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Mica's Blog

Reflections after the flood

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At the ranch the dry Colorado soils have already absorbed much of the torrential rains we have received over the last week and life is getting back to normal. But for many people who have lost loved ones and have experienced or continue to experience destruction to homes, farms and crops, it goes without saying that life won't be back to normal for some time to come.

Many of us seek grounding and a sense of continuity through our connection to nature over the seasons and through the years. So what does it mean when the very ground beneath us begins to crumble? Unpredictable, destructive acts like the Colorado floods can contribute to a sense that the world is not safe. And if we can't feel safe at home on earth, where can we? And, as parents, how do we create safety for children in a seemingly dangerous world?

Back to School

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When I worked as a school counselor in a Denver public school, we expected to be especially busy at certain times of the year. The beginning of the year is an especially stressful time for kids who are transitioning from the freedom of summer to the unknown of a new year and a new grade. For many kids, this stressful period climaxes around the time of Halloween each fall.

Many kids can benefit from extra support during this period. Visiting the barn reminds people that there is a place where it doesn't matter how they look or dress or if they have the latest i phone. Having a person to talk to in a non-judgmental environment gives kids a chance to let down their guard and be themselves, even as they are working hard to present themselves and to fit into the "right" groups at school. Kids feel empowered to chose the horse they want to build a relationship with and they are reminded that they can reach out through curiosity, affection and humor to create a bond with another being.

A camp reunion

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Our June 2013 camps saw a mix of new and returning campers. There was one special reunion that happened on the first day of our tween camp. Beautiful Buffy, a 28-year old retired broodmare, spotted a young girl who had ridden her two years prior. As soon as Buffy laid eyes on Alli standing in a group of about a dozen people, the mare crossed the paddock and placed her nose on the girl's chest. The mare then proceeded to follow Alli wherever she went.

People always ask me if horses remember people, and this seemed to me to be a sure sign of that. Alli has a warm, open heart and made a connection with Buffy that the horse hasn't forgotten.

Willa and Waylon rock out

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For those keeping track of our expanding herd, you will be happy to learn that Willa joined Waylon in late spring 2013. Though she is quite a bit smaller, this filly enjoys rocking out with her big brother in the pasture. Since their names give a nod to country stars Willy Nelson and Waylon Jennings, these two could form their own little country rock band!

Welcome, Waylon!

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Waylon, Polly's third baby, arrived on Saturday, April 13th, 2013. This colt is her biggest yet and it took a bit of effort to bring him into the world.

Some mares like to give birth in complete privacy, but Polly seems to like having a cheering section. Last year she gave birth while my three-week old son was at the ranch for his first visit. This year my sister Ali Kish was there to give encouragement, and Quinn and I arrived a few minutes after the birth.

In this photo Waylon is nursing for the first time. When our vet arrived to check on everyone, she commented that he looked like he was already two weeks old!

Visit our Big Horse TLC Facebook page to see a cute video of him on his first romp around the arena on a snowy day. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=596645027012260

Love Horses? Like Us on Facebook

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See more pictures of summer camp and like us to stay posted about Mica's therapeutic events at the ranch. https://www.facebook.com/BigHorseTherapyAndLearningCenter

What's Your Big?

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Horses have always been a big part of my life. They offer me an invitation to lift my head up, look around, laugh, and feel a part of the bigger world. The ranch is one of the places where I remember what it means to be me. What it means to be a part of a wider community of people, animals, and nature.

Comments from the field

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“I always wanted my mother to approach me as Rumors did, without asking.” “Every time I talk about that the yearlings really get moving. They can feel my energy.” “I guess that I just want you as my wife to lean into me like Goose, to give me something really solid to feel and to push up against.” “When I stopped avoiding things and really connected with my mom, Tigger came and stood between us. She wanted to be with us.” These are the kinds of comments people make working with horses. It’s therapy, like you might experience in an office setting, just a little richer. A little bigger.

Making Sense of the World

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When I was a small child, the world was a very confusing place. You see, like all youngsters, I had a desire—and even a biological need—for love and affection, but it often felt physically uncomfortable for me to receive that love. My mother, who had already raised three beautiful children, found that she couldn’t hold or cuddle me like she could her other kids. My own mother’s touch could send me into hysterics, so you can imagine what it was like when I entered into the chaotic world of preschool. Some of the kids might still remember the way I expressed my discomfort by biting, kicking, and even playing spoons on their heads! The very touch of my own clothes sent me into fits. When my exasperated mother needed to locate me, she knew she could start by following the trail of clothing I had left behind in my wake. At the end of that trail of clothes and diapers, she would often find me happy as a clam, with my toes in the mud and my fingers most likely gently caressing a cat, a dog, or a horse.

Today we would probably diagnose what I had as tactile defensiveness, a sensory processing disorder. Please click the "read more" button below.

All Creatures Big and Little

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Why Big Horse?

When I was considering what to call my business, I landed upon the name Big Horse Therapy and Learning Center. The name “Big Horse” ties into the idea that connecting with something greater than ourselves—a large, furry horse; an awe-inspiring mountain; a favorite tree; a community of supportive people—helps us find additional strength and resources.

One of my favorite client stories is that of a woman who—when faced with a challenging out-of-state visit with relatives—donned a cowboy hat and rented a white SUV to remind her of time spent with Goose, one of our enormous and exceptionally affectionate therapy horses. When she found herself getting frazzled, a glance towards her hat and the behemoth parked outside helped her ground and reconnect with what was most important to her. In the end, she reported that the visit was a success, that she was able to avoid falling into old patterns, and that she felt powerful enough to hold her own boundaries with grace.

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