ESS News and Events - 2007 & 2008
Christmas Ornaments & Decorate the Barn - Saturday, Nov. 22, 1-4 p.m.
ESS benefit
We are preparing for the holidays! ESS will have a tree at the Festival of Trees (fundraiser for local non-profits) and we invite you to join us in making decorations for the tree. Valerie Graves and DeAnn Hall will be on hand to assist with creating handmade ornaments with tin and wood, decorated with horses. Kids can decorate horse cutouts made by DeAnn. Adults can work with tin or the wooden horse ornaments. Cost is $12, which includes making 2 ornaments - one for the ESS tree and one to take home. Materials provided, but you can bring a special horse cutout if you wish for your tin ornament. We are also decorating the barn that afternoon, in preparation for the Nov. 29 Christmas Party.

Christmas Party at ESS - Saturday, Nov. 29, 1-4 p.m.
Join us at ESS as we start the holiday season out with an open (decorated!) barn, Christmas treats - cookies, fudge, hot chocolate, hot cider and more, and shop for gifts for your favorite horse and / or horse person. Poinsettias that were ordered can be picked up at this time also. Come meet the equines and purchase a special gift at this ESS benefit.

ESS Fall Festival of the Horse - Sept. 20 & 21
Weekend event to celebrate horses and ESS!
On Saturday, Sept. 20 and Sunday, Sept. 21 ESS hosted a weekend of horse events. Saturday was the Open House, with displays showing what ESS has done these past few months, art, demos of all the things we have done that make ESS special - Aromatherapy for Horses by Sandra Numedahl, Healing Touch for Animals by Mary Sue Comstock, T-Touch discussion by Raian Kaiser, and horse rides for the kids. A blessing ceremony for ESS was held in the afternoon, with all the horses present. Beth Farrow did a little talk and poem about horses, Ruth introduced the horses and talked briefly about ESS, Lynn Anderson talked and sang "Ponies", and we planted a rose bush - a Lynn Anderson special edition rose - commemorating the "blossoming" of ESS. Our equine blessing had to be postponed due to a technical difficulty (wrong day for our priest!) but we know our equines are already very blessed, and will enjoy that ceremony at a future special event.

Sunday ESS host a T-Team / T-Touch clinic taught by Raian Kaiser, TTEAM Practitioner III from Loveland, Colorado. It was an excellent clinic and we are looking forward to having Raian return for more lessons.

We had a lovely weekend with lots of sunshine, met a lot of new people, the kids had fun riding Dustee and Mandy, and we had a nice turnout despite the numerous other activities taking place at the same time in the Taos area. A big, big thanks to our wonderful volunteers who came out to help clean the days before the weekend. The barn was washed - stalls inside and out - and it was so shiny white it looked like a fresh paint job. The manure vanished - thanks to Kimberly Casara and her amazing tractor. Thanks, Kimberly! She used the arena rake on the area that we ride in, making the footing much better, and also the round pen. Volunteers had given the round pen a fresh coat of paint, so it looked great, too. We weeded and raked, and cleaned, and even got new signs put out with the ESS logo, thanks to DeAnn Hall and Kristi and KC Benson. Elyse, Sue, Kiowa, Janie, Mary Sue, Laura, DeAnn, Marsha, Ellen, Lee, Sandra, Jerry - What amazing volunteers!!!! Thank you all.

We have gotten some great press coverage these past few months. We even got a mention in Cowboys & Indians magazine! The October 2008 issue, which will be on the stands in the next couple of weeks, has a wonderful article on Lynn Anderson. Lynn has been a long-time supporter of therapeutic equine programs. Not only does she talk about ESS in this article, but she also has lots of nice things to say about Taos in general. Check it out!

August 16 - Mandy evaluated for the Delta Society Pet Partner program
We are proud to announce that Mandy passed the evaluation to be approved by the Delta Society as a pet partner (in this case, an equine partner) for animal assisted activities/therapy. Mandy, whose registered name is Maranda Mirage, is a 21 year old 3/4 Arabian, 1/4 Welsh mare that Ruth raised from a foal. Mandy has always been a very self confident horse that loved to hop in the trailer and go places, see new sites, and do new things. Ruth did over 500 miles in competitive trail rides with Mandy and competed in dressage shows. Mandy was being worked at First Level dressage when she injured her hind leg in 2000. The injury left Mandy with a condition known as fibrotic myopathy, with a slight abnormality at the walk. So Mandy was pretty much retired after that until this summer when she became an active participant in the ESS education and therapy programs. Because Mandy is so well trained and well mannered, she is ideal for teaching people of all ages about ground work, grooming, and she is ideal for the Delta / therapy work. She has no fear of wheelchairs and other things that may spook more timid horses. She loves attention and is happy to have a job again. We'll have a special introduction of Mandy and recognition at the upcoming ESS Open House on September 20. Please join us in celebrating Mandy's achievement!
Buck is back to work!
August 2008
Buck is working under saddle once again after a year layoff off due to sensitivity in his back. Buck has been one of the horses to benefit from the special healing treatments here at ESS. He has a noticeably prominant spine with an arch between the hips and the tailhead and has always been a bit touchy in this area. We are not sure if this is due to an old injury or conformation defect, but it had been causing him a lot of discomfort so he was pretty much retired and not ridden for the past year.

