Wednesday, October 21, 2009
When we were at Sherry's in the spring and they were doing the colt starting all of the horses had this calm, quiet trusting look in there eye, it was almost beyond words. I've never seen it before quite like that in young horses or even very often in horses that are being ridden consistently. It's the look you see when a horse and rider have a deep partnership. It's when people take notice of a special bond and comment "They are a great match". That's what I saw in those colts. The trust in their eyes showed through and that really stuck with me... I wanted that for Babe and I but up to this point I had only seen glimpses. It struck me right before we went in for the night that Babe was finally wearing that look. It warms me to see that expression in her eyes and its taken lots of time, sacrifice and the help of a great teacher to get us to the beginning of that relationship.
I still stand in amazement at what we actually accomplished yesterday. I can hardly express the emotion as it's still spinning around in my head. All I can really tell you is I've had this big stupid grin on my face all day! The reason is, with Sherry's guidance, I was able to RIDE Babe, my free 9 year old Morgan brood mare.
I truly had my doubts if we (I) would ever be able to get her riding. Sherry didn't have any doubts but I sure did. We've got even more work ahead of us now but it's been proven to me and Babe that will the right prep work and time we will be riding confidently some day and that day isn't an infinite amount of "some day's", it's the near future.
Sherry and I talked about pivotal moments in a horse's life with humans and how those times can happen as chance or you can create them. We created a huge wonderful one for her at that moment. Babe's expression, acceptance and willingness in that last half hour of play proved to me without a doubt that with consistent handling and good horsemanship that it will be a one of those moments in her life. I hope that it will always stand out as a before and after point. Do I think that everything will be easier now or that nothing bad will ever happen because she was calm/willing and accepting at that moment… of course not but what a great way to start her saddle horse career.
After a lot of soul searching Jessica decided she just didn't have the time and support to work with Babe on a consistent basis. So Erica (my apprentice) and I started Jessica’s Morgan Mare Babe this past Sept. We had her for 30 days, rode her for about 60 hours in 20 different rides plus ground work each day.
This is what Jessica said when she came to ride her horse after we had Babe for three weeks.
What a day!! What a ride!! Sherry said I was going to be blown away and that was an understatement. This is what I wrote to her about the ride: I just can't get over how good that was. I am so excited about it all. You were so right when you said it was so easy it was almost a let down. There was no let down about it but I think I got myself so wound up about it and all that was really required was just to ride my horse and trust her. It was so good, she feels so soft and solid. I felt our relationship was still quite solid despite not seeing her for a few weeks.
I was a little wound up because of the unknown when we started but she felt so good and solid under me that once I stopped thinking about it and just rode her like a broke horse all of the tension melted away.
We did a few minutes of ground work and I mounted up. She stood stock still, flexed very soft to both sides and then off we went. In the pen we did some walking, changing directions, and backing. She tucks her nose so sweetly and backs so softly it's fantastic. Then it was time to do some trotting. After I got over my butterflies we started moving together nice and she has this lovely springy little trot. Then it was time to canter... gulp! The first time wasn't so pretty because I had a hard time letting go of my tension to relax enough for her. The second time was a little better. Sherry assured me it would improve when we got on the trail.
And we were off... out into the wild blue :) Babe walked out great, relaxed and really enjoyed herself out on the trail. She seems to really excel out in the open. Any amount of tension she was holding was all blown out and we had a GREAT trail ride. We did lots of walking, trotting, transitions, turns around trees, up and down blow-outs (burms), squeeze in between cedar trees, crossed water!! It was very eventful. We did a few canter transitions and they were much better out on the trail. I was able to relax and encourage her and she never got worried she just held a canter as long (a few strides to several) as she could then slipped quietly back into a trot. I didn't ever have to completely one-rein stop her. We did circle into the down transition but it was all very soft and controlled.
We rode about 2 1/2 hours and she felt so solid the whole time. She has nice impulsion but it’s pretty balanced in her downward transitions also. She doesn't really have any "drunkeness" to her any more. I was very happy with her straightness. OH... and her HQ disengagement is wonderful. Sherry is going to start working more on FQ, sidepass and etc. next week.
