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  • Losing a Friend -
    The best part of horses....there are many best parts. I like to write about the best parts, but eventually the worst part catches up to us. The worst part is when we lose them. I'm writing about this part to share an important experience that I need to share about horses, some reasons I love them, and why they are so important to me.

    We can never really be prepared for Losing them. Sometimes you know it's coming. When you have an old one in failing health and you know the time to make a tough decision is near. Sometimes it hits hard and fast and you feel it like a punch to the gut... neither is easy. Both are traumatic, Both, right after each other, incomprehensible.

    I lost a beloved friend a few nights ago. So did Triscuit, the next morning. I was not prepared for my friend's passing. It forced me to relive a painful experience from my past where I lost another truly, best friend in a similar way. I knew what was coming walking the full length of the pasture to my friend the other evening. I've seen that stillness before-it's one you don't want to see the movement too. The movement reveals the end. I knew, I wanted to see him remain still. When I got to him, he knew and so I knew. You don't want to believe that it in these moments, even though deep down, you know it's the end of something.

    I don't know if Triscuit was prepared. She should have been for her friend's passing. Copper's health has been on the decline, but Triscuit's loyalty, sheer will, and determination have been keeping her friend alive for awhile now. Copper would have long since been gone had it not been for Triscuit. I believe that Copper knew how much she meant to her, and so she lived as long as she possibly could... slowly dwindling away... in order to spare Triscuit the pain of living without her as long as she could possibly hold out. Triscuit needed to let Copper go.

    Triscuit's job has been to care for Copper. To standby her friend, to wait for her...She has been a loyal, faithful, unfaltering, steadfast friend. Triscuit is still being that faithful friend to Copper. She is standing guard over her grave and that of my friend. They were buried together.

    I started another long walk the following night in search of the grave site for them both, I knew it was going to be tough. I knew what seeing it would do to me...I've been there before.... I was again not prepared for what else I would find. As I walked by the giant tree and around the bend into the opening, I saw the large dirt mound. It hit me hard, as I expected. But as I walked closer, there was Triscuit. Standing quietly beside the mound facing me. She was still standing by her friend. guarding her, keeping watch. She was initially standing on the side my friend is buried on. As if to let me know, this is your watch. I knew what side her Copper was on by where she then continued to stand. This was confirmed to me later, where each was buried. But I knew Triscuit was telling me.We both sat for a long time with our friends and with each other. We needed that. Two gone, two still there. Four forever friends.

    Although this was a heart-wrenching experience, there was a great power to it. It reminded me of core values and belief's that I need to believe in, that have been damaged by a decade of life experiences in the real world of adulthood. Commitment, Faithfulness, Loyalty, True Love, ....they do exist along with something far greater than ourselves....I felt it in that moment beyond a shadow of a doubt....Horses were my first teachers of these lessons, and Triscuit helped remind me of what I'd almost been lured into giving up on.

    Goodness for the sake of goodness does exist!  Purity of heart and spirit does exist! Pure love in it's most selfless form does exist! Commitment and loyalty ARE possible! I've seen it in a scruffy, discarded, giveaway horse who befriended a fellow scruffy, pasture ornament. This moment clarified so many things for me that I've been struggling with. It enabled me and Triscuit to bond and share in the experience of mourning both of our friends, but it helped me believe in goodness again and purity of heart, in something greater than us both...I said out loud to Triscuit in that moment:

       "Triscuit, I am so sorry... you are still standing by your friend...I know you are hurting. I know you miss your friend. I lost a friend too Triscuit. I understand! You are the best horse on this place,...You are better than most people I've met on this planet! You are a good, honest, loyal friend Triscuit, and have taken care of your Copper. Now I'm going to take care of you! We now have to take care of each other while we are still here. This is going to hurt for a long time. We'll be there for each other. You are the absolute best and the very reason I love horses with every ounce of my soul! Thank you Triscuit"

    Triscuit knows I'm hurting as much as she is. We understand each other's loss and pain. I believe that beyond a shadow of doubt! What I am surprised by is how Copper's loss affected me also. I've spent lots of time over the years caring for her. I've had time to prepare for her passing but I'm still not prepared. I miss her too. She was also a good, loyal friend to Triscuit to stay by her as long as she did. Copper needed to let Triscuit go a long time ago too, but loyalty, love, and true friendship made her fight to stay with her.

    Walking out again to the site tonight...I needed to again...and I may still a few more times...I'd almost convinced myself that it was silly to think that this brown ghost of a pony would still be there. Until I rounded the bend and saw her again this evening by the site. Tonight though, she was focused on the last spot she saw her friend. In the woods. (See the Picture above). She kept standing by it and looking back at me as if to say, do you see her? Maybe she did see her...or maybe she is just missing her and wanting her to show back up? Regardless, I'm overwhelmed at the persistence and loyalty of this scruffy pony. She is far stronger than she looks. Her spirit is is is the raw, honest, powerful spirit of a horse, of a pure soul that is uncluttered by nonsense and focused on what is important.

    It was in the moment, but also proof to me that they do feel, they do have emotion and are in touch with ours and tapped into something greater that they "understand." They have always been my guides, my guardian's, my examples of what is good and true. They are where I feel closest to that connecting force that is so powerful you do not question. They lead me back to me and show me who I MUST be. Connecting with them, connects me with myself, and that something greater which connects everything. This is why I fell in love with horses in the first place.

    I never dreamed this whisp of a ghost pony could have such an impact. She has reset my course and strengthened my faith. I am honored that Triscuit sees me as one of her herd. That she trusts me enough to share this insight that is the very nature of what a horse is. All of my friend's.... the one's here on this planet....the one's who have gone on, are still with me. Still teaching me and still will teach me. This moment showed me a secret to life that is it's core. That has given me a strength and reason to stay the course and believe in something that will get me through when I need reassurance of what is important in this life! Triscuit just taught me one of my most valuable lessons. There will never be another like her to me either!

    Don't underestimate the spirit of any horse... they have the potential to show you the value of what you need to see in life and in death.

  • Learning the Dance of Riding a Horse - One of the first lessons to master when learning to ride a horse is how to take hold of the reins, but in order to become a better rider, one must learn when to let go of the reins! This is one of the most powerful lessons horses can teach us- not an easy one to master. Then again, horses have the potential to teach us that the most valuable lessons don't come easy, which is why these lessons are so valuable.

    Riding is a dance of give and take. Balance and re-balance. Timing is the key. When to give and when to take. When to steady and when to lighten. When to stay out of the way. When to remind. When to insist! All of this together eventually becomes that instinctual, intuitive, "feel" that is a power beyond physical strength. It is a power in understanding how the sum of all parts equals a whole.

    How two individual beings, with a mind and heart and soul of their own, come together to accomplish feats as a team that neither one would be able to achieve on their own is a process that takes awareness, patience, practice, trust, understanding, and respect. It is a dance of equal partners, each step into the lead role and then back as the follower. It works because both horse and rider enjoy their fun and unique dance together.

