Mishy holding on to a chicken.

Today, through Elsa Inc., a not for profit organization to help rescued animals, I organized a homeschool visit to a rescue animal ranch in Malibu at Big Heart Ranch. There were 80 plus people who joined us today to touch, pet, hug, and learn about animals. Here is my photo journal of our day. What the photos don’t include is the art station and the seed planting station. Mishy and I were very busy relating to the horses.

Some of the group relating to the alpacas, deer, goats, miniature horses, and horses.

All the children and adults were able to go inside the stables to have intimate contact with the animals in their own space and time. The animals at the ranch include: Captain, the grandson of Secretariat, who was bred to be a champion race horse, but had other dreams of his own, two alpacas, two goats, a deer, two miniature horses, many chickens, whose eggs a lucky few were able to take home with them, and many other horses, including Snowy, Big Red, and Brava. After the ranch visit, Mishy sat on my lap in the car and thanked me.

Chickens laying eggs. They had a need for privacy.

Some guests playing on the tractor

E and R feeding Macchiato, an alpaca

Petting Captain, Secretariat's grandson

Brushing Big Red

Mishy picking out a horse brush

Children playing in the sandbox over looking the Pacific Ocean

Picnic tables over looking the Pacific Ocean

Mishy brushing Breezy, a miniature horse

Mishy brushing Breezy's tail

Children feeding Breezy

Children, including Mishy, leading Breezy back inside the stable

Mishy saying one final good bye to Breezy, and thanking Susan

Children saying their final farewells

Details:

Susan, who heads Elsa Inc organizes a few annual events at two ranches in Malibu, as well as classes focused on healthy ways of communicating with animals and getting back to nature for children aged 5-13 years old called, Unplugged Youth Adventure. She is open to organizing events for schools and homeschoolers alike.

http://www.elsainc.org/elsainc/Welcome.html

Bonus photo:

Mishy fast asleep during the car ride home.

Silver Horse Healing Ranch

December 25, 2010

Mishy looking at Silver, the director of Silver Horse Healing Ranch. Yes, the ranch is named after Silver.

We’ve been going to the Silver Horse Healing Ranch in Topanga for 6 months. Mishy loves it there. She takes part in two group lessons twice a month with other children, which I’ve organized. The lessons are for children starting at age 2.5 years old. The children have a gentle ride – either around the stable or on a trail – depending on the child’s age and ability. The parents are able to walk alongside the horse or stay by the stables and talk to the other parents, or take pictures. After the horseback ride, the children may brush, massage, and groom the horses. Once that is completed, the children lead a horse with a rope, usually Silver – ¬†and learn other natural horsemanship skills such as how to tie a horse to a fence or tree or feed Silver her food of beet leaves. Finally, the horses are given snacks of carrots and apples. We have learned it’s important to be aware of the hierarchy of the horses at the ranch. Each herd has a social order and the horses higher up on the hierarchy must be given carrots first – Sara explains this prior to the children feeding the horses. She also shows us how safely to feed them.

Riding Laydee - her first time on a draft horse.

The Silver Horse Healing Ranch is a horse rescue ranch with a focus on natural horsemanship skills – which means the horses are not asked to do anything they do not want to do/makes them uncomfortable. The owner of the ranch is Sara Vaughan who has been teaching natural horsemanship skills for 12 plus years. Our classes are two hours long which leaves plenty of time to enjoy the ambiance of the ranch. (At one point, there was a compostable toilet and yurt.) She is available for group or private lessons. She does have a focus on children with high functioning people with Autism and others on that spectrum. If you are interested in participating in group lessons for your child – please write on the comments section of this post and I will get back to you. If you are a member of any yahoo groups I am on, you may also write me on them as well – NaturalParentingLA. (I have been trying to organize a class for children with autism for some time and would love to make this happen. Mishy does not have autism. I have just witnessed how special and healing the ranch is for children with high functioning autism.) I do not work for Sara Vaughan or Silver Horse Healing Ranch. I truly like what they are doing at the ranch so I happily arrange group lessons for children. (Sara mentioned I have tripled her children’s program.)

Making food for Silver

Details:

Silver Horse Healing Ranch

http://www.silverhorse.org/

They are on Youtube as well:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3t3bnqGQXX0 – an introduction to the ranch

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AU_HIATkow – a demo with Diva

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3t3bnqGQXX0 – Laydee with Amber, a teenager with special needs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3t3bnqGQXX0 – introducing Courtney – a person of special needs