Friday, August 29, 2014
The Full Picture--It Is Happening
Hope, planning, and conviction are coming together. Mill Swamp Indian Horses is now a program of our recently formed and organized non profit corporation, The Gwaltney Frontier Farm, Inc. We are creating an educational and livestock preservation effort that will bring meaning to the lives of riders, young and old. The catalyst to this development was Tom Crockett's idea that we could convert to a non-profit in order to be able to acquire the funds to expand everything that we do.
Over the past two years we are making it happen and are on the verge of explosive success. Our key purpose is to prevent the extinction of the Corolla Colonial Spanish mustangs. We also seek to preserve and promote other nearly extinct strains of historic Spanish mustangs such as the Baca and the Choctaw and the Marsh Tacky and the Shackleford. We teach natural horsemanship and we teach young children to tame and train wild horses and start colts under saddle.
Ancillary to that mission we provide programing, at no charge, to veterans who are at the local VA hospital being treated for PTSD. We will be providing training to local law enforcement on using the round pen as a way to learn better communication skills. We make a special effort to work with young people (and adults) whose backgrounds have been filled with complications. We are reconstructing a small farming operation from the mid 1600's when my ancestors first came out to the area around my horse lot. We are working to include the type of rare and nearly extinct livestock that would have been found there during the early colonial years when Smithfield, Virginia was, in fact, on the frontier of the British Empire.
We teach horses to be gentle and happy. We demonstrate how healthy horses are when allowed to live in a natural horse care setting. Many of our kids learn to give natural hoof trims. Several of my kids go on to pick up a little cash training horses for other people. We prove what these little horses and little kids are capable of with rides of fifty miles in a day, night rides,and even a ride of 109 miles in 17 hours, mounted archery, hog butchering and smoking of hams,....
...and music. Music with meaning. Music that has stood the test of time. Music played on ancient instruments telling ancient stories and eternal truths. And we are all volunteers. And I have some of the best kids and best adults to be found out working in our program nearly every day.
And we teach kindness. And we teach compassion.
And we always remember that the purpose of natural horsemanship is to make better people.
And, at age 54, I have the very rare privilege of seeing something that has existed in my head for years come into being.
Few things give more satisfaction.
Few things give more peace.
Posted by Steve Edwards