Dec 27, 2013

Cowboy Up! Instructor Chris Chaisson Back in the Saddle!

December 27th, 2013

Cowboy Up! Instructor Chris Chaisson (Army) has been waiting patiently for the weather to comply with his plans for getting back in the saddle for first time in 14 months since his car accident where he lost his left leg below the knee. - with all hands on deck - today was the day! 

And Rick, you are so right, "This was the best Christmas present we could ever have!"

Chris oversees saddling and checks his tack at every stage.

First stage of tack check complete! As it is in everything we do, SAFETY was driving todays training and SMOOTH was the order of the day!

Cowboy Up! Director Nancy De Santis re-familiarizes Hollywood with the platform where Chris will mount.  Normally one will mount from the ground so to make sure Hollywood understands that we will be towering over him in order to mount we re-familiarize him with us standing on the platform as well.

A gentle touch from Hollywood ~ priceless.

Executive Director Rick Iannucci continues to take Hollywood all around the platform and along both sides... 

...and we mount ourselves several times before the real deal to make sure Hollywood remembers his job and knows what to expect.  This is another good reason why we mount and dismount all our horses from BOTH sides!

It's time...

Good boy Hollywood!

Here we go...

... Hollywood comes nearer...

... and Chris is ready to get on...

... and he's back in the saddle once again!!!

Like he had never stopped.

It's good to be horseback...

...and riding once again!

Chris directing Hollywood forward.

After several passes and we can see what great balance Chris has...

... it's time to ride.. just him and Hollywood. With Capt. John Shannon, Rick and Nancy flanking and our safety outrider Bianca Shannon riding Star in position Chris is ready to ride.

Hollywood responds well to all of Chris' cues as he walks on... 

... and on the bridge...

... and pauses until Chris says it's okay to move on.

This day was made possible because of Chris Chaisson and his "never quit" attitude and this great Cowboy Up! Crew:
L. to R. Newest volunteer horsewoman and outrider Bianca Shannon, Cowboy Up! Assistant Instructor John Shannon, Horses For Heroes - NM, Inc. Executive Director Rick Iannucci, 
Sgt. Chris "Crash" Chaisson, and Cowboy Up! Director Nancy De Santis.

And a HUGE Thank You to our photographer of the day and volunteer helper, Marco Shannon.
Thanks  Little Buddy ~ ya did great! 

Chris' will and determination continue to pay off ~ we are so proud of you brother!

Dec 26, 2013

Gold Star Mothers of America - New Mexico

Fallen Warrior Wall for our American Gold Star Mothers of New Mexico by Horses For Heroes - New Mexico, Inc. 2013

Since 2011 we have been blessed to be partnered with the American Gold Star Mothers (AGSM) Albuquerque, NM Chapter.

In a heartfelt gesture of respect, honor and gratitude we decided to honor their sons and daughters, our post 9-11 brothers and sisters and Fallen Heroes by designing a memorial that would be both a dignified and moving tribute as well as something that would express the feelings of our ranch and warrior /cowboy spirit that is alive here.

The results are a 4-foot by 6-foot wood and metal shadow box wall sculpture. Constructed of our re-claimed barn wood and patina metal with hand stamped brass dog tags containing the name, rank, branch of service, date of birth, and place the fallen hero made their ultimate sacrifice.  A large Gold Star circled with a wreath duplicating the AGSM logo completes the flag like design.

Of the pair, one dog tag is permanently mounted on the wall and the second dog tag hangs from a 4-inch brass chain.  A wind chime effect takes place as the dangling tags flutter in the wind and recessed lighting casts a soft shadow on the dog tags.

At our 2013 Cowboy Christmas Dinner the Fallen Hero Wall was unveiled and the first seven dog tags were presented to the attending Albuquerque Chapter Mothers and their spouses.  Cabinet Secretary Tim Hale, NM Dept. of Veterans Services assisted us in these presentations.

This memorial will be permanently installed on the West wall of our Warrior Bunkhouse as a Tribute to our Fallen Heroes of New Mexico.

