How About a Little Mustang…in your Philanthropy
Aug30

How About a Little Mustang…in your Philanthropy

  Mustangs in Malibu – An Evening of Good Will By Cherie Kyte Photos courtesy of Suzi Landolphi, and Kyrsha Wildsin On Sunday, July 19, we were excited to visit the beautiful Malibu Creek Equestrian Center for the “Mustangs in Malibu” fundraising event. The program included demonstrations of mustang dressage, jumping, and wild mustang gentling. The crowd also partook of the delicious food served up by the Rock Chef Rolls food truck (our favorites included the pulled pork tacos, a medley of fried potatoes, and the mixed green mango walnut salad.) Proceeds from the event went to Big Heart Ranch and Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue (please check out their websites below for more information). Strangely enough for our drought-stricken area, ominous clouds opened up just before the show began. We spectators were shocked and, after looking up at the sky in wonderment, managed to find enough umbrellas or, because I had so wisely taken mine out of the car the week before, to secure a dry spot from which to see the show.   The first few demonstrations showed us what some of these powerful little horses are capable of, with the appropriate care and training. Milo, the Buckskin, sailed over a series of jumps with his owner, Danielle Emerick (Milo is also September Horse of the Month.) The next two mustangs amazed us with their performances of Western and English dressage – in fact the final act a gorgeous bay “Hail Yeah” brought down the house with his beautifully executed finale bow. In fact “Hail Yeah!” garnered the highest price received for a BLM mustang after participating in another event a while back – the Extreme Mustang Makeover. “Hail Yeah!” continues to make his owner Ray Ariss very proud. The focus changed after that from mustangs that have been able to reach their potential to mustangs that are still quite wild. It was fascinating to see these horses on high alert with every sense so clearly alive. Gentling these horses takes a great deal of time, skill, and above all, patience. Special donors actually got the chance to enter the ring with the handler in a dance of connection between human and horse. The handler Clay McDermott is from Lifesavers’ Wild Horse Rescue Gentling Practices. Clay narrated while he and a donor/volunteer tried to connect with the young mustang. They both had to work patiently to reassure the gelding that there was nothing to fear, even in the middle of a well-meaning and appreciative crowd. As always with these events that seek to help and bring attention to the plight of horses, they require a “good egg” –...

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THE GOOD HORSE – Exceptional “Edgar”
Jul01

THE GOOD HORSE – Exceptional “Edgar”

July Horse of the Month – “A Disney Prince Trapped in a Horse’s Body”  By West Coast Editor – Cherie Kyte (Editor’s note: Much like some special people, some horses just draw you in. Edgar is just such a horse. I remember the first time I saw him at the wash rack. I thought – “Who is that amazing creature?) Edgar is massive. He stands 17 hands high so most Premier League soccer players could hide from view behind his withers. He has dinner-plate-sized hooves topped by powerful feathered legs adorned with ridiculously adorable black spots. If you’ve seen the movie, “Brave” and appreciated Angus, Merida the heroine’s big black horse, you get the gist of Edgar. This powerful horse has a personality to match his physique, a tremendous affinity for carrots, and a great and giant heart to share between his two delighted owners. Edgar is co-owned by Erin and Lara and we were lucky enough to meet all three new friends a few weeks ago (for more details on co-owning a horse, check out our June article on the topic). When we arrived, Edgar was being hosed off in a wash rack – he was baring his teeth, all the better to appreciate the mouthful of spray from the hose being aimed his way and loving every minute of it. Hilarious. Lara told us that he seems happiest when both women work on him! What a guy. Both women have enjoyed discovering all the things Edgar can do and so far he seems able to do a little bit of everything. He can be ridden Western, English, bareback, and knows some dressage moves. The women report he has even shown an interest in jumping – low ones so far but he seems to love it. The photo Lara shared with us of Edgar leaping over a pole brought to mind a medieval destrier bounding across a castle moat (yes, he is that majestic). The goal is to enter him in a horse show at some point. There is nothing this Renaissance man won’t do for his owners. Erin did tell us, with a laugh, that before Edgar’s journey led him to them, he flunked out of the police horse academy. Seems like quite a loss for law enforcement. Edgar could stop a crime wave all by himself, I suspect. Have I mentioned he’s very large? Erin was laid off from her job shortly after they got Edgar.  She says it would have been very easy for her to become depressed after such an event. But Edgar gave her a place to go every morning and she calls him...

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Equine Benefits –  The Perks of Riding Breeches that Fit
Jul01

Equine Benefits – The Perks of Riding Breeches that Fit

By West Coast Editor Cherie Kyte There are many great and important quests in one’s life. The quest for an‐always flattering, versatile and easy hairstyle. The quest for the perfect wedding gown. The quest for self‐awareness and acceptance. The quest for the ideal mate. The quest for inner peace. All very crucial and some more elusive than others. But the focus of this article is the quest for wonderful riding breeches. Join me! You may know the kind of magical pants I’m looking for. They may have appeared to you in a dream. Comfortable. Not too tight and not too loose. They move with you. In other words, you can ride a horse while wearing them. Maybe you don’t want to spend a lot of money on them. Maybe you’re just starting out with riding and are not sure how much you’ll need breeches. Maybe you’ve ridden a lot. Maybe money is no object (lucky you). Another important aspect for me is that I want to look good in my riding pants. Seriously, who doesn’t? I want to be able to go from the barn to Target and maybe Starbucks and the doctor’s office (it’s happened) without looking like I just came from the barn, if you catch my drift. Or maybe you just want to lounge around the barn showing off your finely‐toned riding behind. But where to start in my quest? I must be honest here. I have been known to order things online once in a great while – just ask my neighborhood UPS man, Greg. It’s easy to add stuff to your cart and feel like you’ve accomplished a lot in a short time after the kids are asleep. But what about when the package arrives? When you are looking for something like riding breeches I think it makes much more sense to take the time go to a horse apparel store if you possibly can. I was lucky enough to stop by Bright Star Saddlery in Agoura Hills, CA to check out breeches. I was even luckier to have personal guidance from Bright Star’s owner, Gina Rose, because, as I discovered, there are a lot of breeches. Gina showed me the impressive array of choices available and because she is amazingly well‐ informed, suggested we tackle them all from a few directions. As she pointed out, the breeches you choose may depend on the type of riding you do, whether you are a beginner, and how much you want to spend. For example, dressage riders typically ride in full‐seat breeches. Some folks ride in full seat breeches just for that extra “stickiness” in the...

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Equine Benefits – The Benefits of Co-Ownership
Jun01

Equine Benefits – The Benefits of Co-Ownership

Equine Benefits – The Benefits of Co-ownership By West Coast Editor Cherie Kyte Think you can’t afford a horse? Think again! More and more people have been bitten by the horse bug and are figuring out ways to make it work for them. We sat down with two young women doing just that with a beautiful Draft mix named “Edgar.”           If you would like to have a horse, there are all kinds of possible arrangements to consider. Earlier stories on our website have been about renting a horse, leasing a horse, and buying a horse. This story is about co‐owning a horse. Co‐ownership usually requires contracts and agreements between parties, but in this case, it is a more informal arrangement. Erin and Lara met 15 years ago. They both went to Sweet Briar College in Virginia, where they were on the Equestrian Team and had their own horses – they are very experienced horsewomen. Both women came to Southern California over the past few years to work in the media/entertainment fields. They discovered over time that they were missing horses in their lives and the time had come to do something about it. Lara and Erin found Edgar, a giant, beautiful black and white Tobiano Paint and Percheron mix. They met his owners, who were looking for a wonderful new owner for him. Lara had actually been riding Edgar on behalf of his owner, so she was getting to know him rather well. Lara and Erin decided they wanted to buy Edgar. They very sensibly started with a month‐long feed lease just to be sure everyone got along and the arrangement was working well. At the end of that month, the two friends decided to co‐own Edgar. This means they share Edgar’s expenses and they share the riding, groundwork, and care. Both Lara and Erin come from similar equestrian backgrounds and are very experienced and they trust each other. They do not fight over who gets to ride when – they work out the days and if both want to come out to the barn, one rides and the other trains from the ground. Both get their “Edgar time.” They have similar philosophies about what Edgar needs and discuss his feed, supplements, and exercise needs. They trust each other. Lara says, “At the end of the day, it’s all about Edgar and we are both so grateful to have found such a special animal.” Sharing the horse means expenses and responsibilities are split in two. Both women agree this kind of arrangement is not for everyone. Most people need some kind of legal contract or written...

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Why Horses Matter – They Can Be Healers
Mar13

Why Horses Matter – They Can Be Healers

By West Coast editor Cherie K. Stand InBalance Nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains, just a short drive from Westlake Village, lies Stand InBalance Ranch. Stand InBalance Ranch staff, which includes human and horse therapists, as well as equine specialists, help clients by applying an experiential method and approach called Equine Assisted Healing. I was lucky enough to be invited to attend a workshop at the ranch in early February. It was called “Introduction to Equine Assisted Growth, Learning, & Psychotherapy.” Even the tips for getting to the ranch sounded intriguing: bring a hat and sunscreen, wear closed toe shoes you don’t mind getting dusty, and bring the printed directions – since GPS doesn’t always show where the ranch is located. Sounded like my kind of day! When the day dawned though, I had to drag myself out of bed, wondering why I had agreed to go (I had a bit of a flu bug) and told my family that yes, indeed, I would be back before the Super Bowl started (even though I swear the coverage starts the minute the last one is over. But I digress). By the end of the workshop, I had a renewed and perhaps fuller appreciation for the many varied and essential jobs horses have and the professionals who work in concert with them. And I had much to think about. I also couldn’t believe that I’d been hesitant in the first place. After the hustle and bustle of getting out of my house and the jockeying for position at a couple of stop lights, I found myself turning onto a narrow, semi-paved country road. Suddenly I was in the middle of nowhere. I took a deep breath and was amazed at my surroundings. I found the ranch, parked my car and followed a gravel path to a lovely gathering area under the trees. Upon taking my seat, I realized we were within viewing distance of a couple of horses and donkeys. A friendly neighborhood dog dropped by to greet everyone. We were welcomed very warmly by Vallerie Coleman, Psy.D., Ph.D. Dr. Val is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst and is the founder and executive director of Stand InBalance (w​ww.StandInBalance.com)​. Dr. Val has also had a private practice for 25 years in Santa Monica. I’d heard good things about Dr. Val long before I met her at the workshop. She is fit, strong and projects calmness and common sense. She explained the therapeutic methods at the ranch so well that all of the audience understood them. At the ranch, they help people to gain tools and the awareness they need to face the...

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