I am thrilled with the progress and basically she was ready to go home. They have already far exceeded my goals for her training time. I will ride her next Saturday at camp and then she'll come home with me. I can't wait!!
Well Jessica rode Babe the next Saturday on another long trail ride, and did a wonderful demonstration to music for us. I am trying to get the video downloaded to youtube.
For the past four years I have had the privilege of working with a group of women who are dedicated to becoming the kind of horsewoman their horse needs them to be. Six years ago I officially started Heart in Your Hand Horsemanship LLC. However four years ago the idea of the horsemanship camps at my cousin’s beautiful guest ranch was born. There were 12 women at that first camp to let me give it a try. I planned and re-planned over and over all the details, until I had completely over-planned. But even so the results were fantastic and it was a huge success.
Since then I have lost count as to how many people and camps I have had. Each one has been different because of the different needs presented by both horses and riders. One thing is for sure they are never boring, you will be tired, you will be fed well, you will have fun, you will have challenges, and most of all you will go away changed from the experience. You won't solve all your problems in four days but you will make significant advancement and you will be one turn closer down the road toward your destination of becoming the kind of horseman you desire.
People who have come to my camps range from people who live in the city and don’t even own a horse, to people who show successfully, to working ranchers, to others with extreme fears, to those somewhere in the middle. They have been from 8 years old to 72 years young, both genders, and with a wide variety of experiences both positive and negative. No matter how vast the differences in skills are or how unlike their goals are, everyone who has come to our camps have a common bond which is a love of horses and wanting to be the best horseman they can be by gaining more savvy.
With this original core group of horsewomen who come back annually in October I have tried to make each year a little different and keep new information coming as they grew and changed. It has been a lot of work but worth it, as I have seen the development of each horse and person throughout the 4 years.
This year we had the worst weather we have ever had. However, we are fortunate enough to have an indoor arena, so it wasn't so bad after all. Even with the rain we do not have to fight mud because the sand seems to suck the moisture right away, so we do not have to worry about bad footing. I enjoyed the rain as Leigh Cheryl and I rode many miles on that last afternoon together.
The private lessons on Mon. were the crowning glory. Each person really got something they needed with their horse and some made very significant milestone changes that final day, which brought tears of joy. In fact, for those of you who have been to my camps you know that tears of joy and tears of frustration are nearly always a part of the process of change.
On the final classroom session at the camps I usually do what I call nuggets of knowledge where we list the things we have learned over the past four days. However this year I did a recap of the road we have traveled these last four years towards becoming better horsemen. I think it is a pretty good road map for anyone to follow towards becoming a good horseman.
The first year was all about CONFIDENCE: for both the horse and the rider. The theme was Finding Wings So Your Dreams Could Fly. I chose Women’s Confident Camp because while doing a demo at the NE Horse Expo it seemed everyone who came to talk with me afterwards told me how they lacked confidence like they saw in me with my special horse Cisco during our routine to music. At that first camp we focused on the ground games, simulations, and lectures which helped build the rider’s confidence. Without CONFIDENCE, it is pretty hard to be an effective leader or communicator with any kind of horse. Lack of confidence usually causes one of two things either the horse becomes more scared and lacks trust in you to do the right thing, or he becomes even more pushy and lacks respect in your ability to get him to do the right thing.
The Second Year we focused on the EMOTIONAL ELEMENT for both the horse and human. We studied the horsenalities. We accessed each horse’s emotionalcharacteristics and behaviors. We learned how to read a horse, how they learn and react. Then we learned some strategies about how to handle those emotional reactions a horse can throw at us. While we studied the emotional elements it wasn’t a surprise that we were all very emotional, in fact there were a lot of tears of frustration that year. The Theme was "The Journey Continues".
The Third Year we focused on thinking and having a plan. The MENTAL FITNESS wasstressed for both the rider and the horse. We set up patterns and puzzles for thehorse to solve. We talked a lot more about feel and how to develop it. Each person was given a check list of tasks to perform in order to access where they were in their horsemanship journey. By checking off the tasks we could and couldn't do with our horses we had a better picture of where we were on this road to becoming a horseman. We caused the people to think about where they have come from, where they are, where they want to go, and how to getthere. The theme was "Are We There Yet?"
