Thursday, January 28, 2010

Life's Most Beautiful Day!

Today is my birthday! The only reason I mention it at all, is because three years ago today I met Jackson for the very first time. This is the picture located on the ad on that sucked me in, and wouldn't let me GOOOOO....
This is another pic from the ad... Jackson with Yvonne's daughter who was the co-owner. Funnily enough, despite being a Texas horse where the Western discipline is predominant, Jackson was trained and ridden in an Australian saddle with a French Link Snaffle. Yvonne thought he looked wonderful as an "English horse" when she saw him in his new tack. And I still ride him in his French Link....

Jackson the day I met him. I could tell he LOVED his owner Yvonne. She had owned him since he was four months old and I got him when he was seven. Medical and financial reasons forced her to sell; I could tell she DID NOT want to let him go. I don't blame her, he is the very best horse in the world! He was all bit up from the mares he was boarded with, and of course scruffy with his winter coat. I could still see how PERFECT he is!

I fell in love.
I brought him home two weeks later and though we have had anything but an easy road, I wouldn't change it for the world. Thank you Yvonne for the gift you gave me, Jackson is truly the horse of my heart!
Truly life's most beautiful day. The day I was born (hee hee) and the day I met MY horse for the very first time!

Equine Dictionary Definition: in the plate- Said of a rider seated on the saddle on a horse. Hmmm. My favorite place to be.....

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Trottin' Into the Wind

"Oh Lordy, she's kissing me again?" Puts on tolerant face, eyes at half mast.

Yesterday dawned bright and sunny with 70 degree temperatures, calling us to ride. I got out to Linda's and the wind gusts were blowing us over. Easily 35-40 mph.  But, nothing was going to stop us from riding (because of rain, mud and schedules, none of us had ridden in 2 weeks...HORROR!) so we set out and tacked up. Jackson tends to spook when it's really windy, but I thought to myself, "Oh well, he'll have to get over it, and I will too, because WE ARE RIDING!" Other than him trying his, "I'm going to back up so you'll turn around and put me away," antic at the onset, he did great! I just did a few circles to make him think he was getting his way, and then finally just gave him a kick and a stern "Walk On!," and he started walking across the big scary pasture with 3 feet of dried grass.

We rode over to Lorri's to pick her up, but didn't do any arena work or jumping today (OK, I did trot cavaletti) but the wind was miserable and it just wouldn't have been fun to hang out there. Not even for jumping. Lots of nice scary noises to freak Jackson out, but he did well with them all, even the rumble of the tin roof on the barn that would have scared me if I were a horse! Lots of good bomb proofing experiences were going on at Lorri's yesterday, including her husband burning the Christmas tree (yep, in the wind! we all just shook our heads over that one, even his wife...MEN! ;) but of course, it helped that he had been there several times before. Still, I was impressed with his calm, (somewhat on alert, but calm) demeanor and "spook smarts." I usually am prepared to sit at least one big side spook, possible 360, or crow hop a ride. That is just my horse and his breed, and I think I am fairly adept at it. I have never fallen off from one of those...although I almost did yesterday, read on!

Monting from the "off" side. I don't use a mounting block too often, but wanted to start that new experience with a nice leg up!

The three of us decided to head out into the back 40 where we often ride, it offers lots of trees, and just a nice ride. There are some super nice paths to trot or canter and a huge open field for practice and fun. We didn't hit the field due to the wind, but had a nice time the first half of the ride meandering along trails and talking. Lorri's horse Ozzie, (also an AngloArab like Jackson) kept having issues with invisible things on the trail, which Jackson decided not to imitate multiple times, despite being right behind her. That is just Ozzie, and Lorri is such a terrific rider that she is unfazed by her antics.

