Proud Parents and Miracle Activities

Early Trials…

Since March of 2016, we have diligently worked every day to bring a vision in our mind’s and heart’s eye to LIFE for all to see and partake.  This is a labor of love and there are so many individuals that have joined with us to work, sweat, walk, laugh and love.

We said we wanted to provide an activity center with Love and Grace and that means for everyone.  We focused on all the help and love that we would share with the special kids and people that come.

God blessed us with our very first student!  He was a little on the young side, but (and this is how God works) we jumped! The very first time Dad brought him out, we bubbled over with enthusiasm.  He is a bright spot full of energy and joy.  He is all boy and very interested in everything at the barn, the water, the dogs, the grass, the dirt, but not our sweet horse, Lilly.  He loved playing in the water, so we just let him play and get used to Lilly being around.  Now, Lilly was amazing!  She let this ball of energy go around her, put a Lego on her, go underneath her.  She was so patient with him.

Well, now it is time to get a helmet on and get on the horse.  Our little student SCREAMED at this helmet.  He DID NOT want to wear this and with good reason.  He had to wear a cranial helmet for months as an infant!  What?!?  We have to wear a helmet on for safety.  Welcome to our first trial.  We worked and worked, little by little, piece by piece and FINALLY got the helmet on him.

Now we can move on to riding, NOT.  Our student did not want to get on Lilly.  Anywhere but on Lilly.  Remember, this is our first student challenge.  It was not like this in our mind.  Now what do we do?  We worked to get toys that he could use in the water and teach animal names.  We then got colored cones to teach color and introduce pattern.  These were great ideas for us to implement to work alongside the additional therapies that our little fireball was doing.  We were willing to try anything to get him on our sweet Lilly.

In a few short weeks, weeks that were apprehensive, frustrating and just downright scary for us and for the parents, THEN GOD!

Trusting…

God put the perfect instructor and volunteers to walk hand in hand with our little student and he now wears the helmet with pride!  In addition, Lilly, now has the best friend in our enthusiastic student.   She waited and waited and our volunteers worked each week and little by little, we watched our student grow.  In just a few weeks, we saw our first student grow and riding Lilly has allowed him to connect colors and patterns and now numbers.  He is talking more.  He is confident and get his helmet himself and steps right up to Lilly to get on that saddle.  He is moving better from using his core and balancing on Lilly.

What has not been mentioned is that our first student has a parent that is an Occupational Therapist at the Veterans Administration.  Yeah, no pressure here.  He will tell you that he had his doubts.  It was early Saturday mornings and he drove 40 miles to hear his son cry for a half hour, and paid for it!

Joy!

But GOD!  Now, joy abounds and we work to keep up with our star student.  He works hard and we are moving on to numbers.  He has matured, learned vocabulary, moving stronger and gaining independence in a safe, fun environment.  His dad, the therapist, has seen strides utilizing equine activities and has moved from skeptic to 100% Committed Believer.  According to our students’ father, “by the 4th week, I was questioning if this was as good as it seemed, after that week and seeing my son accomplish what he has through his relationship with Lilly, the horse, we are as committed as they come and have extended his riding activity to open the door for continued independence.”

As a therapy, it is cost effective and provides rest for the parent, outdoor fun for the students and even the volunteers grow.  One of our first volunteers in on the Asperger Spectrum and after sharing that with our Dad, the Therapist, he could have been knocked over with a feather!  There are no outward signs and she has grown.  This girl is a story all by herself.

We, at Natchez Trace Stables Foundation, are so fortunate to work to provide a place for special needs children and circumstances to be challenged, independent and PLAY!  Yet we see miracles take place each time. In volunteers, parents, volunteers and this touches all involved.

1 Corinthians 2:9 New King James Version (NKJV)

But as it is written:

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.

Milestone!!!

We have been slowly and steadily preparing for this day!  It is now official and we have established Natchez Trace Stables Foundation with love and grace.  This is a nonprofit organization that offers equine activities for children with special needs and circumstances.  We can’t do this without your support, in so many ways.

Right now, we are establishing the infrastructure (website, donation portal, volunteer training, horse training, PATH instructor training and accreditation) that you will take pride in.  We want to be a Premier Equine Facility for you. We are also booking birthday parties and field trips and planning camps  and fun days for the summer.

We are not doing therapy yet, but we are having a blast with the very first of our special students that are taking lessons now.  I will say, I think I am more blessed and it touches my heart every time to see their joy. You will just have to let me have my happy tears.

And the parents, oh my!  Whether a volunteer parent or a student parent, you all are so patient and graceful and full of amazing characteristics and resources.  THANK YOU!