    One reason horses can teach us how to dance better when we allow them to take the lead is because in doing so, they will teach us more about ourselves. Is it easy for you to let the horse lead or difficult for you? Wonder why that is? Perhaps you need to learn that letting go is not something to fear? Perhaps you need to learn that taking charge is something you are fully capable of doing? Rest assured, your horse knows which to teach you.

    Truth is, most horses want to know that we can be trusted to take the lead role. Expect to earn this trust. But when this dance is a solo rather than a duet, it is no fun for the horse and we do not achieve the full effect of this dance. When you ride, it is not about control. It is not about force or strength. It is not about pulling back or kicking harder. It is not about making the horse do for you . It is about knowing the right time to ask and release and let the horse carry you!

     It's about moving with the horse yet maintaining your own center of balance and helping the horse to find and maintain their balance in synch with your moving body on top of them. Give the horse some freedom and responsibility to do what you expect of them. This is what motivates the horse to want to carry you and tells them you respect them and believe they are capable! This teaches them confidence, respect, and trust in you.

    The sign of a great rider is one who doesn't appear to do anything while riding! The almost invisible dance steps between horse and rider are most fully appreciated by those who've danced this dance before. Although it may look effortless, fellow horse riders recognize the skill involved in this performance.

    There is so much more to learn from this dance than simply the art of the dance. We learn about ourselves and how to become better versions as our horses teach us how to dance better and better. Even the best riders, will need to learn a new dance with a new horse. Each dance is different and brings up new challenges and opportunities. It all starts with being in the right emotional state to begin to learn the dance.

    Being willing to get out of your own way and learn something new. Being willing to try and struggle and work hard. Being consistent and committed to the practice. Being willing to face your doubts and fears and frustrations. Being willing to fail so that you can learn better how to succeed.  Being willing to learn that you are all that your horse already knows you to be and fully capable of achieving the marvelous dance you both have the potential for. This is Learning the Dance of Riding a Horse.

  • Take Time to Play -
    Last night while walking back to the barn after "dutifully" completing my "scheduled" training session with my mare, I got a little "reminder" from two giggly, blonde, side-braided, long-legged, teenage girls and one big old gelding grinning from head to tail about what?s really important between a horse and rider! 

    As they cantered around circling the rolling grass field together, I couldn?t help but notice the lovely, balanced, collected, free, PROUD frame this horse had carrying his crew around and the synergy of his precious cargo aboard. I?m a connoisseur of centered riding and natural movement and balance and this to me was a more authentic beautiful, achievement in horse/rider teamwork than a medal winning round at equitation final! It spoke a truth and lesson for me that many of us "adults" need a reminder in!

    We can regiment, schedule, task, and work ourselves to death and take the real meaning of life?JOY? FUN...right out of the very things we love most when we get too ahead or even too behind of where we are in that very moment! Don?t underestimate the power of JOY. The energy that comes from both happiness and joy can make a horse you?ve seen a thousand times before appear LARGER than life when truly CONNECTED.
    I had to laugh at myself once I realize that it?s okay to deviate from my "scheduled" tasks once in a while and just have a little fun and PLAY! Sometimes, I need to give myself a break! You can kill the fun in the very thing you love the most by turning it into WORK all of the time!!! Who wants to work all of the time? Horses sure don?t?.AND teenagers ABSOLUTELY don?t!

    Therein lies the lesson in this for me, and probably a lot of busy adults about BALANCE and JOY in life. As I watched these girls and this horse in perfect, joyful, harmony and BALANCE, I realized that I could ride without stirrups, work on serpentines, transitions, and spiral in and out till the cows come home?.. BUT what makes the most impactful achievement between horse and rider is a HAPPY horse and rider, enjoying their connected moments in time?.TOGETHER.

    Don?t forget to keep your time with horses BALANCED and just LET IT GO and have fun with your horse OFTEN! These girls reminded me that it?s a good thing to allow your horse to carry you to that fun place of joy that you both need to go to. Which is part of the very reason us horse crazy people became horse crazy in the first place and have the love that we do for our horses! Kids and horses?.sometimes it?s wise to listen to them!


  • Horse Lover's: Dream Your Life With Horses! - Horse lovers' dream of's in our blood. We NEED them to help us find our way to who we are and who we are meant to be as they give us guidance along this superhighway of life. A horse lover is called to horses and them to us despite "life" trying to get in the way and break us apart. Life may succeed for a time, but the polar attraction of a horse lover to a horse and vice versa is like a neodymium magnet.

    You see, we are better together. We are at our most powerful true selves. Life has meaning, purpose, intent. We learn to triumph with horses, we learn to fail with horses. We learn to handle joy and sadness with horses. We learn to be present and accept what is with horses.

    Understand that we are capable of handling what is to come because life is not a constant ...neither all good nor all bad. Life is a challenge of change that we handle. Like a trail filled with different terrain that we handle along the ride. Like a course we jump filled with different types of jumps, strides, approaches, options. Horse lovers' NEED horses to handle life's terrain. We can't jump the course of life very well on our own feet either. Deep down, a horse lover knows that we weren't created and put on this earth to go it on our own two feet. We were put here to move on six feet...two our own, four our horses. That's the beat our drum gallops to. And that's the only beat our heart's can beat whole-heartedly and happily to. To the sound of hoof beats!

    Some advice to non-horse lovers', do NOT EVER ask or expect a horse lover to GIVE UP their hoof beating heart and horse loving soul for you or something YOU want! If you ask this of a horse lover or expect it, YOU should be ashamed of yourself! Asking this of a horse lover is asking them to give up their identity, their heart, their soul and you are being selfish! If you can't handle or appreciate that a horse lover is a horse lover, MOVE ON! You won't be happy, you will be resented. You will figure out the hard way that the secret to your happiness is to work on yourself, NOT take away something from another in an attempt to satisfy you. You make happiness by building it not tearing down!

    I get frustrated when people give up on their horse dreams because of life circumstances. Maybe you can't afford your "hobby" the way you used to experience it. Maybe you get married or start a family and don't have the support, finances, energy you need to be involved with horses at the moment. Maybe you have a job that doesn't allow time for it....Remember, life is full of moments. Just because one moment of time doesn't  easily allow for your involvement with horses does NOT mean that you have to "Give Horses Up!" It just means that you have to find a way to balance life so that you can continue to have horses in your life. You WILL have to ADAPT. Perhaps experience horses differently than you have before. But you will LEARN from this new experience. Trust me, a horse lover's soul will NOT allow you to live away from a horse happily for long. You will find your way back to each other as you are meant to!

