Horse Welfare (blog) – Parelli Foundation https://parellifoundation.org Natural Horsemanship Grants and Scholarships Wed, 29 Jul 2020 18:46:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 From Unwanted to Adopted – My Journey with Gem https://parellifoundation.org/gem/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=gem https://parellifoundation.org/gem/#respond Wed, 29 Jul 2020 18:46:54 +0000 https://parellifoundation.org/?p=77222 Robin asked me if I would consider fostering three new horses that had come to the sanctuary hundreds of pounds underweight. Gem was a beautiful strawberry roan gaited/quarter horse mix. The only thing she wanted from humans was food. I had no idea what to do with her. I felt she was way beyond my level of natural horsemanship skill.

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By: Carolyn McAdoo

Gem and Carolyn in the beginning

Nancy Slater had this to say about her experience working with Gem and why she supports the Parelli Foundation’s efforts: “Second hand gold is as good as new. Through their grants, the Parelli Foundation continues to help make the world a better place by spreading the wealth of knowledge. Gem and Carolyn are an example of hearts of horses and people coming together, hearts that otherwise might have been lost. An unwanted horse is simply misunderstood. It is my pleasure to be part of the team educating people to speak the language of the Horse, so all horses can end up in loving, forever homes.”

I’ve been with Sixteen Hands Horse Sanctuary in Ona, Florida, for a little more than three years, helping to care for 30-plus abused, abandoned and/or neglected horses, plus two adorable donkeys. When I first met Robin Cain, the sanctuary’s founder and president, she naturally asked why I wanted to volunteer there. I had read some books written by the founder of another horse sanctuary; I was appalled and saddened to learn how common it is for horses to be mistreated by humans, and yet I was intrigued and encouraged at how horses can heal physically, emotionally and spiritually, and how they can learn to trust people again. I was so moved by the author’s accounts of the many different horses she had rescued that I knew I had to find a place where I could become part of this amazing healing process. Robin told me about the sanctuary’s history, and she explained that she required all volunteers to learn and use Parelli Natural Horsemanship principles and techniques when handling the horses to stay safe around them. (Although I had heard of it, I wasn’t completely sure what Parelli was about. I was willing to

learn, though.) She also gave me some background information about the horses there, including some that were being cared for offsite by people taking part in the sanctuary’s Foster to Adopt program. I casually mentioned that at some point, I thought I’d like to consider fostering a horse or two – even though I wasn’t sure it would ever really happen. In the meantime, though, we agreed that I would begin volunteering at least one day every week, and Robin began teaching me about Parelli Natural Horsemanship.

Gem and Carolyn - no pressure

Gem and Carolyn – no pressure

In April of the following year, Robin asked me if I would consider fostering three new horses that had come to the sanctuary hundreds of pounds underweight. One was a gorgeous, bright-eyed blood bay Arabian named Cricket, whose curious and intelligent demeanor were immediately evident.

Lyric was the second Arabian, flea-bitten in color and the most severely underweight. She was much more reserved than Cricket, uncertain of her circumstances and the new humans attending her. She would hesitate, considering whether it was safe to accept any treats offered to her by volunteers.

And there was Gem. Gem was a beautiful strawberry roan gaited/quarter horse mix. She was not as underweight as the Arabians, and it soon became apparent why. Gem was extremely food motivated. The only thing she wanted from humans was food, and the only thing she wanted from other horses was for them to stay well out of her way when it was time to come to the barn for her food. Her personal space requirements were much larger than most of the other horses. Because we bring horses into the barn at liberty, her space was usually invaded by other horses, often at their own peril. Gem would pin her ears, scream, spin, and kick at any horse that got too close to her, sometimes making contact, and in one instance, actually knocking one large Andalusian completely off his feet.

Even though I had told Robin that I would foster these mares as soon as we got our pastures in shape, I really had my doubts about Gem. In fact, I had decided that I really, really did not want her. I had no idea what to do with her. I felt she was way beyond my level of natural horsemanship skill.

Then, late one Friday afternoon in July of that year, I watched as Robin began the process of loading Gem into her horse trailer. Gem was going to Nancy Slater’s in Lake Wales, Florida. Nancy, a 2* Parelli Natural Horsemanship Instructor, was going to begin working with Gem.

