Cayuse Corona Community, Week Three

A note from the Editor, Maddy Butcher:

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.

Introducing the Cayuse Corona Community, a new 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. We’ll get through this and it’ll be better if we’re together.

Read Week One

Read Week Two

Amy and her horse, Dee, illustrate bend for a Facebook video post

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

Cayuse Corona Community:

Amy Skinner is a Best Horse Practices Summit presenter and owner of Amy Skinner Horsemanship in North Carolina. We spoke as she was in her truck, heading home to her farm:

Things are going well, at a slightly slower pace, but there is still plenty of work to be done. I’m enjoying working on my own horses more frequently and revisiting the basics.

I’ve been doing more video lessons and working on a YouTube channel and educational Facebook posts.

Skinner’s daughter, Josie, observe’s her mom’s work.

My mental health is fine. I’m starting to enjoy the pace and sleeping in as much as my daughter, Josie, lets me.

Josh McElroy is a BHPS board member and works as an instructor at Central Kentucky Riding for Hope, site of this year’s Summit in October. Josh is an Army veteran and is a Medical Operations Section Chief for the National Guard.

Read this essay by McElroy.

We spoke by phone before he was called up to active duty; he was busy running errands and preparing to be on mission while his wife remained home with their four children.

McElroy shares:

I think this will be my kids’ 9/11. It will be what defines how they move forward in their lives.

Board member Josh McElroy

They are ages three, six, seven, and ten years old. We’ve been trying to keep them busy and engaged. School now involves picking up and dropping off lesson packets every week. There are Zoom conferences, too.

We’ve discovered a slice of our property that has a river running through it. Went exploring and saw deer, turkey, and river otters. It was a kid’s paradise. There was a fallen ash tree: best fort/house/starship ever. Other activities include:

  • Josh’s son makes banana bread.

    Planting seeds inside and building a raised garden bed.

  • Building a calf roping and tying dummy out of various materials we had and a quick trip to Lowe’s.
  • My son made banana bread after helping me fix fence.

I wish I could be horseback more, but family comes first. I have friends caring for my horse. She’s out with several brood mares.

As far as what to expect when we’re on National Guard duty? We will be providing law enforcement for hotels or other quarantine sites and may also be involved with decontamination procedures.

Josh’s family explores

I have the advantage of perspective and active duty experience. Plus, this time no one is shooting at me. We’ve seen this stuff in Africa, the Philippines. There was the Ebola and other hemorrhagic fevers. I’m experienced in the implementation of layered measures and decontamination procedures.

Editor’s Note: Josh and I talked again after he began his National Guard mission. His unit, stationed at an armory in Lexington, is supporting law enforcement around several Kentucky hospitals

Stay safe, Josh!

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

Nicole’s horse, Reno

A benefit to the COVID-19 crisis is the ability I have found to immerse myself in the horses. My personal horse, Reno, and I spent nine hours together within a four-day time period. Much of our time was spent in a nearby creek.

He is always responsible as he chooses his foot placement down the steep bank. Every time we get to the water, he hesitates to take those first few steps into the shallow creek. It wasn’t until the third time that I descended the creek bank that I recognized how Reno’s actions are symbolic to me. His hesitation before stepping into the water is parallel to how recently in my life, hesitation is a benefit. It is a moment that I can take to confirm whether or not my choices are best. A moment that I can consider all options.

Note the heart-shaped rock at Nicole’s creek spot

I have had Reno for six and a half years and we enjoy exploring together. It is peaceful to let him loose in the creek where he will investigate around the rocks. I wander around him, searching for suitable rocks for painting. He seems to enjoy drinking the water and rooting through the gravel.

I often wonder if he is seeking a certain mineral. We often spend time here when the sun is setting at the level where it washes us with the last bit of warmth before it recedes into the horizon. Reno tends to stand facing the sun, blinking his eyes slowly and letting the cool water run over his feet. It is a moment of peace and connection.

Dozing in the fading sun

The horses have much to teach us. The message I have received this week during the COVID-19 Pandemic is to “pause.” Pause and process about where my next steps will take me.

Next week, we hear from:

Amy Skinner

Katrin Silva

Maddy Butcher

Kimberly Loveless

Nancy Lowery

Posted in BestHorsePractices Summit, Cayuse Corona Community and tagged , , , .

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *