Ravenheart – Song

Ravenheart – Song

By Andy & Cathy McAnally

Friends gather here and pause
Take in the sacred country charm
Cast your doubts away at Ravenheart Farms
Feel safe, feel wanted, at Ravenheart

And when you go to Ravenheart

Equine delights unfold

Let the horses heal your troubled soul
Feel safe, feel wanted, at Ravenheart

ChorusWhere Mystics go when the full moon shines
With the healing horses we’ll spend our time
at Ravenheart
We’ll gather there with likewise minds
And open our awareness to the Divine
at Ravenheart

She has a vision she wants to share
Feel the love and feel the care
While gathering in the moonlights glare
Feel safe, feel wanted at Ravenheart

Ravenheart is calling me, it’s calling me
Horses don’t judge or presume
So we’ll gather there at the next full moon
Feel Safe, Feel Wanted at Ravenheart

Raven – New

Raven

Raven

Raven, the namesake for Ravenheart and my wise and gentle teacher. Raven was raised in Saskatchewan on a beautiful large ranch called the Cherry Hill Equestrian Centre. Raven’s father was the Champion Welsh Cob Brynarian Eiddwen Comet.

Like his sire, Raven is definitely wary of people but he loves to work! I purchased him as a 7-year-old from a friend who had travelled to Saskatchewan to buy Raven’s full brother, a stunning Welsh Cob she calls Arthur. Due to rough treatment at the hands of a less than kind trainer after being sold from his breeders, Raven was in need of someone to start over again, gaining his confidence and trust.

Wise Raven

I “volunteered” to work with him. I was immediately smitten with this polite, gentle, but very cautious and untrusting little horse and over a short time and much gentle prodding from his owner, I realized the dream of a lifetime with Raven becoming my first horse at the age of 40. Raven epitomizes the duality of the “dark horse” and “lightworker”. He is truly engaged and loves this work, showing up for the people with subtle but powerful reflections as captured by a Horses, Spirit & Play participant during a reflective round pen session.

“I am standing in the round pen facing Raven, his jet black coat shining in the brilliant Saskatchewan sun, his eyes soft and at the same time intent. Unfettered by even a halter, he is, in a word, exquisite. I am reminded of my own writing about my lifelong passion for horses: Sometime between birth and puberty, I fell in love with soft brown equine eyes… and still I am undone.”

He is wary yet stands firmly, directly in front of me, fully engaged. There is no agenda here; we stand and look and feel suspended in an intuitive encounter, a dialogue without words. Time passes. I am not sure if I have taken a breath. Then, without urging, he lifts his hoof and offers to step forward, and then again. He licks his lips and sighs. I feel a soft tingling in my body and inexplicable gratitude in my heart. I gently bow, and leave the round pen. Namaste Raven.

Raven in Heaven

Note: Raven made his transition over the Rainbow Bridge in October 2011.

Welsh Cob (RIP Raven – 1990 – 2011)

Experiencing Ravenheart & the Horses

Experiencing Ravenheart & the Horses

 Wwoofer feedback from Wwoofer Norman (Scotland)

by Norman McIntyre

Norman by the Prayer Flags

Before arriving at Ravenheart, where I would be volunteering, I had read on the website that EAL (Equine Assisted Learning) courses are offered there. I had worked with horses many years ago, albeit in a very simple way, and was intrigued to be volunteering at a location which offered EAL.

When I arrived, I was here for a few days, observing the horses, but not yet formally making their acquaintance – Carol had instructed me that this is a good experience, to observe the horses first, let them see me, see how I feel with each of them. The ‘getting to know each other’ would come later.

When I was introduced to the horses a few days later, it was an interesting experience. From my previous work with horses, I had learned that every horse (and also all other animals) has its own personality, just like a person. They have their own characteristics, likes and dislikes and, just like humans, may also have preconceptions and prejudices on account of negative experiences from their past.

Here are my impressions of the wonderful equine ladies at Ravenheart – Please note: Flicka & Freya belong to Saskia and Horses In Rhythm, but are very much part of our herd.