This year we focused on developing the PHYSICAL in both the horse and rider. We stressed life up/life down, postures, conformation, etc. We accessed individual horses their willingness, calmness, attentiveness, conformation, abilities, and physical movements. We tried to apply the feel we have developed in ways to change the horses body and movements, towards relaxation, energy, and balance to set them up for collection.The Theme was "This is Your Time!" We demonstrated our steps forward by a shortperformance to music in a celebration of what we have accomplished the past four years. This really stretched some of us way out of our comfort zone. Another important element on the road to becoming a horseman. If you always play in your comfort zone pretty soon your playing field will start to shrink instead of grow.
As a result of the study of CONFIDENCE, EMOTIONAL, MENTAL, AND PHYSICAL FITNESS, necessary for horsemanship these dedicated women have all become better horsewomen. Through this evolution they have developed different goals. Even though they have all progressed at very different speeds and levels depending on how much time and effort they have had to put into the journey they always support and encourage one another because of their common bond of a love for horses and to be the best they can be for their horse.
It has been a pleasure being a part of their journey, and I look forward to what might happen next year. It will take some creativity to develop a new program for next year, but I’m sure we’ll come up with something that will be meaningful and applicable to the next turn on our road to becoming horsewomen.Horsemanship is an art form that to me takes a lifetime to really come into, because it is a way of life that involves change, constant assessment and adjustments to fit each horse. I’m not sure I will ever arrive at my final destination as a horseman, but I do know this that despite the hardships of change and learning, I’m having a heck of a good time riding down the road to becoming a horseman, and I know these women are too!
CONGRATS TO EACH OF YOU WHO IS RIDING DOWN THIS ROAD TO BECOMING A BETTER HORSEMAN!
IT IS EXCITING AND VERY REWARDING WHEN WE FEEL THAT RIDE THAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF!
"A little learning is a dangerous thing but a lot of ignorance is just as bad." -- Bob Edwards F
Every year I come home thinking this year was even better than last! I don't know how Sherry does it. One of the keys is her constant learning and personal development. As she grows, she shares with us and offers us the opportunity to expand our knowledge and playing field. She is always there encouraging and celebrating our successes.
The Switzers have a beautiful ranch with outstanding accommodations, food, and fellowship. We stayed in the North Lodge this year and we all agreed we liked it even better than the main lodge.
The spotlights were quite inspiring. Everyone has their strengths and it was fun to see them on display. The music adds a new dimension. For my turn, I asked Sherry to pick out two Mary Ann Kennedy songs and I rode Kisses freestyle to one and finesse (on contact) to the second. My plan was to live in the moment and ride the horse that showed up. Fortunately, my partner showed up and I was very happy with our ride.
We had some nice group trail rides and a couple group lessons. We were outside all day Saturday, but spent quite a bit of time in the indoor arena Friday, Sunday and Monday. Everyone had a private lesson with Sherry. Leigh and I wanted a trail ride to end camp, so our "lesson" was a ride with Sherry. We rode in the wind and the rain, but we also had some time when the wind was calm and the Sandhills had their special magic. I don't know how to describe it. The Sandhills are spiritual to me. I feel like this is the most beautiful area in God's creation and am so thankful I get to live here. The rain makes the footing even better. We walked, we trotted, we loped, maybe some galloping even. We went up and down the hills, we saw the deer enjoying the misty day. We were appreciative and thankful. It was the perfect ending for me.
Not sure what next year will bring, but I plan to make my annual pilgrimage to Calamus Outfitters for another camp with Heart in Your Hand Horsemanship.
As in every year, I come home from camp enriched in friendships, and my horsemanship. Although the weather certainly could have been better, I still loved every minute of it. The drive out to the beautiful Sand hills brought me peace and joy.
What I enjoyed most:
- The exercises we learned....
- Friday when we played with each others horses, I chose Blue. Leigh's mule. That was a first to play with a mule! He kept me on my toes and you could see he was two steps ahead of me all the way ;) What fun, and a challenge at the same time. I think I know now why Leigh is attracted to mules...!
