Special Needs Horseback Rides Bring Smiles

Riders, volunteers, and even horses are smiling

In between teaching shotgun at the Women’s Outdoor Weekend and helping at the Youth Fishing Derby in Pagosa Springs Wolf Creek Outfitters (WCO) hosted the special needs children of Pagosa Springs for the annual horseback ride.

Each year our team gives the kids the opportunity to watch, pet, lead, and if they desire, ride a horse. This is a day the WCO team and our friends look forward to each year.

Twelve children along with their instructors and a couple of parents arrive for the big day. The morning begins with adjustments to boots and cowboy hats, followed by greetings and instructions. Then everyone meets the horses.

Many of the children have been to this event in the past and are comfortable around the horses. Others take a little warming up. Then before you know it they are off on a ride.

We start off with our team of volunteers leading the children via horseback on short rides around the arena. For those who are up to it, and capable, they’re handed the reins and get to be in the “driver’s seat.”

We also make it a point to try to get the instructors and volunteers a-horseback. After all, why should these children ride if the adults won’t? This year we had two of the group’s instructors or leaders, who’d never ridden before, take a ride.

This year we also have a new addition to this special day. Loud, “OOOHs, AAAHs, and WOW’s” were heard as Ombré the pony led out for his grand introduction.

Ombré proudly packed around a few of the smaller, more timid children. One of these only rode once, but had Ombré not been there she may have not ridden at all.

Each year it seems there’s at least one who doesn’t want to hop on a saddle. Don’t worry. We put them right to work. They get to smile, wave, and cheer in support of their friends. Some of the more brave ones learn to lead the horses too.

Another youngster, who is deaf, climbed atop Cowboy (aka., Mr. Man) and rode the entire time. Having been to this special event before, he wasn’t getting down from the horse until it’s time to go.

At WCO we are honored to be a part of such a great event. It’s rewarding to meet these great youngsters and to have them back year after year. The horses love them too. It’s amazing how they have a sense of who they’re packing around and know they need to take care of their riders.

We’re proud to have such a great team of horses that take care of this precious cargo and a fantastic group of volunteers who find it rewarding to give back to this special group of people.

We know they all find great reward in this day, but we’d also like to give a huge thanks to our volunteers, Terry Eschelman, Jordan Lindsay, Lea Leggitt, Laura Jacobson, and Tucker Jacobson.

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Go Rest High on That Mountain Old Geronimo

It was five years ago that I wrote this homage to a great friend, a mountain horse, who I love. Today I share it again as I say goodbye. Go rest high on that mountain, old friend.

Gironimo, aka G-Man. The toughest horse on the mountain.
Geronimo, aka – G-Man. Toughest horse on the mountain.

Stories From a Mountain Horse

I stand here enjoying the sun.
I chat with a friend and talk about the fun.
I wish he could share with me and tell it all.

Can you imagine the stories he has to tell?
Can you imagine a life lived so well?
A horse.
A guide.
A Mustang.
A huge heart.
A fighter.
A winner.

The “A Squad”.
He’s been to the top of each mountain.
He’s a hunting machine.

His face is gray with age and experience.

The years. The miles. The tales he has to tell.

A warm sunny meadow on a summer morning.
A frightened woman and her first ride.
A cheering family as her fears subside.
A hunter who is determined.
A loaded pack-saddle and switch back trail.
A bull bugle on a moonlit night.
A celebration near the campfire after a stalk and ride.

Cold mornings covered in frost.
Thick snow, ice, climbing and never lost.
The sweet, fresh blades of grass breaking through the snow.
A race for the honor and winning it all you know!

Elk, deer, bear, turkey, grouse, once in a lifetime moose, all special hunts.

All memories that make him proud to have the gray-faced wisdom of seeing it all.

Now, relaxed, sunning, taking it in.
You are still a champion and I know you are proud old friend!!!


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10 Reasons Horses Help Lower Stress

Charging horses

It is said that animals are our best friends because they help lower our levels of stress. I’m sure many of you have a dog or in my case two, or three, or seven. If you don’t, I’m not sure whether or not you can be trusted. (kidding! kidding!) Yes, those four-leggers are smile bringers for sure, but have you spent any time around a horse? How about an entire herd? It seems most of my friends find a smile when they come to visit my horses.

Charging horses
Yes, they doo look like a mob, but I promise they’ll make you smile.