So we got to the point in the ride where we decided to go at a nice pace and trot for a couple of miles. Through trees, sharp turns, up and down ditches, through water, all kinds of fun stuff. Jackson still wasn't having any part in Ozzie's antics, just being my sane reliable mount. YAY! Then we came around a bush, and Ozzie dropped her left back hip and just moved out to the side. Huge side spook, or whatever you want to call it! Assuming Jackson was not going to imitate it, I didn't expect it, but I guess the back burner in my mind said, "Hang on!" cause darned if Jackson didn't imitate the very same movement! I sat it and lost a stirrup, but I was thinking while it happened, "Hmmm. What's the best way to fall off here?" I have less weight and more inner core muscles to thank, (or heck, maybe just luck) for sticking it! And then the culprit of the spook showed himself. Linda's dog Zelbar had gotten loose and skulked after us, making his appearance known in a sly way...

Linda on Traveler her new 3 year old QH/TB

So, once that got sorted out we had a pleasureable, uneventful rest of our ride. Oz proceeded to make Lorri work, especially when we put Jackson in the lead; she believes that since mares RULE and all geldings DROOL, she should be in the front. She will let Jackson ride abreast of her, but she wants to be in charge. Jackson could care less. He loves to be the one forging the trail, but he gives to bossy mare Oz easily, he just doesn't care that much! Lorri cracked me up. She made a comment, saying, "How do we have the same breed of horse, and yours is so sane? He never spooks!" This was after the spook with the dog, but she is correct. Jackson doesn't have half the issues with MONSTERS that Ozzie does. Who knows? Ozzie is a gem in the arena to take a dressage lesson on, but she can be hell on the trails. Lorri handles her fine, and you can often hear a giggle as they are disappearing around the corner at a full out gallop or some other crazy gait, so I think they are a match made in Heaven! Me, I'll stick to my horse on the trails, and ride Oz in the arena! :)
It was great to finally ride; talk about JONESING for something, and I'm glad that we still had fun in spite of that infernal blasting wind!

OOPS! Once again forgot to take my camera out when we were on the trail, I'm a bad blogger! You'll have to settle for the before the ride pics, which Lorri missed as she was tacking up! Next time!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Horse Lovers Defined

Here's a funny thing I ran across, does any of it sound familiar? :)


Usually found wearing shorts and a sports bra in the summer; flannel
nightgown, muck boots, and a down jacket in the winter. Drives a Ford
150 filled with saddle blankets and dog hair. Most have deformed toes
from being stepped on while wearing flip-flops. Has a two-horse
bumper-pull trailer, but uses it for hay storage, as her horse hasn't
been off the farm in 6 years. Can install an electric fence, set a
gate, and roll a round bale, solo. Rode well and often when she used to
board her horse, 5 years ago. Took horse home to "save money" and has
spent about 50 grand on acreage, barn, fence, tractor, etc. Has two
topics of conversation -
1) How it's too hot/cold/wet/ dry to ride.
2) How she may ride after she fixes the fence/digs drainage
ditches/stacks 4 tons of hay.


Looks like a throwback from a Texas ranch, despite the fact that he
lives in the suburbs of New Jersey . Rope coiled loosely in hand in case
he needs to herd any of those kids on roller-blades away from his F-350
dually in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Cowboy hat strategically placed,
and just dirty enough to look cool. Levi's are well worn. "Lightning"
is, of course, this natural horsemanship guy's horse. Rescued from a bad
home where he was never imprinted or broke in the natural horsemanship
way, he specialized in running down his owners at feeding time,
 knocking children off his back on low-hanging branches, and baring his teeth.
The hospitalization tally for his previous handlers was 12, until he was sent to Round Pen Randy;
after ten minutes in said pen, he is now a totally broke horse, bowing
to the crowd, and can put on his own splint boots (With R.P. Randy's
trademark logo embossed on them). R.P.R. says, of all this, "Well,
shucks ma'am, tweren't nuthin'! It's simple horsemanship. With this
special twirly flickitatin' rope ($47.95 plus tax), you'll be
round-pennin' like me in no time!"