Dec 20, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Dec 8, 2013

Another day at the office

December 7th, 2013

Rick and Henry out seeing to the cattle... just another day at the office for these guys.

Protein Block and some hay are always a welcome treat.

December 8th, 2013

Winter may slow us down and snow us in at our bunkhouse but not our pard' Henry McKinley!

Breaking ice for the cattle. Eating snow only goes so far!

Dec 6, 2013

Cattleman's College

December 5th, 2013

Cattlemans College~ New Mexico Cattle Growers Association

Once again our Cowboy Up! crew made the trip to Albuquerque to attend the annual Cattlemans College sponsored by the NM Cattle Growers Association and NM State University Extension Service.

Always an educational experience it is also a time to catch up with old friends and make some new ones. In addition to the Cattlemans College we had the opportunity to address the NM Livestock Board who we are partnering with in for the Cowboy Justice Springer Correctional Facility program.

Our Laguna Pueblo~ Sedillo Cattle Association Partners Mr and Mrs Vaio with our crew Chuck Aranda, Brock Ottenbacher, Mike Paiz and NM Cattlegrowers Board Member Ernie Torres 

NM Livestock Board of Directors guided by Mr. Bill Sauble.

NM Cattlegrowers Assoc. Board members Alisa Ogden, Bert Ansell and Caren Cowan. 

The presentations captured everyones attention and got everyone thinking. 

Cabinet Secretary Jeff Witte, Dept of Agriculture spent some time with our crew, Brock Ottenbacher, Chuck Aranda, Eric Yorty, Sedillo Cattle Assoc.'s John Romero, Mike Paiz, Farm Bureau Chief Matt Rush and our NMSU instructor.

Mike, Chuck, Rick, Eric and Brock... 'do we look smarter now'??

Dec 3, 2013

Radio Cafe

Radio Cafe, December 3rd, 2013 Broadcast 

Mary-Charlotte Domandi of Santa Fe Radio Cafe interviews Executive Director Rick Iannucci and Cowboy Up! Director Nancy De Santis today's discussion is about their program and - Post Traumatic Spiritual Dissonance.

The lovely Mary-Charlotte ~ Radio Talk Show Host Extraordinaire!

Always wonderful to speak with you Mary-Charlotte!

Tune into our Website for the link to the show.

Dec 2, 2013

Cowboy Christmas ~ Get your tickets soon!

Please join us for our 4th Annual Cowboy Christmas
at La Fonda on the Plaza, Santa Fe

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Tickets will only be available until the weekend of December 7th & 8th!!!

Go to our website to purchase you tickets today!

Dec 1, 2013

Snow days! Welome our newest four-legged instructor.

November 29th, 2013

Star & Knight funin" it up!

Click image to enlarge.

November 30th, 2013

We welcome "Hot Bonanza" to the herd!
He is a 12 Year old  AQHA Gelding raised in Arizona and is the grandson of the famous "Hollywood Dun It" and son of the stellar "Hollywood Heat". 

Star and Hot Bonanza get aquainted while playing in the large arena.

Follow the leader.

Ranger oversees that all is going well.

December 1st, 2013

Thanks to so many who have inquired as to how Cowboy Up! Instructor Chris Chaisson is ...
It has been a very long hard road through the VA system since his accident in October of 2012, however, Chris is a resilient one and embodies the spirit of what this program is all about and his ability to Cowboy Up!  After a long time with his leg in a halo with painful pins trying to set his leg, Chris came to terms with having part of his leg amputated this October.  Chris' indomitable spirit has him preparing for his prosthetic and coming up to the ranch to experience some horse magic.  It will not be long before this strong man will be back in the saddle ready and willing to help instruct new incoming Cowboy Up! participants and take "point" in helping us write  a new chapter for our combat warriors.

Chris " back at the ranch "meets our newest four-legged instructor.

Star was very protective of Chris...

...keeping new guy at bay.

Star let's new guy in for just a little bit...

Gets a quick sniff of Doc...

...okay, that's enough!

Second time playing together and both rolling together is a great sign of a good friendship!