 Sarah – is the herd leader. She is shy at times, although always aware of her status as matriarch. The other horses move away when they notice she wants them to. I have observed this kind of behaviour in humans over the years. However, Sarah also has a soft side – she loves back scratches and adores being groomed. As with people, you do not need to be afraid. You just need to show respect to the boss and know how to handle him/her, without compromising your own status in life. Sarah approaches me now regularly, which she was cautious about doing before, and we meet on equal terms – I respect her and she respects me and we get along really well with that.

An important thing I learned from Sarah – no sudden hand movements, i.e. don’t stress. Take it easy. You can be a leader without getting stressed.

Mystic

Mystic – Mystic is much smaller than the others. She lost her mother at a month old and the other horses took her under their wings, or rather manes, so to speak. Mystic has learned how to use her cuteness to get what she wants in life. That may sounds negative, but it is not meant that way. What she lacks in physical stature in comparison to the others, she more than makes up for it with her worldly attitude – Mystic is one street wise gal. She knows how to survive, despite her being the smallest in the herd. You can’t help falling in love with Mystic, getting mad at her persistence soon afterwards, then loving her to bits all over again for her just being who she is and the fact that she just sticks to that – being who she is. She is not intimidated by the other larger horses – she moves in her own space and does not let herself be pushed around. She is sometimes cheeky enough to push the others around. Mystic does not feel small and does not act small. A very important lesson for us humans! Especially for those of us who feel small or feel that we have nothing to offer in life.

Norman and Willow

Willow – She is a quiet, deep healer horse, who you may overlook at first because she does not draw attention to herself, but she is different in a very positive way. I came out of my cabin one morning to find Willow standing there, waiting for me and staring – I could feel that she knew I was not feeling too good that day and I knew she was supporting me and sending me healing. She keeps herself apart from the herd a lot, but usually near the others, but does not draw attention to herself. I took a bit longer to get to know Willow, and there is a lot which I will never know about her, but she is a peaceful rock of support. If you are ever feeling low, Willow will be more than willing to let you hug her and heal again. She is a true giver.

Flicka

Flicka – She is everybody’s friend. She needs to come and check people out, she loves the company and is often first at hand when someone comes or the hay is being distributed. She is a loving horse, has a very loving nature and is always willing to please, but in a nice, comfortable way. Like Willow, she is a giver, she is always there for you if you need a hug. She has a pleasantly curious nature and is always upbeat. Being a very peaceful and calming character is another of her trademarks.

Note – pictured here are Freya and Flicka – owned by Saskia Dockrill. Flicka and Freya are excited to be spending their first winter with Saskia at their lovely acreage L Pine Meadow. Check out Saskia’s wonderful blog here:  http://lpinemeadow.weebly.com/lpine-meadows-blog

Freya

Freya – is a beautiful animal. The way she gently walks, almost majestically. She has an attractively beautiful face  and head. Surprisingly, she is close to the bottom of the pecking order among the horses – I have never seen Freya bully or nip another horse, ever. She takes time to warm to men, which I was told about at the beginning. It is tempting to want to go over to Freya and just shower her in hugs. But, as with humans, we have to respect the feelings and also fears of our fellow Earth inhabitants, be they two- or four-legged, so it is important to give Freya her space, especially as a man, so that she can get accustomed to you, feel your energy and notice that you mean her no harm. She may have had negative experience with a previous owner so it is important to respect her boundaries. Just because we want to hug her, it does not mean that it is reciprocal.

So here again the lesson is not to take it personally, respect other people’s boundaries and when Freya breaks the ice with you, you will be amazed what a loving and beautiful soul she is. After a few days of patience and leaving her to check me out, she started to approach me of her own accord. All I did was consciously send out my intent to connect with her, without any body language pressure for her to be intimidated by, and she accepted my invitation. She regularly approaches me, does not stay very long if I start to stroke her, but she still keeps on coming back. “Slowly, slowly, one step at a time” seems to be the message for us here.

Lacey

Lacey (♥please note: colour is photo enhanced, not dye ♥) – Lacey is a Princess. She does things in her own time, when she wants to. And she does not come up to just anybody. She is a good teacher of the philosophy that even if someone does not always greet you, it does not mean they intend to harm you or that they do not like you. She just happens to be a princess and that is how princesses act. Princess-like. She does not look down on humans or treat them with contempt. She is just a princess and acts accordingly. You can take it personally, or you can just accept her the way she is. Here again, another valuable lesson for us humans. I’m ok, you’re ok.

