I have been spending my "spare time" recently working on the curriculum for Cooper's Crossroad's Farming For Resilience six week fall program. To say that it is inspiring work is an understatement. The syllabus it filled with lessons like "Gaining Gratitude", "Caring, Communication and Compassion", "Capturing Courage" and "Guidance on Gratitude". I get excited when I allow myself the pleasure of hours with this work.
Having done Farming For Resilience programs for several years now, the personal anticipation and joy of delivering these messages is hard to beat. I see faces light up, voices able to speak, confidance shining through and trust developing, as the lessons of courage, gratitude, forgiveness and compassion come to reality through the horses.
Finally we got much needed rain. For the first time all summer, I taught riding in our indoor arena this weekend. It is a dramatic shift from teaching in a wide open field or a large out door arena to teaching in our small (and busy) indoor. I like to call our indoor "cozy" but it is small particularly compared to the out of doors! I spend A LOT of time in that space.
In fact, that barn is the space our Farming For Resilience program calls "home". It has five large stalls, plenty of space for folks to stay socially distant and a small indoor arena. I am grateful it has mirrors and is bright and cheery, as I spend much time there, particularly in the winter.
The summer is flying by.
It seems just yesterday I was anxiously waiting for the garden to spring forth, horse shows to start and swimming to begin. Now signs of fall and thoughts of school are on the front of many minds.
Schools are tentatively re opening their doors, and offering on-line options. Students are (from my observation) anxious to return to the classroom, in whatever way. Teachers, parents, caregivers and administrators are carefully walking a tightrope of safety, education, and wellness. I honor those who are doing the work to educate during the pandemic.
August 19 Cooper's Crossroad Farming For Resilience program wrapped up a seven week summer session with 12 students from Ashuelot Valley Academy. The students, ages 13-19, are a talented, bright, and very enthusiastic group. To say that it has been a success honestly feels like an understatement. Students, admistrators, paras, teachers, volunteers, and guests have seen the incredible way that horses can teach us how to have courage and gratitude, how forgiveness feels and how to be compassionate.
Appear to be a controversial and intense subject among humanity around the globe.
Until recently, I had been sheilded from the need to don them regularly.... due to my occupation (outdoors work with animals).
Last weekend, I attended a two day horse show in New York. It was a joyful experience, to say the least. I have huge gratitude to Kirby Hill, the farm hosting the show, and the group of folks that put it together. A fantastic, well run show.
It also brought with it a requirement to wear masks all the time. So from before the sun rose to after the sun set, I wore a mask. Except when I was riding.
I have the great privilege of co-facilitating a seven week summer session of Farming For Resilience for 12 students from Ashuelot Valley Academy. To say that this program is impactful is an understatement.
Now 3 weeks in, I have seen faces change, hurt, anger, saddness and pain seep away as students groom horses, lean in to the lessons of courage, gratitude, forgiveness and compassion and leave with a good dose of resilience.
Summer is here.
With the grass growing, the garden in bloom and the busling farm in FULL action.
Part on that action is Farming For Resilience. We facilitated our second of seven sessions this last Wednesday for 12 students from Ashuelot Valley Academy.
The focus of the program is not farming or horses, although it appears so at "first glance". Sessions are run at Dusty Dog Farm and use horses, the farm and artistic expression to deliver the important message of courage, gratitude. forgiveness and compassion. The curriculum applies Scarlett Lewis's "Choose Love" wisdom, and horses, to clearly convey how important it is to have courage, be grateful, forgive often and overflow with compassion.
A recent article in the United States Hunter Jumper Association "In Stride" magazine is titled "Make Mindfulness a Tool in Your Grooming Box". For those less familar with the world of horses, grooming is the practice of brushing, cleaning and checking horses. This is a task that is often rushed through, many horse people are hurrying to ride, or move on to the next item on their daily agenda. Thus the mutual benefits of the act of grooming are lost.
There is a LARGE sized willow tree in the yard of Dusty Dog Farm. It is clear, due to its circumference and size, that it has withstood many storms. In the 14 years that I have had the privilege of living on this farm, I have witnessed it getting seriously beaten up by noreasters and wild summer thunder storms. Branches have fallen, large chunks of the tree have ended up on the ground, but the integrity of the tree has been steadfast. And it continues to stand... with might, character and (sometimes ragged) beauty, for all to see as they enter the farm.
I am an avid reader when I allow myself the time.
Generally, I only "allow" myself this distinct pleasure immediately prior to turning in for the night. As many of you know, I am active outdoors, year around..this leads to a sincere need, and desire, to sleep as soon as I stop moving. I usually hardly take in two paragraphs before my head is nodding, and lines get blurrier than usual. Upside of this, I love and am grateful for sleep. I spent WAY too many years unable to sleep. Another upside : one book lasts me a long time. I can read and re-read the same chapter many too many times. EXCEPT this book :
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