Saturday, November 15, 2014

Just A Quick Sketch Of What Goes On At The Horse Lot

People have a vague idea that our program is different from the traditional learning to ride in a circle in a sandy ring program but most do not understand how different. Many of the things that we do spawn other interests and projects for our riders. I do not claim credit for all of those examples of individual initiatives but they are all the result of teaching learning as a path to a path instead of as a path to a destination.

I am sure that I am going to miss several great examples, but just off of the top of my head, over the last few weeks our program or our program participants have taken been involved in the following: Atilla treated a cut on a horse with hydrotherapy for three weeks and has exercised the horse back into health, Lloyd has hand woven a bosal from the skins of deer, goat, cattle and pig that he cured, Pam has woven mohair cinches, several of my riders performed at an Americana Music program in Poquoson, we have worked together to begin to train a Corolla, Choctaw, Galiceno, Bacca, and Marsh Tacky; Jen became the first person to sit on Picasso, and rode Manny in the round pen, Abigail rode La Primera in the round pen for the horses first ride, Krista successfully rode her young Corolla, Katilina in the round pen for the first time, Ashley helped develop a program on sexual assault in one of her CNU classes and is working with me to develop training programs for law enforcement and social services on investigation of abuse cases, patients at the local VA hospital being treated for PTSD came out for their weekly sessions with the horses, young men from Mid Atlantic Teen Challenge spent half a day with us learning about communication, confidence and emotional control, our composting/vermiculture experiments began, Terry worked on expanding the trails Jacob cut in my woods, Kelly, Barb, and KC delivered their horses to a family of riders that moved to Georgia and returned with a Galiceno from Florida, several kids and adults have been working on deer hide tanning, Jackie has been working on the development of our Colonial Garden program, we had a great Halloween night ride in the woods, Rachel acquired Swimmer to become an offsite breeding satellite of the Corolla off site breeding program, we have begun working together for parade training, Thursday I will participate in a training session for Virginia Victim/Witness coordinators on using horses to help victims in sexual assault cases, in a few hours we will pack up and go to Southampton for a Nottoway tribal event, we have taken on a new rider or two, our mounted archery program has progressed to the point that for the last two sessions every kid hit the target at least once from a moving horse (Yesterday Abigail hit four out of six times), Barb is teaching the kids about acupressure points on horses, Lydia, KC and Jen put together a house for the beagles, winter grasses have been sowed on many of the pastures, we might be getting a step closer to 501 (c) 3 approval and, in general, things have been going right well.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Learning is a gateway drug...sort of like when Pam made her first set of reins...I said to her, "You are hooked now..knotwork is like eating cannot just have one." Now she is making gorgeous cinchas which are more durable and more comfortable for our horses than anything you can buy, unless you can buy from another craftsman. I really believe having the money to just throw at a problem really shorts out the possibilities...sure you can just trot down to the tack store and outfit the whole horse, but just like failing to exercise the proper discipline in training a horse, one does a disservice to oneself by simply letting the other folks whom you never see or meet do it all for you. Now, take any task you can do...even if you are not perfect and graceful at it. Then next time, hire it done...See, the difference there is the time and the heart put into it, the sense of self, and justifiable pride in what you have done. I, for one, feel a great sense of pride when I see a piece of tack that I have either made or repaired getting down the trail on one of our horses...carrying one of our riders.
a good example is the bosal that Steve mentioned above...the noseband on that thing is just about dawg ugly...but it will work just fine...that piece is meant for Stitch, my current training project, so, ulrimately, I will ride a horse signalling his movements with a device that I made, hung on him with a bridle that I rescued from and early demise, holding reins that I much more satisfying an accomplishment in life can one ask for?
Time was, everbody, or almost everybody could do these things and a whole lot more. I know of folks who cannot take a working stove, and a refrigerator full of real food which was not precooked and prepackaged and make a decent meal...some of them are college graduates..pfft. R.A. Heinlein famously said in his novel "Time Enough for Love" that insects specialize...a person should be able to do anything from changing a diaper to navigating a spaceship, or words to that effect. He then named a long list of things he felt a human should be able to do...and he was right.
I have sat in college classrooms only briefly...I am not knocking formal education by any means, but my life has gone other directions, and the way that I have learned many of the practical skills and methods I have tucked away up here by digging them out of old books and old men...I learned yesterday, two methods of making leather fluff up and get much softer (like those soft goat skin gloves everybody likes) just because I was deep into a disussion on various methods of going from live critter to useful textile...with a good meal thrown in.
I am just a bit proud of my hard won, if weird, practical education.
The beautiful tie in to Mill Swamp, is that while we have a loose sort of curriculum, there is really no hard and fast set of directions...just a bunch of stuff needs done...sometimes the folks who figure them out...come from the most unexpected places...then somebody else learns it and improves on the idea.
You do not get that from Sony or get it from using that five pounds of pudding between the ears...-Lloyd