I'm part of a non-profit organization that I helped found over a year ago, Moms, Daughters & Horses (see link to the right "Women and Horses"), that has been a wonderful addition to my life. Our 501 C-3 Organization is now under the presidency and guidance of Samantha Leavell, a wonderful horsewoman and friend.
We raise money for college scholarships for young women, emergency equine aid, unwanted horses adoptions, and we have a number of free clinics, rides, libraries, and an interactive forum. In fact, it was working with this group at Ride the West when I discovered Beautiful.
The thing that impresses me most about this group is that we all have different styles of training and riding, but still we come together with mutual respect as horsewomen. We build each other up.
There are many people in the group who have different opinions and training techniques than I do, but I know they are equally good horsewomen--maybe even superior horsewomen to me.
I've had horses most of my life, raised and trained four babies, and now taken on this beautiful mustang. I've found working with her each day that she is a baby horse--smarter and less trusting than domestic--but a baby horse, all the same.
I would recommend to all the women who find this blog that they also join the Moms, Daughters and Horses forum. It is unique to find a group of women who value each other's opinions, build each other up, and come alongside one another. You will find riding partners and be inspired by ideas--we are a non-competitive group. There is no one person in charge, but a very large group of ladies with large hearts for horses.
There are also a number of places you can serve as we reach out to our larger equine community. There are three committees: Adoptions, Scholarships & Activities/Clinics--and there is a board of directors that is elected annually.
If you live far away, you can join us online and share your pictures and stories as well as your blogs.
Update on Beautiful:
Beautiful is doing great. I think the wormer really helped, but I want to follow up with another in a week. She has learned to love her grain and Horse Guard vitamins. My husband is a people doctor rather than an animal doctor, but he knows enough about equine physiology in general to do basic horse check-ups. I had him look at Beautiful's skin and he saw no evidence of lice. He recommended the same things everyone else has--worming and spray to keep the bugs off.
She still isn't keen on being groomed, but my wise farrier suggested the best thing for her would be lots and lots of brushing--especially around the legs. So, that's what I do--as well as lots and lots of leading and work on giving to pressure. She's only a baby still--so I try to keep her training fun and short.
As for her hooves, she's putting pressure on the heel and hasn't been lame. I think he took off the perfect amount to keep her sound, and will continue to take more and more off as time progresses.
It's a good feeling to have the "time" issue off my shoulders, and just be able to enjoy her as before. That was a horrible situation to be in--a clock ticking away and your sweet horse crippled with poor care that resulted in putting her on stilts--too painful to run and play like a normal baby--not knowing if she'd ever be sound. It's so wonderful to know she's going to be okay now.
I have other horses that grow similarly to Beautiful, that is, straight up. If I don't keep them on a regular schedule--every 6 weeks--they get trippy and unsafe. But if they're trimmed on schedule, they are great trail horses. I expect it will be the same with her, if not better since her hooves will probably be stronger.
The horses that are out on pasture are still loving it. So far they aren't getting any fatter than before--which is to say, they're still fat, but what can you do about it? We just ride and exercise them.
Cia, my 3 year old, is in training. She is really ready to be rode, but I'm putting it off for some reason. I need to get it done and make her another priority this week. I could be out there riding her today, she's so eager and sweet, but I know when I start her that far, I have to keep going, and I'm hesitant to take my time away from the mustang and Cowboy to concentrate on her riding, but I do want to use Cia for my dressage lessons in the fall.