Robin invited me to come along, and I accepted the invitation. When we arrived in Lake Wales, Gem was unloaded into a round pen, and Nancy began working with her almost immediately, moving Gem’s feet around the pen, applying and releasing pressure at just the right time. I didn’t realize it at first, but she was teaching Gem that she could find release of pressure – rest and relaxation – when she focused on and approached Nancy, but not when she was running away. If she wanted to run, that was okay. Nancy would help her run.

Gem and Carolyn Special MomentEventually Gem began showing signs that she understood by lowering her head, blowing air out through her nostrils and yawning, and it wasn’t long before Nancy was able to touch her and put a halter and lead rope on her. I held back tears, taking in what I had witnessed. Nancy had begun peeling back the layers of this untrusting, very afraid, extremely unconfident horse, revealing a soul that very much wanted to trust and find peace with humans, and was willing to try. In that moment, I was the one who was changed. I fell head over heels in love with Gem, wanting so much to be able to learn how to communicate with her in her language. Over the next several days, Nancy began teaching me not only about staying safe with Gem, but she also began teaching me the skills I would need to help Gem feel safe with me. We accomplished quite a bit during that time.

When it was over, Gem came home to live with my family and me.

During these past two years, we’ve taken many baby steps, plus another trip to see Nancy for help. Gem has come a long way from the time I first met her at the sanctuary, when no one could touch her, or barely make eye contact with her. My Natural Horsemanship skills have also come a long way, including working with Gem at liberty.

Even though we are still getting to know each other, I know Gem and I are on the right track. Recently, Gem ran out of a pasture onto some neighboring property through a gate that was open while contractors were doing some working at our place. I went after her, calling to my husband, Scott, to bring a halter and lead rope. My heart was pounding. If Gem continued running west, she would go onto a street into the neighborhood behind us. Worse yet, if she switched direction and ran east, she could end up on a busy road where trucks, cars and semis often go well over the 55-mph speed limit. A collision would certainly kill her and potentially a person or persons. I called out to her, and eventually she stopped running, obviously confused by unknown surroundings. She was roughly 30 or 40 yards away from me, when she turned and looked at me. I began backing up, gently inviting her to come to me. She began walking in my direction, slowly and hesitantly at first. My mind raced. Would she speed up and run past me? Would she come up to me, only to take off again when she saw Scott with a halter? I concentrated on relaxing and smiling, continuing to invite her into my space. Slowly, surely, she came to me and stopped. I began stroking her neck on both sides, softly telling her what a good girl she was.

Riding GemWhen Scott caught up to us with the halter, she let me put it around her neck, and then she put her nose into the nose band. I was able to lead her back to the safety of her pasture (gate closed). And then I realized even more how important, how vital, Natural Horsemanship is for people and their horses. In that situation, I was Gem’s safe place. Without Natural Horsemanship training, that event could have had a tragic ending. I’m so grateful to Robin Cain, Nancy Slater, the Parelli Foundation, and to all of the others who have provided encouragement and help in improving my Natural Horsemanship skills. Parelli Natural Horsemanship has changed my life and the life of not only Gem, but also Cricket and Lyric as well. I’m happy to say that I’ve recently adopted all three mares, and we’re having lots of fun learning to keep it natural!

Sixteen Hands Sanctuary is a 2019 Horse Welfare grant recipient whose new foster-to-adopt program has enabled eligible horses to move into permanent homes with maximum success.

Since 2007, Sixteen Hands Horse Sanctuary has provided a lifetime home for more than 70 rescued horses. Although we haven’t had an adoption program, we’ve allowed people well known to us to become fosters. Of our 40 horses and 2 donkeys, 10 horses are in foster care. However, horses with special physical and/or emotional needs will continue to receive lifetime care. We work hard to keep our horses healthy and content. It takes an 8-hour day and several volunteers to feed the horses, provide hay and fresh water, scoop barn stalls and pastures, groom and play with some of the horses.

Stay tuned for more stories from this grant opportunity.

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Road to the Summit 2017-18 https://parellifoundation.org/rtts-2017-18/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rtts-2017-18 https://parellifoundation.org/rtts-2017-18/#respond Wed, 17 Jun 2020 13:55:03 +0000 https://parellifoundation.org/?p=55635 6* Licensed Parelli Master Instructor Dave Ellis is monitoring the development of our two Road to the Summit Horses, Raven with 3* Parelli Professional Ashley Dudas and Zoe with 3* Parelli Professional Jerilyn Caldwell.  Follow along as they complete 20 tasks designed by Dave Ellis and approved by Pat Parelli.

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Dave Ellis

Watch “Raven” and “Zoe” Develop!