Sugar

Sugar – Last but by no means least, Sugar. One of the most loving, caring horses I have ever met, with such a beautiful energy around her. She is inquisitive in a healthy way, she will come up and check out what is going on (usually after Flicka has done some reconnaissance work!) and will gently nudge you or even, when she knows you, rub her head on your back or front. She has a big, strong, heavy head so you have to always be present and aware and focus when she is around you (and not only with her, with all the horses) because she means well, she likes people and she is always there for you to give her a hug, especially if you are having a down day – she will give you as much healing energy of hers as you need. If she moves away during that time, again, don’t take it personally. It is very easy to feel a special bond with Sugar.

One important lesson which I have learned from the horses is that they express their feelings as they come up. No sulking in the corner for hours, then coming out with the wrath of a twister to vent their feelings. If they are annoyed at another horse, they will show it. I have seen Sarah put Sugar down and nip her, only to be walking harmoniously along the field with her ten minutes later. No more aggression. They “say” what is on their minds, show it, then get over it. No sulking, no cunningly planning the next act of sabotage like us humans often do. They vent their feelings, don’t take it personally, they know there is always room to be buddies again.

The one incredibly moving factor about a day or a course at Ravenheart is that the animals surround you with so much unconditional love. This is great at the best of times, but especially if you are going through a crisis – small, medium or large – in your life. If that is the case, come to Ravenheart for healing – if one of the horses does not resonate with you, your feelings and your present state of mind, then sure as anything one of the others will. There is something truly moving and spiritual about sharing your sorrows with a horse, even if it is a teary encounter, and just letting the horse stand there and offer you its love and support.

And then there are also the two dogs and two cats, all four brimming over with their own unconditional love which they are more than happy to share with you. They never run out of it and are always near at hand to give you a real strong dose of TLC. All they ask in return is a tummy rub or a lap to sit on. Or even just a good gentle pat, if you would prefer that.

If you come to Ravenheart, I can assure you that you will leave happier and healthier than when you arrived. Some things in life are gradual and need time, so even if you do not leave Ravenheart again singing your heart out (which is also possible), the seed for your healing will have been planted in your subconscious. The animals, especially the horses, will have left their visiting card in your emotional makeup for you to discover, feel, enjoy and profit from in the near future. Believe me. I have experienced this. And it is wonderful.

Ravenheart is a truly wonderful experience which will help you heal, become whole again and grow spiritually and emotionally.

Norman with Sugar, Willow and Freya

Flicka

Flicka in Spring Grass

Flicka

She is everybody’s friend. She needs to come and check people out, she loves the company and is often first at hand when someone comes or the hay is being distributed. She is a loving horse, has a very loving nature and is always willing to please, but in a nice, comfortable way. Like Willow, she is a giver, she is always there for you if you need a hug. She has a pleasantly curious nature and is always upbeat. Being a very peaceful and calming character is another of her trademarks.

She is everybody’s friend. She needs to come and check people out, she loves the company and is often first at hand when someone comes or the hay is being distributed. She is a loving horse, has a very loving nature and is always willing to please, but in a nice, comfortable way. Like Willow, she is a giver, she is always there for you if you need a hug. She has a pleasantly curious nature and is always upbeat. Being a very peaceful and calming character is another of her trademarks.

Flicka in Winter

Jasper

Jasper

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

Jasper arrives at Ravenheart

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

Jasper and Sugar Together

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

Jasper Running Free

future, and have been participating in training with Trish Broersma and her Riding Beyond program. Jasper and Lacey have “volunteered” for this.

Freya

Freya

Majestic Freya

Freya is a beautiful animal. The way she gently walks, almost majestically. She has an attractively beautiful face and head. Surprisingly, she is close to the bottom of the pecking order among the horses – I have never seen Freya bully or nip another horse, ever. She takes time to warm to men, which I was told about at the beginning. It is tempting to want to go over to Freya and just shower her in hugs. But, as with humans, we have to respect the feelings and also fears of our fellow Earth inhabitants, be they two- or four-legged, so it is important to give Freya her space, especially as a man, so that she can get accustomed to you, feel your energy and notice that you mean her no harm. She may have had a negative experience with a previous owner so it is important to respect her boundaries. Just because we want to hug her, it does not mean that it is reciprocal.