It takes a lot of courage to believe in a new endeavor and these people have stepped up and beyond.  And, a big shout out to the volunteers who are faithfully showing up to make this happen.  We absolutely can not do this without you.  It is a joy and a blessing for us to watch you grow and laugh and learn.  Below are the first two volunteers (indentured servants…) enjoying a break in between lessons.

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Well, I leave you this week with this thought…Delight thy self in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4

He certainly is manifesting the vision of our hearts into a place of love, grace and FUN!

 

Good Intentions

For those of you following our posts, I know you made New Year Resolutions that you may not have kept to the level that you intended.  Well, we now join those ranks.  We intended to blog once a week (which is not that much for you social techies) and have failed (don’t judge..).  It has been a bit more than a week!

This is where grace comes in!  We are building and growing and moving so fast, sometimes it is difficult to get our heads wrapped around how God is moving.  And then at other times, it seems that we spend all of our time asking “Are you sure?  Are we headed in the direction you want us to be?”

Do you ever feel this way?  I know you do , even if you don’t admit it…it’s ok.  That is the entire reason we are Natchez Trace Stables with Love and Grace.  That is what it is all about.

You have seen the deck, the classroom and the lab.  If you have not, we have tours 3 times a month and would love for you to join one and catch our vision!  We have started putting up rails around the loping pens to keep our special students safe.  We have attended our first Special Needs Symposium and have been met with resounding acceptance!  We have had agencies out to visit and help us develop programs.  How wonderful to start to see the vision come to life.

Spring is now in the air and we are booking our Spring Lessons (see our page for more details) and Birthday Parties and Spring Field Trips (see our Ride Through History).  We have babies in training and new horses in training.  The Trail Riding Club is growing!  We are looking forward to seeing all you wonderful horse enthusiasts riding the trails and enjoying  their special relationships and forming new ones.

For so long, this has been a vision in our mind’s eye and heart’s beat, to now see this start to transition to reality…..it is every bit scary as it is exciting!  We can’t do this without you, we certainly don’t have the experience you have.  We pray that God works through us with you and your help and wisdom to create a premier equine facility for your needs.

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Moving on!.

p.s. I know He will….

Until next time…

 

 

Hope Unseen

Ok, my goal is to blog once a week to keep you updated on how our story develops.  More than that, you are a part of what we are developing and need your input.  As for progress, we have our laboratory for Horsemanship Camps and we have started using it to share with participants how a horse lives and what the equipment is and how they feed.

We have a brand new deck for all participants to enjoy!  It is the best place to relax, visit and see your child ride while you enjoy a book or coke. In addition, we are blessed to repurpose the concession stand as a classroom for art and camps.  OK, it is good for staff meetings too!  We had several camps over the winter holiday and so thankful that we were able to be inside and play games and drink hot chocolate with peppermint.  Thanks to the guys that shared their talent to build a warm place for us and for you to enjoy!

Horse Learning Lab

Here we go…

I am not a blogger, but my passion is it share this story as it is written and look back to visit how God constructed this legacy from day one.  I am sure that it will be awkward to put into words at times and a bit mundane.  We are cleaning, sweating and removing all the clutter that accumulates.  We have stalls ready for the winter and hay in the loft.  We are a place for love and grace and believe that everyone that comes deserves to experience that peace that can be felt upon entering.

So much has been going on and yet at times, it is difficult to see.  This is our story as we build and transform Natchez Trace Stables to accommodate the vision that has been placed in our hearts.  You will be welcomed and needed.

We are on the lookout for new boarders to join our family.  We are for you if you would like a loving stable for your four-legged  family member.  This is a peaceful place where you can enjoy riding and the bond created with your horse.

We are opening Christmas Holiday Camps for the first time ever!  If you are looking for an additional outlet for your child then you need to look over our camp themes.  We will be holding 2 hour camps that focus on general horse care, a pajama camp, craft camp and we will hold a Horse Birthday Party that your child can participate in.  If you would like information on our camps, please contact me through the website and I can forward the schedule to you.

The concession stand is evolving into our camp and art room, complete with a deck that will make it wheelchair accessible.  We are very excited to be able to offer a place for children to learn and grow and enjoy the outside.  Parents have a place on our deck as well.  They can read and watch their children grow.

We are converting one of our stalls into a horse lab where children can learn the parts of a horse and saddle.  They can learn how a horse is measured and enjoy sitting on our mini-horse to get the feel.

The website is getting developed and infrastructure being laid.  This entails a lot of writing and research and thought.  Much of it is so new and  pray that God continues to drive this project.  So many have been so helpful to surround us with their labor and talent.  Limbs getting picked up to making sure the barn is clean. We are so thankful that God has allowed us to share the vision of what will be in our mind’s eye.

Stay tuned for the next chapter in our story of love and grace for Natchez Trace Stables.