clients.  As clients,we took the opportunity to work out some of the things that seem to be patterns of stagnation in the effort to expand into our neighbors back yard so to speak.

 For twenty years our neighbors have been the Military bases of Ft. Dix and McGuire Air force base. Now merging into a super base including Lakehurst Naval Air Station with the new name JBMDL.  For the past 10 years, our nation has been at war and many of our neighbors have been deployed and returned home with new concerns within their families.

 In the arena back at Pal O Mine there were a herd of donkeys moving around looking very uniform and they reminded us of a regiment of military people.  One thing led to another and before we knew it, we found solutions to our stagnation problem and there were the whole herd of dark grey donkeys in our space!  Now we get to use those new found solutions to help our neighbors!

You have to qualify to do the advanced training, all the info is on the EAGALA site.  I highly recommend it!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Managing Testosterone~

Maybe this blog title should be called managing Hormones.  Today for the first time since April, my whole herd is together!  None of the girls are in heat, so Sterling is with them all!    I was pretty sure he could not be with them all again unless I wanted babies. Gratefully, with the help of  my herd and the global community on an equine mastermind group on LinkedIn who answered a question,  I realize I was wrong.

I asked if anyone was keeping a young stallion with or in close proximity to mares and expecting him to manage himself.  I received close to 100 comments from people the world over.  In general, the answer seemed to be, people do this, just not in America.  Let alone in New Jersey, maybe in the west on vast acerage.  Stallions must be kept separated, isolated and managed with great restraint.

From left to right Valentine; Harley; Sterling July 2011
The herd is 7 mares 1 gelding and 1 intact colt (Sterling).  Two of the mares are a miniature pony and a miniature  donkey, but the rest of the girls are full size and fair game.  One of the most important things to me, having an intact colt and one day maybe having a stallion, is that his life is full of family, friends, variety and adventure! No chains over his nose, just relationship based communication with mutual consideration for one another's want's wishes and needs.  This may sound like a tall order here in NJ, but I have found countless people the world over who already have this relationship with their stallions.  In "Holistic Horse" magazine there is a whole article about "Magnificent Stallions & The Women Who Love Them" (April/May 2011)

Mya is the short horse
We are well on our way, Sterling came to me in October at six months of age he is 15 months old this week..  It's already August, so he's been with me for 10 months, and I love that I don't need to raise this boy alone!  I have 8 helpers who are on the job 24/7.  Mya, Jacquie, Harley and Valentine are always with Sterling.  Mya is only 30 inches tall, but she's nothing to be overlooked, sometimes maybe tripped over, but by no means ignored.  She has been "playing" with Sterling from the moment he arrived.  She is 15 years old now and fast! I thought after our trip to Tennessee in April that he was playing too rough with her and I had a concern that she would get hurt, but thankfully, Valentine stepped in and told Sterling to be careful.  They play just as hard, but Sterling is careful with Mya.  I like it when they play too, because of the way he has to move his body and hold himself to play with such a short horse!  Jacquie    
 is our angel in a donkey suit; maybe 4 inches taller than Mya.  She is wise, now 10 years old, elegant, vocal, opinionated, loving and very clear with Sterling about what he should be doing where she is concerned.  I have watched her on her hind legs, bite his withers!  I couldn't believe she could or would do that.  Sterling knows where the line with Jacquie is and Jacquie didn't need anyone's help to make that clear.

Sterling is now 15 hands tall and a reddish grey color.  He has bonded in a uniquely male way with Harley.  They play rough and leave marks on one another.  They do not play with or leave any  marks on the girls in this way.  In fact, I have watched the herd running and come to a place where they are going to stop and Sterling will move around all of the girls and jump on Harley; biting, rearing and wrestling with one another.  He does not even think of doing this with any of the girls, or me. This is the help I'm talking about, I'm grateful I don't have to do this work alone.