- Saturday....the trail rides through the Sandhills. I am quite sure that is the most I have ridden Checkers in one day. I loved the ride out earlier in the day. It was the first time I've gone through the gate, landing my eyes on the vast Sandhills, and not feeling fear of the unknown. Checkers gave me that sweet confidence. Sherry showed me the hill that the first year I got off and walked up. (We call it the FAT FARM hill!) This year I cantered up to it. What a difference!
- I also played on my horse bareback that afternoon. Another thing I always wanted to do, but was too afraid to.
- We loved watching every one's routine to music.
- Sunday..... after Sherry's cowgirl church we moved indoors. Sherry kept us busy with exercises in the arena she uses in her colt training to create a softer more supple and responsive horse.
- Monday: For my individual lesson, I had Sherry show me how to Long Line using two reins. I loved the FEEL it presented to me on line. I wasn't sure I could handle two ropes, as I seem to have enough trouble with just one 22ft. but it wasn't as hard as I thought. And was actually fun!
- As usual Sherry gave us some nice study material including areas of Leadership, Communication, Partnership and Lightness. Again also emphasizing the Mental, Emotional and Physical Collection. It was a nice balance of thought and application.
I do feel it all came together for me this year. I have always felt like I was swimming under a layer of ice and I finally hit it from underneath hard enough and broke through. Thanks to my awesome horse Checkers, my mentor teacher Sherry, and my dear friends that are just as much a part of this journey as any thing else.
Wow...I'm finally where I want to be.
Lessons from Horsemanship Camp transferred to working cattle!
Had to write you to tell you what an exciting day I had today. We have been working our calves, pre-conditioning (vaccinating) for weaning in a couples weeks from now. Been using 4 wheelers for moving cows to corrals but used Jack for sorting in the corral. Was so happy to use the maneuvers you taught me on him and he worked so much better. I realized that what helps so much and why we do so good at it is because of the intention that you taught us about. We are so focused on the cow that even when one dives back into the herd, it is like parting the sea. So neat to realize how that works so well. I thought it was all Jack doing that however I do give him a lot of credit for his intentions.
Anyway another exciting thing that I learned today and thought you would be interested in was what I learned in moving the cows. We were taking the herd back to pasture with our 4 wheelers and I was watching our Border Collie and his herding at the same time my husband and I were criss-crossing in the back. It all came together, we were doing serpentines! That's what the dog was doing naturally. So I said "let’s try going up on opposite sides of the herd, turning in towards the cows and criss-crossing in the back, like your dance you talk about. It seemed to work great. I think we can really perfect our timing and dance as we only had about a half a mile to move them. Looks like if we want the herd to move in a different direction, the person on that side would go up a little farther. I am so anxious to try it some more.
So I got to thinking of this on a deeper level. Why I think this works is I think maybe cows need to be disengaged on the front end. When you think about it, when a cow gets on the fight, she braces in the front and faces her enemy. So exciting. I've heard that you need to move cows from the side so I am taking it a step farther. I think you need to disengage that front end and then drive them once moving. We have probably done a lot of this already without realizing what we were doing. I am so anxious to do more experimenting.
I haven't had time to work with Ace. We have been very busy. You did such a great job with him. I have way more hope for him now. Sprinklers have been breaking down and I help my husband with that. Almost through irrigating if we can just get through the next couple weeks.
The lessons that you taught were so, so, so valuable. Thanks so much and looking forward to working with you more.
What a wonderful spring, summer and fall season I have had. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to work with so many horses and their owners. But to tell you the truth the hectic schedule has been more than I expected and I am so far behind on office work and honey do projects around the home front that I need some time to just catch up, rest and play a little. Even though I love my job and I am so grateful that I have been on a horse nearly every day since last March I am going to take some time for catch up, rest, and play the next couple of months. However I will be in the Omaha and Lincoln Area for regular lessons the weekend of Oct. 23-26, Nov. 13-16, and Dec. 11-14.