Buck wasn't real happy just being a pasture ornament. He is always interested in greeting the visitors to ESS and, being the social guy that he is, he just didn't understand why he was not being included as a working member of the equine team. So Lee Hester and Mary Sue Comstock both spent extra time with Buck, using their healing touch modalities to ease the discomfort in his body as a result of the back issue. He also received some Equine Touch treatments as a demo horse for the practitioners' ongoing development weekend held at ESS in July.

Jerome Smith has been doing the barefoot trim on Buck for the past year also, and Buck's flat feet which are very sensitive to rocks and hard ground are getting better all the time. His hind feet are pretty much normal, tough and hard, and his fronts now have some concavity and he is no longer sensitive on gravel. So the first week of August, we saddled Buck up and took him for a ride around the property. He moved out freely, showing no pain or resistence, and seemed happy to be back at work. After a short ride, he seemed more content that he'd been in a long time.
July 20, 2008 Fiesta Parade
Sounded like a good idea a few weeks ago... that is, participating in the annual Taos Fiesta Parade. We took Dustee, ridden by Ruth, and Bindy, led by ESS volunteers Kristine Benson and Jessica Howard. Bindy was outfitted in a bright blue pack filled with candy to throw for the kids along the parade route. It was the first time the little fellow had ever been asked to carry a load, so we'd dressed him up and practiced a few times the week before. We weren't sure how he'd behave in the parade. He's still a little timid and nervous around new things, but he came through like a real champ - calmly and quietly carrying his load of candy. Unfortunately he still had the entire load at the end of the parade. He was very well behaved, but got nervous when the ladies tried throwing candy from beside him.

Bindy was a real hit. Everyone loved seeing him!

Photos by KC Benson

Dustee was not too thrilled with the entire parade, particularly the loud cars, loud music, sirens, etc. He's very sensitive to sound and this was not his idea of fun at all. But he managed to stay in the middle of the street the whole parade route and Ruth was still on top at the end, so declared it a wonderful success (and a great learning experience for all!).

July 18 T-TEAM and T-Touch Intro for Equines
With Raina Kaiser, Level III T-TEAM Practitioner from Loveland, Colorado

Raian gave a mini-clinic on TTouch, a simple, effective method of bodywork using natural techniques that help the animals relax. Again we had a nice turnout of very interested persons for this entertaining and informative event.

Raian, TTEAM Practitioner III from Loveland, Colorado, discussed the basics of TTouch for all animals, and people, and how it reduces stress, which can result in improved behavior, better self-control, and is a great way to communicate with animals. Then she showed some of the touches on Kat, who thoroughly enjoyed being the model. The time went by way too quickly and only a brief overview could be presented, so we are planning to do a full day TTouch workshop with Raian this fall. Watch for date and details.

ESS hosted an Equine Touch practitioners ongoing development workshop this weekend, so all the ESS horses (and director!) benefitted from a therapeutic touch session.

July 12 Starflower Healing for Animals and People
With Mary Sue Comstock, Certified Healing Touch for Animals Practitioner

THANK YOU, MARY SUE for a GREAT demo on Healing Touch for Animals (HTA)! We had a nice turnout for this event, as Mary Sue explained the hands-on healing method in she uses her hands to clear, energize and balance the energy field around an animal's body so that relaxation and healing can take place. Mary Sue will be doing HTA on outside horses here at ESS - tentatively scheduled for Aug. 2. If you'd like to bring your horse for a session, call Mary Sue (737-0924) or Ruth (758-1212). Limited to 3 horses that day.

June 29 Equine Sketching Class with Valerie Graves

Lovely weather, excellent teaching, enthusiastic students, beautiful horses -
a wonderful first-time horse art class at the Equine Spirit Sanctuary!
Photo by Megan Avina.

Bindy poses for the group.
Photo by Ruth Bourgeois.

After a couple hours,
the little fellow was tired out!
Photo by Lee Hester.

Dustee was proud to be a model.
Photo by Ruth Bourgeois.

Instructor Valerie Graves with her class.
Photo by Megan Avina.

Klassy Kat takes her turn
posing for the class.
Photo by Megan Avina.

Sandra Miller's artistic talent comes out
in this drawing of Klassy Kat
Photo by Megan Avina.