6* Licensed Parelli Master Instructor Dave Ellis monitored the development of our two Road to the Summit Horses, Raven and Zoe.  Watch their development on video as they completed 20 tasks designed by Dave Ellis and approved by Pat Parelli.

Raven

“Raven”

Follow “Raven’s” development by 3* Parelli Professional Ashley Dudas.  Click the link above or:

For more pictures and more information… click here.

Ashley Dudas
Zoe

“Zoe”

Follow “Zoe’s” development by 3* Parelli Professional Jerilyn Caldwell.  Click the link above or:

For more pictures and more information… click here.

Jerilyn Caldwell

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Leading to Success with “Fancy” https://parellifoundation.org/leading-to-success/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=leading-to-success https://parellifoundation.org/leading-to-success/#respond Wed, 22 Apr 2020 17:17:28 +0000 https://parellifoundation.org/?p=76891 That little unwanted filly, named Fancy, I brought home years ago turned out to be a Level 4 riding and competitive driving horse. I used her for many years to demonstrate how Parelli Natural Horsemanship works. She went from a difficult horse to my dream horse within months!

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By 2* Licensed Parelli Professional Nancy Slater

Fancy and Nancy SlaterEver tried to lead your horse from the barn to the mounting block and it feels like you’re dragging a 1000 pound chair through the sand?!

As prey animals, horses are born to push against pressure. A colt will see what boundaries are laid before him, testing, flexing, and bending them until his mama makes him aware of the truth… Yield to me! From the moment they are born, a foal is hard wired to push, and will continue to push until taught not to.

When I brought home a young rescue horse years ago, it became evident that she had never learned this. She was taken off her mama early and not socialized with other horses. Unfavorable behavior resulted and she pushed and pulled heavily on the young lady who was attempting to use her for 4H. The result was an unwanted, difficult horse who needed leadership and dedication to help her become a great horse. Most people give up when push comes to shove.

FancyMost people are not trainers. They buy a horse that they expect to carry them throughout whatever endeavor they choose, whether recreational or competitive. A lot of horses do just fine. But sometimes the horse misses out on good mama parenting and/or human partnering training. When that happens, especially with a horse with a dominant personality, we end up with a horse we can’t even lead from point A to Point B without a struggle! But if we learn some basic horse training skills, like Parelli Natural Horsemanship, we can keep from getting frustrated or hurt, and prevent having to sell the horse.

Teach your horse to yield to poll pressure. You will do this by putting on pressure in small increments with your fingertips. First rub your horse gently between his ears near the halter. Then start to press with your fingers slowly until the horse lowers his head a little, releasing the pressure immediately when he does. Rub him gently in that spot, as if you’re erasing the touch. Repeat this until his head readily lowers with your touch. Parelli calls this the Porcupine Game.

FancySome horses will put their head up or pull away, trying to shake you off that spot. Without being aggressive, hang in there with your horse, drifting with him, until he relaxes and licks his lips. Licking and chewing means he is processing our request, so pause and allow him a moment to do so. When he is finished processing, rub him, then begin again. One of the beautiful things about horses is there are plenty of do-overs allowed in training them! The goal is for him to be relaxed and trying to comply.

I see a lot of horses that make no apologies for dragging their owners around. They love to grab grass and engage in a tug of war! The easiest way to get your horse’s nose to lift up and come to you, is to disengage the hindquarters. Put a steady feel on the leadrope, not a heavy pull, then, while staying safely out of the kick zone, look with intention at the horse’s hip. Using a carrot stick (training stick), start tapping the AIR above your horse’s hip with rhythm. If he continues to not move, then start tapping his HIP until he steps his back legs over and away. Parelli calls this the Driving Game. He might try to step forward, so be ready to lift the leadrope and wiggle it up and down. As you communicate to him to yield his hind end and not step forward, suddenly, his nose, eyes, and ears will be on you! Pet him. Repeat this exercise until he willingly lifts his head from eating grass without you having to lift your stick at all.

FancySome horses are more sensitive than others and won’t need a lot of pressure, but others will be harder to convince! They are all different! Always start off politely with a smile. Anger has no place with horses. Emotions will only get in the way of your progress. Simply follow through with patience and pressure until your horse tries to comply. Then thank him with a sincere rub. Remember that he is your friend, you’re just nipping him like his mama would to get him to respond! Horses understand nipping and kicking!

