Friday, January 21, 2011

A Very Good Day

One of my goals for this blog was to give you a "behind the scenes" look at DreamPower, to invite you into the daily workings of a therapeutic horsemanship program. As I left the ranch tonight (towing a horse trailer full of miniature horses and heading to the South County Planning Team meeting) I thought, "I love this work! I am so blessed!" I'd like to share today with you, because it was a pretty "typical" day.

The first class of the day was a group of students from the Santa Clara County Office of Education Adaptive Physical Education Department. DreamPower's good friend Randy Klein brought a vanload of students, including a few we already knew. This photo is one of the students jumping with Zachary. Class with these students and the mini's is always a lot of fun!

After the first class, we had our supervision/staff meeting for our psychotherapy interns and therapists. In the middle of our staff meeting, we heard a pack of coyotes trying to "bait" Bear (Garry Stauber's border collie) into running out into the field, so the pack could jump him and eat him for lunch. We human beings all jumped out of our chairs and ran to find Bear and make sure he was safe from the wiley coyotes! It was odd to see a coyote standing in plain view of seven human beings, barking, in broad daylight.

Bear was out running around during our staff meeting because he was following the tractor that Garry was driving, moving the new load of sand into our new round pen. Yea! We are so excited that the round pen is almost ready to use. It is on loan from Karen Tosonoi. Don van Straaten bought a load of sand so we will have good footing for riding lessons and horse training back there. As soon as the footing is finished, we will have a wonderful, safe and private space at the very back of the ranch for riding lessons and psychotherapy sessions.

Today I was very pleased to sign the final supervision papers for Rebecca Olmsted. Rebecca is one of our Marriage and Family Therapy Interns and she has completed the 3,000 hours of experience that are required in order to become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Today we double-checked all the forms she will be turning into the state licensing board, in order to take the test and become a licensed therapist.

In our staff meeting we also talked about an upcoming workshop for people who want to become NARHA Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructors. Right now DreamPower has six volunteers who are interested in becoming a registered instructor and are far enough along in the process to consider taking the required workshop. This is exciting! We love to encourage our volunteers to get more training and improve their teaching skills.

In the afternoon sessions we had clients from Learning Solutions (adults with traumatic brain injuries), Advent Group Ministries (at-risk teens), Chamberlain Children's Center (a children's residential treatment program) and Community Solutions (a girls' leadership group). We had clients ride horseback, bathe a miniature horse, groom horses, help with barn work and practice their lungeing skills in the round pen.

During a break between sessions I got to ride Honey and Classy, two of our Haflinger mares. Honey was pretty good, she only bucked once. :) Classy got to wear a snaffle bit for the first time in her life today. Honey and Classy were both brood mares before they came to DreamPower. They have wonderful potential as therapeutic riding horses, and we are still working on training them so they are safe for clients to ride independently. Because they are calm, short, healthy and very strong, they are ideal horses for our program and we are willing to invest the time in training them for the work.

The day ended with the horses quietly and contentedly munching hay while the winter sun set. We loaded the mini's in the trailer so they could go home and relax after a full day's work. The volunteers packed up their stuff and prepared to drive home. Most of our Thursday volunteers drive over one hour each way, in order to volunteer their time at DreamPower, and we could not do it without them. We double-checked all the stall gate latches and turned out the barn lights. It was a very good day.

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