10 Reasons Horses Help Lower Stress

  1. Horses have incredible memories. I can attest this to be true. We once had a guide who whopped one of our horses on the head. Needless to say, he’s gone from the wrangling crew. A year or two later, we crossed paths with him on the trail. The horse immediately pinned his ears when he heard the man’s voice and, as the man walked by, even swung his head around to whop him back. — Ooops!Lesson – Always be kind to others, even if it’s an animal.”Have you ever laughed at a horse with a funny name? Or made fun of one when it twists its face in flehmen? If you have, that’s too bad—that horse may well remember your insult for the rest of its life.””A 2010 study revealed some very surprising results about horse intelligence, especially memory. Not only does our equine friend understand our words far better than we have previously anticipated, its memory is at least as good as that of an elephant. If a horse is treated kindly, it will remember the person as a friend for as long as it lives. The horse will instantly resume friendship when it sees them again, regardless of how long they have been apart.

    They also remember places very well—most horses become nervous when they’re taken to a place where they’ve had a startling experience. “The good memory and relatively powerful intellect of horses is not always a good thing, though. If they get bored, they can accidentally figure out how to untie themselves from posts and open latches and grain bins. Once they learn these methods of mischief, they’ll never, ever forget.” Via Listvers.com.

  2. It’s easy to tell if a horse is happy, mad or sad. “Horses use their ears, eyes, and nostrils to express their mood. They also communicate their feelings through facial expressions.” Via CBS News
  3. Horses are good listeners. “Horses have 16 muscles in each ear, allowing them to rotate their ears 180 degrees.” Via the University of Minnesota.
  4. Horses are excellent for physical therapy. “Horses are soothing, gentle animals. They are straightforward in their interactions without lying or manipulating. They do not judge or blame. Their presence alone can be immensely healing.” Via Elements Behaviour Health
  5. Horses know when something’s sneaking up on you before you do. “Because horse’s eyes are on the side of their head they are capable of seeing nearly 360 degrees at one time.” See more at DoubleD Trailers.
  6. Horses can look in two directions at the same time. “Most of the time, wherever a horse’s ear is pointing is where the horse is looking with the eye on the same side. If the ears are pointing in different directions, the horse is looking at two different things at the same time.” Via Training Horses Naturally.
  7. If you want to get there in a hurry, a horse is the way to go. “The fastest recorded sprinting speed of a horse was 88 kph (55 mph). Most gallop at around 44 kph or 27 mph. See more at Purely Facts.
  8. Horses have huge hearts. Literally, “The average horse’s heart weighs approximately 9 or 10 pounds.” Via Steinbeck Equine.
  9. It is said, “When you look into a horses eyes, you will find your soul.” Well, did you know this could very well be because “Horses have the largest eyes of any land mammal.” Via HorseswithAmie
  10. To know a horse is to love them. If you don’t own a horse, you can always visit one. Horses are great stress relievers, even if you don’t ride them. Visit www.WolfCreekOutfitters.net and ask them for a moment with a horse!

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Country Life – Ride More, Worry Less | Mia’s Motivations

Charging horses

No, I haven’t been worrying, but I saw this meme on a friend’s Facebook page today. It was a beautiful reminder of a way to reduce stress and reminded me to put a call in to my farrier. It’s time to smile and ride! See below for 10 Reasons Horses are the Best Friends.

Horse-Sense-MAC-Outdoors-Ride-More-Worry-Less


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 10 Reasons Horses are the Best Friends

 

CLICK TO SHOP HORSE IMAGERY PRODUCTS

 

  1. Horses have incredible memories. I can attest this to be true. We once had a guide who whopped one of our horses on the head. Needless to say, he was soon gone from the wrangling crew. A year or two later, we crossed paths with him on the trail. The horse immediately pinned  his ears when he heard the man’s voice and even whopped him back, with his head, as the man walked by… Ooops! Lesson – Always be kind to others, even if it’s an animal.”Have you ever laughed at a horse with a funny name? Or made fun of one when it twists its face in flehmen? If you have, that’s too bad—that horse may well remember your insult for the rest of its life.””A 2010 study revealed some very surprising results about horse intelligence, especially memory. Not only does our equine friend understand our words far better than we have previously anticipated, its memory is at least as good as that of an elephant. If a horse is treated kindly, it will remember the person as a friend for as long as it lives. The horse will instantly resume friendship when it sees them again, regardless of how long they have been apart. They also remember places very well—most horses become nervous when they’re taken to a place where they’ve had a startling experience.””The good memory and relatively powerful intellect of horses is not always a good thing, though. If they get bored, they can accidentally figure out how to untie themselves from posts and open latches and grain bins. Once they learn these methods of mischief, they’ll never, ever forget.” Via Listvers.com.
  2. It’s easy to tell if a horse is happy, mad or sad. “Horses use their ears, eyes and nostrils to express their mood. They also communicate their feelings through facial expressions.” Via CBS News
  3. Horses are good listeners. “Horses have 16 muscles in each ear, allowing them to rotate their ears 180 degrees.” Via the University of Minnesota.
  4. Horses are excellent for physical therapy. Via Elements Behaviour Health: “Horses are soothing, gentle animals. They are straightforward in their interactions without lying or manipulating. They do not judge or blame. Their presence alone can be immensely healing.”
  5. Horses know when something’s sneaking up on you before you do. “Because horse’s eyes are on the side of their head they are capable of seeing nearly 360 degrees at one time.” See more at DoubleD Trailers.
  6. Horses can look in two directions at the same time. “Most of the time, wherever a horse’s ear is pointing is where the horse is looking with the eye on the same side. If the ears are pointing in different directions, the horse is looking at two different things at the same time.” Via Training Horses Naturally.
  7. If you want to get there in a hurry, a horse is the way to go. “The fastest recorded sprinting speed of a horse was 88 kph (55 mph). Most gallop at around 44 kph or 27 mph. See more at Purely Facts.
  8. Horses have huge hearts. Literally, “The average horse’s heart weighs approximately 9 or 10 pounds.” Via Steinbeck Equine.
  9. It is said, “When you look into a horses eyes, you will find your soul.” Well, did you know this could very well be because “Horses have the largest eyes of any land mammal.” Via HorseswithAmie
  10. To know a horse is to love them. If you don’t own a horse, you can always visit one. Horses are great stress releases, even if you don’t ride them. Visit www.WolfCreekOutfitters.net and ask them for a moment with a horse!

