We are not static. Our program is constantly growing and evolving. We stick to our central beliefs as we grow.
1. The best way to prevent the extinction of Colonial Spanish horses is to teach a person to ride one.
2. Natural horsemanship creates better horses, but more importantly it creates better people.
3. Working with horses helps solve tremendous emotional pain and can be a linchpin in fighting PTSD.
4. Learning should not merely be fun. It should be exhilarating.
5. A riding program should create a sense of community among its participants.
Preservation of Colonial Spanish Horses and Heritage Livestock
Our primary purpose is to work to prevent the extinction of several strains of nearly extinct Colonial Spanish Horses such as the Corollas, Shacklefords, Choctaws, Marsh Tackys, Grand Canyon influenced horses, Galiceno, and Brislawn strain horses. These were among the original horses brought to America in the 1500's, some arriving nearly 100 years before the settlement of Jamestown. As the southern colonies developed, up until around 1700 these horses were the only horses found in the southeast and then on across the Mississippi. We seek to expose these horses to as many people as possible in order both to educate and to assist others who might want to own and become breeders of these horses. This spring and summer we will have several foals born. Program participants will learn how to, and actually have hands on opportunities to humanely tame and gentle horses.
Our program is unique. We will often have visitors come to learn how we do things in order to develop a program like ours.
In order to place the horses in their proper historical context--to put a picture frame around them--we built a replicated 1650's era farm sight which is also stocked with historically appropriate goats, super rare Ossabaw colonial hogs, and colonial chickens. We are constantly on the look out for additional historically appropriate livestock and hope to add colonial cattle and maybe even sheep in the future.
We do not use natural horsemanship only because it gives us better horses. We use natural horsemanship because it makes us better people. Natural horsemanship teaches patience. It teaches gentleness. It teaches lightness. Most importantly, it teaches empathy. The basic principle of natural horsemanship is to simply communicate with the horse in a manner that the horse can understand. We focus on understanding the horse's body language, psychology, and social organization. In short, we seek to understand how the horse feels. They learn something that so few horse people ever learn: that a horse should never be punished for acting like a horse.
It works. Everywhere we go my little riders are complimented not only for their first rate horsemanship, but also for their maturity and compassion. Their parents are the first to notice the improvements in the rider's degree of responsibility in every aspect of their lives. They notice the increase in confidence.
We are very interested in soil and water conservation and a major part of our program is the development of demonstration permaculture techniques. This is an important point to understand. Program participants learn and they work on various projects. One of the most important things that kids in our programs learn is the satisfaction that comes from hard work and the importance of team work. It is not at all unusual for kids to begin the program having no idea what they are capable of doing. It is very rewarding to see the pride in their faces as they learn to handle farm chores and work to improve the environment around them.
Road to Repair
Road to Repair sessions are conducted by Ashley Edwards. Road to Repair is designed to inform professionals in the field how they communicate more effectively with severely traumatized victims of abuse. There is another component of what she teaches for those who have been traumatized, including those with PTSD. That part of the program is called The Other Side.
We encourage people who have been through severe trauma to participate in our programs
We teach kids with an interest in the matter how to perform ancient American songs on ancient instruments. We do not charge riders or community members who want to come and learn to play and sing ancient songs. We simply get together once a week and work up some songs.
Being able to get up on stage and perform does wonderful things for young people.