It’s All About Horses at Helpers and Healers
While it has taken several months to organize, our new program Animals as Helpers and Healers is off to a great start by focusing on horses during the first month. We want to be sure to thank our DaysAtDunrovin members for their willingness to open this program up to everyone by hosting it on the MontanaSocials.org, which is part of the Friends of Dunrovin’s website. Members have been helping us by explaining the ins and outs of Dunrovin Ranch by welcoming new people on the chat, giving them the lowdown on all things Dunrovin, and operating the web cameras. Dunrovin thanks you all!
A Herd For Hugs
During this session, SuzAnne introduced two lovely women who form the heart of the broadcasts for this special humanitarian project. Lorraine Turner is an extraordinary fabric artist, the founder of this program, and our instructor for sewing these wonderful cloth creatures. Loreen will serve as Lorraine’s student who will demonstrate how to sew the calico horses during the broadcasts. While Loreen is an accomplished quilt maker, she is new to the world of making stuffed animals which makes her the perfect student to learn new skills.
Loreen Smith is a long-time friend of SuzAnne, dating back to their days together in Alaska. Their shared love of horses has taken them down numerous trails in Montana’s backcountry. The photo above shows (left to right) Loreen with her favorite Dunrovin horse Razz, one of Loreen’s beautiful quilted wall hangings, her dear horse Lacy (gone now to greener pastures), and Loreen today in her craft room.
News from Hashknife Ranch
There is a saying among horse people that horses are nothing more than an “accident looking for a place to happen.” Indeed, horses seem to be able to injure themselves on anything and everything. Their “flee first and look later” approach to life together with the continual challenges for their position in the herd are often the cause of their injuries. Such was the case for a young colt in the Hashknife herd recently.
It turns out that Oggy has a calm, but willful personality. This is not surprising as it accurately reflects his mother’s dominant position in the herd. He, like her, doesn’t ruffle his fur over much, but he likes having his way. You will see both of these traits in the recording from last Monday’s training session. Ashley again has to continually assert her role as a leader in getting him to move as she instructs; but he shows little reaction to being introduced to new and potentially scary objects. Both traits have advantages with respect to being an excellent trail mount. Oggy has a future!!
Clicker Training with Mackenzie
Mackenzie explains the principles of clicker training and its reliance on constant and consistent reinforcing of the desired behaviors, ignoring undesired behaviors, and breaking all complex behaviors into achievable small steps.
On the next episode of Clicking with Mackenzie, he will share more of Canner's story. Canner has an intriguing and fraught history with halters. One highlight of Mackenzie’s history as a trainer involved working through this halter issue with Canner. How did he do it? Tune in for the story, a halter games demonstration, and possibly even some tooth brushing!
Mackenzie will also do a quick break down of target training with the donkey DIVAS, so be sure to tune in this Sunday at 4 PM Mountain or watch Monday for the rebroadcast!
The joy of bonding with a horse is indescribable - or is it? Can we find the words to adequately convey what these magnificent animals mean to us? Can we do them justice with our stories? Dunrovin Ranch seeks volunteers to collaboratively work with master storyteller Lynn Baskfield of Spirit Dance Equine Assisted Coaching to capture horse stories in ways that resonate and touch the souls of others, including those who have never been blessed to know a horse. We would love to add YOUR story to our celebration. Listen to Lynn and SuzAnne talk about the storytelling workshop, then consider joining Lynn’s workshop by sending an email describing your special horse story to [email protected].
New technologies are opening doors for understanding the complex relationships that humans enjoy with other animals. The ability to scan the brains of both an animal and its human partner while they are actively engaging is scientifically verifying what people have known or suspected all along: Humans and their animal partners often “feel” together and demonstrate the same kind of brain waves as they interact. Dr. Anne Perkins will be our guide in looking at what science tells us about the human/animal bond and its impact on both parties.
Equus International Film Festival
The film High-Sensitive Youth In The Horse-Heart Space by Jolanda Ellenberger opens our eyes to those among us who are highly sensitive to the feelings and thoughts of others. Often called empaths, highly sensitive people are often misunderstood and can have difficulty separating their own emotions from the emotions of others. This beautiful film helped us better understand the need for patience, listening deeply, and being in the moment with one another. Please enjoy the recording of SuzAnne’s interview with Jolanda and watch for the film to be available on pay-per-view. We’ll let you know when we identify the streaming service.
Ranch Notes and Videos - by SuzAnne Miller
The Ghost Herd: Since this has been a quiet week at the ranch, I thought I would look back on a unique Dunrovin Ranch feature that always delights me. The Ghost herd of the Sapphire Mountains is a true western Montana treasure that is largely unknown. People are amazed to learn that they exist at all. Originating from the horses kept by the Bitterroot Valley’s first inhabitants, the Salish Indian Tribe, the herd was supplemented by horses who escaped from white settlers and, if you believe local rumors, from the Kesler rodeo stock that was once kept in MIller Creek near Missoula. The Ghost herd now consists of over 50 animals, most of them born in the wild.
The herd occupies mostly private lands that encompass the western portion of the Sapphire Mountains from Missoula in the north to Skalkaho Road in the south. For years, local ranchers tried in vain to eliminate the herd because they competed with grazing cattle for forage, they damaged fences, and disrupted domestic horses. Now the herd is generally accepted throughout the valley and has been the subject of research by the MGP Ranch that promotes wildlife conservation.
Last December a band from the herd showed up on the mountains east of Dunrovin. They stayed within sight of the river camera and allowed us to follow two different mares with young foals at their sides.
The Ghost Herd of the Sapphire Mountains
A Beautiful Sunset: Last week ended with a spectacular sunset. Please enjoy it in fast time from two different angles.
The Animals as Helpers and Healers Program Continues
The Monday's broadcast schedule at MontanaSocials.org is full with sessions with exciting guests:
- 10:00AM - A Herd for Hugs with Lorraine Turner
- 11:00AM - Ranch Horses with Brandon Carpenter
- 2:00PM - Horse Storytelling with Lynn Baskfield
- 3:00PM - Anthrozoology with Anne Perkins
- 7:00PM - Equus International Film Festival selected film Mustang Saviors
Please scroll through the Bulletin Board on the MontanaSocials.org website to see numerous examples of the Herd for Hugs that is taking shape through the efforts of seamstresses across the nation.
Finally Freezing Weather in the Forecast
YES! By the end of the upcoming week, the weatherman promises us that below freezing temperatures will descend and enable James to turn on the water to turn his "junk pile" into a glorious ice sculpture. Stay tuned to see what takes shape!
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