Hats Off To Those That Go After Their Dreams!

18 Apr
Judith and her beloved Beastie, a.k.a. Buttons

Judith and her beloved Beastie, a.k.a. Buttons

“Do you teach adults how to ride horses? Like older adults?” the phone call came in on a cool Spring day.

“Of course!” I answered with excitement. At one time I was in her position; I did not take formal riding lessons until I was an adult. I have a special place in my heart for adult riders.

“Like 70 year old adults? I am going to a dude ranch and I would like to learn how to ride before I go. Our whole family is meeting there and we would love to ride horses. I just thought it might be a good idea to learn how to ride. I would like to learn how to ride Western because that’s what they do there,” her voice grew in confidence.

“I WOULD LOVE to teach you! I have a trainer that teaches Western. May I just offer a suggestion to take a few lessons in English?” I then explained the difference and why it would be beneficial to ride in the English saddle. She said that she would be open to my suggestion and we set up a time for her to come out and meet me, my horses, and the farm.

Her husband, known as “her better half” pulled up in their environmentally conscious electric car. She was beautiful, tall, lithe, strong, and balanced. She shared that she works out at the gym and it was evident. Her husband of fifty plus years made himself at home in one of our Adirondack chairs with one of our Great Pyrenees sitting by his side. He laughed; he said he was fine, though all we could see was white fluff and his hand stroking the massive dog. You could see the love they have for one another, and being mugged by a dog was worth the sacrifice for his wife’s riding lesson.

I was getting excited to work with her. She met all of the horses and she fell in love with Buttons, our very bad draft cross pony. He is not dangerous, but he likes to push his boundaries with all riders, even me! I thought he may be a great mount for her because he was low enough and certainly sturdy enough for her. At first getting Judith on the pony was a struggle; her aching joints did not always cooperate. Getting off of the horse was even worse for her and that’s when she shared that it was painful for her to step off of a curb.

Time passed and her strength, coordination, stamina, and skills increased. She and Buttons became quite the pair and she even nick-named him Beastie. This was an appropriate name because he would butt her with his head and nudge her for pets if she was not paying attention to him. She said that she did not know that horses had so much personality. What she did not realize was that she picked the biggest personality at the farm.

Judith now trots and her goal is to canter and jump before her 73 birthday. At the dude ranch, all of the horses got spooked and spun taking off. Judith stayed on and she said that she attributes it to the dreaded English saddle. She now kisses the English saddle and a fuzzy beastie named Buttons. She gets on with the grace of a ballerina and gets off without groaning in pain because there is no more pain. Walking off of curbs is no longer a problem and she attributes it to horseback riding.

Judith, you are the BEST RIDER at Raise Your Dreams Farm and am grateful to teach you and come to know you and your awesome family! You have been an inspiration to ALL of us here. I am frequently told how you have inspired others to go after their dreams.

I will certainly keep all abreast of the day that Judith finally canters and jumps! Now all we need to do is get her to a show!

Hey, do you know a rider that has inspired others? Please share!

Follow Raise Your Dreams Farm on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Raise-Your-Dreams-Farm

Is This My Good Side? Does My Butt Look Too Big? How About My Hair?

16 Apr
Hershey doing what he loves best- Showing ALL how it is done!

Hershey doing what he loves best- Showing ALL how it is done!

He is dark, jet black, one pristine white star perches on his broad brow, his eyes are large and expressive, and he was known as Chuck. I bought this young thoroughbred for my experienced riders that needed to be sharpened by this inexperienced 1200 pound of rippling horse flesh.

The first day that I brought him to the farm, all I heard was’ “OOOOH!”

He pranced and sashayed around the ring with his tail in full flag glory. He struck the ground deliberately and we paused to hear thunder emit from the trembling earth. He would rear, buck, and then leap in the air for no reason but to show his awesome power and coordination.

I must admit, I was in awe too. He was beautiful to watch. We would spontaneously break out into applause because he was dancing to a song that we could all hear.

We took our phones out to capture this magical performance. That’s when he abruptly stopped and swung wide to pose for this photo opportunity. We laughed thinking that this was a coincidence.

Then he found the mirror in the riding ring. He stopped, pranced, snorted and shook his mighty head. Then he tentatively took one step forward placing his toe in the sand. He stretched his neck out and gave the mirror a touch with his quivering velvety nose. He gave a big sniff and then realized that this was only his reflection.

That’s when he whirled around showing his flank. He glanced around as if to admire his rippling muscles. Then he pranced to the other side of the mirror and shook his head, as if he were upset with his hair.

We took out our cameras to capture him and as soon as we put the cameras to our eyes, he stopped and stared at us. This was not a coincidence, this was a horse obsessed.