Help me create better videos for YOU by showing your support at Patreon – https://www.patreon.com/MiaAnstine

Advertisements on this site do not express or represent the opinion of MAC Outdoors or Mia Anstine.


Stories From a Mountain Horse

Gman4
Geronimo, aka G-Man, aka Toughest horse on the mountain.

I stand here enjoying the sun.
I chat with a friend and talk about the fun.
I wish he could share with me and tell it all.

Can you imagine the stories he has to tell?
Can you imagine a life lived so well?
A horse.
A guide.
A Mustang.
A huge heart.
A fighter.
A winner.

The “A Squad”.
He’s been to the top of each mountain.
He’s a hunting machine.

His face is gray with age and experience.

The years. The miles. The tales he has to tell.

A warm sunny meadow on a summer morning.
A frightened woman and her first ride.
A cheering family as her fears subside.
A hunter who is determined.
A loaded pack-saddle and switch back trail.
A bull bugle on a moonlit night.
A celebration near the campfire after a stalk and ride.

Cold mornings covered in frost.
Thick snow, ice, climbing and never lost.
The sweet, fresh blades of grass breaking through the snow.
A race for the honor and winning it all you know!

Elk, deer, bear, turkey, grouse, once in a lifetime moose, all special hunts.

All memories that make him proud to have the gray-faced wisdom of seeing it all.

Now, relaxed, sunning, taking it in.
You are still a champion and I know you are proud old friend!!!


Connect with Mia – Twitter  Facebook  +Google Pinterest YouTube Instagram

Help me create better videos for YOU by showing your support at Patreon – https://www.patreon.com/MiaAnstine.

Advertisements on this site do not express or represent the opinion of MAC Outdoors or Mia Anstine. This article may include affiliate links.

http://tunein.com/embed/player/p963773/?autoplay=true

Welcome Winnie – A New Filly at the Ranch

Winnie

Winnie
Winnie

We have a new addition to the family at the Anstine Ranch.  Her name is Winnie, and she is a little filly colt that was born Saturday, March 19th.

As we drove up the road and I scanned the pasture checking to make sure everyone was present and accounted for.  I noticed something standing  out there that didn’t fit it.  It was smaller and lighter in color than the others.  It wasn’t a deer… I immediately sqeeled, “WE HAVE A BABY!”   I slammed on the breaks and threw the flat bed in reverse.  Quickly pulling back into the drive.

Hank and Lea jumped out and got the gate.  As I pulled through they were already running to grab a halter and grain.  They knew that the rest of the horses probably hadn’t noticed the colt yet, but when they did, there could be trouble.  We have a lot of horses, and mules.  The mares can sometimes try to steal a baby from a mother and the mules can sometimes try to stomp a colt.  It can mean a lot of running and kicking for both a mother and a baby which is of course hard on them just after their labors.

We scanned the pasture and saw the colt had laid down to rest.  Her mother, Peaches, and two other horses were standing watch over her.

Peaches stands watch over her new baby
Peaches stands watch over her new baby

We eased out and put a halter on Peaches and then coached the colt to stand up on its wobbly legs.  We scanned it over and took note that she was a girl, a little filly!  All her parts were intact, no bumps, no scrapes, everything was straight, except for her cute little curls on her ears. (which will straighten out later)  We let Peaches eat grain as the filly got her sea legs under her.  Then we began our journey.