I will still be taking private lessons at my house or the mini clinic with FREE trail rides on Wed. I will not be scheduling any clinics away from home until January 2010. I know it will be hard on the pocket book but I am willing to invest in this time for my family, my own horses and myself in order to keep balance in my life. But come January watch out, I plan to have another busy schedule with lots of fun and challenging learning opportunities for those who wish to participate. If you want to host a clinic, let me know as soon as possible and the 2010 Camp schedule will be coming soon as well. So sign up early you will be glad you did!
Both amateur horse owners and professionals who are in the horse business know all about work. There never seems to be an end to it. Being “all caught up” with your work is impossible. Being “all caught up” in your work is probable. The nature of horses is to be “on” twenty-four hours a day. A barn full of living animals dependent on our diligence for survival can be both tiring and at the same time very rewarding. Our responsibility to give daily care to our horses is a given, and I also consider it my duty to help my horses be happy and physically able to do the jobs I ask him to do. So I focus on building his confidence, mental and emotional frame of mind, and his physique. I am obligated to balance his work with relaxation and times of rest and play in order to keep him from getting sour.
I also take my job very seriously to help my clients continue advancing down the road toward becoming an even better horseman. I believe this is my calling. I feel thrilled to have found it and to have so many clients who put their confidence in me. The question I am asking myself right now is whether I am creating the opportunity in my busy life for rest and play like I give my horses to keep them fresh and exuberant. As I consider the balance of work, rest and play in my life I would like to offer these suggestions to those of you who may also feel the need for a little rest and play.
- Set a regular bedtime each night and do your best to stick to it.
- Rise each morning at close to the same time. Like our horses, our bodies thrive on routine and stress on chaos.
- Replace your mattress if it doesn't provide the comfort you deserve.
- Indulge in at least one break in the morning, in the afternoon, and stop to eat lunch.
Your mind and body will function better with defined breaks in your daily timeline to rejuvenate.
Now, if you need permission to take a break, slow down or have some fun, You are hereby ordered to get work, rest and play in balance. That is exactly what I am going to do and I know with this balance I’ll be refreshed and renewed for another busy 2010 season of clinics, lessons and camps. I look forward to working with old clients and meeting new ones.
Until next time,
Heart in Your Hand Horsemanship LLC
Others have said
"The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are really a wise man." -- Euripides
"Most people struggle with life balance simply because they haven't paid the price to decide what is really important to them." -- Stephen Covey
"We can be sure that the greatest hope for maintaining equilibrium in the face of any situation rests within ourselves." -- Francis J. Braceland
Creative Solutions: Find More Horse Time!
When I get together with a person, I always begin with asking them how it has been going since the last time I worked with them. And quite often the first thing I hear is, “I just haven’t had enough time to work with my horse. “
I do sympathize with them, because I realize how busy everyone seems to be these days. It can be frustrating to realize a month has gone by and you haven’t had time to do anything with your horse except feed him.
FIND MORE TIME BEHIND THE INVISIBLE FENCE!
Since time seems to be such a big obstacle I hear from so many horse lovers about why they can’t seem to progress as much as they would like with their horse I decided to share some creative solutions with all of you that I hope will help you find more time with your horse.
I'll bet you've heard of invisible fences (mainly for dogs), but you haven't seen one, have you? I know I have not ever seen one, but I have heard of them and some people have told me how well they work.
A person can see the components which make up this fence; like, wire and transmitters, but it is impossible to see the finished product. What we do see is the result of the invisible fence, which is the constant confinement of a dog in his yard. The dog respects the perimeter of the invisible fence even when other animals, objects or natural instincts may tempt him to leave. The invisible fence does its job establishing boundaries the dog will not cross.
It must be challenging to sell a product that no one can see. Instead of selling the product you have to sells its results. The results are the ability to keep your dog contained within an invisible perimeter. I'm sure you'll agree that boundaries are important in your life especially when you want your privacy and time respected. We could go on and on about boundaries that we have to establish in relationships especially with our horses. However, I am going to try to stay on point and talk about this problem of not enough time to spend with your horse in order to make the progress you desire.
