Summer is here at the ranch! Horses have shedded out of their winter coats and are becoming their beautiful glossy selves. Grass is growing like weeds. What grass you ask? Shhhh! Let me keep my dream of thick coastal grass fields!
In addition to working with our 90 weekly participants, we met with Any Baby Can and Youth Advocate Program Case Managers to share how Healing with Horses Ranch benefits their clients. We also had a meeting with the Executive Director of Flatwater Foundation on to begin discussing a collaboration or partnership with them.
The Seton Veterans IOP project began this month and four veterans were able to experience the healing benefits of horses! We hope to continue working with several of them in the near future! We also are working on establishing a deeper relationship with Seton Hospital as a partner in a grant that they received (See Restore Program for details). We are especially excited about the fun family BBQ's for veterans and their families that participate in this program!
Thank goodness for our amazing volunteers from Kohl’s, St Edward’s University, and Dell who helped clear trails and get the Ranch ready for our Easter Egg Hunt and Duck Derby that was held on April 20th. It was a huge success with over 200 people in attendance! It’s a good thing we have kind neighbors who let us park on their property! There were over 80 cars parked over there!
Davina, Arianna, and I were able to participate in Dell’s Project Management Training that was held on April 13th. This will come in handy as we start planning for our Barn Bash! Are you ready? We’re going to have a Retro Homecoming Dance! Tickets are on sale now!
April 27th was a busy day. In a single day, we got to share our mission at Manor Heritage Festival, show support at
the Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, and were honored by Cele Store BBQ and Car Show as they raised over $1600 for us!
I don’t want to forget to thank NAVDF: North American Veterinary Dermatology Forum for choosing us as the organization for the fundraising event at their conference! We are honored that you chose to share your hard earned dollars with us so that we can continue to provide these meaningful, life changing equine-assisted activities and continue to grow as an organization.
EFP is defined by PATH intl as an interactive process in which a licensed mental health professional working with or as an appropriately credentialed equine professional partners with suitable equine(s) to address psychotherapy goals set forth by the mental health professional and the client.
In EFP we are retraining and stabilizing clients' energy fields so that they can be present in their bodies and ground to process the emotions and traumas that have been suppressed. The bonds formed with the horses are central to this process, as developing that relationship, with the vulnerability and trust inherent in it, is the container and the vehicle to transforming deeply imbedded patterns of disconnection and disregulation.
Through the course of sessions, new pathways in the brain are formed and reinforced regarding healthy connection; the unfolding is a beautiful process, as clients become more regulated and connected within themselves in their hearts and body, to the earth below their feet, and to those around them in a healthy and mindful manner. From EFP, clients take with them the self-regulation techniques and relational skills they are able to continue to apply to all of the relationships in their lives.
The equine is a natural partner to help us be grounded and present, teach us about ourselves and society, develop skills, and practice better ways to navigate life because:
How does EFP help?
Body Being outdoors and spending time with horses, whether it’s grooming or just petting and talking to them, has an extremely calming and grounding effect on people. The simple act of matching our own breathing to that of a horse can bring the heart rate back down, lower anxiety levels, and bring us out of our heads and back into our bodies.
Mind Engaging with horses encourages people to get in touch with emotions that they may typically avoid dealing with, because horses simply won’t have it any other way. Horses feel safest around authenticity and congruence - that is, when “our insides match our outsides.” In order to stay safe and make horses feel safe, there is no way around being honest with ourselves and others about what we’re feeling inside.
Soul And best of all, horses are emotionally safe. They are free of judgment and criticism, and they are accepting of any emotion you may be feeling in their presence, as long as you allow yourself to feel it. There is healing in feeling!
Meet Cool Man, aka Cooli, Coolio, Cool Butt, or "old-man" Cool Man. Born in 2001, Cool Man is an 18 year-old, mostly Quarter Horse, that stands 15 hands tall. He was donated to the Ranch by Judy Burmham in April 2013.
At first, Cool Man was not the best therapy horse. He had a spunky attitude and rushed at the walk. But Cool Man began to connect with his students and quickly become a Ranch MVP! But 2016, Cool Man had a major medical trauma that shook the Ranch the core.
