One night I came home to find that a friend had brought a donation of colorful columbines to put out on the Discovery Trail at Trinity Ridge Farm. Here are some photos from the planting afternoon. Thanks Angie and hope to enjoy them with therapy students and many others in the future.
A little bird told me..., that many people love chickens. Who knew???? They are often used in the therapy setting and holding them and stroking them is therapeutic in many ways. I used to say "no chickens on this farm." I had bad memories of chickens from a bad hen-pecking experience when I was little.
My little silkies "Eva and Agnes " whose names have been changed to Eva and Lester due to increasingly obvious gender issues, are very quiet and gentle birds and feel like petting a Persian kitten. Here is a recent photo of them.
I wonder what hearing their soft little clucking will bring back to a farm wife who is now in a nursing home. Pet chickens were recommended by Rupert Issacson of www.horseboyworld.com for sensory help with those with autism. They will have a more interesting life than most little chickens. Perhaps I will write about their adventures as I used to write about Little Man And Major and their many mini horse adventures.
Change is part of life but some changes can define the rest of your life. On the day after Thanksgiving in 2012 I lost my Mother who was also my best friend. She was 97 years young when she left this world and her loving and gentle spirit was the inspiration for the program we call Mini Miracles.
The Trinity Ridge Farm website had to take a backseat for quite a few years as we struggled to help our Mom with the disease known as Alzheimer’s. As sisters, we shared in her care and it was during this time that the idea for the program first began. Our mini Little Man made his first unofficial therapy visit to her room and the idea became reality.
Some of the places we have visited over the years include;
Illinois Veterans Home, Quincy, IL
Northwood’s Nursing Home, Belvidere, IL
North Adams Nursing Home, Mendon, IL
Sycamore Health Care Centre, Quincy, IL
We plan to expand Mini Miracles and we will be keeping the website updated as much as possible. During our early years our Mother used to go out on the visits with us. We know she goes with us still…, I can feel her wings brush the top of my head.
2011 Second Prize Winner
BIG Idea: Therapeutic Equine Center
My sister Debbie and I have been using our miniature horses in an equine assisted program we have called Mini Miracles. Our mission is to provide the therapeutic benefits of companion animals to those in need and to develop equine assisted programs that use love, communication and leadership to build relationships. We serve those groups or individuals that can benefit from the unconditional love of a companion animal. The horses seem to have an unlimited ability to form an emotional connection with the people they meet. Our miniature horses bring a smile to a nursing home resident simply by standing quietly and allowing happy memories to return with each stoke of their mane. Children see a pony that seems magical and that fills them with joy and excitement. A sick child’s eyes may light up when the minis are around. Often, they can forget for a while whatever difficulty they face, when a little horse can be brushed and groomed. The opportunity to share the joy and laughter that the little horses create seem endless and has only been limited by time and finances. We bring them, but the minis make their own magic.
It’s not often you hear the sound of little hoof beats inside the North Adams Nursing Home but that is just what the residents heard on Sunday afternoon, November 7th, in Mendon, Illinois.
With red and gold ribbons flying and a sparkle of glittered hooves, the little horses trotted gaily away from their trailer and into the courtyard. Then they stepped quietly into the activities room where they were greeted with happy excitement. The two miniature horses, Little Man and Major, both stand less than 32 inches tall. They were happy to visit indoors where just the sound of their tiny feet can bring a smile.
They entertained the residents and their families with circus tricks and some fun and games. There was a lot of laughter and smiles when everyone, including the little horses, participated in a relay race. Then plenty of time was spent hugging and petting and even getting a pony kiss or two. The little horses belong to Becky Prunty and Debra Houtz and are part of a fledgling non profit group called Mini Miracles.
Sharon Tallcott and her sons Cordin, age 10 and Clayton age 6, assisted with the minis and also brought their therapy dog. Sadie is a Labrador and Chesapeake Bay retriever mix with the gentle soul of an angel. The sweetness in her brown eyes and the touch of her muzzle brought back happy memories to many.
After a deep bow to the audience, the horses left with a flip of their red and gold ribboned tails and a promise to return. The minis and Sadie left a bit of their magic sparkle behind in the eyes of the North Adams residents.
Today was a busy day spent in training with the miniature horses Little Man and Major. We have a date to visit North Adams nursing home in Mendon, Illinois on November 7th. We continue practicing standing quietly while being hugged and petted and sometimes even kissed on the nose. Today we also spent practicing some of our tricks such as jumping, standing and pirouetting on the pedestal, rolling the ball, and of course bowing for the end of our fabulous performance. We have fun every day when we train and I think I never have laughed so much as I do when I play with the minis! MINI POWER!!!!!
Spent some additional time riding Jazz out in my big pasture and checked fence lines and also did some click-treat training with my girls Tango and Marina. We are playing with saddling at liberty and following me over and around an obstacle course. Another great day of fun and partnership with my horses and my puppy Journey.
Tonight was one of those rare and perfect training nights when everything seems to go right. Combining the methods of Parelli and "clicker training" produced a magical night. I stood at the gate and called to my Arabian mare Jazz and my mini horse Little Man to come up from the pasture. I listened and soon heard the hoofbeats coming swiftly towards me. Their halters went on and a "click-treat" given. to encourage the recall behavior and putting their heads intot heir halters. I stepped up on the gate and Jazz did a lovely sidepass towards me. I slid my leg over her and settled into the smooth sweet curve of her back. It was just the beginning of dusk falling and her back was still warm from the heat of the settng sun. I picked up Little Man's leadrope and then called for my dog Journey. She slid under the gate and she looked up at me with the adoring smile only dogs have for the people they love. "Let's go everyone" I said and we set off to practice leading LIttle Man while riding Jazz. I think it would be fun to take him on some of our adventures and Jazz likes taking a friend along in case any "trail spooks or horse vampires" are encountered on our rides. She is certain that Little Man is a very confident and strong young man and that he could protect and Arabian damsel in distress.
The clicker was helpful to mark when Little Man was in the correct position by her shoulder. Again a "click-treat" when he was at the right spot and she and Little Man and Journey all got a nice little peppermint treat for getting the right idea and this is what they call shaping their behavior. I can mark the correct position and help Little Man and Jazz both know where I want them to be in relation to each other. Journey who is still a little timid with the horses is encouraged to jumo up and put her feet on my boot to get her treat. My Jazz is a wonderful and beautifully mannered horse who I treasure more every day.
I rode until the three quarter moon was bright in the night sky and the stars were scattered like brilliant white snowflakes on a black velvet shawl. The horses and Journey and I walked and trotted and stopped and started the process over and over in perfect unison.Seldom does a training session ever feel that perfect and the partnership feel like such an effortless understanding. Another arrow for the quiver and this was tonight's equation..,., click-treat + Parelli = FABULOUS