Freya's Forelock

Freya’s Forelock

So here again the lesson is not to take it personally, respect other people’s boundaries and when Freya breaks the ice with you, you will be amazed what a loving and beautiful soul she is. After a few days of patience and leaving her to check me out, she started to approach me of her own accord. All I did was consciously send out my intent to connect with her, without any body language pressure for her to be intimidated by, and she accepted my invitation. She regularly approaches me, does not stay very long if I start to stroke her, but she still keeps on coming back. “Slowly, slowly, one step at a time” seems to be the message for us here.

 

Freya Watching

Sarah

Sarah

Sarah (AKA Penny). Determined, bold, no-nonsense, cautious, protective leader, strong-willed, independent, smart, beautiful. We will all miss your big, bold, beautiful presence.

Beautiful Sarah

She was a lovely and willing participant in the Raveheart Equine Assisted Learning programs and retreats. She loved being groomed, enjoyed her treat bowls, took care of the herd so well, took her “job” very seriously, and preferred a “hands-off” approach unless she was being groomed at liberty. When she connected with someone, it was obvious and powerful to see. If you were one of these people, you know and understand how special this was. ♥

Sarah moved on to the horse angel herd on Sunday morning,  August 7, 2016. We appreciate the kind and gentle veterinarian who did all he could to ease her suffering. (Colic – Equine colic is a relatively common disorder of the digestive system. Although the term colic, in the true definition of the word, simply means “abdominal pain,” the term in horses refers to a condition of severe abdominal discomfort characterized by pawing, rolling, and sometimes the inability to defecate. Source: Google)RIP Sarah. We will remember you every day as we look over your resting place in the “valley view”.

 

Sarah hanging out with Melvin

Mystic

Mystic

Minature Horse Mystic

You want me to do what?

Mystic is still considered the baby of the herd, although she will be 7 in April 2016.  Well, at least us adults still treat her like the baby, but she certainly holds her own with the bigger horses. Mystic came to Ravenheart as a one-month-old orphan foal and found loving new adoptive parents in Sugar and Raven.  They, along with Carol, and the help of Kate O’Reilly, a Wwoofer from the UK (Worldwide Workers on Organic Farms), made sure that Mystic would grow up strong, happy, healthy and a respectful member of the team. Mystic loves to play.  She loves working with children and youthful-spirited folks.  She sees in them a need to play and have fun.  In addition to her love of joy, she is a very intelligent and a highly capable horse. She isn’t afraid of anything and loves to learn new things. She especially loves agility!  She is often seen in the fields entertaining herself as the older ones look on…until they eventually join her in her games.

Minature Horse Mystic as a baby

Baby Mystic

Sugar

Sugar

Sugar is definitely the social butterfly! Curious, friendly, persistent, confident and steady, Sugar is the boss mare at Ravenheart , and Raven was the love of her life. (See Raven’s story below). Sugar arrived at Ravenheart as a one and a half-year-old filly. The day her owners Joe, Alaina, and Paul trailered her over is still clear in my mind. This sweet and brave little mare stepped carefully off the trailer and calmly followed me to the paddock to meet Raven over the fence. It was love at first sight.  As a 4 day old filly, Sugar had an accident in the pasture where she received a serious injury to her face (a kick from another horse, or possibly from running into something like a post), just below her right eye. Fortunately, her sight was not damaged but she lost her tear duct so she always looks like she’s shedding tears from that eye. She connects deeply and lovingly from her heart.

Sugar is one of the most loving, caring horses I have ever met, with such a beautiful energy around her. She is inquisitive in a healthy way, she will come up and check out what is going on (usually after Flicka has done some reconnaissance work!) and will gently nudge you or even, when she knows you, rub her head on your back or front. She has a big, strong, heavy head so you have to always be present and aware and focus when she is around you (and not only with her, with all the horses) because she means well, she likes people and she is always there for you to give her a hug, especially if you are having a down day – she will give you as much healing energy of hers as you need. If she moves away during that time, again, don’t take it personally. It is very easy to feel a special bond with Sugar.