Wears Lycra tights in wild neon colors. The shinier the better, so the
EMTs can find her body when her horse dumps her down a ravine. Wears
hiking shoes of some sort, and T-shirts she got for paying $75 to
complete another torturous ride. Her horse, Al Kamar Shazam, used to be
called "you bastard" until he found an owner almost as hyper as he is.
Shazam can spook at a blowing leaf, spin a 360, and not lose his big
trot rhythm or give an inch to the horse behind him. Has learned to
eat, drink, pee, and drop to his resting pulse rate on command.
 He has compiled 3,450 AERC miles; his rider compiled 3,445 miles (the
missing five miles are the ones when he raced down the trail without
his rider after performing his trademark 360). Over-heard frequently:
"Anyone have Advil?" "Anyone got some food? I think last year's Twinkies
went bad." "For this pain I spend money?" "Shazam, you bastard-it's
just a leaf" [thud]!


Is slightly anorexic and trying her best to achieve the conformation of
a 17-year-old male in case she ever has a clinic with George Morris.
Field marks include greeny-beige breeches and a baseball cap when
schooling or mud-colored coat and hardhat with dangling chinstrap when
competing. Forks over about agrand a month to trainer
 for the privilege of letting him/her "tune" up
the horse, which consists of drilling the beast until it's going to put
in five strides on a 60 foot line no matter WHAT she does. Sold the
Thoroughbred (and a collection of lunging equipment, chambons, side reins) and bought
a Warmblood, a ladder and a LONG set of spurs. Talks a lot about the
horse's success in Florida without exactly letting on that she herself
has never been south of the Pennsylvania line.


Has her hair in an elegant ponytail and is wearing a visor and gold
earrings sporting a breed logo. A $100 dollar custom jumper (also with
breed logo) is worn over $300 dollar full-seat white breeches and custom
Koenigs. Her horse, "Leistergeidelsprun dheim" ("Fleistergeidel" for
short) is a 17.3-hand Warmblood who was bred to be a Grand Prix horse.
The Germans are still laughing hysterically, as he was bred to be a
Grand Prix JUMPER, but since he couldn't get out of his own way, they
sold him to an American. His rider fell in love with his lofty gaits,
proud carriage, and tremendous athleticism. She admires mostly while
lunging. She lunges him a lot, because she is not actually too keen to
get up there and try to SIT that trot. When she rides, it's not for
long, because (while he looks FINE to everyone else), she can tell that
he is not as "through" and "supple" as he should be, and gets off to call the
chiropractor/ massage therapist/psychic, all of which is expensive. But
he WILL be shown, and shown right after he perfects (fill in the blank).
The "blank" changes often enough that the rider can avoid the stress of
being beaten at Training Level 1 by a Quarter Horse.


Is bent over from carrying three saddles, three bridles, three bits,
and three unrelated sets of clothing (four, if she is going to have to
do a trot up at a 3-Day). The hunched defensive posture is reinforced
by the anticipation of "a long one" a ditch and a wall, and from living in her
back protector. Perpetually broke because she pays THREE coaches (a
Dressage Queen, a jumper rider, and her eventing guru, none of whom
approve of the other) and pays trailers/stabling/ living expenses to go
600 miles to events that are spread out over 5 days.
She is smugly convinced that Eventers arein fact the only people in the
world who CAN ride (since Dressage Queen's don't jump,
the H/J crowd is too afraid to go OUT of a ring,
and the fox hunters -- a related breed -- don't have to deal with
dressage judges). Hat cover on cross-country helmet is secured with a
giant rubber band, so she can look like her idol, Phillip. Her horse,
(who has previously been rejected as a race horse, a steeplechase horse
-- got ruled off for jumping into the infield tailgating the crowd -- a
jumper, a fox hunter, and a polo pony (no bit stops this thing) has two
speeds: gallop and "no gallop" (also known as stop 'n' dump). Excels at
over jumping into water, doing a head first "tuck and roll" maneuver,
and then her horse, exiting the complex (catch me if you can!), before
his rider slogs out of the pond. He often stops to lick the Crisco off
his legs before continuing gaily on to the merciless oxer jump just
ahead. Owner often threatens to sell, but as he has flunked out of every
other English-riding discipline, he will have to be to a barrel racer.
"Saddle (n); An expensive leather contraption manufactured to give the
rider a false sense of security. Comes in many styles, all feature
built-in ejector seats.."

