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Mica's Blog

We're Mesmeryzed!

Esme's bath

Congratulations to Maddie and Vitalyzed (Vito), proud parents of Mesmeryzed, GRR's first filly of 2011. She was born March 9th. Here she is only a few hours old.

Whoa, Nellie! Feeling Your "Whoa's" and "Go's"

March 10, 2011

If you’ve lead horses, you’ve probably noticed that when you ask a horse to whoa, there are some times when they jitter right on by you and other times when their feet seem to plant magically into the ground. If only it were as easy as saying "Whoa there, Nellie" to get a good result every time! So what is it, exactly, that causes horses to listen and respond to what we are saying? This question has been one of the themes of this winter’s “Develop Your Feel” workshops at Good Reception Ranch.

In experiential exercises with one another and horses, people can increase their awareness of how others respond to their energy and requests. One thing we’ve been finding in our workshops is that horses and humans respond unpredictably to frantic requests. By contrast, they respond predictably to firm, certain requests.

5 Signs Your Child May Need to Talk with a Horse

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If your child is showing these signs, Equine-Assisted Therapy might be of great benefit:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Lack of friends or frequent fights
  • Behavior problems at home or school
  • Difficulties with focus and/or sensory integration
  • Poor coping skills resulting in emotional outbursts, self-injury or substance abuse

Wishing you a warm and furry holiday!

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2010 has been a great year with wonderful individual clients and phenomenal groups. This year saw the first summer camps at Good Reception Ranch, ongoing service learning and equine-assisted therapy days for Clearview students at Joders', several Sunday workshops, and weekly group horsemanship lessons for kids and adults.

I am grateful for the kindness and generosity you have shown to me as well as to one another and the horses. I look forward to many more opportunities in the year ahead to learn and grow together.

Happy holidays and thank you!

Mica (along with with my niece Bradie, Goose, Chloe, and Veruca)

Emotional First Aid for Riding Instructors

Below are some notes from my presentation at the NARHA national conference in Denver. Please contact me if you have questions or would like more information.

Coaching Riders to Find Their Place of Safety and Comfort:
Emotional First Aid for Spooks and Spills
Presented by Mica Graves, MA, NARHA Advanced Riding Instructor
NARHA Conference, Denver, Colorado November 5, 2010

Free counseling for teens and adults affected by the Four Mile Canyon fire


BOULDER, Colo., Sept. 13, 2010 -- Members of the Boulder Community are suffering from the impact of the Four Mile Canyon, and one local organization is stepping up to offer counseling for teens and young adults. Rocky Mountain Equi-Rhythm (RMER) is offering free therapy sessions for individuals affected by the fire.

A natural disaster like the Four Mile Canyon Fire rocks one's sense of safety in the world and can lead to increased anxiety, anger, depression, and acting out behavior. Early intervention helps relieve stress and reduces the impact of negative events on one's life. Seeking outside support can be especially important for families and communities that are experiencing loss together, because normal support systems are stretched thin.

Sign up or request more information here.

A Beautiful Day at Joder Ranch 6/20/10


Calyn and I enjoyed working with a beautiful group of women this Sunday at Joder Arabian Ranch. The ranch is a vibrant green this time of year and the wildflowers are popping up everywhere. It's really something to see!


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I've had the pleasure of teaching Kris, Andrea, and Bradie during their Pony Club lessons over the last two years. In addition to being good riders, these three always manage to have a lot of fun together. This week they headed out for the Pony Club regional show jumping rally, which was their fist opportunity to compete together. After two successful days competing with other kids from the Rocky Mountain Region, they came home with a first in riding equitation!

The team spent days and even weeks making sure their tack and ponies were clean and that they had all of the supplies they would need to take their horses to the event. In this photo, you can see them arriving at The Ranch in Loveland, after a short night.

Mothers' Day at the Ranch

Chance and Finny

May 10, 2010

I hope all of you mothers had a brief respite yesterday and were able to enjoy time with your families on Mother’s Day. With soccer games, music recitals, graduation parties, and so on, I know it’s a busy time of year.

Because of all of this busy-ness, we’ve had two spots open up in our Mother-Daughter workshop this weekend. This is a great way to carve out time to spend with your daughter doing something she—and maybe both of you—love to do!

As many of you know, it’s also been a busy time for us at the ranch. Our two fillies and colt now range from one to two months old. Each day they are strengthening and stretching mental and physical muscles. The mothers are keeping careful watch over the babies, directing them towards milk, food, and water. Through feeding, grooming, and simply being together, their bonds of attachment have grown. At the same time, the mothers are setting boundaries with their adolescents and making sure that the foals learn to be respectful of them. This will help the foals have healthy interactions and be successful with other horses and humans as they mature. In many ways, the mares and foals are building relationships like we humans do.

The Role of the Horse in Cultivating Relationship - A Qualitative Study

Therapists' Perceptions of the Role of the Horse in Cultivating Clients' Ability to Be in Relationship

Because of its unique setting and format, Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP) offers individuals more opportunities than traditional talk therapy to gain awareness by learning about self in relation to the natural world, equines and other humans—experiences that can promote a sense of inter-connectedness, wholeness and health. In this qualitative study, we explore therapists’ perceptions of how EFP impacts clients’ ability to create and maintain relationships. We explore how the horse changes the nature of the therapeutic process, examining the role that therapists and horses take on in this innovative modality. We review Gestalt, Transpersonal and other relational theories in order to offer a framework for understanding and interpreting the many potential benefits of EFP. Our findings indicate that EFP can lead to greater contact with and awareness of self in relationship.

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