    To those of you horse lovers teetering on this decision, to try to dream a life without are probably beat down by life. You are probably at a low where you feel that giving this up will bring you some relief, you've been treading water for what feels right now like a long time, and are probably thinking that giving up and going under may be your best option....DON'T DO IT!!! Think about what horses have taught you! The life lessons. The power that you have when you are YOU with horses! Don't give up this piece of you! This is WHO YOU ARE! You will find a way to make it through this "moment" You will be stronger because of if....better ...and if you stick with your horse love and FIND A WAY, you will be closer to your BEST HAPPIEST SELF quicker than if you diverge on a path that takes you away from yourself and your happiness. You can have all that you want in life...ALL...WITH HORSES! Where there's a will there's a way. Find your way toward your dreams with horses!!!

    I speak from first-hand experience on this topic. From giving up to coming back. From sacrificing to reclaiming. From the fog of manipulation to the crystal clearness of reality. From weak to strong. If I can do it- so can YOU...WITH HORSES because that is who you ARE!!!

  • The Life Float God's Thrown Me -
    Praise God for making this Bad Boy to get me through life's roller-coasters AND to remind me when I doubt what true love is! Thank you Bucky (my rock) for helping me see clearly what is really important when I don't understand this crazy world!
    When God created my horse Bucky, he made me a life float that he  knew I'd need from time to time to keep me from drowning. From the moment I laid eyes on this prankster, I knew. I didn't need to ride him. I knew. He sized me up with a look out of one-eye that spoke right to my are T.R.O.U.B.L.E...but you "see" me for who I am, and I knew.

    He challenges me. He infuriates me. He makes me laugh. He worries me...but most of all, he loves me and relishes in that I love him. He respects me and has learned to trust me. Bucky can be an insecure, worry-wort like me at times. I keep Omeprazole in stock for us both just in case!

    Bucky makes bad choices A LOT like me too. Some more costly than others! Bucky has needed me and I have needed him. Bucky is smart. He knows that he is lucky to have me and that my love has blessed him and probably even saved him. I am lucky to have him.

    Ironically, the great relationship heartbreaks of my life to date, have occurred during the time I've owned Bucky. Relationships scare me! It's hard for me to let "people" in. Bucky helped give me the courage to let a few in. Bucky was in my engagement photos over my shoulder, and he gave me a shoulder to lean on and cry into when my marriage fell apart. When I didn't understand which way I was coming or going. When my usual ability to make clear decisions was gone. When my trust in myself and people was shattered. When those who spoke of love didn't show it. When I saw control, manipulation, and insults being fired at me like bullets, Bucky was my shield. My love for Bucky and my responsibility to take care of him, kept me from fading away and drowning! Thank God for Bucky for preventing me from disappearing and for giving me the strength to do what I needed to in order to take care of us both.

    When men in my life have said they'd be there, but failed to elaborate that they really meant they'd also be there for Barbie, Heather, and Jill...Bucky has truly been there for me! Loyal. Accepting. True....keeping me afloat. One of these days, I'm going to get better at "seeing" a good Bucky!

    Until then, I'm going to keep learning from Bucky. How to be brave enough to cautiously trust as it is earned. To respect when shown respect. There are and will always be plenty of wolves in sheep's clothing out there. They are their own undoing in time. Don't allow their cowardice and emotional limitations to be your undoing too.  Recognize their limitations for what they are and pray they grow and evolve into what they are meant to become. Too bad they don't have a life float like Bucky.  I will learn from Bucky how to look closely and size up what may be worth another shot at earning my trust and respect. Come to think of it, I bet if I asked Bucky, he'd say..."Why don't you keep an eye out for a man just like me silly human? An extra life float may not be a bad idea for you? Just saying. Now, give me a treat!" 

    Hum....told you Bucky was smart!

  • Horse Crazy -
    I know who I am. I?m the horse-crazy, girl who loves horses?. I?m the girl who has difficulty trusting in much else.  Many lessons I've taken in the arena of life, have let me down. It is people who have contributed to me feeling like when push comes to shove, I?m left with one thing and one thing only to count on- myself! Well, myself and a horse, or two, or three- of course!

    Horses don?t lie. They don?t cheat. They don?t manipulate when they aren?t sure what they want in order to ?keep their options open,? for when they figure it out.  Horses know exactly who they are and where they fit in at every single, exact moment in time.  Horses don?t miss out on life, they live it!

    Horses don?t judge. They don?t make me feel like I?m not good enough. Like I need to work out more, wear makeup, wear a padded bra, be tanner, or get a different hairstyle! They don?t make me feel like I have to ?compete? with others in order to be noticed or to be ?worthy". In fact, horses don?t make me feel like I need to change one damn thing about myself! They accept me as I am. They allow me to be me and feel good about it! 

    Horses have always shown me love-unconditional, insightful, honest, secure, strong, healthy, powerful love! They have let me love them which has helped me to grow into the person that I am. They have taught me what true love is. It is acceptance. It is kind. It is honest. It is loyal. It is humble in that it is capable of sacrificing self for something or someone else. Respect is the beat to which true love beats.

    Horses have given me something to believe in when I?ve been destroyed. They?ve given me the will to gather up the pieces of a shattered heart and put them back together again, one at a time, until I can lift myself up and stand taller than before. Horses have made me tough, strong, and proud! But they have also taught me to have a heart and to care because horses have been my best teacher of  awareness, humility, respect, and sacrifice.

    Horses show me truth. They have taught me to pay no attention to what people say. I watch what actions people take. I observe... I see? Watch a horse watching you and tell me that they don?t see!

    So when I?m in a pinch, I turn to horses. I go to them to discover what it is in me that will get me through. What will get me on track to where I?m headed. They know me. They allow me to learn what they know of me on my own time. They?re with me when I?m being a slow, stubborn learner, and I can trust that they won?t let up until I learn the lesson I?m supposed to.

    Horses have not abandoned me, as many people have. When I need them most, they are there. They speak to my heart offering me the clarity needed for me to make the best decisions for me. Horses of  my past, come back to me in my dreams and memories to guide me when I need them. Noble ghosts who are still teaching me. I can trust they are always with me, still carrying me over the hurdles and fields of life.

    Horses have given me the inspiration to share this passion with others drawn to these powerful creatures. Everyone needs something to believe in...something to turn to for guidance when they are struggling. Something to help show some beauty in an ordinary day that will give them hope. I believe in horses and they believe in me. Indeed, life has taught me that there are far crazier things than being Horse Crazy!

  • Why No Horse Slaughter in Tennessee - Horse Slaughter Plants in Tennessee are once again on the agenda for Tennessee legislators. A bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Andy Holt of Dresden, to encourage opening horse slaughter plants in Tennessee was put off Monday for three weeks.

    Here are just a few reasons (with supporting data) as to why I feel horse slaughter plants in Tennessee are a BAD idea:

    Horse slaughter proponents argue it as a form of humane equine welfare for so-called ?unwanted horses?. The process and mechanics of horse slaughter and the conditions are far from humane. They are horrific. There are plenty of undercover videos showing the graphic process. You can search for and watch such videos online for yourself if you dare and determine if you feel it is ?humane.?

