Welcome to Fern Valley

Here in central Alberta prime farm country,my husband Martin and I work together raising beef cattle and Appaloosa horses. Fern valley appaloosas have long been known for their quality of temperament conformation and color.I have recently rediscovered a love of writing and have published 2 collections of poetry. "Telling Tails" and Tails Trails and Campfire stories" . I look forward to a future spreading my wings as an author and as a horse woman .

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Book 3 ? maybe

So I have 2 books published and my publisher is calling and asking if I will be making another. Self published so their concern is more a financial issue than necessarily thinking that I have the next best seller on my hands. But also a few folks who have my books have also asked if I will be writing another. 
Here is my dilemma,or question; I have about 20 poems written that have not previously been published, so I have a start on another collection. But I haven't written much of late so I don't have enough to really complete another volume.
In the other books I have a few favorites that might bear a rework or repeat.
I also have often been told I should just right a book of "Auntie Sherry isms" Quotes and thoughts that have popped into my head and out of my mouth over the years. lol (some obviously do not bear repeating in mixed company but...) 
Things like; 
"The only thing that happens quickly with livestock ,is a wreck or a rodeo"
 "If you are in a hurry with critters, hurry back into the house you are done! "
"Optimism for the modern girl:when you wake up and realize your "fairy tale ending ,is really a broken pumpkin, a missing shoe and a torn party dress. Your thoughts are, that was fun, lets have pie!"
"you missed me? really? what were you aiming at?"
So I am wondering about a combination project, some poems, some thoughts, photos and maybe an anecdote or two. 
I have a working title  but it too is  still just a possibility " COWGIRL LOGIC"followed in small print "some old some new , none borrowed, a few blue" 
Any thoughts?
There is no rush , I may not publish another book ever or not for some time, but this is an option that has come to mind so I thought I would see what folks think of the idea.
Anyhow  thanks for any suggestions, and stay safe my friends

Sunday, 17 January 2016

building an environment for successful learning

So ,here we go again! its been a while but a thinking post is emerging!
I talk a lot about energy and resistance in working with horses, and also in my equine therapy with people. this falls into that area as well as into the area of teaching and learning. Both for horses and people.
What I mean by this is we at least should when working with horses, create an environment of success. Safe area, few distractions (for us) focus and attention to details, and positive energy. We look at the horse for signs of pain or distress, and if none are present we begin our work. Some horses can be very reactive and loose focus easily so we use exercises to build focus and establish leadership. While I say this as if I do it only in the beginning of a session, I am actually "listening" to the horse for cues throughout, checking in often to assure we are still working well together and the horse is still focused , and receptive

One I use is to let the horse loose at liberty in a pen or arena, when they start out the are often moving at their own will some at a walk some flat out. I let them go for a few moments , then I begin to change things.I don't immediately ask for a whoa, rather I subtly change the trajectory of the horse, position myself so then need to go a different way, a few times, then I begin to ask them to slow (once you control the trajectory you gain control of the feet and ultimately the mind) then to stop. When they are able to follow this at liberty , they are focused and ready to learn.
So how do we do this with the people I do therapy with? Often the kids I see have trouble with focus and attention, so am I likely to just toss them into the pen with 1000 lbs of independent thinking and sharp hooves without at least getting their attention? NOPE!
So we walk and we talk, and I LISTEN, I ask them how they are , check in for issues of stress, fear, discomfort (headaches etc) then we do some breathing, slow steady , calming. Then I ask them what they would like to learn work on today. We go through what the client is interested in and while doing this I ask them to think about how that might happen. NO I don't expect them to know the answers, but in bringing that to the front of their mind I have a better chance of controlling their trajectory so to speak, and with that keeping focus and creating a receptive learner.  Again , this is done throughout the session, as things change with people as they do with horses, and "listening to cues " is key with both.