Today, this beautiful black beauty is named Hershey. He has inspired, amused and captured all of us here at Raise Your Dreams Farm. He goes to shows and when the audience claps he almost bows. He still prances in front of mirrors and if you have a camera, watch out because he is coming over.

The other day, Hershey did not want to be moved to another field. A parent was observing the kids, when she said, “Watch out kids, I will get him to move!” She brushed away the halter and lead line. She grabbed her camera and walked into the other field. Hershey immediately responded. Mission accomplished, all with the simplicity of a phone and a very vain horse.

Do you have a horse that loves getting his picture taken? Please share!

Hey, do you need to sell your riding clothes? Have too much tack? List it on our classified web site-www.anythingforhorseandrider.com and help our little farm!

“The Giraffe Award Goes To……”

14 Apr
Briah getting ready to lead Chicken Nugget for an equine therapy lesson.

Briah getting ready to lead Chicken Nugget for an equine therapy lesson.

“I am scared of horses. I rode at another farm and the horse tried to walk off when I was getting on. I am really scared,” she was trembling as she got onto the mounting block. Chicken Nugget was waiting patiently for her. She patted his mane to reassure herself that he would not move off. Patting his neck would allow her to gain his trust.

“Don’t worry, Chicken Nugget is great. Now, if it was Hershey, he would definitely walk off by now,” Timmy reassured her.

“Will Chicken Nugget walk off?”

In unison, all that were around shouted, “No!”

“What do I do again?” Briah was wavering in her resolve to ride this pony. Timmy stepped in front of me and gently pried her earthbound foot into the left stirrup. He then helped her up into the saddle, like the pro he has become. Without realizing it, she was now sitting astride the funny, fuzzy Chicken Nugget.

She screamed from fear as Chicken Nugget adjusted to his rider. Then the kids gathered around her for moral support.
Each one shouting directives, “Lean back!”
“Don’t look down!”
“Sit up!”
“Breathe!”
“You are ok; Chicken Nugget is a great pony. He won’t let anything happen to you!”
Each child patted Briah and comforted her with their approval as she responded to each directive. Then they gently walked beside her as Chicken Nugget took tentative steps. Each step he took, they prodded her with encouragement and accolades. They clapped, patted, and cheered. Briah began to relax. We walked around the riding ring. She steered around the obstacles, gaining further confidence. Then her mother, an instructor at the farm, saw her daughter straddling Chicken Nugget and she clasped her mouth from surprise.

Briah attempted a wave and shouted to her mother that she was not scared any more. Her fear collapsed as her confidence grew.

Today Briah trots on Chicken Nugget and Milkshake. She is the first one to encourage others that are fearful, echoing what her friends used to help her overcome her fear. Briah, grabs each new child’s hand and tells them that she knows the feeling of fear, but she promises that Chicken Nugget will NOT move when you try to get on him.
Maybe this is why Briah got “The Giraffe Award” at school. You see, this little girl sticks her neck out for everyone. She LOVES helping others and you can see it as she gingerly helps the special needs children. Her face reveals all that she thinks. Her eyes well with tears over a child overcoming an obstacle, or her face swells with joy, when like herself, they have conquered fear.

Briah is the first one at the farm, ready to sweep the tack shack or feed shack. She will clean the stalls, brush a horse, or tack up a pony. Grabbing a helmet and gently placing it on the special child’s head, she reassures the child that Chicken Nugget is the best.

Thanks Briah for making Raise Your Dreams Farm run smoothly every Saturday. It is your confidence and belief that all can be an overcomer like you.

Raise Your Dreams Farm is blessed abundantly by all of these precious children. The farm could not exist without their help, support, and most importantly their love for the students, horses, and instructors. Want to help Raise Your Dreams Farm? Please consider posting your horse, tack, clothing, etc. for sale on the classified section of http://www.anythingforhorseandrider.com. Please help others so that we can help others!

First Love

8 Apr
Jenna and Freckles

Jenna and Freckles

“Miss Jill, I just love him!” The note was on my Facebook page under a picture of Freckles, our awesome horse.

I responded with, “Everyone knows that you love him Jenna. It is great to be loved by a horse.”

Jenna is one of the first riders here on this cold and dreary spring morning. She comes with her gloves, back pack, helmet, head warmer, tiny bags of cut apples, carrots, and sometimes a snack for herself. She is walking from the tack shack to Freckles in the courtyard. As fast as she walks is as fast as she speaks. She is very excited and I know what will excite her even more, I was going to give her a purple saddle blanket to put with her hope chest.

When she first started riding she started to gather odds and ends for her “Very Own Horse” which included assorted brushes, combs, curry combs, shedding blades, hoof picks, halter, lead lines, and my old horse shoes. She had a keepsake box full of memorabilia too, show ribbons, freshly shaven hoof clippings, hair cut from the horses, and pictures of her with her favorite horse, Freckles.