    No Market & Cost Prohibitive
    Slaughter for human consumption in Europe or the United States will not be effective in controlling ?unwanted horses.? Due to new strict drug restrictions imposed by the EU (European Union), by 2013, slaughter will be too cost prohibitive a method to use as a means of controlling the ?unwanted horse? population, because:

    -Effective July 31, 2010, the EU will not accept imported horse meat from countries like Canada and Mexico unless it can prove that certain drugs and steroids were not ingested by the horse within six months of slaughter.

    -By 2013, the EU rule will require each slaughtered horse to be shipped with an Equine Identification Document (EID) - a detailed electronic log of a horse's lifetime veterinary record and the drugs it has been given. A number of drugs - including, but not limited to phenylbutazone, testosterone, common dewormers and some antibiotics - must not have been given to the horse in at least the last 180 days prior to slaughter or they cannot be imported into EU nations.? Rachel Whitcomb, EU Standards Could Signal New Challenges for Veterinary Records, Horse Transport and Slaughter, DVM, August 2010, at 2E, Vol. 41, No. 8.

    -Under these regulations the only way US horse meat would be acceptable to the EU market is if processors keep the horses in feed lots for 180 days, which is not cost effective, or we breed horses specifically for slaughter and then we are in the same boat as to the so-called unwanted horses.

    -If we cannot ship horse meat to the EU because of its regulations, who is going to buy the horse meat?

    -Will the market for horse meat in the United States be large enough to support this industry, given the amount of drugs labeled ?not for human consumption? given to our horses?

    -How will the USDA regulate horse meat for US consumption?

    Again, we are back to the same problem of horse slaughter not being cost effective, nor solving the problem of the current ?unwanted Horse? population. Better alternative to slaughter: work w veterinarians & vet schools to provide low cost/ no cost euthanasia.

    Many other reasons slaughter plants are a BAD idea for communities based on previous slaughter plant history in this country (Dallas Crown and DeKalb, IL) are:
    -Horse slaughter plants create environmental hazards and pollution.

    -Plants create negative social impact on communities and lead to increase in crime rates.

    -Plants deter other businesses from coming into their area.

    -Lead to increase in migrant workforce.

    -They devalue property.

    -Blatant Animal Cruelty occurs- the USDA has documented 900 pages of graphic photos displaying the horrors horses are subjected to in these plants. Not to mention there are plenty of undercover videos on the internet displaying inhumane treatment and cruelty.

    Don't take my word on it though, read for yourself the following letter from former Mayor Paula Bacon of Kaufman, TX outlining such problems and issues from her own personal experiences with slaughter plants in her state:

    Also see article presented by ?The Community Preservation Project? opposing a slaughter plant opeining in Mountain Grove, MO.


    There is no time like the present to contact your Tennessee legislators and let them know how you feel about horse slaughter plants in this state. Look up and contact your representatives here. Let Governor Haslam know your position too here or twitter @BillHaslam.
    Follow on twitter #NoTNHorseSlaughter

  • Horse as Teacher.The Path to Authenticity -

    I'm reading th BEST book that I have to share! It's one I'm reading slowly because I'm relishing in its richness. It is chock full of wonderful insights and beautifully written from the different perspectives of women contributors having one thing in common- life-changing experiences with horses! Their stories explore the profound and life-changing effects horses have had on their lives. Definitely check this one out for a feel-good and soulful horsey read that will warm your heart.

    Warning: This read may induce the urge to kick up your heels and nicker with joy. In such cases, simply "Go to the horses." They'll accept you as one of their "herd" wannabees...

  • Buck Brannaman on ABC: Lessons in Life from Horses -
    Photo from

    I just ran across this interview abc did with Buck Brannaman. Of course, "Buck" is naturally my favorite movie of the year. Yes, it's horsey....yes, it's got a cute cowboy....yes, I have a horse named Buck(Y)....perhaps I'm a bit biased? Nah..... or should I say....NEIGH?

    The movie has gotten lots of buzz, and been enjoyed by plenty of non-horsey folks too. So, there's something of interest to folks about horses and their mysterious connection and relationship with humans. Even though the "Oscar's" have snubbed this documentary film this year, people have already chosen this film as a feel-good favorite! People have voted this enlightening film the winner of the People's Choice award at Sundance Film Festival and the Audience Choice prize at the documentary community's love Cinema Eye Honors fest.

    So what is it about horses that draw people in? The reasons will be different for different people, but I believe one key has to do with horses' mystical, shaman-like connection to humans. Horses have an ability to "see" deep within what we often hide from the world and ourselves. Horses live in the authentic present. People do not. Horses will expose our "masks" and reveal our truth's. They can help us to better "see" ourselves, our world, and develop an understanding of broader connections...of our interconnectedness.

    Why am I so fascinated with horses? It's really quite simple. I'm obsessed with "learning" and in my own experience, there has been no greater teacher of authentic, honest, truth in life, and present moment, than a horse. It's a profound experience and bond that transcends thinking, feeling, and reaches beyond to the soul. Who needs a phD when you've got a horse? Heck, even the interviewer made this connection....

    Interviewer: "I thought I'd get a lesson in how to ride. Instead, I got a lesson in life.".....I couldn't have summed it up better myself!

    Enjoy this interview and be sure to get more bang for your BUCK, and check out this fascinating man and his life journey with the even more fascinating horse!

  • Riders Prayer -

    Dearest Creator in Heaven, give me strength to guide my horse.

    Make my hands soft & my head clear.

    Let my horse understand me & I him.

    My heart you have blessed with a special love of these animals, let me never lose sight of it.

    My soul you have gifted with a deep need for them, let that need never lessen.

    Always let my breath catch as the sun gleams on an elegant head.

    Always may my throat tighten at the sound of a gentle nicker.

    Let the scent of fresh hay & a new bag of grain be sweet to me.

    Let the warm touch of a warm nose on my hand always bring a smile.

    I adore the joy of a warm day on the farm. The grace & splendor of a running horse, the thunder of it's hooves makes my eyes burn & my heart soar, let it always be so.

    Dearest Creator grant me patience, for horses are harnessed wind & wind can be flighty.

    Let me not frighten or harm them, instead show me ways to understand them.

    Above all, dear Creator, fill my life with them.

    When I pass from this world, send my soul to no heaven without them.

    For this love you have given me graces my existence and I shall cherish it & praise You for it for all time.