When we look at traditional training and education, none of these things were often in place, in the general sense. "old school trainers and teachers simply taught what they wanted done and expected results. That worked well for many, but not all. would there have been as great a need for "special ed" if the education system had allowed for styles of learning and allowed teachers to "check in " and see if they had lost a receptive learner , or even created that environment to start with? To be fair, there have always been wonderful educators who have done this instinctively and those are the ones we remember and honor as mentors in our lives. I know I certainly was blessed with many.

So putting it together, if I create a positive and receptive horse, and enable the client to be equally positive and receptive, I increase the likelihood of a positive learning experience and successful therapeutic intervention.
Hoping that ramble made sense to everyone. and seeing as it was a bit heavy going for a first blog after the new year, I will toss in a few pics  to lighten us all up.

Stay safe my friends 

Friday, 1 January 2016

2015 I will happily kiss you goodbye

Is it over yet 
Can I open my eyes 
Is this as hard as it gets
Is this what it feels like to really cry
(excerpted from Kelly Clarkson Cry)

Well the songs are sung, the champagne toasts have been drunk. And the New Year is begun!
And not a moment too soon! 
Not to say that 2015 was all bad, a matter of fact the first 2/3 of the year was quite wonderful.
But since contracting Shingles in late september, then a sinus infection I was already feeling a bit low.
 Losing my incredible strong mother, and my beloved Winston just a day apart  was a monumental blow.
 But 2015 wasn't finished with me yet! , before I could say goodbye to the year I had first to say goodbye  to one of my Dream Girls. "See you in my Dreams" , my sweet mare (a Dreamfinder granddaughter) Dam to FV Catch a Dream(Whoa Dammit), FV Rainmakers Quest, and FV A SHocking Comet. This Sweet timid girl, has been a wonderful horse to own,even if she broke my toes ,and given Fern Valley Appaloosas some star class foals. She passed suddenly and our silver lining is that she seemed not to have suffered. So farewell Ici, and until I see you again, I will in fact See you in my Dreams.

That was yesterday, just hours before the end of the year. So fine, I get it.Life is tough, I have had worse times, and I have most certainly had better. I shed my tears, yet again, as I likely will from time to time over the next while (possibly very long while ) then I picked up myself  turned my face to the setting sun and proceeded to get on with saying goodbye to the year. 
I spent New Years surrounded by loving friends and family and welcomed a new year with hopes of great promise and joys ahead. 
The last year did bring joys, and I was blessed to attend, not 1 or 2 but 4 weddings! And you just cannot be sad watching people you love starting their own journey of love together. We have met several new and beautiful babies in our extended family. and we have had much laughter and yes a few tears, but those are all part of living. Those who have been around me with horses know I talk about energy, and intention a lot. Well "Acting with intention" is just what I am doing moving forward. Make a goal, develop a plan, and take action. Now my goals are simple ,I intend to find joy and celebrate all of the positives I can find in each and every day. To not let fear of failure,rejection or regret stop me, and to be happy.

A friend of mine  often suggests a "word for the year" something that speaks to what we want to see in the year ahead. Last year I believe my word was "River" the energy and feeling it depicts is a pleasant flow, moving and changing as needed and continuing forward .

That worked for me , and might work this year as well,but what sticks in my mind at present is the word "Fearless" not in the devil may care traditional sense but more of a becoming fearless, by learning to trust myself again, my skills, and my intuition. The second word is "Resilience" Which I actually have some measure of  already I believe , but as a trained personal resilience mentor  in the heartmath program, I need to coach myself a little to keep on an even keel in the face of all the changes and losses I have faced. Not to avoid grief, which I cannot and would not, but to make sure I do in fact face it and let it begin to help me heal.
Beyond that my goals for the year are yet to be set. Staying well, emotionally and physically will for now simply require that I put one foot in front of the other until I build some momentum up again.
I have missed the regular routine of blogging, and I would love to say I will pick it up and be more consistent this year but for now I will just do what I can.
my friends, I think of you all often and hope your New Year brings wonderful things! 
As always , stay safe