Unfortunately, sometimes others don't respect the boundaries you want to establish in your business and personal lives especially when it comes to time. Have you ever noticed how the many people in your life have an unlimited amount of requests to make of you and your time? Wouldn't it be wonderful to have your own personal "invisible fence" to turn on and off whenever you needed to protect your horse time. Your invisible fence would allow you to get more done in less time without offending the time robbers in your life. Your message to others is that they are still very important to you, that you desire to be there for them, and that you are not inaccessible, but that you aren't always accessible on demand at any given moment.
How do you create your own invisible fence and get more horse time?
- Let voice mail answer the phone (and cell phone) for an hour or two. In fact you will find that I don’t answer my phone very often. But those who call me are very pleasantly surprised that I always call you back as soon as I can. Remember if the message is urgent, it will get to you. Disrupting your activity to accommodate a ringing phone costs you more time than you think when you consider the time for the call in addition to getting back on track with the project at hand. I never answer my cell phone when I am working with my horses or clients, they both deserve my undivided attention.
- Limit computer and TV time. It is unbelievable how much time can be sucked up by chat groups, e-mails, and TV programs. I try to be as efficient as possible in answering e-mails, and sometimes it is a better use of my time to call people to answer their questions instead of typing a book. I also try to only look at my e-mails once or twice a day max. And some days I even skip it, however, I work hard at being timely to reply, especially to clients. I don’t spend time any more reading all the cute jokes etc. I just can’t possibly keep up. I like our yahoo chat group and the support it provides the horse people who have taken lessons from me, so I keep up with it as best I can. However, I only look at other chat groups on occasion when I feel I can spare a few minutes, which isn’t very often. As for TV, there aren’t too many programs on these days I am all that interested in watching anyway. So I can live without it, and in fact I did for over 10 years. Not even one in the house. However, I think my hubby would have severe withdrawals without one.
- Get out of the mainstream, especially if you board your horse. I don’t mean you need to snub everyone. I think you will find it helpful to retreat to a more isolated area of the barn now and again to work with your horse in order to avoid so many interruptions and distractions. I live by a busy highway, and my arena is visible to drivers by. I often have people stop to visit for various reasons. Sometimes it is even strangers, curious about what I am doing. If I really need some time alone with a certain horse without interruptions for a short period, I go out back behind the trees in the pasture where I am invisible to passers by. I’m not being rude, rather I just want to focus on the horse and our relationship for a quality period of time. Kind of like shutting the bathroom door. If I’m out in the arena by the road, I’m polite to a friendly visit over the fence and realize I am open to that when I put myself in that area of my property. In other words my invisible fence is off or on depending on the location I choose to work in.
- Get Away! Leave the barn or your property for a few hours. You might not even have to trailer if you live in a rural area. Go to a nearby field, park, arena. Any location away from your other distractions that may keep you from quality time with your horse: like (the tank, tack, stalls, pens, need cleaned; the fence, roof, or a number of other things need repaired; the weeds, trees, shrubs, or lawn, need trimmed, etc. etc. etc.) You get the drift. Take a cell phone, laptop, a yellow pad to a library, the park, or a coffee shop where you can set goals and create a plan to keep yourself on track with your . You can often get a lot more done off premise.
- Establish a practice of an early start to your day. Get to your barn a half hour or more before the rest of the crowd arrives so you have the quality time we spoke about in #3. Developing some kind of a workable schedule will help you find more time with your horse. Just like a person schedules a yoga class, bowling league, church, etc. if you schedule a time for your horse, it will be more likely that you will keep the date. The people in WY have a natural horsemanship club, and they schedule regular meetings, play days and trail rides. See if you can find some like minded people to meet with on a regular basis. It helps to keep everyone more accountable. My Mom has been playing bridge on Wed. night with the same group of gals for over 30 years. I just know that I can’t ask her to do anything on Wed. nights because she plays bridge and I respect her time.
- Establish a practice of getting enough sleep. After attending one of my horsemanship camps, many of the people call me the “Ever Ready Energizer Bunny”. When I was in WY in Aug. I gave lessons from 8:00 am until 8:00 pm everyday without a break. Alyce brought me a sandwich out for lunch which I gobbled down as I taught a lesson. However, you can bet that by 10:00 pm I was sound asleep in my little bunkhouse, ensuring at least 8 hours every night. I would not have been able to keep up the pace without enough sleep.
