Soon, we’ll begin planning for the summer lesson session. Even though we’re in the midst of the snowiest winter to hit Central Wisconsin in many years, planning continues. Jeremiah’s Crossing is looking for help from many volunteers. Opportunities are available now. We are in need of a volunteer coordinator, office assistant, and event planners.
We are also accepting applications from volunteers interested in assisting during our summer and fall lesson sessions. The summer lesson schedule is Mon AM, Tues AM, Thurs AM and Wed afternoon/evening. All volunteers will be trained by our instructors using our nationally recognized training program. Terry Blessing will be joining us once again, to share his knowledge of horses and their unique language. Please e-mail or call for more information and/or an application (firstname.lastname@example.org or 715.884.2551).
Please consider volunteering in 2014. Jeremiah’s Crossing serves between 60 and 70 participants each summer. Your help means we can serve those in our community challenged by special needs in a very unique way. You will be blessed as you bless others.
The Little Buffalo That Stayed
For the past couple of days our family, and the horses and dogs, have been keeping an eye out for a little yearling buffalo. She has decided to stay close to the fence across the street from Jeremiah’s Crossing, even though she has over 200 acres to roam.
The horses discovered her first, standing at attention, ears perked forward, as they kept careful watch. They never know if the little one will come through the fence, you know. So far, they have nothing to worry about.
The dogs and I seem to have noticed her at about the same time. They usually think that barking will solve every challenge, so they greeted her, encouraged her, and then thought they’d send her on her way. Their greetings seem to have fallen on deaf ears as she is still sticking around two days later.
Of course, I grabbed the camera. A yearling buffalo at the fence is too tempting a photo op to ignore. I brought the telephoto lens and started taking pictures as soon as I could get her image to fill the frame. Then, as I took photos, I walked toward her. She didn’t move, although she did bat her beautiful eyelashes at me.
She sure was a great subject for my photos. At one point she did walk away, over to the next post where she made sure the fence post was between us. She played a cute game of “you can’t see me now!” She looked a bit surprised when I appeared on the other side of the post!
The little one was not afraid. I think she may have held her breath now and again. But she didn’t run, or shake, or act like I bothered her. She doubled back on her tracks, made a little loop, and headed down the fence line a little further. The fence seemed to be just a temporary barrier in her mind. I firmly believe she would have walked to Babcock if the fence had not been in her way.
The next morning I drove down the road and saw the little one sleeping under a grove of small oak trees. The herd had joined her; staying about 100 yards away. On my return trip, there she was, circling her little grove of trees. The herd, no where to be seen.
So, Roger called Sandhill Wildlife Area to let them know about our little friend. Wayne assured him that they knew about her, and that she has been a bit stand-offish since she was really little. Even so, someone came out on a snowmobile to check on her. And, yes, she is a “she.”
This morning, the little one is still here at the fence. If she stays much longer we may have to give her a name. We’ve had buffalo (American Bison if you want to be accurate) visit us at the fence before. We have some pretty incredible stories. This one, however, has visited for the longest period of time. She is a reminder of spring, that God’s creatures are beginning to search for the newness that this season will bring, of the fact that friendship can come in many forms. Sometimes you just have to look across the street.
Nap Time @ Jeremiah’s Crossing
We came home from town today to find almost half of the herd napping in the warmth of the sun. They were really out, too, because they didn’t even stir when we parked the truck and called to them.
Nap time at the Jeremiah's Crossing paddock!
So Many Special Kids
You may want a tissue handy when you view this video. I guarantee that we all hope that our special kids are treated this well in life.
THANK YOU, Autism Impact Corporation, for coming on board as supporters of Jeremiah’s Crossing! The Autism Impact Corporation sponsors the Jigsaw Run in Wisconsin Rapids.
We look forward to a long partnership, caring for folks who have challenges in their lives due to autism.
Check out this great story!
Mrs. Ann Romney brought therapeutic horseback riding to the national stage this week as she was a guest on Good Morning America. We are grateful to all who are able and willing to move our cause forward. Jeremiah’s Crossing is one of hundreds of centers that provide horseback riding opportunities to those with special needs and we are thrilled to have this type of exposure.
Please continue to walk with us as we work toward our indoor arena and barn complex. Our community members are working together to make this dream, and necessity, a reality!
(We apologize for the advertising that appears prior to the story.)
Have you ever thought to yourself, “I wonder if anyone in my community could use a little extra help?”
Well, if you have, the answer is, “Yes!” We need your help. We have the opportunity to serve folks with special needs on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, however, we do not have enough volunteers to make that happen. We need the help of side walkers and horse leaders.
If you would be willing to share a few hours of your day, we can move forward and invite some new friends to be part of the horseback-riding program at Jeremiah’s Crossing. Please consider volunteering. We will train you and we promise that you will leave lessons with a smile on your face.
For more information, please e-mail email@example.com. Include your telephone number and address and we’ll get you started on a journey you will never forget.
Wrapping Up and New Beginnings
Well, we’ve “made it through” our big event weekend. The “Another Kind of Horsepower Helping Horses Help Kids” cruise in was a success with beautiful cars, terrific vendors, a demo lesson, great food, and lots of wonderful visitors. The day dawned bright and blue. We couldn’t have asked for a better day.