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Now, Now

Allison & I discussing a lesson

I'm going to be honest. I have a problem. It is something many of you can probably relate to, or not, depending on where you want to go with your horse and what type of riding goals and dreams you have set for yourself. Here it is. I have huge expectations of my horse and myself. That is good, but I think I get too serious at times and am not stopping to appreciate what we've accomplished, and the joy that is right there between my legs (oohhh that sounded a :) and at the end of my reins. I am IMMENSELY impressed with how far Jackson and I have come in just one year, but sometimes instead of appreciating that, I find it not enough, and wanting more, more, more.
 I have no real good pictures of our lessons because my face is so serious I look mad. I assure you I am not mad, but when I concentrate deeply I look mad! I would like to keep my  focus and gain the experience of the joy in a lesson. Learning on my horse. I love it, but at the same time, get so driven that I forget about the love! So I must lose the Type A stuff which is probably even impeding our learning somewhat! I just want perfection immediately, and that is not the way with horses. I am not saying that on a trail ride or while loafing around, I can't enjoy myself, because at those times I COMPLETELY relax. But I really want to become a proficient dressage rider and turn Jackson into a jumper. Of course, I know these things take time. I'm just impatient. Does this strike a cord in any of you? If it does, I'd love to hear about it!
Here is a quote that I love from Mark Rashid's book, Horses Never Lie.
 "I'm not saying that I think goals are bad. They can give direction and purpose. But the problem I see with being too goal-oriented is that it can be awfully easy to lose sight of the moment, to become so focused on the destination that you miss the journey." "I am beginning to realize that a person never gets 'there.' This is really a journey with no destination. It is an unending process. Everything that is important is 'as you go,' not 'when you get there,' because there is no there!"

So there it is. The words of wisdom to live by. It's the journey, not the destination!

And I must give thanks and kudos to Bre over at G is for Greta  for making me my fantastic new banner! Check out her blog, it's wonderful! And thanks again, Bre!

FYI Equine dictionary definition: horsecorser- A dealer in horses, particularly a tricky one.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Walking the Dog

As a dog lover/owner I am forced to laugh and post this poem to be enjoyed by those with my same warped sense of humor! From the picture I'm sure you can see who rules the roost in my house!

Walking the Dog

Two universes mosey down the street
Connected by love and a leash and nothing else.
Mostly I look at lamplight through the leaves
While she mooches along with tail up and snout down,
Getting a secret knowlege through the nose
Almost entirely hidden from my sight.

We stand while she's enraptured by a bush
Till I can't stand standing any more
And haul her off; for our relationship
Is patience balancing to this side tug
And that side drag, a pair of symbionts
Contented not to think each other's thoughts.

What else we have in common's what she taught,
Our interest in shit. We know its every state
From steaming fresh through stink to nature's way
Of sluicing it downstreet dissolved in rain
Or drying it to dust that blows away.
We move along the street inspecting it.

Her sense of it is keener than mine,
And only when she finds the place precise
She signifies by sniffing urgently
And circles thrice about, and sqauts, and shits,
Whereon we both with dignity walk home
And just to show who's master I write the poem.
                             --Howard Nemrov

I recently aquired a very cool book: The Equine Dictionary. With each of my posts I'll post a new word with its definition. Today's I know, but I like, so I will post it!

pas de deux: A dressage term: a freestyle dressage program ridden by two riders.

I have a keychain that says "Just Deux It!" and one day Lorri commented that I was catching up with her, one day we would be ready for pas de deux at a show. I'm so sure.... :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Fall Off Seven Times?? For Real?

They say that falling off seven times makes you a real equestrian. I beg to differ!
(I can honestly say I have no idea how many times I've fallen off in my life, that would be interesting to know, then I could make it my lucky number! Probably in the 20's or 30's somewhere! Since the age of six...)

Check out this humorous list of 10 simple exercises that will help you become a better equestrian.

10. Drop a heavy steel object on your foot. Don't pick it up right away. Shout, "Get off, Stupid, GET OFF!"

9. Leap out of a moving vehicle and practice "relaxing into the fall." Roll tightly into a ball and spring to your feet.

8. Learn to grab your checkbook out of your purse and write out a $200 check without even looking down.

7. Jog long distances carrying a halter and a carrot. Go ahead and tell the neighbors what you are doing - they might as well know now.