On September 16th, 2016, volunteers alerted staff that Cool Man was displaying signs on Colic. Colic is a term used to describe abdominal pain in horses. This pain can indicate a problem with the gut itself or other organs within the abdomen. There are many causes for colic in horses, ranging from simple indigestion to a twisted gut. Signs of colic include restlessness, pawing at the ground, sweating, increased breathing rate, irritated kicking to the stomach, stretching as if to urinate, rolling or attempting to roll, and elevated pulse rate.
Staff decided to rush Cool Man to A&M Veterinary Hospital in College Station, TX for better care than he could receive locally. Cool Man, who was in pain and feeling intense anxiety, was calmly coaxed into the Ranch tailer and driven by dedicated staff to College Station.
At the A&M Veterinary Hospital, Cool Man spent many days in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Cool Man was diagnosed with a Left Dorsal Displacement of his large colon. In simpler terms, Cool Man had a twist in his gut. His condition was showing little to no improvement. A choice had to be made; would Cool Man have an expensive, high risk surgery to "untwist" his gut or was it Cool Man's time to cross the Rainbow Bridge and say good bye to the Ranch.
Patty D-Andrea noted after 5 days in the ICU "I know we say we don't do Colic surgery. But he isn't quitting on us. We can't quit on him." After 3 and a half hours of surgery, Cool Man pulled through and started his long road to recovery.
Volunteer, and student at A&M Veterinary Hospital, Shannon Clark was able to get Cool Man medical expenses discounted for the Ranch. Even with the discount, Cool Man's medical bill ring in at $5,319.18. Volunteers banded together to raise the money to pay for Cool Man's life saving surgery.
Today, Cool Man is an essential member of the Healing with Horses Ranch herd. He is great with students on all challenges and backgrounds. He is one of the equine partners in Volunteer Training's on Thursday nights and brings joy and love to all of those that work with him.
Although Cool Man's story is remarkable it is not unusual. Just like people, our equines face minor and major medical emergencies that take a mental, physical, and financial toll. The Ranch relies on generosity of the community when dealing with a medical emergency with our equines. Consider donating to Healing with Horses Ranch today.
Ahchoo! It’s summer, and the allergies in Texas are raging. While we are dealing with “Cedar Fever” and the reemergence of mosquitoes in our lives, frequently our horses are suffering along with us. Their allergies look a little different though!
Things to look out for:
If your horse is showing these signs, especially if they pop up in the spring and seem to wane as it gets cooler, it’s likely that allergies in the skin are contributing to their itch! In most horses, an overreaction of the immune system to an insect bite, such as a No-see-um (biting midge) causes the itching and irritation that is driving them crazy. No-see-ums are small insects much smaller than mosquitoes but they can be just as annoying! Mosquitoes, flies and other biting insects can also be a problem.
So what can you do? Well, we haven’t figured out how to get rid of the bugs, so we need to find our way around our horses getting exposed to their bites!
And if your horse ends up with signs of itchiness this spring, there are a few things you can do to relieve their itch. Cooling, cleansing baths help relieve discomfort and decrease inflammation. Some medicated shampoos can also topically soothe any swelling and irritation. If your horse is struggling to stay comfortable, your veterinarian may also recommend antihistamines to help control the allergic response, or in severe cases even steroids. With all of these things, hopefully you and your horse can beat the itch!
Healing with Horses Ranch talked with business owner, Lizelle, from Part’s & Labour for this edition of Donor Spotlight.
So, tell us a little about your business…
Parts & Labour is a shop full of clothing, art, accessories, and home goods, all designed and produced by Texas based designers and crafters. The shop has been open since 2004, and has always been located on South Congress Ave.
Tell us how you first got involved in with Healing with Horses Ranch . . .
A former coworker was a volunteer [at Healing with Horses Ranch] and loved her experience.
What attracted you to Healing with Horses Ranch in particular? Why did you decide to donate?
All of us here are absolute animal lovers. In fact, a few team members even grew up around horses. We know taking care of those gentle giants can't be cheap or easy, so we decided to start donating proceeds from the sales of our $1 shopping bags to [Healing with Horses Ranch]. It was an easy decision to make.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about donating to the ranch?
DO IT! Why would you not?! :)
There you have it; your donor spotlight with Parts and Labour. Check out the store located at 1704 S. Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas 78704. Proceeds from their $1 shopping bags go Healing with Horses Ranch!