Cayuse Corona Community, Week 15

A note from the Editor:

Here at Cayuse Communications, we’ve been thinking about our community of horse owners and riders. How best to come together and share during this time? We’ve reached out to friends to see how they are making lemonade from lemons and coping with the strains of the pandemic.

The Cayuse Corona Community is a recurring feature. We’re from California, New Mexico, Maine, Utah, North Carolina, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Virginia, and Colorado. Please join us by leaving your comments below.

View all Cayuse Corona Community content here.

Concurrent with these Cayuse Corona Community pages, we will be offering weekly giveaways, including goods from Jec Ballou, Redmond Equine, Kershaw knives, Pharm Aloe Equine, Hitching Post Supply, and the Cayuse Communications library of books. Read more about that here.


Nicole Churilla is a BHPS steering committee member and horse trainer. She wrote to me from her home in Ohio:

Nicole writes:

Nicole Churilla

I recently listened to a talk from Dr. Wayne Dyer, who built a career as a self-help and motivational speaker before he passed away in 2015. While I listened to this talk, there was one specific quote that was profound to me:

When you squeeze an orange, you’ll always get orange juice to come out. What comes out is what’s inside. The same logic applies to you: when someone squeezes you, puts pressure on you, or says something unflattering or critical, and out of you comes anger, hatred, bitterness, tension, depression, or anxiety, that is what’s inside. If love and joy are what you want to give and receive, change your life by changing what’s inside.

So, how do I change what’s inside? As I continue to teach people horsemanship and build the relationships around me, it’s easier to disallow negative thoughts that try to creep in the back door of my emotional headspace. Teaching and cultivating relationships distracts me and encourages me to do better. It takes some serious effort to smite the lies and mindsets that are detrimental to me as a person.

Another full day at Windy Hill Farm

There is a benefit to surrounding myself with good-hearted people. The people I am around unknowingly pour into me just by being good people. Due to the pandemic, I’ve begun to spend more time with others who uplift me. Through the last few months, I have desired to serve them through having meals together and doing favors.

For me, changing what’s “inside” to love and joy is about being surrounded by genuine people. Caring about what is inside myself will always reflect my horsemanship choices. When the pressure gets put on me, I want what comes out to be love, kindness, and selflessness.

Debbie Hight is a BHPS board member, horse owner, and occasional guest columnist for Cayuse Communications. She writes from her home in Maine, where she is caring for barnyard and, most recently, her 10 year-old grandson, whom she is homeschooling.

William and Roxy

Debbie writes:

After 14 weeks, my grandson, William, headed home to New Jersey.  It was bittersweet. Now I can work on “boring” projects without worrying about having fun with a 10 year-old, but at the same time, I miss his good-natured chatter and our adventures.

His saying goodbye to my horse, Roxy, was heartbreaking.

Part way through the 14 weeks, I considered getting another horse.  William was riding Roxy every day and Post Card Jack is retired (and I’ve retired from riding him!).  Maybe another nice Morgan, maybe an unflappable quarter horse… Then the accident occurred when Roxy spooked at something and took off. William was thrown and ended up with seven stitches across his knee.  I knew that rehab for both rider and horse (and grandmother) would take some time.  Roxy showed no signs of injury and within a week or so, William was limping along with Roxy on a lead line.  A week or so after that, he reluctantly got back on, while I had Roxy on a lead line.  Enlisting Amy Skinner’s help, we did more ground work and walked the gravel roads at the coast.

Katrin Silva rides Roxy at the BHPS 2019.

It was time for William to get back on for a trail ride.  “Nothing is going to happen while Roxy is on a lead line.”  Well, she heard something and she shied sideways.  William could hardly wait to get off, but happily led her back to the pasture and spent time with her chatting about the hay and the day.   I subsequently asked for help from my friend. He rode Roxy, thought she might be a bit anxious, but felt otherwise sound.  So, daily, William worked on groundwork and I rode Roxy.

I’m realizing that, in fact, I do have a new horse. Her name is still Roxy.  William seems to have a gift with animals and I have watched him patiently observe her behavior.  I’ve watched him do groundwork with no touch. I’ve watched her follow him around the arena without a lead line.  I’ve listened to his comments.  I’ve watched him hang out in the pasture and stall with her.

Roxy has been with me for 17 years, has been ridden nearly daily and has been everywhere and done everything, has taken care of my grandchildren and other kids, she was even the clinic horse at the Best Horse Practices Summit in October in Maine.  This new anxiety is crushing for my poor horse and for me.   But through improved observation and daily mini successes, along with enlisting the help of Amy Skinner and West Taylor, I will have my safe, sound and happy horse back.  It is an education for me and for my horse, a new beginning with my not-so-new horse.

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