- Get into the habit of saying No immediately to people who want you to do things that don't make sense to your business plan or to your personal plan. You don’t have to say Yes, to every request. It won’t make you less popular, accessible, or approachable. It will empower you to follow your values and develop even deeper relationships when boundaries are respected. No is the switch that will turn your invisible fence on to protect your boundaries.
I am not trying to lecture anyone by writing this article, nor am I trying to make anyone adapt to the principles that I live by, but these things seem to work for me. When I bend the rules of any of these seven solutions for very long, I find I don’t have enough quality time with my horses. I do have to be fairly disciplined when I am at home because of the amount of time I spend on the road. I hope you will be thinking of other ways to create your private invisible fence to protect others from intruding in your personal back yard. And if you come up with some other solutions that work for you, I would love to hear them.
From Emma’s Mom: Emma spent an afternoon at Sherry’s house, riding Cisco.
I just want to let you know what a tremendous impact you had on Emma the other day and thought you'd like to know the great things she's told me about her day with you.
When we were leaving she was in tears... tears of joy Sherry. She said to me; "Mom, she made such a difference in my life..." and the entire way home she told me all the neat things you'd shown her, the interesting ways you explained things to her and how you kept explaining things she didn't understand until she did grasp the idea! That was huge in her eyes Sherry - that you cared enough to keep explaining instead of becoming frustrated and getting angry or upset.
She was overjoyed having learned so many new things and the vital corrections you made in her riding. You notice when she does something right and encourage her, rooting for her to do well and seeing when she's made those changes! That is something she's not had before and was used only to hearing the mistakes she was making without positive correction or encouragement when she did do something right.
That's why I was so excited to get her started with you Sherry - I saw not only how you worked at the 4-H meeting but also how she responded to your encouragement and enthusiasm! I knew you would be kind, understanding and gentle yet firm but also that you would cheer and acknowledge when she'd grasped something new or corrected the things she needed to change. Seeing the good in her and rooting her on to do better made her a very happy little girl. She needs that and it's exactly what you give! Thank you!
I wish I could remember all the things she said so I could repeat them back for you - your heart would melt - you made that big an impact on Emma Saturday and she's very eager for more. Again Sherry, thank you!!! The remainder of Emma's weekend was spent telling anybody who'd listen about her time spent with you Saturday afternoon and even Popcorn Days paled in comparison to the fun, neat times she had with you Sherry.
Emma hasn't had many adults in her life that take an interest in her or her well being and though I have actively sought to bring her together with people that do care and want to be a participant, make a difference in a child's life for the better, unfortunately we've ended up with folks that talked a good story but in the end made things more difficult and hard - if that makes sense?
You obviously are not only great at horsemanship and care about teaching people how to correctly go about riding and owning a horse but also took the time to show Emma you cared about her - that's what made the difference!
Emma just kept repeating, tearily, on the way home how you'd "made such a difference in [her] entire life" and for a mom to hear that is the best thing in the world!!
Well Sherry I won't keep you but wanted to take a moment to thank you and share some of the wonderful things I'd heard from Emma with you, and hope it's put a big smile on your face. She had a fantastic weekend thanks to you!
We look forward to seeing you Wednesday at 10:00 Sherry.
And Emma, I had a fantastic time with you too and so did my special horse Cisco! Thanks for being careful to do what I asked with him, as he is so dear to me.Thanks for giving me the opportunity to serve you and share with you my love and passion of horses and especially my wonderful horse Cisco. I’m looking forward to working with your yearling filly next week.
From Carla in Wyoming: Working with her Young Horse
Thank you for the very encouraging note! The day after our lesson, I practiced the loading button. She followed me in the trailer twice, the third time she walked in and stood there on her own, just like you said she would! I’ve also been climbing on her back from the fence. How much fun is that? It is so comfortable to lay on her bare back. I then saddled her and bridled her and we rode safely and relaxed in the round pen. She stops when I use my butt and when I pick up one rein she crosses her back legs to turn. I am working her with confidence thanks to you. I’ve got two more colts to start and I am excited.