Leading is understanding and responding appropriately to poll pressure (head pressure). Always get your horse’s attention with your INTENSION to go somewhere. Be aware and kind as you put a gentle feel on the rope. If he comes, do not pull on him. If he does not come along with a suggested feel, then you can add some driving pressure at his hip with your stick to encourage that nose to come along! Everything in increments, always releasing all pressure you have on your horse when he tries to make you happy by coming along with you.

FancyHave a purpose to your steps, go somewhere with commitment! If you are hesitant, he will lose focus and begin to eat grass again. He might decide that he would rather hang at the barn with the other horses- Doesn’t matter. A horse will follow a strong leader. Remember there is a pecking order in every herd. You fall somewhere in that pecking order. Communicate like a horse, because then your horse will understand that you are not being mean to him, you are only asking for respect as one higher up on the pecking order.

A horse is like water in that he will always pick the path of least resistance. Water will always flow downhill, and a horse will give in when he sees how easy it is to comply with our wishes. Your horse will, at one time or another, play you! Horses are in it to win it…Parelli Natural Horsemanship skills will get you to where you can have fun playing and winning their game!

FancyThat little unwanted filly, named Fancy, I brought home years ago turned out to be a Level 4 riding and competitive driving horse. I used her for many years to demonstrate how Parelli Natural Horsemanship works. She went from a difficult horse to my dream horse within months!

Horses instinctively look for leadership within the herd. A foal follows his mama everywhere, even after she nips him for being pushy! People are always amazed after they have become effective with pressure and their horse ends up even more bonded to them and following them around! Understanding, communication and assertiveness will lead you and your horse to success!

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A Rough Diamond is a Jewel – Part One https://parellifoundation.org/jewel-1/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=jewel-1 https://parellifoundation.org/jewel-1/#respond Tue, 21 Apr 2020 18:20:16 +0000 https://parellifoundation.org/?p=76877 He was not a bad man. He had bought Jewels with no intention of harming her. The problem lay with not knowing how to work with a horse like her. He was confused by her behavior. Why was she so difficult? What was wrong with her? She acted so crazy!

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By 2* Licensed Parelli Professional Nancy Slater

JewelsMiss Jewels Bar was born a Left Brained Introvert. What this means is, genetically speaking, her personality or ‘Horsenality’ if you will, is one that is naturally confident, calm, and thinking. She naturally is prone to reserve her energy, preferring to not over exert herself to the point of perspiration. She enjoys standing in the shade, pinning her ears and squealing at herd mates when they come to invade her space.

,She is a well bred Quarter Horse, solid red, and shiny like a copper penny. Cow horse through and through, her owner bought her to work cattle on a ranch and compete as a roping horse. He paid good money for her and thought she’d do him proud.

A sensitive mare, she thought the cowboy was a bit pushy and demanding. He thought she was disrespectful, with the glare in her eye, ears pinning, and tail swishing. It didn’t take long before the two of them were strong in their opinion of the other’s negatively, and it was on like Donkey Kong!

She got nasty and he got angry. He lounged her to get the buck out, but she fought him. He rode her and spurred her, and she fought him more. When he had had enough of the nasty, red mare dominance toward him, he got so angry and aggressive, that he frightened her. So much so, she suddenly believed her life was in danger!

JewelsNo longer feeling safe, Jewels began to dance and prance under saddle. She wanted to run back to the barn, the trailer, the pasture, to safety. Her owner was happy; the nasty behavior was finally gone! He kicked her up into a canter and she moved out. Hooray!!

But something had flipped in her brain. Yes, she no longer had a fight to give. And she no longer balked or bucked. Instead, she ran. Trouble was, there no longer was a slow or a stop. And, she would twist her face in a distorted way; her feet nervously searching for a way to escape.

Her owner now saw there was a new problem. No matter what he tried, pulling on her bit didn’t work, nor did just allowing her to run to exhaustion in deep sand in the orange groves. She could spin and spin in circles till he felt like he was in a washing machine stuck on the spin cycle! He lunged her till she was dripping in sweat, but she never slowed. And there, always present, the twisted, distorted face.

He was not a bad man. He had bought Jewels with no intention of harming her. The problem lay with not knowing how to work with a horse like her. He was confused by her behavior. Why was she so difficult? What was wrong with her? She acted so crazy!

JewelsHe tried and tried to figure the twisted puzzle out to no avail. She just never stopped and finally, he gave up on her. He called my husband, and told him to have me come get her.

Of course, I said no at first. I have plenty of horses to feed, I noted. But I knew I needed to go pick her up. To my surprise, he had two horses standing ready to load up in my trailer when I arrived! I felt bad leaving the young bay Cracker Horse…only Jewels would be leaving with me.