    ~Author Unknown

  • Its About Time -

    It's about time for a post. I've been so busy with all things life...including horses, that I've seriously neglected my writing duties on this blog. I've spent most of my efforts this past year on my Memphis Horses Facebook page. I developed this blog based on my love for horses and my passion for promoting their value to people and communities. I'm a pusher of horse welfare, an anti-slaughter advocate, and a supporter of responsible horsemanship principles and management. In a nutshell, I have zero tolerance for:

    • Abusers of horses (mistreatment)

    • Neglect of horses (starvation/abandonment)

    • Irresponsible breeders (backyard breeders)

    • Horse Slaughter

    • Anyone selling a horse they cannot responsibly care for to auction/slaughter. Humane Euthanasia is NOT an arduous responsibility people! If you can afford to buy a horse, you CAN afford to give them a dignified end that does not involve abandonment, starvation, pain, suffering, or selling to auction/slaughter. If you choose such an option rather than to choose an ethical and painless option for your horse or horses, I have no problem calling you the Bottom-Dwelling Low-life Coward that you are! I make NO apologies for this sentiment!

    • Horse Auctions

    • Kill Buyers

    • Any person, industry, business, etc. that does not "Take Care of Their Own."

    Horses give me hope. Horses give me clarity. Horses give me opportunities to learn, to teach, to become a better human being. I'm on a mission to promote these concepts to others. To inspire people to see horses as I do. As the honest, humble, strong yet gentle guides, teachers, and healers that I believe them to be. They are gifts to people. Teaching us how to "see" ourselves, others, and the world in an enlightened way regardless of our "riding" use for them. Its about time I get back to writing more about my experiences with horses.

  • Take Time to Smell the Roses -
    How many horse folks out there have ever noticed how horses can show you how to slow down and live in the moment? I?m a busy body - I tend to naturally want to be moving. I simply have a hard time sitting still. If I?m sitting still, I?m fidgeting. Shaking a foot, leg, hand?.I?ve often wondered, why it?s so hard for me to just chill! I?ve had people comment on it before. I even made someone giving a presentation nervous through all my fidgeting?oops! I?ve actually apologized for it and reassured people that it is a habit of mine?.I?ve never been able to sit still well. I?m always thinking. When I have to wait on something, I?m thinking. Thinking about what I need to do, where I need to go, what I want to work on. If I got paid a dollar for every ?thought? I had I?d be sitting right now on a beach outside my Mediterranean villa sipping a tasty beverage. One day, one day?. But I recently realized why I?m hard-wired for horses. Horses slow me down! They bring me back down to the moment. They give me the gift of being able to ?see? life for what it is and appreciate it.

    Okay, so they can also ironically turn me into the energizer bunny. When I?m around horses, I?m on a mission. I know what I?ve got to do, and it?s time to get busy. Typical day with my horses goes like this. Get to barn, grab halter, catch my horse (s) in pasture. Repeat, repeat again?.. having more than one horse means more work! Oh, and let?s not forget the lesson horses and ?old geezers? that sucker me into bringing them in too! Next comes either feeding, or grooming. I LOVE to groom. Every horse-lover has their own special ?system? to this and bag of tricks. There is something about the ?system? & business of it that?s calming- ironic?

    Although I?m crazy about all horses, there?s one special breed that I?ve always had an affinity too. Thoroughbreds! Anyone whose spent time working with them will know what I mean in that most thoroughbreds don?t want to stand still or to walk. This is TORTURE for many! In fact, when retraining off the track thoroughbred?s, I don?t dare start them off by trying to first train them to stand still, or even walk when I?m on their back. This is just NOT natural for them, and by forcing them to slow down, walk?.you may create a ticking time bomb that?ll quickly explode.

    No, they need to be busy. They need to be moving forward. Pull back, they?ll go faster. It?s trot, trot, trot and more trot. Pretty quickly, in all that business, they start to relax. Their mind starts to slow. They start to listen more to you and you to them. And before you know it, you?ve got a harmonious team in forward motion both thinking alike, and almost melding into one mind. When riding them, all I have to do is ?think? of something, and my horse will follow. A thoroughbred at this stage is so sensitive to the slightest feel that my aids?even at the subtle thought are transferred to them. For anyone who?s been here?.this is a ?WOW? moment. For those that haven?t, stick with horses?they?ll show you the way to this. Only the horse can teach you what this is. You have to be willing to listen though.

    Eventually, the hottest off the track thoroughbred will get used to the ?routine? and settle. As you both develop into a ?team? you?ll eventually be able to start them back at the beginning so to speak, and walk before trot. But this ?busy body brain? will always be hard-wired into a thoroughbred psyche and reappear at times. It?s part of who they are and why I adore them. It?s also why I can relate and connect with them so well.
    I?m like an off the track thoroughbred. It?s through my nervous pent up energy and moving that I?m able to settle my brain and have great ideas. I guess I have to exhaust myself to ?calm down.? But the activity, settles my mind, body, and spirit. It makes me happy. When I?m working with a busy horse, I?m able to be in that moment. Make my body relax, and listen and respond to my mount. The horse tells me what ?he/she? need?s to settle, and because I?m in tune with them and ?listening? I can respond. When finished with the ride, I?m able to see more clearly, think more clearly, be in the moment and enjoy it and so is my horse! It?s a special feeling and one I?m truly grateful for. This feeling and recognition is truly a gift- and one that only a horse has been able to give me. It?s a combination of magic, spirituality, and something bigger than me and the horse. It?s truth, calm, and as close to heaven as I?ll probably ever get while on this earth.

    Now, I?m not suggesting that high strung people start riding high strung horses! That can be a recipe for disaster. But speaking for the anomaly that is me- it works, and it?s magic. The very nature of all the hard-work that is horses is what keeps me grounded. Keeps me sane, keeps me focused. How ironic that it?s through being busy, that I?ve been shown by horses to slow down and take time to smell the roses? Take time to ?see? life in the moment and appreciate it. I hope that you are also able to let your horses show you the way to this. If you?re willing and open to it, they?ll teach you to take time to smell the roses too, and appreciate what?s important in life.

  • I Ride -

    Here's one for all you Independent Cowgirls out there! Thank you Stephanie Sudduth Cash for sharing this beautiful note!

    I ride. That seems like such a simple statement. However as many women who ride know it is really a complicated matter. It has to do with power and empowerment. Being able to do things you might have once considered out of reach or ability.

    I have considered this as I shovel manure, fill water barrels in the cold rain, wait for the vet/farrier/electrician/hay delivery, change a tire on a horse trailer by the side of the freeway, or cool a gelding out before getting down to the business of drinking a cold beer after a long ride.

    The time, the money, the effort it takes to ride calls for dedication. At least I call it dedication. Both my ex-husbands call it ?the sickness?. It?s a sickness I?ve had since I was a small girl bouncing my model horses and dreaming of the day I would ride a real horse. Most of the women I ride with understand the meaning of ?the sickness?. It?s not a sport. It?s not a hobby. It?s what we do and, in some ways, who we are as women and human beings.I ride.

