Aug 29, 2011

Women Veteran's Retreat #2

Yesterday was beautiful and calm, a perfect day for our 2nd Retreat for Women Veterans! Thank you ladies for taking the time to come as far as three hours just to be with us! We are so happy you made the commitment to yourselves to participate!

First and foremost, let me thank Judy Schneider of Healing Through Horses for leading us in our retreat, without Judy this type of retreat wouldn't be possible ~ Thank you Judy!

To my extraordinary horse handler helper, Jennifer, thank you for all your help and thank you for being you! A special thanks to our other helpers behind the scene too: To Horses For Heroes - NM, Inc. founder Rick Iannucci, and Cowboy Up! Graduate, Avery Strickland, thank you! Also to Cris and our house guest Michael, thanks for helping to pitch in too!

We started our day with introductions and lively conversation and then moved into the large arena where we got to know our four-legged coaches. All the horses were groomed and one even had his mane beautified! The horses responded to the ease everyone was feeling and were left to linger while we filled our tummies... Thank you to Chef Sara Bernstein and her beautiful daughter Shoshawnna for an outstanding lunch and dessert. The salad, cutlets and linguini you so lovingly prepared was quite a delight and we cannot thank you enough!

After our dessert of fresh berries and freshly made whipped cream we moved into the tee-pee for a sage cleansing - a beautiful ceremony performed by one of our very own participants, thank you Charrnessa! Thank you to Angela for discussing with us the importance of including the five senses when we go to our bag of self-soothing tools! And thank you ladies for all the wonderful guidance you shared with each other passing along what you yourselves have learned through your own experiences. That is golden.

May you carry the day in your hearts until next time.

Cheers to each and everyone of you!

Aug 15, 2011

A special admittance into the Order of the Purple Wildrag...

We had a relaxing Monday morning out on the Bobcat pasture, we rode for a couple of hours saw some beautiful green grass, a rarity in Santa Fe, smelled the aroma of healthy pinon and took a peak at a breathtaking overlook. Emily didn't know it, but today was the day she would become our very first female veteran to graduate of the Cowboy Up! program. Yes, Emily has put in consistent sessions and the time she put in has paid off, not to mention her natural gift for horsemanship! Congratulations Emily we are so proud of you!

Because we graduate our participants doesn't mean that they are done and go off on their merry way, quite the opposite! Participants become assistant instructors. Our program is self sustaining in this way, our veterans have an opportunity to become instructors themselves and volunteer their time helping other veterans. It just works!

Our ceremony didn't end there... We also honored one of our talented volunteers as well... Joe has proven himself a dedicated volunteer. He's quite a horseman, well we saw that the first time he rode coupled with conversation of his experience! Joe helps keep our 4 legged instructors "legged up" , is a fine young man to boot and we are proud to have him with us as part of our family! Thank you Joe for all you do!!!

Aug 14, 2011

Good weekend Good friends!

Our weekend began Thursday evening when we our friend's Tim and Christine O'Byrne's Marine son arrived. It was good to see Mark again, with newly grown beard and deep blue smiling eyes. We started early Friday morning with friend's and volunteers arriving early to suit the horses up for some cowplay in the arena. As work went on in the arena I worked with Emily, and new Cowboy Up! participant Matt. Emily was working on one of her final objectives to assist a fellow veteran - a job well done by both! From the looks of it Matt will be a fine rider, no doubt!

"Who let the cows out?"

Joe going through the trail course pulling the skid steer with Aztec as Rick, Mark and Norm look on.

Mark, Rick and Norm make a plan of action to get the cows...

Mark makes his move as the red heifer eyes him, looking for an escape!

Mark visits with fellow Marines Sgt. Brandi and Calvin Bockbrader. Oorah!

Duke looks good enough for the show ring with that stellar grooming job!

Tacking up, it's time to ride!

Nice job Matt, look at how comfortable Duke is, all his attention is on you!

Aug 8, 2011

Another Stellar Day!!!

So nice to have a camera again, and it's even nicer to have a photographer on hand, thanks Chris!

We had a great day, well that's not unusual...!

We started out with a session here at the home of Horses for Heroes Cowboy Up! where we set up a working ranch horse trail course of sorts, and put our horses and riders to the test! After two of our instructors went through the course Emily rocked it, and made pulling the skid steer look easy! Awesome job Em!

Then we were off to meet Sgt. Erik Schei and his family and the Las Compadres Compadres team for our afternoon session with Shilo. First of all the Compadres team which consists of Georgia, Norm, Luis and Shilo are unbelievably big hearted, talented, and hard working - because of them getting Erik horseback is possible ~ Thank you so much all of you! We are truly grateful for the partnership. Then of course there is the rest of the team, the Horses For Heroes cowboy Up! Crew - because of our Cowboy Up! participants who volunteer with us to get Erik horseback we have smooth sessions - thank you Stewart and Emily, you are outstanding! A special thanks to Chris Chaisson for all the photographs who came to cheer Erik on - you rock! To Erik's parents... thank you for bringing Erik into our world, we are honored to have you all as part of our family! And to Erik, WE ARE SO PROUD OF YOU!!! You fill our hearts with joy! EXCELLENT job! Keep up the great work!

Aug 7, 2011

National Purple Heart Day Today!

Today is National Purple Heart Day and we celebrated with the Maverick Club in Cimarron yesterday as their guests at their 2nd Annual WRCA Rodeo ~ it was great fun! The talent of these working cowboys and their steeds is truly amazing to watch!

The Maverick club took good care of us welcoming us as their honored guests. As they brought light and gave thanks to all the military veterans who have served and are serving this country, the Mavericks also spread the word about our organization's work, thanks to announcer and noted Western music star RW Hampton. The Mavericks also invited our very own Purple Heart recipient, Cowboy Up! graduate and San Cristobal Ranch cowboy, Sterling Bucholz U.S.M.C./Ret to ride in the Purple Heart Flag to kick off the rodeo events. Awesome job Sterling, you continue to make us proud!

Upon completion of the rodeo there was a salt block throwing contest (see the last two pictures below). For those of you who do not know what a salt block is, it is a block of salt and trace minerals that livestock lick to obtain minerals for a healthy system. The block weighs a hefty 50 lbs! You can understand now the challenge of this contest. Whoever can throw the the block furthest wins! There was an entry fee to participate in this challenge, the more participants the bigger the winnings, but the Mavericks surprised us by splitting the proceeds and donating half to our organization ~ again, thank you Maverick Men! You are great guys and we are grateful to know and share some time with you all!!! Thank you to all the salt block throwing participants too! You rock, no pun intended! Special thanks to our Maverick Brothers, Randy Chambers, Spider Holmgren and Jeremiah Johnson. You guys are the best!