Horse Personalities Inc.

 


last updated:December 4, 2011

 
Liberty News & Views
 
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Liberty News and Views is a place we express our comments on the events we have had a part in creating and experiencing with you and the horses. It is a chance for us to get our ideas on the table in hopes of learning and improvement. It is sometimes just a place to relive the good times and the special people who love horses as much as we do.  

Liberty Winter >page 2

 

Kid’s Day Camp – The Magic of Horses

 
 

The Magic of Horses theme morphed into Magic Island! On the first day, we got talking about magic and spells and we discovered that the girls all had a huge interest in fairies! And so our week was transformed! We spent quite a bit of time in the forest hiking and looking for things that we could build into beautiful fairy habitats. Mushrooms, flowers, bark, twigs, leaves and seeds were creatively assembled into boxes. It was amazing!

On Tuesday, we had lunch in the tipi. We got smoked out but we were able to roast hot dogs and marshmallows between gulps of fresh air. This is when the girls met Flash, Chester and Jay, 3 of the horses living in the field where the tipi is. They thought Jay was particularly magnificent and cuddly – all 17 hands of shiny black Percheron!

Peanut, Dewey and Mishka were the fabulous horses who attended camp with their girls. They spent their days in the barn being brushed, relaxing, and then playing in the arena. At night, they were outside together in the field by the beaver pond. We weren’t sure if they would get along together since they hadn’t met before coming to camp. But they did really well and Dewey, the only gelding and a Rock Star at that, thought he had gone to horse heaven with two mares all to himself!

magic tee pee talk
magic of horse talk
 

On the second day of camp, the girls went to get their ponies in the field. When the horses saw the giggling, chattering girls with jingling halters come towards them, they took one look and scattered! Luckily, I said, we have ALL day to catch those horses. In the end, it took quite a while to earn their trust and gather them up. In fact, it was over an hour but we did it!

The magic jumpers.
 

The next day, I wondered if it would be more difficult. But we reminded ourselves again that we had ALL day. This time, we had a plan. One of the girls suggested we leave our halters up by the gate. We would simply approach our horses without wanting to catch them. The plan worked! We approached them in the field and, granted, they looked apprehensively at first as we approached, the horses came out from behind the pile they were standing behind and actually approached the girls! To say they (the girls) were blown away was an understatement. Then, the horses walked away from us - or so we thought. But in fact, they were going up to the gate! We couldn’t believe it.

Then on Thursday, and again on Friday, the horses literally met us at the gate! It was incredible.

Fairy horse talk.
 

Another highlight of camp was reading a draft of Bridget Couban’s children’s story about a horse named Star and her girl, Indy, and her dog, Flossy. This story was inspirational as it told about a wonderful friendship. It fit nicely in that we were trying all week to be excellent listeners and observers of horse language. In the story, Indy could actually hear Star’s thoughts. It was magical as was the whole entire week.

Bye for now fairy horse friend.
 

By Friday, the girls were all riding their horses independently in the arena and having fun navigating around various obstacles.

Special thanks to Anita, who was an outstanding camp helper and fairy enthusiast. And thanks to the girls - Jordin, Chase and Bronwyn - for opening their hearts, sharing their imaginations and fully engaging every minute of every day of the camp. Of course, we have to thank Peanut, Mishka and Dewey for being such wonderful magical horses. After all, it WAS all about them!

Power to the farie folk.
     
 
Women’s Retreat September
 
 
This retreat was like no other at Liberty Stables. Seven fabulous women and their horses joined together for a week of spontaneous and beautiful interactions with their horses and with each other. The weather started out cool and rainy. But by Wednesday, we were outside enjoying a spectacular fall array of golden leaves, warm sunshine and that earthy smell that is synonymous with fall.

Dessa and I boldly decided not to “plan” the week. Since the emphasis wasn’t on horsemanship or riding, we could let it unfold. The women took turns providing lunches which were delicious.

The highlights – and there were many – were the conversations over coffee including delving into “permaculture” and “unschooling”; doing energy work with Dagmar’s gray horse, Tex; “sleeping” in the arena with our horses; and other mysterious displays of healing and spiritual growth.

We couldn’t have dreamed of a more profound experience. And it came about because we showed up with open hearts and a willingness to listen to ourselves and our horses. Wow.

They say a picture paints a thousand words and so flip over to the photo album for the retreat and take a peak. Many thanks to Tina, Dawn, Andrea, Heather C., Terri, Heather T., and Dagmar – and their horses, Pronto, CR, Windwalker, Tiger, Max, Stormy and Tex - for a wonderful experience marked by tears, laughter and inspiration.

 

I truely am a fine looking  example of the horse world.
     