    I hook up my trailer and load my gelding. I haul to some trail head somewhere, unload, saddle, whistle up my dog and I ride. I breathe in the air, watch the sunlight filter through the trees and savor the movement of my horse. My shoulders relax. A smile rides my sunscreen smeared face. I pull my ball cap down and let the real world fade into the tracks my horse leaves in the dust.

    Time slows. Flying insects buzz loudly, looking like fairies. My gelding flicks his ears and moves down the trail. I can smell his sweat and it is perfume to my senses. Time slows. The rhythm of the walk and the movement of the leaves become my focus. My saddle creaks and the leather rein in my hand softens with the warmth.

    I consider the simple statement; I ride. I think of all I do because I ride. Climb granite slabs, wade into a freezing lake, race a friend through the manzanita all the while laughing and feeling my heart in my chest. Other days just the act of mounting and dismounting can be a real accomplishment. Still I ride, no matter how tired or how much my seat bones or any of the numerous horse related injuries hurt. I ride. And I feel better for doing so.

    The beauty I?ve seen because I ride amazes me. I?ve ridden out to find lakes that remain for the most part, unseen. Caves, dark and cold beside rivers full and rolling are the scenes I see in my dreams. The Granite Stairway at Echo Summit, bald eagles on the wing and bobcats on the prowl add to the empowerment and joy in my heart.

    I think of the people, mostly women, I?ve met. I consider how competent they all are. Not a weenie amongst the bunch. We haul 40ft rigs, we back into tight spaces without clipping a tree. We set up camp. Tend the horses. We cook and keep safe. We understand and love our companions, the horse. We respect each other and those we encounter on the trail. We know that if you are out there riding, you also shovel, fill, wait and doctor. Your hands are a little rough and you travel with out makeup or hair gel. You do without to afford the ?sickness? and probably, when you were a small girl, you bounced a model horse while you dreamed of riding a real one.

    Julia Edwards-Dake

  • Horse Lovers Saddle Up to Raise Money for Mississippi Animal Rescue League -

    Updated: Monday, 08 Nov 2010, 7:31 AM CST
    Published : Sunday, 07 Nov 2010, 9:02 PM CST

    OLIVE BRANCH, Miss. - Horse lovers from the Mid-South gathered Sunday afternoon in Olive Branch to take part in the first "Ride For Rescues" trail ride at Kimberlin Farms. Participants saddled up their horses, making donations that would benefit the Mississippi Animal Rescue League, which is a non-profit organization.

    "Dogs and cats, you think of them all the time but there's a huge issue with homeless horses here locally. We wanted to bring awareness to the problem," said Ashlee Pigford, a riding instructor in Olive Branch.

    Several owners of rescues were on hand to share their success stories. Memphian Bob Harbin was one of those tender hearts in attendance. Harbin rescued a starving horse this past July, a quarter horse gelding he named Mr. Tipton.

    "When I got him, he was 600 pounds," said Harbin. "He's right at 900 pounds now. I have to add, I had about a dozen people contribute feed and vet care to this horse."

    Harbin credits the team work of his fellow horse-lovers for Mr. Tipton's improvement. He's hoping to find Mr. Tipton a loving, forever home soon.

    Pigford rode Popeye in Sunday's trail ride, a 30-plus year old rescue horse that came to Kimberlin Farms malnourished.

    "Believe it or not, Popeye was pretty frisky today," joked Pigford.

    Popeye and Mr. Tipton's stories are far too common and in a struggling economy, cases like theirs are more prevalent. That's why Sunday's event at Kimberlin Farms was so important for those attending.

    "Horses are a very expensive pet to take care of. They require a lot of education and well-informed owners," said Pigford. "We're seeing less and less of that and also people not being able to take care of them in this harsh economy."

    If you'd like to learn more about horse rescue, or to make a donation, click on the links attached to this story.

    SOURCE: Kristin Tallent/Fox 13 Memphis

  • Book Review for Playing With Lukas -
    Horse-lovers, there is a new "MUST READ" to add to your list: Karen Murdock's book Playing With Lukas.

    Karen's mission to show people how intelligent horses are in order for people to treat them better is indeed an honor to horses, horse-lovers, and all creatures everywhere! The special bond between Karen and Lukas (a 17 year old rescued off the track thoroughbred) is a testament to the power each person has to accomplish great good when willing to open their heart and mind to their calling. This book exemplifies that the "value" of a horse transcends that of simply a riding or competition mount. Horses and people have the power to heal each other. This inspirational partnership between two "misfits" is about to revolutionize how people view horses and create change for the better for these majestic and magical creatures. At the very least, Lukas has made the average adult laugh more often!

    Thanks Karen for your determination and vision, Lukas for your curiosity and humor, and you both for your inspirational teachings. Reading about Karen and Lukas's journey, has reinforced for me as Karen so eloquently stated in this book, "I now know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we are made kind by being kind." Thank goodness for kind hearts and open minds and for this book for promoting this concept. Lukas is the poster child for horses everywhere, but especially cast-off horses who deserve their second chance to change the world, heal people who need them, and spread kindness throughout an industry which could benefit from the lessons in good values that horses like Lukas and teachers like Karen have to instill.

  • Why Rescues Rock -
    Popeye: 30 yr old Rescue Horse at Kimberlin Farms

    Photo by Lauren Pigford of Lauren Pigford Studio

    Okay, so horses of all kinds and ages ROCK. In my lifetime with horses (not divulging age here) I?ve stumbled upon a ?secret? value to horses that I wish to share with others. This ?secret? is quite simply that ?Rescues Rock!? Naturally, people attach a value to a horse based on performance, competition value, or riding ability. So what value does ole back-yard Smokey, or Old Geezer Blue, or Lame Jane possibly have to offer? Even if they can be ridden, they aren?t competition worthy. What does that skinny horse down the street in the neighbor?s small, barren pasture possibly have to offer? If they?re skinny that just means their old, right? Old horses get skinny, right? Sure, they look bad, but there?s a reason?.they must just be sick. Hum?all of them?that must be it?

    Chances are, that skinny horse you drive by is a diamond in the rough just needing a little polishing in order to shine brightly once again. As is the case with the rescue horses I?ve encountered in my lifetime. One being my very first horse, Sampson, an OTTB who?d been ?turned out to pasture? and forgotten for years to basically fend for himself in Mississippi. My mom and dad bought him for me mostly because my mom, being a lifelong horsewoman herself, felt sorry for him and the emaciated state he was in. She knew his luck would run out soon, and didn?t want to see him end up at the ?killers??even though he wouldn?t have brought much price for pound because of being so underweight. But, also, she was able to see something in his eyes that others had missed. This is because she?d been taught by horses to look beyond and see the hidden value?..the potential. She?d learned from horses to give chances and to take risks, no matter what others tell you makes sense or doesn?t. She learned from horses to listen to her own heart and instincts?and that voice inside that tells us which path to take.