Lacey

(♥please note: colour is photo enhanced, not dye ♥)

Lacey

Lacey is our sweet “Princess Pony”. She is intelligent, sassy, and beautiful, and she uses these qualities to the fullest! She is the finest little pony with children or anyone who is timid or nervous. She charms clients with her lovely, expressive eyes and Welsh Pony character, and she is happy to meditate in the sun and practice the art of “Wu Wei”. At feeding times I can be sure to find Lacey standing at the corner of the paddock closest to the house gazing intently at the door for my appearance. Lacey and Willow came to Ravenheart when an elderly gentleman named Cliff from the Quill Lake area in Saskatchewan became too ill to care for them any longer.

Lacey as a Princess. She does things in her own time when she wants to. And she does not come up to just anybody. She is a good teacher of the philosophy that even if someone does not always greet you, it does not mean they intend to harm you or that they do not like you. She just happens to be a princess and that is how princesses act. Princess-like. She does not look down on humans or treat them with contempt. She is just a princess and acts accordingly. You can take it personally, or you can just accept her the way she is. Here again, another valuable lesson for us humans. I’m ok, you’re ok.

Love Lift Us Up

RIP Lacey

2000 – 2017

Princess Pony. Lacey’s nick name and one that suited her personality, fairy tale pony looks, and character. Lacey came to Ravenheart in spring 2007, along with her pony friend Willow (aka Brownie). I was at my Dad’s memorial service when an older gentlemen and friend of the family in Quill Lake, SK mentioned that he had 2 lovely ponies that he might need to rehome due to health reasons.

Lacey Senior Love

Sure enough a couple of months later, in April 2007, I received a phone call from his wife asking if I might be interested in the ponies, and if not, they would be taking them to auction on April 21st. I said I would come and see them right away. As soon as I walked into their corral Lacey came to me and put her nose on my chest. There was only one decision to be made. I knew she was coming home with me, along with her friend Willow of course. It was love at first sight.

Lacey and Willow were once working logging ponies in Manitoba. Cliff, the gentlemen who I purchased them from, had bought them for riding ponies for his grandchildren. They arrived at Ravenheart with their old blue halters, handmade lead ropes, and their cute pony driving bridles. Raven and Sugar accepted them right away.

Lacey was a beautiful grey 12 hand Welsh Pony. She had grey points as in some of the pictures which gradually turned pure white over the years. You couldn’t ask for a nicer pony. She was smart, cheeky, steady, beautiful, and friendly. She was confident, independent, safe for all ages, and loved to be in the limelight.

Although I don’t know much more about her background, other than she seemed to have been beautifully trained at some point, and probably shown in Welsh Pony classes, as she loved to be groomed, braided, and fussed over, and would “stand up” like a show pony.

Taylor and Lacey

My niece Taylor showed an incredible affinity for horses and all animals. It started with her collection of stuffed tigers and progressed to an enormous collection of animal figures, including barns, fences, jumping equipment, tack, and more. As I had dreamed of having my own pony my whole life, with my first horse Raven coming to me at age 40, I thought I would gift Taylor with Lacey at Christmas one year, a real pony to call her own.

Here is a note posted by Taylor after hearing that Lacey had crossed over the rainbow bridge:

“Appreciation post for my baby girl who passed away this morning ????. Whenever I would go out to my aunties, my favourite part was getting to spend time with you. You were my best friend and ALWAYS loved when I came to visit you. You were my first and only horse who I love very much and the farm will not be the same without you. I love you so very much my Lacey, little Angel pony ️. Thank you for the many great years I spent by your side.”

~ Taylor

Lacey and Taylor shared a special bond of love. Taylor couldn’t have had a nicer pony to spend time and learn from as a beginner. The photos attached will give you a glimpse of their journey together.

Lacey made a lot of friends along the way as an equine assisted learning partner at Ravenheart Farms. I loved this sweet pony. I could have a field of ponies just like her. I, Taylor, and all of the Friends of Ravenheart will miss her beautiful pony character. Thank you, Lacey. You really are an angel pony now.

Love lift us up where we belong

Where the eagles cry

On a mountain high

Love lift us up where we belong

Far from the world below

Up where the clear winds blow

~ Buffy Sainte-Marie

Horse Angel Lacey