Saturday, December 17, 2016
A New Day For Our Program: Ossabow Hogs
Woke up same as always--looked over at the clock, a bit past two am, quickly figure out which day it is. Do I have court today? No, it might be Friday--mind begins to clear more--no its Saturday.
Vague feeling of excitement, bordering on happiness--can't figure out why.
Then I wake all the way up and realize that as of lunch time yesterday we now have a pair of colonial pigs for the settler's farm--the real thing--no more wincing as I take visitors by the pig pen and have to explain that the hogs that they see are primarily of modern extraction. We now have the real thing--stepping back in time to see some of the rarest pigs in existence. Knowing that if one wants to see such pigs one can go to Mount Vernon, Colonial Williamsburg, or......Mill Swamp Indian Horses.
Pam deserves the credit for this tremendous acquisition. I had absolutely no idea this was happening. Let me try to explain why this is so important.
Our program is many faceted and we offer several different "products." These products include, fun, healing, peace, exercise, a sense of belonging and at times, pure joy. But there is another product that we offer that is particularly important to me--knowledge.
It is easily understood that we are a breed conservation program focusing on preventing the extinction of the Corollas and several other strands of historic Colonial Spanish Horses. It is easily understood that we are a riding program that teaches natural horsemanship to children and adults. It is less obvious that we are a soil conservation program that seeks to use permaculture principles to enhance the environment.
But what is not so obvious and easily understood is that we are an educational institution. That function is very important to me. To allow children to see wondrous things and to open their minds to things they never imagined, and to do it all so subtly that they do not even realize that they are being taught, gives me the greatest of pleasure.
These pigs will open minds to history, agricultural production, economics, and ecological studies in ways that a class room or a library cannot. You would understand if you had been with me yesterday as I explained to a teenager who lives in the inner city why the horse's name is Ta Sunka Witco. This lead to a discussion of names, culture, history and heroism that lit his eyes up.
If reading this causes you to do a bit of research to learn about Ta Sunka Witco our educational mission will have enlightened one more person. And that is why seeing these Christmas pigs come to join our program has delighted me so much.
Posted by Steve Edwards