Jewels would twist her face any time while in my presence. She looked ugly. Obsessively twitching and making strange noises in her throat. It would get worse when I tied her, saddled her, and bridled her. When I climbed up in the saddle she danced and spun, if you loosened the reins, she ran. She would sweat a nervous sweat, it was as if you could see her mind racing behind her unseeing eyes. She would look through you, not at you.

I rode her on the back trails, seeing if I could get her to calm down and focus. I allowed her to run, petting her, talking to her. There was nothing but fear. I turned her towards the acres of palmetto filled pastures, hoping she might look down to see where she was going. She continued to run fast. I headed her for a small bush and gently turned her around and around it, expecting her to see there was nowhere to go. She never slowed. She was locked in fear, with her crazy face on.

Then, in desperation, I took hold of the reins in both hands, and headed her straight for a tall pine tree. When we ran to it, I said whoa and sat deep in the saddle. She hit the tree with her forehead. Then she frantically looked side to side, and I headed for another, and another, each time I sat and said whoa. She finally stopped, and I dismounted.

I walked her back and untacked her. I was amazed at how much of a Right Brained Extrovert she was. Right Brain horses can’t think, and I had never seen an extrovert with so much go!! Yes, she had become crazy because of her experiences. But I knew that just like people with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), there was a way of helping her with the right course of action.

My experiences as a Parelli Instructor, and the individualized help I had received from Linda Parelli with my Josh mule years before, gave me lots of strategies. I used 10 or more strategies on Jewels for several months, but felt I needed more help. I contacted Linda. She told me to bring Jewels out for a look…

Continued in Part Two

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A Rough Diamond is a Jewel – Part Two https://parellifoundation.org/jewel-2/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=jewel-2 https://parellifoundation.org/jewel-2/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2020 18:15:55 +0000 https://parellifoundation.org/?p=76883 Linda said Jewels is an extremely challenging case and that we needed Pat to have a look at her. Most horses would have relaxed with the exercises we had been working on and made big changes. She was not like most horses... I was excited that the Master would look at my rescue horse!

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By 2* Licensed Parelli Professional Nancy Slater

Continued from Part One

jewelsFear. It can be mind numbing. The body pumps cortisol into the brain, along with adrenaline. Flight and fight, forms of self preservation, take over, and being able to think things through, becomes impossible. In Left Brained horses, loss of dignity is traumatic. They can display fear aggression, lashing out. Temperament and behavior is shaped by genetics and life experiences.  How do we help these sensitive horses with a past?

Puzzles. We set up situations where the horse has to figure out a puzzle. Knowing they seek safety and comfort, we carefully create specific pressure that causes them to hunt for release. WE supply the release- they cannot take it. Horses will push and brace in an attempt to find freedom/escape. If we have enough feel, timing, and balance, the horse will find the answer we desire, get relief, and feel better as they come down off cortisol.

I had been working with Jewels for almost a year before I asked Linda Parelli for some help to expedite things. We had made good progress. Jewels had bonded with me. She learned to catch me for haltering, stood quietly for saddling and bridling, stood relaxed for mounting, could now halt and stand under saddle on loose rein, and her lips didn’t twitch near as much as they had in the beginning. But, setting her in forward motion under saddle still revved her up like an accelerator stuck to the floorboard. We could walk only about 4-6 steps on loose rein before she got charged up.

JewelsI had gotten excited a few weeks back when Jewels started to pin her ears and nip at me. She was warning me to not disrespect her. This is where the conversations with her past owner probably ended! I felt this was where ours was beginning. It would be alright now for her to express her feelings, especially since I’d been asking her to open up to me for a long time.

At the Parelli Center, Linda wanted to see Jewels in the round pen at liberty at a walk, trot, halt, and backup, Jewels had trouble finding relaxation. She was anxious, wanting to push forward with her head in the air, lips twisting. Putting her back on halter and lead rope, I worked on the transitions on the rail, but she struggled with the exercise. It improved, but no major breakthrough.

We tried several different approaches, but didn’t find the one to really make the breakthrough that was needed so she could just relax and walk or trot. Just walk! Amazing how she was so afraid to stop running off. If I held her back with the reins, she could walk, but it was not her idea. How sad I felt for her!

This trip to the ranch, Linda said Jewels is an extremely challenging case and that we needed Pat to have a look at her. Most horses would have relaxed with the exercises we had been working on and made big changes. She was not like most horses… I was excited that the Master would look at my rescue horse!