Sunday brought another beautiful day. Although clouds rolled in now and again, the day remained dry, allowing the Ride-a-Thon Rodeo to progress from the beautiful rendition of the National Anthem by Miss Wisconsin Rapids Area – Michelle Neumann, to the precision drill teams and “rodeo” riders. The crowds had the opportunity to enjoy the accomplishments of our very special riders – 40 in all! Thanks to everyone who helped make the weekend a success.
As we were in the midst of wrapping up the weekend, and beginning new projects to launch us toward fall, we discovered that a pair of our guinea fowl had blessed us with a cute little flock of twelve guinea keets! Knowing that keets do not fare well if left to grow up in the woods, we endeavored to move them to safer quarters. The project went along in fits and starts, as we first attempted to lure the pair and their youngsters toward our keet house. Seeing that we were being less than successful, we scooped up the babies and took them to safety.
The best way to raise guinea keets is to depend on their parents to keep them warm and fed. Knowing that, our next challenge was to entice the parents to join the keets in the “keet house.” That took quite a bit more work.
We quickly found out that they were hiding one more keet in the woods and would not leave it. I’m sure they were thinking that we’d stolen their babies and the weren’t about to let us have the last one. The father was quite protective of the last baby and he let Roger know that he wasn’t going to abandon the baby without a fight. Roger was diligent in his efforts to save the baby, and eventually, after many encounters with sticky briers and underbrush, successfully maneuvered the baby out into the open so I could scoop it up.
With a bucket of keets in hand, hoping they would peep loud enough for the parents to hear them, we walked the pair toward the keet house. After a few noisy trips up and down the path next to the enclosure, they hopped over the threshold to join their brood. The entire family is now happily exploring their new digs, and Momma and Daddy guinea are happy to have been reunited with their little ones.
Guinea keets in their holding tank, waiting for Mom and Dad.
The Wonder of a Mistake
Once in a while, we make a mistake so many times that we begin to beat ourselves up over it because we can’t seem to fix the problem. One of those mistakes at the ranch is overflowing the water tanks.
Some days we are diligent about standing beside the tank, waiting for it to fill. On other days, Roger sets his phone alarm and we go about our tasks until the alarm goes off. But on too many days, we just plain forget until we see a lake starting to form. The yelling and running quickly ensues and at least one of us is racing to turn off the water. It would probably be quite comical, if it weren’t so frustrating and embarrassing to be the one who forgot!
Yesterday, it happened again. The water was forgotten, and our son walked into the house to say, “I have some bad news…the water was left on.” We had lessons starting in a couple of hours and our only option was to be sure that riders didn’t walk through the mud.
As the sun warmed the paddock and lessons began, we noticed a few butterflies had been attracted to the muddy spot. Then a few more, and after a while, there was a flurry of beautiful black and orange butterflies, the likes of which none of us had ever seen before. They would settle in a while, just resting, and then take flight when our riders walked by after dismount.
Everyone was fascinated by the beautiful colors and delicate wings. We never would have experienced the wonder if we hadn’t made a mistake.
So, What is That Horse Trying to Tell You?
Anyone who has been around horses and horse people has heard, “My horse won’t listen to me,” or “This horse is in my space,” or “This guy doesn’t respect me,” or “My alpha-mare just has a mind of her own (words I’ve spoken myself),” or “(fill in your own statement here)…”
At Jeremiah’s Crossing, rather than make a negative announcement about a particular horse, we’ve made a conscious decision to ask, “What is this horse trying to tell me?” We have found that more often than not, behavior some might categorize as naughty is really an effort on our horse’s part to communicate with us.
That space monger may be trying to tell you that the lead rope is too short, or perhaps you are yanking on him instead of asking. And the one disrespecting you may be trying to tell you he didn’t have a drink and could really use one, or his bridle is twisted or not fitting properly.
What about the horse that acts up during lessons? Upon closer inspection, you might find a mane stuck under a saddle pad, or a saddle that seemed to fit well when placed on the horse, is not sitting well with a rider on board. Or, a particular rider has a behavior that is making the horse uncomfortable.
And the alpha-mare? Well, from my own experience, there may be a multitude of reasons why she won’t do exactly as she’s asked. For Allee, it started with walking away when I was trying to mount. I came to realize that was her way of telling me that the cinch was not as tight as she preferred.
Refusals were her way of telling me that the saddle had a problem. Oh, I checked the gullet to see if there was enough space at the withers, and I sat the saddle on her back and that seemed fine, too. But what it took a while to realize was that the tree had a flaw and the saddle wasn’t sitting perfectly square on her back. It sat slightly to the left.
I noticed that I had to correct to the right, often during a lesson or trail ride, but didn’t figure out that the saddle had a flaw for quite a while. Allee is much happier now since Roger took my beloved saddle apart and shaved the tree just enough to make both sides even. Allee is a willing partner, now. Much happier, too.
So, what is your horse trying to tell you? Before you determine it is just being cantankerous, take a moment to assess the situation and see what might be causing the undesirable behavior. Are the flies bothering her? Do you have rigging caught under the saddle? Are the slobber straps irritating him? Is the lead rope too short? Are the side walkers in the wrong position? Is the saddle in the wrong place? Did she get a drink?
The list is endless, but if you take the time to try to figure out why your good horse is having a bad day, you might find out that you can fix a problem, show your horse respect, and have a much better day with your friend.
Jeremiah's Crossing is proudly providing central Wisconsin with Equine Assisted Activities (EAA)
lessons to those with diagnosed physical, cognitive, emotional, or academic disabilities.