We would be leading Peaches and her little filly across the north end of the big pasture, through the “yard”, and into the south pasture.  This meant making our way through the many horses and mules. It would be a long walk for the new-born and a lot of defending for the mother.  We were there to help the whole way of course, but it wasn’t long before the rest of the crew realized there was something new in their field.

 The horses charged into see the baby
The horses charged into see the baby

The other horses charged into see and Peaches would spin and turn to defend her baby.  We warded off the crew as they swarmed around us like a storm.  We eventually made it to the gate and into the “yard”.  We again warded off the other horses and mules as they stormed, whinnying, running and charging at us.  We eased Peaches and her new baby through the gate.  As we closed it the others charged and smashed into the fence, some trying to jump over and kicking at one another.  We were finally out of the storm.

The journey continued as we headed to the south pasture and planned to put mom and baby in the arena there  temporarily.  There, they would be safe from any horse or mule that may by chance make it over or through a fence.  They would also have time to recover from the days events and do some bonding.

Mom and baby take nourishment after a long journey
Mom and baby take nourishment after a long journey

The two are doing very well.  They are now out of the arena and actually roaming the south pasture.  At three days old, Winnie is of course already faster than her mom and can jump through the cat tails with ease.  We know it’s a long road for a colt and unknown events can happen, but we are happy to welcome her to the family and share her with you all.

Welcome Winnie
Welcome Winnie


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Racing Through the Streets

Harley D is a member of our “A Squad” among the horses at the Anstine ranch.  He is a great horse who is dependable and always up for a new adventure.  Generally he packs people, gear and animals.  He proves himself to be more amazing all the time.  This winter, via our farrier, he found something new to try out.  Harley D entered a winter race.  Not your typical horse race.  He was going to pull a someone in ski joring!

The event is a race in which a horse and rider pull a skier down a snow packed obstacle course.  The horses run 25 to 30 miles per hour as they pull a skier maneuvering slalom style through gates and over jumps.  The horses are shod with a special shoe to help keep traction on the course snow packed course which may be icy.  The horse and rider must be accustomed to ropes as well as the weight and sound of the skier behind them.  The skier must be experienced enough to manipulate a rope while maneuvering through gates and completing jumps at high speeds.

Harley D trained for several weeks prior to the big event.  It would be his first time to tow a skier and his first time to race down a street with screaming crowds all around.  He practiced daily and was well prepared.

The morning of the race the farrier equipped Harley D with new shoes.  It was a warm 9 degrees out.  The farrier hurried as quickly as he could in the freezing temps.  Harley would be racing two days and this first day the farrier suggested putting the race plates only on the front feet so Harley would be able to dig into the snow pack.  Harley stood patiently and allowed the race plates to be clamped on

Harley D getting his race plates

Harley D’s jockey, Cheyann, warmed him up for the days events making a couple of runs up the street and through the crowd.  He was very calm and had a disposition as if he had done this many times before.

Warming up
Warming up

Just before race time, Harley D and Cheyann were teamed up with their skier.  Harley D poised himself at the starting line and with a kick from Cheyann’s spur, he lunged forward.  The skier grasped the rope and gradually let the slack out as they flew down the street.  First to the left then rapidly to the right.  Up an over a small burm which increased the skier’s velocity sling shotting him to the left and preparing him for the next jump.  A large 4 foot tall one which he would now be flying off of at over 30 miles per hour.

Harly D racing down the streets of Silverton
Harly D racing down the streets of Silverton

As the skier launched from the huge jump, he quickly grasped for the slack in the rope keeping it taught.  He landed cleanly and continued down the course up and over obsticles the entire way.  Harley D doug in hard and his front feet pulled but his back end slipped a little slowing him down.  With Cheyann’s encouragement, Harley D kept on and in a matter of seconds the race was over. The skier passed through all the required gates and jumps with out falter.  Harley D pulled the team 18.43 second finish.  We watched and waited as the other teams ran.  Some skiers finished smoothly, others hit the snow hard.

The second day, Harley D got plates put on his back feet as well and as he launched from the starting line the skier grasped tight on the rope.  He made it over the perparation burms, but when he launched off the first 4 foot jump he forgot his tuck.  The team was speeding by at faster than 30 miles per hour.  The skier landed with his skis splayed and flew chest first across the snow packed street into the crowd.  The team ended up with a no time for the day two race.

Skier couldn't hold on
Skier couldn't hold on

Harley D and Cheyann had an amazing two days of racing.  They competed against state champions and even track horses.  They both competed well and ran fast.  They were proud of thier skier who successfully finished the race on first day with the time of 18.43.  The team finished their first skijoring race through the streets of Silverton with a spectacular 4th place!

skijoring Feb 2011