JewelsPat saw her look of escape. He saw her terror. He had seen it before in a couple of horses from his past. Jewels could not yield to pressure. She continued to push forward; pumped up on cortisol. She did not want to talk to this cowboy! Her fear was so bad, she could not see things around her. In her mind, this was it…

Most recently, I had gotten Jewels to the point of occasional clarity in the arena at home. She would think and feel safe under saddle when I said, ‘Whoa’. She had finally come to a point where she felt comfortable at a standstill. That was something, but not enough. Pat had a bigger puzzle for her to solve.

Pat says that we need to have long bodies, (using ropes, sticks, fences, etc) to be effective with horses, and horses need to have tall bodies, (collect, shorten, self carry, yield to pressure). Horses must have lateral and vertical flexion, engage the hindquarters, follow a feel- yield. The perfect puzzle.

Pat was gentle. He understood her worry. Like the true Horseman he is, he guided Jewels carefully to preserve her dignity. She looked at him with mistrust, flashing eyes- warning him. But he showed her how she could flex laterally, yielding left and right at walk, trot, canter, halt, and backup. His timing was impeccable. She licked her lips as she understood.

Pat showed Jewels that she could yield to vertical flexion. He showed her how to put her head down. He recommended long lining exercises. All the while working, his hands touched Jewels kindly, his voice soothing, moving slowly with her like a dance that it was. When he rode her, she blinked a lot, thinking about his request for yields. She was thinking and responding.

He matched her with a much bigger puzzle than ever before. Got her thinking and moving through some of those big can’t – won’t – don’ts.  With the flexion included, it was big!

Then, she looked better; she looked beautiful. Pat told me to put the halter on her, but she was trying to follow him! She had met the Master, and wanted to be with him. I was not disappointed, I was motivated to be more like Pat.

Pat Parelli has taught me so much to help horses over the years, including a very difficult mule everyone said was garbage. Fixing that mule led me on this journey. How exciting and rewarding it is to help horses with a past.

Jewels and I loaded up to head home to do our homework.

To be continued as Jewel progresses…

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Seeking Sanctuary https://parellifoundation.org/seeking-sanctuary/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=seeking-sanctuary https://parellifoundation.org/seeking-sanctuary/#respond Wed, 14 Mar 2018 20:49:29 +0000 https://parellifoundation.org/?p=55577 How one woman and a small group of volunteers found homes for more than 900 horses... Elaine Nash and the Hallelujah Horses. Elaine Nash didn't know that the call she received in October 2016 would take her away from home for nearly a year, requiring all her professional skills and a healthy dose of fortitude. But even if she had known, she still would have taken it.

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How one woman and a small group of volunteers found homes for more than 900 horses

All Animals magazine, March/April 2018

By Kelly L. Williams

Elaine Nash
Elaine Nash, executive director of Fleet of Angels, gets a sniff from a curious stallion. Some of the "wild" stallions aren't so very wild after all. Photo by Wendy Francisco.
Hallelujah Horses
Wild mares and youngsters, originally from the famous White Sands herd in New Mexico, recover in Colorado after surviving a harsh South Dakota winter with no shelter and little food. Photo by Wendy Francisco.

Elaine Nash didn’t know that the call she received in October 2016 would take her away from home for nearly a year, requiring all her professional skills and a healthy dose of fortitude. But even if she had known, she still would have taken it.

On the call, Nash learned that police in rural South Dakota had seized a group of horses when a veterinarian determined they were being neglected. The state’s attorney asked Nash to find homes for 270 of the horses.

Nash had no involvement with the seizure and didn’t live in South Dakota. But as the founder and executive director of Fleet of Angels—a nonprofit that connects horse adopters with affordable equine transporters—she was uniquely skilled to manage the crisis.

Rehoming 270 horses would have been enough of a challenge, but then Nash learned what was going to happen to the hundreds more horses who had been impounded. The original owner was unable to reimburse authorities for the cost of their care, so they would be put up for auction. Nash knew what would come next: So-called “kill buyers” would purchase the horses, then send them to slaughter in Mexico or Canada. She had to intercede.

With the help of The HSUS and private donors, Fleet of Angels and partners raised funds to pay off the lien on the horses and cover their costs going forward—with the caveat that they had to take possession of them. As of December 2016, Fleet of Angels was on the hook to find homes for 907 horses in total. They had a name: the Hallelujah Horses. “The general public cheer was, ‘Well, hallelujah! We saved the horses from the auction,’” says Nash.