“I know Freckles is going to LOVE this brush,” she was now speaking to an audience of friends that had gathered around her to watch her produce the best looking and best groomed horse on the whole farm. I watched her as she continued to gather momentum. That’s when she proclaimed, “I know he is going to LOVE this brush because I LOVE this brush. I already use it on my hair!” a collective gasp fell in the crowd. “See how soft this is; go ahead try it on your hair too.” She was holding out the horse hair finishing brush like a golden nugget that was too precious to hold.

She turned with flair and began to brush Freckles. Freckles, a flea bitten grey with no papers or aristocratic background, was the noblest steed amongst all of the other horses in the field according to Jenna. He was showered with attention for the next fifty minutes. His hair glistened, his eyes softened with the warmth and affection of this beautiful young girl. He knew in his heart that he was loved, and for that he would lay down his life for her. Delicately he picked up the assorted carrots and apples off of her hand. She giggled in delight over his soft velvety lips caressing her hands.

She rode in her lesson astride a horse that brought out the best in all humans, to care for another. She pranced along the roadside astride Freckles and waved to cars driving by saying to herself, “I bet they wish they were me!”

As she readied herself to go home, I brought out the beautiful purple saddle pad and told her that this was hers to use as she pleased. Her eyes glistened, her favorite color, for her favorite pony, this was just too much to handle.

She threw her arms around me and said nothing. I know why she could not speak; I believe that for the first time that day, she was speechless.

To be loved by Jenna would be one of the greatest accomplishments in life, for she pours he heart and soul into everything that she does. To Jenna, being loved by Freckles is always enough.

She is a blessed girl because she blesses others, especially this little flea bitten grey that is loved by a young girl that thinks nothing else but about the next time she gets to see him again.

Have you ever loved a horse? Please share! We LOVE your comments!

Raise Your Dreams Farm is a small farm located in southern NJ. We offer riding lessons and equine therapy to special needs children and adults. Please help us reach others by posting horses, tack, and clothing on the classified section of http://www.anythingforhorseandrider.com. Please do not forget to LIKE us on our FB page too.

Frosty Loves His Rest Stop and Hey Your Lap Is Pretty Good Too!

25 Mar

 

Frosty, our Great Pyrenees lap dog has a warm seat on Timmy.

Frosty, our Great Pyrenees lap dog has a warm seat on Timmy.

SNOW? AGAIN?

24 Mar
We told Hershey that  snow is on its way. I guess he told us what HE THINKS!

We told Hershey that snow is on its way. I guess he told us what HE THINKS!

Generosity

19 Mar
Allison, her generousity has blessed Raise Your Dreams Farm

Allison, her generousity has blessed Raise Your Dreams Farm

Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
1 Timothy 6:18-19

Allison was like an angel showing up at the farm last Saturday. Bearing a huge container of horse and pony miscellaneous items such as saddle blankets, polo wraps, shipping boots, paddock boots, saddle, and too much to name, she laid it out in the back of her SUV. My students gathered around like children on a Christmas morning. That’s when she held up beautiful leather chaps. Jacob gasped, this was the ultimate badge of a “real horse rider,” and he began to wonder out loud whether he could fit into them.

The students carried the prized gifts to the tack shack and began to comb through the items, squealing with delight over each item. Jacob held up the chaps, sizing them up in his mind’s eye as to whether they would fit. One instructor grabbed one end of the chaps, I grabbed the other and we began to put Jacob into the chaps. His eyes glistened with joy. They fit perfectly. He stood proudly with a crop out to his side and said, “Now this is a true rider!”

We all laughed. This boy has conquered mountains of fear after he catapulted off of Milkshake the very first time he ever cantered. Fear had crept into his resolve and he was shaken, not only in his determination to someday become a riding instructor, but to ride like the instructors. That Saturday he rode two or three horses, popped over a few jumps and cantered gleefully. These chaps would signify his ability to ride and to ride well. He stood the rest of the day with a crop, his chaps securely cinched at his hips, and a smile as magnificent as the Grand Canyon.

It all started through the generosity of Allison. She was willing to give, to share, and to inspire all here that God has given us a special gift, her generosity. Thanks Allison for your love, compassion, and your precious heart to think about a little farm in South Jersey.  Raise Your Dreams Farm is always transformed by the proof that God is here and He uses all around us to bless us!www.anythingforhorseandrider.com has what you need! Place a classified ad and help support the equine therapy program at Raise Your Dreams Farm!

 

Jacob in his new chaps signifying that he is now a "real rider!"

Jacob in his new chaps signifying that he is now a “real rider!”

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