    Well, she was right! Sammy went on to become the most awe-inspiring, wondrous teacher I?ve had to date in my lifetime. I know without a doubt that horse loved me & was GRATEFUL for having found me after going through his rough years of hunger and neglect. This horse was ride able?.and show -worthy. He was a self-confidence builder for me and a lesson that hard-work and gritty determination does pay off. It wasn?t easy; many a time did he dump me and challenge me! Many a time did I learn to meet his challenge! He let me know that force would never equal success with him. If a fight was what I wanted, you better believe he?d deliver! I realize now, he ?let? me win some?.but he eventually taught me how to more effectively ?win? his challenges! He showed me through trial and error that true success comes through patience and consistency and not tiresome, yeehaw, stubborn (I?m after all a Taurus)?Horse you WILL do what I ask!? dominance.

    Sampson was one of my greatest accomplishments. But far greater than the beauty and wonderful riding horse that he became, which consequently made me a good rider, was the special bond and relationship that we formed. Going through trials and tribulation?the ups and the downs?.the humility and the success? my greatest joy was simply walking in the barn, calling out ?Sammy Sue? and having him run to his stall door and nicker with wild excitement every time I came in the barn. That horse was ALWAYS happy to see me and let me know it! Every time he greeted me was like the first time he?d ever seen me. He was ALWAYS grateful to have me to his very last day! Anthropomorphize this or that? his unconditional, loyal, and count on me affection?.genuine LOVE??warms my soul to this day and is one of the main reasons I?m on such a mission to spread the joy that all horses, but especially rescue horses, have to offer people.

    Horses teach lessons in love and the self-confidence and respect that consequently develop from such bonds. Horses teach you the value that lies within your own hearts. They show us our own capacity to love, selflessly, and the rewards of such that feed our souls and help us to inspire, encourage others, and meet the challenges that life throws at us. They teach us that success in life is not railroading down the train tracks rolling over anything and everyone in our path. Sure, we may get ahead that way- for awhile. We may be profitable and successful in terms of society?s standards for success. But how will we ?feel? about ourselves? Will our soul?s be at peace, be content, be happy and joyful? You will have to answer this question for yourself. For me, rescue horses have given me my answer.

    Rescue horses are special amongst horses. Rescue horses never forget where they came from, what they?ve gone through. Rescue horses communicate more effectively with people. Some words that sum up rescue horses from my own experiences are: grateful, courageous, loyal, and open to communication. I?m not sure I can explain this adequately, but there is something about them that makes them extra special when it comes to being effective teachers. Their own breadth of experience makes them wiser. They are on another plane, a higher level. They see into our own hearts and more quickly reflect our own strengths and weaknesses. They just plain better understand us and bond with people more quickly and more powerfully. They leave us with an experience that we can draw upon long after they?re gone. The value is forever with us as we walk through our own life and meet the challenges that will inevitably come our way. We all have challenges. I have huge challenges ahead, but I?m not giving up. The harder I fall, the longer I?ll climb and the more determined I?ll be to reach the top of where I?m climbing to. But I won?t railroad others along the way. I won?t steam roll on past and not stop when I see reason to slow down! I?ll get where I?m going, and I?ll be proud of it when I get there. I?ll be the owner of my soul because I didn?t compromise my integrity. All of this because of the most true and honest experiences of my lifetime with rescue horses. Experiences that I can forever draw upon for clarity, motivation and inspiration. Experiences which I can share with others in order to pass on the valuable lessons that I have learned. Hopefully, I?ve answered the question as to why I think ?Rescues Rock!"

  • Horses and Learning -
    photo by Lauren Pigford Studio

    Have You Hugged Your Horse Today?

    Equine Assisted Learning and therapy provides a unique opportunity for all people, but especially for people suffering with communicative disorders, learning disabilities, and emotional issues such as low self-esteem. Horses connect to their subjects on a level that does not involve ?words? and communication becomes an interactive trial by nature situation. Horses "sense" our strengths and weaknesses very quickly! They size us up and test us to see who stands where in the "pecking order." In order for people and horses to truly "bond," people must "pass" such tests in order to work together with horses effectively as a team- otherwise, we don?t get very far with them! In this respect, horses teach us how to ?troubleshoot? and help people improve their overall communication skills. If you can "understand" a horse and learn to "read" their thoughts by observing their body language, you'll probably be better able to "read" people.

    Working with horses is very much a ?mental? activity. Success with horses does not come from physical strength or overpowering them, rather from understanding them, gaining their trust, observing and learning to ?read? their body language. They tell us volumes in the subtlety of a movement, gesture, flick of an ear, lick of the lips. Human willingness to learn this new ?language? opens the mind and it feeds the soul. Once learning to ?talk? with a horse, the horse gains respect and I believe shows you an unconditional love that warms the heart and heals the soul. It is not a selfish love, but one that is unconditional, honest, simple, yet an intensely powerful bond that can have a positive life changing effect on a person. It can be the first true glimpse of pure love, trust, respect and teamwork that someone has ever experienced. And all this, can come from the often gentle, persistent, and calming spirit of a 1000+lb horse, that chooses to work with us and submit their wild natural and instinctive roots.

    Why horses do this, when they don?t have to?.. sometimes still perplexes me? I don?t know many humans that would do so. But my own theory is that I believe horses to be our earthly guardian angels and teachers put here to help us ?learn? something about ourselves. They can show us how we should treat ourselves, each other, and every living thing- with respect, dignity, and appreciation! They are mirrors of ourselves and reflect our own nature in how they respond to us. If we're nervous, they're nervous. If we're affectionate, they're affectionate, if we're hostile, they'll react as the big flight animals they are! Horses are after all, horses!

    Most horses demand that people ?earn? their trust. Not a bad survival trait, considering the number of dishonest folk out there! Once a human has earned the trust of a horse, they?ve earned a life-long, loyal friend. Not to say that horses won?t give ?refresher?s? on this lesson?.and test us from time to time. We must earn the right for them to view us as a leader- which they must accept us to be in order for the relationship to be successful. Horses MUST respect and trust us in order for their to be an effective partnership. This is when the true magic comes into play- when both horse and human have bonded, and work as partners and a team. Truly then, magic in the form of unconditional love, respect, enjoyment, and learning opportunities are born. This world would be a better place if more people had the opportunity to experience and learn common-sense, hand's-on, interactive lessons from some of the most effective teachers on earth- horses!

  • Summer Recap: Horses & Kids-Keeping it REAL -

    Well, the summer heat is still with us, but oh my starts on Monday for many local Memphis area kid's....what? How the heck did this happen? Perhaps there are some parents out there saying, took you long enough? Nah!

    I for one can't wait from a break from this HEAT wave Memphis is having. It's horrid for those of us addicted to outdoor activities, and especially difficult for our pets who can't come inside to cool off! With heat index's of 115 this past week, many poor horses have it rough!