6. Affix a pair of reins to a moving freight train and practice pulling to a halt. Smile as if you are having fun.

5. Hone your fibbing skills: "See hon, moving hay bales is FUN!" and "No, really, I'm glad your lucky performance and multimillion dollar horse won the blue ribbon. I am just thankful that my hard work and actual ability won me second place."

4. Practice dialing your chiropractor' s number with both arms paralyzed to the shoulder and one foot anchoring the lead rope of a frisky horse.

3. Borrow the US Army's slogan: Be All That You Can Be -- bitten, thrown, kicked, slimed, trampled, frozen...

2. Lie face down in a puddle of mud in your most expensive riding clothes and repeat to yourself, "This is a learning experience, this is a learning experience, this is ..."


"Who? ME?"

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Stills~Peggy's Percherons

The first two pictures are Peggy's Percheron cross ZiZi. Can't wait to go out and ride her, it should be quite the experience after my little 15.3 hand Jackson!!!
Eclipse is Peggy's newest addition, a full blooded Percheron, and is pictured in the last three pictures. Eclipse was 17 months old and 17 hands high when these were taken this summer... WOW.
Aren't they both gorgeous?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Let the Jumping Begin...

Yesterday started out a bit cold and yucky looking, but I decided to trek out to ride horseface. It warmed up to 51 degrees (argh) which was actually alright once I got the blood pumping a bit! Linda decided to ride her new 3 yr. old QH/TB Traveler who is a newbie and needs some miles. He is going to be quite handsome when he fills out (AND stops BITING saddles and wooden fences), but right now he is a bit gawky. He opened a gate with Linda aboard though, so I am thinking he is quite sane of mind, and take back some of my comments regarding him and his affinity for a certain someone's Australian saddle--he BIT it! That saddle I am not as concerned about, but if he so much as looks at my Bates jumping saddle, fur will fly! :)

We had a nice little trail ride in the acreage behind Linda's house and a nice even, collected trot (maybe a mile total) with Jackson (on the bit!) as the leader setting the pace around the humongous field back there. I informed Jackson that he is a big boy now and had to show Traveler all that he has learned! Then we made the little trek over to our friend Lorri's to ride with her. My ears TOTALLY perked up when Linda told me Lorri was setting up some trotting cavaletti for us to play with. My mind also also went hmmmm.... as I remembered the jump standards that have recently been given to Lorri by a friend who moved. I have been eyeing them for over a month now. I walked Jackson over them before our last dressage lesson (Lorri has an arena where we take some of our lessons) but quickly realized that they were just a bit too high for walking over, I would have to jump 'em!

I have done ground cavaletti with Jackson out at Triple H and jumped things 12 inches or lower on trail rides and on Triple H's XC course, but I haven't (and I'll be honest here) had the cojones to take anything higher. You see, Jackson has never been jumped before, is fairly green, and let's face it, I have had these fear issues  which started after breaking my shoulder when I first got Jackson. Those fear issues are getting rather worn, tattered and tiring. In fact, so tiring that they are LEAVING! So when we got to Lorri's we walked, talked and played with our horses around the pasture, and then I started attacking the set of 4 cavaletti you see above at a trot. Jackson did great. He is willing, and he is smart. I will post these pics below, but please don't comment on the equitation! Of course I look like crap, I haven't jumped in, well, let's just say A LONG TIME. (I'm looking forward to jumping things that actually require me to RAISE my stirrups up, and put the KNEE BLOCKS back on my jumping saddle!)  Anyway, he took the set of 4 cavaletti well, along with a set of two we also had set up across from them. Lorri and Linda both said he really did them nicely with his legs up and moving evenly with some really nice work with his hocks.

After that, we did some arena work, but I just kept eyeing the two jumps right beside the arena, thinking "Mindy, it IS time." And these are easily accomplished jumps. A horse will jump things this low quite easily. But if he knows his rider is a chicken butt.... Well, I'm sure you know what can happen then! I left the arena by the side door, (and heard just what Allison, my instructor would have to say about THAT in my mind--I quickly made the gals promise that I would not be reported for my lack of dressage etiquette :) and just sat astride Jackson looking at the jumps--contemplating and inwardly feeling so confident that we could do them,  but at the same time trying to banish the little tendrils of doubt that were trying to creep in. Of course the girls were all over me after they noticed me standing there just looking for five minutes or so. Take the jumps, you can do it, etc.
"Well, why the hell not?", I thought.

