To say we miss you isn't nearly enough!
While we are all feeling a bit physically disconnected from one another, we’re also seeing a large increase in social connection! Here at the ranch, having participants present came to a screeching halt in early March. It’s really an odd time not having all of your smiling faces around. The participants and volunteers are what invigorates us here at Swiftsure! Rest assured, our horses are still getting their workouts and our ranch is still being maintained.
Caring for our horses:
We caught up with Kristy, our equine manager, to see what’s currently happening on the ranch. From routine care like morning feeding to daily exercise, and everything in between, our heard is staying conditioned for when we’re back in action!
You may already know that Swiftsure recently acquired three new Haflinger horses, Buster, Tony and Dale. They’re keeping us busy, for the better. Kristy and the team have been using the downtime to turn them into thoughtful partners.
While Haflingers as breed in general have a great disposition for the role they play in our programs, it takes a lot of work to ensure they are safe for our participants. Our team has been working with our new partners daily focusing on general patience and desensitizing to things like the lift-load. Utilizing the lift-load requires a great amount of patience from the horses while a rider is hoisted upon their back. The mechanism is loud and bulky and requires several hands to position a rider correctly. It seems ironic that patience is the focus in a time that we’re all having to practice it at a much deeper level than we ever have before.
Stay tuned for our next round up. We’ll bring you some video of what the training process looks like for Buster, Dale and Tony as well as other exercises we are doing to keep all the horses conditioned and ready for when participants return.
Caring for the ranch:
The work doesn’t stop with the horses; Johnathon, our ranch foreman, and Cole, a ranch assistant, have been working hard on making sure spring maintenance is getting done. They are keeping the buildings fully functional, fixing fences, grading roads, building new doors for stalls and making sure the hay pastures are ready to go for spring and summer.
While most everyone’s days begin before 7:30 am here at the ranch, hours are limited so we’re moving at a fast pace. Once feeding is completed, stalls need mucking, each horse needs a quick health check and then it’s on to the rest of the days chores.
Photos: First, Tony on his second time in the lift-load mounting area; second, Tony practices standing quietly)