First Horseplay Day at Liberty Stables
 
 

Thanks to the leadership group from the Calgary Humane Society, we were able to pilot a brand new program idea at Liberty Stables: Horseplay!

It’s a day-long retreat and play day in the beautiful outdoors in the foothills of southwestern Alberta. The highlight? The horses of course! Our team of Horseplay horses showed up ready to play and interact with the folks from the Humane Society. The day started with coffee and yummy morning snacks at the house which is a wonderful venue that overlooks the property. Once a barn, the renovated house has character and a built-in connection to horses! You can see where the stalls used to be and some of the beams the horses had chewed. We talked about the theme for the day which was Self Awareness. The retreat was custom designed to compliment some strategic planning the organization was engaged in. We laid out the concepts of being present, aware and in our bodies in everything we do.

How did the horses fit in? Well, what better way to practice self awareness than to hang out with six beautiful, energetic, individual and amazing creatures to get you in the moment, into your bodies and breathing!

Planning at the house.
 
 

After our conversation and snacks at the house, we walked down to the arena where the horses were waiting. We walked into the barn area to find them all waiting patiently. The feeling I had was one of peacefulness. They weren’t anxious in the least. The humans, on the other hand, were going through all sorts of emotions – anxiety, excitement, fear, anticipation.

We’d put teams of 2 or 3 people together ahead of time. Each person knew which horse they would be interacting with primarily. Picking teams was a great exercise in itself. We sent out photos and a brief description of each of the six horses (see them Programs). The question was, “Which of these horses are you drawn to (use your gut feel or any criteria you choose)?” Amazingly, natural selection occurred in that we had the right number of people interested in each of the six horses. The discussion about what drew people to the various horses was very neat.

We introduced the horses, and people went to meet them. Spike was very interesting. He immediately pinned his ears at his team members. I wondered to myself if maybe it wasn’t a good idea to have him in the program but then I remembered that I needed to trust Spike. He has his own way of communicating and being with people and he was on a mission. So we noticed his reaction, accepted and respected it and carried on.

Spike and Brad
 
 

The horses were taken into the arena and we let them go. The humans proceeded to the end of the arena and stood behind a rope barrier to begin the first stage of our group experience which is observing the horses. They put on quite a show interacting with each other. They are housed together in the same herd and know each other well. However, with all the excitement and being inside together, they had lots to sort out. We had so much fun talking about what we were seeing. And a few of horses took turns coming over to check us out. Meanwhile, we were doing body scans on ourselves and breathing in the experience, talking about what/how we were feeling.

Once the energy calmed a bit, we took turns with one group going out into the herd at a time. The activity was simply to get with their horse physically and otherwise, being aware at all times of the other horses and all the dynamics. Safety first of course. I went with each of the groups while Dessa remained with the larger group of people.

Diva the goddess with Carrie & Christine.
 

When we do this one-on-one with the horses, we talk about this activity as becoming part of that horse’s herd, or making a herd with that horse. Mirroring the horse is one way to build trust and rapport. The horses typically notice pretty quickly that you are with them.

The things that happened, the experiences each horse presented us with were absolutely priceless! Ulysses, who stands 18+ hands was hilarious! He thought the whole thing was for his benefit. He was in his element. Diva, the only mare, had her hands full managing the dynamics. She taught us the importance of keeping her safe from the other horses while interacting with her. She displayed her expressiveness in high fashion. Sam, the friendly, sometimes shy one loved his time with his people. Sid, a typically shy and highly aloof horse, demonstrated his inner strength and skepticism. Tony, the smallest horse in stature but the biggest horse in personality had so much fun trying to interfere with everyone else’s fun. When it was his turn, he took his people to the far end of the arena and parked them against the wall daring anyone else to come and take them away. He did it in such a clear, determined way! He also showed his “spiritual” side when he went up behind one of the participants who was working with another horse, and just lowered his head quietly. The fellow was completely aware of Tony behind him and reported an amazing sensation of connection.

Ulysses & Joe
Sam with Angie, Kelly & Roxanne.
 
 

Last but not least, Spike did what I thought he might do which was to make his people work for his trust. They walked with him and focused on him and kept him safe and gradually, he softened and allowed them to come into his space and just be there with him. Amazing.

We haltered our horses and brushed them, then took them out to be released back into the big herd.

Sid and Christine.
 

After a wonderful lunch of vegetarian chili and salad, we carried our feelings of being present and self aware into a 2-hour session of brainstorming. It too was amazing.

People left at the end of the day feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.

All in all, it was an amazing day and it was an honor to host such a wonderful group of people and to introduce them to our fabulous team of Horseplay horses. Thank you for the insights, for the laughter, for the authenticity you brought to the whole experience.

Tony, Sam at 1st horseplay.
 
     
 

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