I knew we were ready. Kind of. The first attempt was, well, a gallant attempt. We took the first in the set of two fine (it is lower) and then Jackson ran out (cause I chickened out and let him) on the second one--which is higher even though the pic doesn't really show it. He pulled this a couple more times, and then of course, I had to get the big girl britches out, because if I let him get away with evading a fence at this early stage, and didn't jump it successfully because I let him run out on the jump, well, a jumping team we would quite possibly NEVER be. So, I approached again. Took the first and just applied major leg, with every bit of my mind screaming, "GO!" And he did. He JUMPED it. It wasn't pretty, it wasn't in the middle of the jump (so he took the higher part which is easily 2 feet) but it was done! We came out of the jump at a canter (my old? nemesis) and  I thought nothing of it. It felt normal, natural and great. I really didn't have time to do anything but ride it, then Linda started shouting, "You're cantering!" I just looked at her and said, "I know, I'm on his back." LOL. Then Lorri piped in with, "Mindy, TELL him he did good!", which I immediately did. It was the shock and happiness and amazement, all at once, making me forget to instantly reward his AMAZINGNESS! We jumped? (maybe two feet? easily 18 inches anyway!) And came out of it at a canter? AND NO EVERYONE, I DID NOT HAVE EVEN ONE MEETING WITH THE GROUND!! OH HAPPY DAY!

 After that, Lorri jumped Kite who had NEVER been jumped before (she jumps her other horse). This is the horse she had the really BAD accident on in June. Kite also ran out on the second jump a few times, so I didn't feel as bad! Lorri is an amazing, accomplished rider who could be an instructor herself, it was really nice having her on the sidelines telling me what to do and what I was doing wrong.

Below are a montage of images from the caveletti at a trot. I wasn't trying to two point, just float above the saddle a bit. The jumps did not warrant it, and my stirrups are at the length I use for dressage! Sadly, my camera was in my pocket when we did our first BIG BOY jump! Next time video is coming into play! Allison and I are going to have to have a talk. I still want to take dressage, as I think it is teaching me a LOT about my riding, but I want jumping lessons now too. We ARE ready.

Linda and Lorri. Without these two and their eternal patience, teaching, and encouragement in the past two years, I don't know where I'd be.
Thanks girls!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

My Wish for the New Decade

Sometimes things don't go, after all, from bad to worse.
Some years, muscatel faces down frost; green thrives, the crops don't fail. Sometimes a woman aims high, and all goes well.

A people sometimes will step back from war, elect an honest man; decide they care enough, that they can't leave some stranger poor. Some women become what they were born for.

Sometimes our best efforts do not go amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to. The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow that seemed hard frozen: may it happen for you.
                                                                        ~Sheenagh Pugh

This is my hope for the new decade. The last one can BEGONE! May it do just that please. Really bad times have plagued the last ten years! Time for the earth to enter new orbits, the moon to do something new and unheard of; something! Not everything has been bad, but trust me on the fact that it was a decade of survival and not much else! I am looking forward to looking back on most of it!
May Peace happen for us all!
So while you all are making your resolutions and goals, I am just praying and hoping I am heard. Peace, oh blissful peace....

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Triple H Equitherapy-- Horses for Heroes Program

A few of you know of my volunteer work at the Triple H Equitherapy program as a horse handler, side walker, tack cleaner, and grunt for the yearly Triple H Scavenger Hunt. I am pleased to say that The Hooves to Heroes Program has recently gotten major funding, and at LAST is getting some attention from the military to aid our wounded veterans. I have not participated in working with the veterans as of yet. As you can well imagine, EVERYONE wants to volunteer for those classes, and we have only had three or four riders participate so far. There will be more, and perhaps then I will be placed in a class, but I am not worried about it. I am just happy that the program is finally happening; some of you may know that my son's father is currently in Iraq for one year, and I myself was in the military at one time, so it is wonderful seeing the program getting the funding and attention it deserves!

