Until now, it has been a matter of establishing consistency in the care of the horses across residents and staff expectations, and providing a foundation of competence for the physical and emotional well-being of our herd. We now have residents demonstrating handling and riding competence and developing deeper understanding and refined skills for riding through heart intention and the use of equus, the horses’ own body language. This has come about in part by continuing and adapting lessons underway when I arrived, and in part by adding new aspects to the equine program: schooling horses in hand from the ground, long-lining, free schooling using equus, bareback riding, and -most recently- practicing emergency safety moves and heading out for brief rides on the IW roads.
Some changes in care have improved the health and willingness of the horses to perform, beginning with a change to Barefoot Natural Balance hoofcare. This week, residents and barn staff will have a class on equine nutrition and supportive research will be provided. I have been researching this topic for some time, and have been working with our farriers on it for about a month, piloting changes I will likely make for IW horses with my own horses at home, with great results. (And applying these principles and practices with four rescue horses at our home barn at the same time, in partnership with vets.)
I am excited to be working with our horses in the verbal language of driving, have starting Duncan in ground training for this, and assessed others for their interest and ability. Residents will have the chance to join this process as interested. So there’s lots more to come as we head into full spring and summer!
Thank you all for your support! -Joy