Jasper (AKA Jaxon) came to Ravenheart from Parkland Ranch in Manitoba. Parkland Ranch is the dream of Judith Graile. Visit their website here: www.parklandranch.com Judith is a gifted and experienced horse woman who trains horses using kind, respectful, and gentle methods, with no bits, spurs, or harsh methods. She rescues, rehabilitates, and re-homes many horses, dogs, cats, and the occasional wild one.
Judith messaged me one day to ask if I would like to add a sweet horse to my herd. She said he is only 8 years old, fully trained, and she wasn’t in a hurry to rehome in, but thought he would be a perfect fit for equine assisted learning at Ravenheart. She described him as a very gentle, sweet, quiet horse, and handsome too!
Jasper arrived in early October 2016. Judith trailered him here with a pasture mate, Henry, and two of Parkland Ranch’s intern students, spending time with Judith to learn from her and experience the beauty of Parkland Ranch.
Jasper quietly stepped off the trailer and looked around. We introduced him to our herd and they spent time getting to know each other over the fence. As Judith and the students pulled away with the Henry and the trailer, Jasper called after them and watched them drive down the road. I always find this part heart-breaking. Taken from their herds and homes, having to adjust to new routines, herd mates, facilities, and people requires us as caretakers to consider all of the
se factors consciously and give them time to adjust, integrate, and feel safe and welcome.
Jasper joined the herd smoothly and without incident. After the initial flurry of activity as the girls checked him out, he kept his distance from the rest of the herd for the first few days. It was Sugar who he first connected to and befriended. Willow thought he was the handsomest guy ever, Mystic kicked him to let him know who the real boss is around here, and Lacey pretended she didn’t notice this handsome new horse.
We didn’t ask anything of Jasper through the winter and early spring, except to stand for the hoof trimmer, at which he was the star. It didn’t take a lot of time before he established his place in the herd. With a lot of squealing and half-hearted kicks (no contact), he now makes sure he is the first to get the treat bowl. After I put his bowl down, I give the girls theirs, and then give him a second bowl, so that he leaves the others to finish theirs in peace. He really enjoys the treat bowl (a blend of minerals, supplements & horse crunch), and paws the ground as he eats.
In April we hosted the first session of The Ravenheart Way. This is where Jasper had his first opportunity to interact with people in a formal way. He just loved learning about clicker training with Saskia Dockrill. He caught on so quickly and you could just see his brain working. This is fun! And I get treats too. This followed with a few opport
unities to work with clients and workshop participants.
Here are some words from the participants describing Jasper.
“When Jasper first came towards me I saw such majestic beauty , then as he looked straight at me, it’s his strength that I see . As he stands closer I feel safe and protected. Words to describe Jasper are strength, protector, beauty, confident, and last but not least majestic.” Margaret S.
“Jasper – Intuitive, intelligent, curious, embracing, nurturing, respectful – of himself, of his herd, and (once he got to know me) of me. Love that guy so much!” Christine H.
Although the majority of equine assisted learning and coaching sessions take place on the ground (unmounted), on occasion a session may include an opportunity for a participant to experience quietly sitting, or laying on a horse. For more information of the benefits of this, visit Riding Beyond at http://new.ridingbeyond.org/why-how/ Ravenheart will be offering a similar program in the near
future, and have been participating in training with Trish Broersma and her Riding Beyond program. Jasper and Lacey have “volunteered” for this.