A small team convened in South Dakota, braving frigid weather. “Wind chills were down to 50 below zero; wind was up to 40 miles per hour. It snowed all day every day, hard blowing snow, for weeks,” says Nash. Many of the horses were ungelded stallions or wild mustangs who didn’t respect pens, and Nash’s team worked on foot to sort and ready them for adoption. “We didn’t have helicopters or horseback or four-wheelers,” she says. “It was all done just luring horses into pens with feed and getting little groups in at a time and trying to move them in the ice and the snow and the cold and the wind.”

Read More

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Romeo Has a Future https://parellifoundation.org/romeo-has-a-future/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=romeo-has-a-future https://parellifoundation.org/romeo-has-a-future/#comments Tue, 27 Feb 2018 22:30:35 +0000 https://parellifoundation.org/?p=55126 “I dream’ed a dream to-night,” said Shakespeare’s Romeo: a dream of love reviving life. When Kim Meagher came across Romeo, a terrified three-week-old sorrel bay with his dam at a kill auction, both with gaping wounds, she too dream’ed a dream – that the safe haven she had previously provided for 200 horses would give them both a chance for a future.

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By Donna Varga

Ashley Dudas And Romeo“I dream’ed a dream to-night,” said Shakespeare’s Romeo: a dream of love reviving life. When Kim Meagher came across Romeo, a terrified three-week-old sorrel bay with his dam at a kill auction, both with gaping wounds, she too dream’ed a dream – that the safe haven she had previously provided for 200 horses would give them both a chance for a future.

Twenty-one years ago, Kim’s entry into horse stewardship was fatally disrupted: while away from home on July 4th, fireworks caused her recently acquired filly to panic. Upon returning, Kim found Brownie dead, her neck broken. She was awakened to the desperate plight faced by thousands of unwanted horses in the ensuing search for a give-away; as a single mother of two, she could not afford another purchase. She channeled her grief into action, establishing the Wildhorse Ranch Rescue.

Her operation in Gilbert, Arizona takes in the most severe cases. Romeo, the injured colt she met at auction, certainly fit the criteria. She remembers, “He was so frightened. He had large, open wounds on his shoulder and hindquarter. It looked as if someone had tried to brand him, but wow, they did a horrific job on this poor little horse. He would not let any of us near him and tried to hide under his mother, Nyx. She was having nothing to do with humans and would not let us anywhere near her boy.”

Once she had founded the rescue, Kim investigated various natural horsemanship approaches. She found that Parelli Natural Ashley Dudas And RomeoHorsemanship offered the comprehensive instruction she needed to stay safe, while also giving extremely abused rescue horses a chance for rehabilitation. She witnessed the fundamental changes made possible through application of the program, even with horses in the direst of need such as Romeo. He has changed from being untrusting and fearful into a horse who is “curious, fun, and very athletic, a beautiful boy inside and out, who wants to learn.”

However, as an exuberant three-year-old, Romeo was not an easy fella. To further his chances of survival in humansville, Kim sought the assistance of a Parelli Professional; 2-star Parelli Professional Ashley Dudas answered the call. It was a good match: Ashley’s anxious and explosive Arabian mare was the reason she started her Parelli journey. On the verge of giving up on April and horses altogether, she attended a demo with Pat and Linda and was captivated. By immersing herself in the program, she became the human that April needed. Ashley’s understanding of Romeo’s challenges, her colt-starting experience, and advanced Parelli Natural Horsemanship education provided her with the essential skills and insight for making a difference in his life.

During her first session with Romeo, she observed that his pushy behavior was coupled with sensitivity to leadership and need for security.

Ashley Dudas and RomeoWhen the Rehoming 4 Life Challenge and Adoption program started, Ashley agreed to undertake Romeo’s full care and devote the hours necessary to advancing his development. She has been involved with the Foundation for most of her career as a Parelli Professional, inspired by its ability to provide horses and humans “with the help they need where they need it.” Under her guidance for the past few months, Romeo has changed from a reactive prey animal into a soft, willing partner.

Ashley describes Romeo as a medium-spirited Left-Brain Extrovert. His dream partner is that special someone willing to go slowly for teaching, but who understands that once Romeo gets it, he doesn’t need endless repetition: someone whose ambitions are within the realm of lower-level English or Western performance, and who can appreciate Romeo’s strong desire for human interaction.