Your saddle pard,
Old Carla in WY
Thanks Backatya’ Carla. I knew you could do it! See you again next year!
Sherry on Milo (3 year old training horse) at fall Women's Camp
Well summer is winding down and we are approaching my favorite time of the year, FALL and the HOLIDAYS! I usually complain about summer heat, but I have to admit that I didn’t whine near as much this year because for the most part it has been fairly cool here. I didn’t even use a whole bottle of Anti-Monkey Butt Powder to control the heat rash I normally put up with. I only had a few break outs this summer, and Keith and I saved a lot of money this summer as we rarely used out air conditioner. Our concrete house stayed nice and cool this summer with gentle breezes blowing through the open windows. I have to admit we used less fly spray on our horses than ever before because we just haven’t had as many flies this year, which was not only less annoying but another money saver. Then all the wonderful rains we have had has kept our pasture going much longer than normal which amounts to less hay consumption, another dollar saver. And last I have had the most business ever in one summer since I started this business full time just 5 years ago. I wish every summer in NE could be this lovely.
Even in the midst of a so called economic down turn a business can thrive with a little help from mother nature, careful strategic budget and market planning, an optimistic attitude, excellent customer service, a fair price, and consistent, encouraging, and positive results which benefit the client.
I can now smell and feel fall in the air and it gets me excited as I love the approaching cooler seasons. I am also excited about the young horses coming to my house this month for training and Erica returning to work with me. She is no longer called an apprentice but my training associate as she has paid her dues and worked hard with me the past three years. However, if you were thinking of sending a young horse this fall you will have to wait until the next course in the spring of 2010, as we are full again for this Sept. As of right now, I plan to take more young horses next spring and fall as I work better in cooler weather. And I plan to have apprentices here at the same time to support my work with the young horses. So if you are interested in the internship program for 2010 please call me as soon as possible to visit about the possibilities.
The summer months next year will be set aside for the successful camps at Calamus Outfitters, plus traveling for private lessons and clinics. I will be going back to Wyoming again next summer for a couple of weeks as they have already requested my return. In fact they want to make it an annual event. A couple of other 4-H groups have already requested another clinic for next year. The 2010 schedule will come out in the next couple of months.
I am thinking of slowing it down a bit in Nov. and Dec. in order to start writing and designing artwork for a second book, plus I love decorating for the holidays and having guests over. Of course, I will keep with my once a month schedule to Omaha and Lincoln for private lessons and mini clinics throughout the rest of this year as I have a very dedicated group of students willing to take monthly lessons from me. I will also still welcome anyone wanting to come to my place for lessons Oct.-Dec. upon special request. Even with bad weather we can always go out to Calamus Outfitters to ride in the indoor arena.
This year a lot more people have come to visit me for private lessons and I love the fact that I don’t have to travel. It is so fun to share my lifestyle and our horse herd with those who come. However, I also know it will always be necessary for me to travel to meet the needs of horse lovers wanting to expand their horsemanship journey. So even though I would like to live in the fantasy world of everyone coming to me, I realize this is not possible. You can be confident I will continue to be the traveling trainer who is always accessible, approachable, adaptable, and reliable. I do still suggest that you consider a trip our place in the sandhills. I promise it will be an awesome experience. This year I have had people travel from MN, CO, WY, IL, IA, MO, and yes even FL to our little piece of heaven here in central NE. And all of them have been more than happy with the experience and have found it to be a quality investment in their future with their horses.
I am also looking forward to three Women’s Camps between now and Oct. 6th. It is always so much fun to have horse lovers come out to enjoy the beauty of the sandhills with me, and allowing me to share my passion for horsemanship through natural feel with them. As I look forward to my favorite seasons, I also look forward to the horses and their owners that I will encounter this fall. And more than anything I look forward to the relationships we will develop, the lessons I will teach them and the lessons they will in turn teach me.
Until next time,
Heart in Your Hand Horsemanship LLC
Author of "Win Your Horse's Heart" (And Be a Better Horseman)
"High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation"--Charles Kettering
"This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it."-- Ralph Waldo Emerson