I just bloom where I am planted out there, and especially love working with the Developmentally Disabled folks as that is where I have 12 years of experience.  Having my son full-time has put a bit of a damper on volunteering, especially during the school year.

I currently fill in occasionally, clean tack when I can, and went out last week to help clear trails on horseback for our annual Mounted Scavenger Hunt. I miss my classes! During the summer I was involved in one two hour class for an at risk youth who had been abused, and a two hour class for an autistic child (age 8) and his brother (age 10). Sometimes we forget that the sibling needs a little horsey therapy too! I enjoyed these classes as we taught horse care from the ground up. How to act around a horse, how to groom, tack up, and then the culmination--Riding!  My son's brother (age five) has been diagnosed with autism, and I would love to see him out there riding too.

In the future I plan on working on my instructor certification. Sadly, not being able to volunteer as often has put a HUGE hold on that plan for right now. However, I will not give up on those plans, and in the New Year will work to make my volunteering committment more frequent. With summer creeping up, there will be more classes, and I won't have to worry about being there when the kiddo gets home from school to do homework, dinner, and ensure a proper bedtime. I can bring him along and have him clean stalls!! :)

Below is a news article regarding the Horses for Heroes Program, and a quick video featuring football player Mario Williams who made a generous donation.

If you want to see more about the facility and it's programs, go here .

November 2009

Wounded warriors who are part of the Warrior Transition Battalion at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) in San Antonio are benefiting from equine assisted therapy at Triple H Equitherapy Center thanks to a $15,000 donation secured by a member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

Jeff Harris of Kerrville, Texas, contacted William Hutton, Los Angeles, who is a friend and Purple Heart member about the therapeutic riding opportunity at Triple H. Hutton sought financial help from longtime friend, Robert Irmas, who represents the Audrey & Sydney Irmas Charitable Foundation, also located in Los Angeles.

Irmas said the foundation is honored to be part of Triple H’s Horses for Heroes program. “Providing support for our wounded service members is a high priority for us and we take this obligation very seriously,” he added.

A few troops who were wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan have participated in therapeutic riding at Triple H over the past 18 months including Staff Sgt. Chris Edwards, Sgt. Omar Avila and Cpl. Javier Rivera. All three suffered extensive burns and other injuries when Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) detonated under their military vehicles. They continue to receive treatment at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.

But like the true heroes they are, these soldiers are more concerned about how their injuries have affected their families than the impact the disabilities have on their own lives. They are upbeat as they work to recover a sense of normalcy and they are proud to have served their country.

Avila, who grew up in the Rio Grande Valley, says that the therapeutic riding he’s done has enabled him to walk longer distances. “It’s another way of doing therapy that doesn’t feel like therapy,” he says with a smile.

Rivera says that equine assisted therapy is a great way to take his mind off of what has happened. He has fond memories of horseback riding growing up in Puerto Rico and says “I really look forward to coming out to ride.”

Edwards said he could feel the stretch in my scar bands immediately. He said he was excited about getting more disabled veterans interested in therapeutic riding.

Located about 20 miles northwest of San Antonio near Pipe Creek, the riding center provides therapy for children and youth with special needs, adults recovering from injuries, and most recently wounded warriors. Triple H Equitherapy Center is the only nonprofit center in the San Antonio area to be fully accredited by the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA). It is one of only about 200 NARHA designated premier therapeutic riding centers in the country.

Please contact Executive Director Richard Dosher at 830-510-9515 or email to learn more about making a donation to the Triple H Equitherapy Center or to inquire about their Horses for Heroes program.

Texans Defensive End Mario Williams presented a $10,000 donation to the Center for Citizen Leadership's "The Mission Continues" program at an event in Houston in March 2009 hosted by Esquire Magazine and Armani. Our Veteran Outreach Coordinator, Mathew Trotter, who is a volunteer for our organization was on hand to help accept the gift.

"The Mission Continues" featuring Triple H Equitherapy Center's Mathew Trotter