Kim’s heartfelt dream is “to show people how a horse can turn out if given the chance to get Parelli Natural Horsemanship training. We believe that all people can live their dream with their horse, whether he is a magnificent Atwood pony or a horse with a past. Our highest goal would be that the Parelli Foundation’s Rehoming 4 Life Challenge is so successful that it eventually puts all rescues out of business!”

Romeo is a testament to the Parelli Natural Horsemanship principles of love, language, and leadership offering the possibility of transformation. Through the efforts of Kim, the Parelli Foundation, and Ashley, Romeo has a future…all because someone dream’ed a dream of love.

 

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Pony Power: Rehoming for Life Challenge https://parellifoundation.org/pony-power-rehoming-for-life-challenge/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=pony-power-rehoming-for-life-challenge https://parellifoundation.org/pony-power-rehoming-for-life-challenge/#respond Tue, 05 Jan 2016 19:05:34 +0000 https://parellifoundation.org/?p=17299 3-Star Parelli Professional & Horse Development Specialist Mattie Cowherd has partnered with "Daisy" in the new Rehoming for Life Challenge.
Daisy is a a beautiful pony mare. Mattie will give her the opportunity to have the brightest future as someone’s perfect partner!

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By 3-Star Parelli Professional & Horse Development Specialist Mattie Cowherd

We are so proud to have 3-Star Parelli Professional & Horse Development Specialist Mattie Cowherd, one of our very own Parelli Central staff members, raise her hand to donate her time to the Parelli Foundation’s Rehoming4Life Challenge!

Mattie has volunteered to partner with a beautiful pony mare, Daisy, to give her the opportunity to have the brightest future as someone’s perfect partner!

Tristan and Daisy

 Daisy is pictured above with 5 year old Level 1 graduate, Tristan, who enjoyed a little undemanding time with this sweet pony after her first ride with Mattie.
With that said we’ll let Mattie properly introduce Daisy and what this challenge is all about!…

I love stopping in to Best Friends Animal Society to share in their personal piece of heaven. For those of you who have not stopped in before, you definitely should. The Sanctuary is just over 3,000 acres of peaceful, spectacular beauty in Kanab, Utah. The red rocks and red sands ooze of healing and change. Animals that are lucky enough to have the chance to heal here are so blessed by the care and concern of their handlers at Best Friends.

 My last trip was so much fun! I put first rides on three young horses. They had been given the most wonderful foundations on the ground by the staff and all three youngsters were more than ready to carry their first rider.

My favorite of the group was a young paint pony. Her name was Daisy.

Daisy was so cute! She was the perfect pony – well-balanced, sweet featured, and curious. Her little Left Brain Introvert nature warmed my heart. She was so full of personality and so full of try. Her first ride went textbook. She was sticky in her feet but busy in her mind, which is a great combination and easy to solve as long as the mind is engaged – the feet will soon follow. She soon gained confidence in her balance as I sat on her and waited, flexing her slowly so she could readjust each time to my new weight on her back. Soon, she was freely walking forward with no brace in her mind or her body.

I always love these dream first rides. It left me with a desire to ride her again. Even dream of taking her farther. There was just something so special about her!

Low and behold – my dreams have come true! Theresa with the Parelli Foundation called to ask me about my thoughts on a new program called Rehoming4Life, a program similar to the Natural Horsemanship Challenge hosted at the last two Parelli Savvy Summits with the Atwood Ranch yearlings. I had helped with these Atwood colts in the past as I had been the yearling teacher for the first batch of participating horses and the foal/weanling behavior manager for the second group while working at the Atwood Ranch. The idea of building a foundation with a rescue horse and showcasing them in the same program was VERY exciting to me!

And then Theresa mentioned that she had a few horses in mind for the program, including a young filly from Best Friends… DAISY!

I did my usual thing (which made Theresa laugh) and said that I would “think about thinking about it” when she asked me my thoughts. It only took two hours (and would have been less if I hadn’t been traveling by airplane at that time!) for me to call Theresa back and say “ABSOLUTELY! Count me in…. and I want Daisy!”

I look forward to our journey together and in taking everyone else with me on it as well.

If supporting the Parelli Foundation, giving hope to rescue horses, and supporting the Parelli Professionals who have lovingly opened their hearts and homes to the horses in this competition is important to you, please consider sponsoring a horse during the coming year. These horses are wonderful and all of us in the program want to give them the best – feed, care, time and love – and we need your help! We appreciate your gifts and support!

 

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