    Luckily, one of the highlights of my summer horse fun was before this annoying heatwave hit. And, it was still PLENTY HOT! My very first Summer 2010 Kids Horsemanship Camp was a BLAST and a great learning experience for campers and for me! It was a return to celebrating horses, educating kids about all things horses, and of course- good ole horsey fun! Some things I learned:
    1. More adults should spend time with kids- teaching them about their passions! Kids need role models and something to get excited about especially in today's world! Learning should be fun and creative, but unfortunately our society has become so "systematic" and "procedural" about education-"right vs wrong," "A students vs C students," "this label vs that"- that creative and hands-on learning opportunities are few and far between! Why is society as a whole so frighted to encourage independent thought and creativity? Sometimes I feel like society is encouraging a bunch of drones & worker bees....I say, why not encourage more Queen bees? I love it when kids have the freedom, space, and encouragement to "use their own minds" and think out of the "box" creatively! Now this is REAL learning! The type of thinking the "real world" demands of people in order to succeed, heck, more like survive in this economy! This is the type of learning that occurred at my horse camp! I'm really proud of this!

    2. I need to focus more on equine assisted learning, because obviously, I love horses, obviously, I love learning. I've spent almost 15 years making a corporate career out of it. Duh, bring them both together and voila... by Jove, perhaps I've finally stumbled across my calling?

    3. When you share something you truly are passionate about with others, there isn't a price tag on the reward you get! It's a great feeling knowing that you are doing something that matters and contributing to a special experience and memory for people!

    4. Sharing a passion refuels the soul, provides a clarity in priorities and direction, and provides motivation that becomes a force of its own. Whether I'm ready or not, some force greater than myself has grabbed hold of me and is pulling me in the direction I'm supposed to be going in. My job at this point is to keep up...and although I'm working my you know what off, from sun up to sun down, my work is a joy and doesn't feel like a burden!

    5. Have fun and don't ever lose touch with your inner kid! Be goofy, creative, messy, pout, have a temper tantrum, let your parent's be parents and "baby" you if you're lucky enough to still have them in your life! Laugh often, cry often, move your feet often and turn off the TV!!! Eat your favorite food's often, hang out with your favorite people very often! Thank them for being in your life and be thankful for having them! Hug your dog, hug your cat, don't be afraid to pick up that stray kitten that's wandered into your life and open your heart to it! Tell fear and reason to take a's worth living, not missing because your too "Afraid" of what you'll do right or what you may do wrong.....Naturally, hug your horse and spend lots and LOTS of time with him/her/them....after all, they are to thank for many lessons you've learned in life. For myself, horses are to thank for items 1-5 posted here! Without horses, I'd probably be a narrow minded, bitter, and angry person obsessed with things I can't take with me six feet under!
    At my horse camp, I got to be a "big kid" and relive my childhood. The most important lesson I learned: EVERY ADULT NEEDS TO BE A KID ONCE IN AWHILE! This keeps us REAL! God Bless Kids and Horses for reminding me, what's REALly important :)

  • Why My Memphis Horse Camp? -

    Camp Contact Information:
    Ashlee Pigford
    The Kid?s Horsemanship day camp being offered at Kimberlin Farm?s located on Center Hill Road in Olive Branch, MS on July 23-25th from 9am to 2pm , promises to be a unique educational experience that?s sure to leave a lasting impression on attending campers! While horse camps are not unusual during the summer in the Memphis area, this one offers some unique perspectives, lessons, and experiences that others do not!

    This camp is more than just being about horses and riding. This camp is about LEARNING good old fashion values that often are
    missing in today?s society. It is about far more than just horseback riding, there are numerous camps which primarily emphasize this! This camp is for kids who want to LEARN all about horses including the care and consistent work that is associated with responsible horsemanship. The purpose of this camp is NOT that of a summer daycare program OR that of an extended riding lesson! This camp is an educational and fun experience where students will learn about respect, responsibility, patience, listening, communication, and teamwork! Surprisingly, all of these values and characteristics can be taught by HORSES! With the help of an experienced facilitator knowledgeable in how to bring such lessons to light for students, in a FUN, interactive, and memorable way!

    Unlike many camps, this one will NOT be turned over to assistant camp counselor?s to lead! This camp is a well-planned, educational, and strategized ?horsemanship? boot camp! Led by an Instructor with 15+ years Corporate Training and Curriculum Design experience and a life-time spent with horses! Meet Ashlee Pigford, horse-lover, author, and corporate professional who never ?outgrew? her passion for horses or learning! She is the founder of Memphis Horses, a local networking project promoting affordable and responsible horse ownership, and equine advocacy practices in Memphis, TN and beyond! Ashlee is not only experienced with horses, but also an experienced Teacher. Ashlee has a combined 15+ years worth of experience working with children of all ages, and adults. She has worked as School Teacher (including Special Education) and a Corporate Trainer and Instructional Designer for the following:
    • Memphis Botanic Garden?s Youth Education Program in Memphis, TN
    • Bellview Christian Academy in Pensacola, FL
    • Memphis Association of REALTORS® in Memphis, TN
    • FedEx Services TSC Center in Collierville, TN
    • Horseback Riding Instructor at Kimberlin Farms, Olive Branch, MS
    This camp is geared to those wanting a different ?camp? experience for their children led by a talented, innovative, and creative Learning Professional who will instill lasting memories and core values using her innovative teaching style with horses!

    Ashlee?s camp covers overall horsemanship skills: care, behavior, handling?.in addition to campers being able to experience a variety of horse and pony breeds, ages,sizes, colors, and shapes! Children will meet rescue horses and hear their success stories, and even get their autograph's! In addition, campers will get to experience a variety of riding disciplines including english and western riding AND carriage driving! Demonstrations of riding and driving styles will also be given! This wide range of exposure- riding, carriage driving, and horsemanship principals taught by a professional Trainer- of people and horses, promises to deliver on education & fun!

  • What IS Memphis Horses? - Memphis Horses, which started out as a blog, is evolving into a local Equine Advocacy Networking Project on a mission to provide a networking and collaborative platform for both local horse-lover's and equine enthusiasts from all over the nation! Our purpose is to help both horses and people by providing information, awareness, education, and a platform to discuss responsible horse ownership, practices, and management that will hopefully encourage responsible growth in the equine industry.

    This network has already assisted in the rescue of several horses locally, and has provided both advice and a sounding board for locals having questions about all things horses. We are working to make positive strides in the horse industry locally and encourage more people to get involved in paying it forward for horses!

    Memphis Horses celebrates horses and promotes affordable and responsible horse ownership, and equine advocacy practices in Memphis, TN and beyond! We encourage collaboration of ideas, suggestions, advice, rescue information, etc. Do you want to make positive strides in the horse industry locally, and network with like-minded horse-folk? Well then, you've come to a great place to do just that! High Hooves to you for your interest in paying it forward for horses!

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