Klassy Kat.
Photo by Ruth Bourgeois.

The art class held on June 29 was a great success, with a full class of students eager for Valerie's words of wisdom and insight on drawing horses. A big thanks to the Taos Center for the Arts for the use of a large tent, and to all the volunteers who helped prepare for the class, and to the participants who made it so much fun. Saturday Dustee and Kat got bathed for the occasion and were great models. Little Bindy, one of the hardest working residents at ESS, seemed to thoroughly enjoy his new role as a model. A big thanks, too, to Megan from the Taos News for coming out and taking the great photos that were in the July 3 newspaper coverage.

Some of the participants in the class decided to get together out at ESS to do more sketching exercises, late Sunday afternoons on a regular basis. We welcome anyone interested to come out - bring your sketchbooks, set up your easel, bring your cameras - whatever art you enjoy - and take advantage of the lovely animals and comaraderie here at ESS. Email or call for more details.

May 17 - ESS Open House and Tack Swap
Thanks to everyone who attended our official opening. We had a lot of fabulous very high quality horse tack, equipment and equine related arts and crafts. A big thanks to Janet Elder, Valerie Graves, Deann Hall, Sandra Miller, Renee Sharpneck, Lee Hester, and Sarah Reeb. If you missed this sale, you missed a lot of great buys!

May 3: Volunteer orientation day highlighted in The Taos News, Vecinos Page.
Click here for article and photos.

March 2008
Work days
A work day was held on March 1. The weather was about as perfect as we could ask for - warm and sunny - and 25 people turned out to clean and help with the work at the new facility. We got a huge amount of work done in a very short time. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HELPED!!!

March 8 Ruth attended a meeting of the Coalition of New Mexico horse rescues in Albuquerque. We are in the process of filling out the necessary paperwork to submit for the license application for ESS to become a recognized horse rescue. The other coalition members were very helpful and have a lot of experience with the process since its inception a couple years ago.

March 10 ESS was the beneficiary of the Taos Mountain Casino's Trivia Time call in show, with $10 for each correct answer given to ESS. Ruth took part in the show, hosted by Marc Kaplin and Harley Colt, at KTAO radio. $160 was raised for ESS in less than half an hour. THANK YOU TAOS MOUNTAIN CASINO and KTAO!

February 2008
"Spirit of the Horse" Art Exhibit
This special art exhibit was a fundraiser and our first event to raise public awareness about ESS. The art show was held at the Stables Gallery (most appropriate!) in Taos February 15-18, 2008.

The equine only art show featured works by several local artists. These included paintings, photography, sculpture, handcrafted slate art, wall hangings, drums, and much more.

The opening reception featured Native American flute music by Dr. Bessie Babits, one of the members of the ESS Advisory Board.

Artists that showed at the Spirit of the Horse Exhibit were Valerie Graves, Phil Epp, Kristi Benson, Lenny Foster, Grant Besley, Sandra Miller, DeAnn Hall, Tony Manzo, and Shari Kesterbaum.

For more info, including program, click here.

January 2008
ESS Annual Meeting, Jan. 26, 2008
The annual meeting of the ESS was held Jan. 26, at 1 p.m. at the Taos Public Library Meeting Room. All interested persons were invited to attend.


December 2007
We are very happy to announce that ESS now has a new home! ESS has leased the former Thal Equine horse hospital and clinic, located at 283 Cuchilla Road, Ranchos de Taos.

The property is perfect for the new ESS facility - 10 acres, offices, barns, lots of space for ESS programs and activities. Many new programs are being planned for the coming year, to be held at the new facility. ESS will be offering classes, mini-clinics, and special events in all things horse-related. Some of the topics for classes and seminars are basic horse skills, horse handling, training, health care, and riding. An indoor classroom will be available to use, as well as an outdoor arena. For photos of the new ESS facility, click here.

ESS will now have an official office also. Volunteer training dates will be set for late winter, early spring months, to prepare for the therapeutic programs. There are many different volunteer positions, so please contact ESS if you want to help out.

Be sure to sign up for email updates and check the How You Can Help page for more details.
Watch for more news on special events at the Equine Spirit Sanctuary!

the New Home page for more details

November 2007

This fall we placed two horses in new homes - Wilbur (pictured at right with his new companion) and Comanche Dancer. Both went to excellent homes where they are well cared for and loved for the wonderful horses that they are.

We took in a little purebred Arabian mare "Klassy Kat." Kat is up for adoption. For more information, see the Horses page.

Taos Tack donated a tree for ESS for this year's Festival of Trees. The tree was decorated on Nov. 24, with ornaments donated by Kristi Benson, Cathy Baca, Valerie Graves, Sandra Miller, along with the usual horse decorations that were made by Ruth. A beautiful art piece donated by a local artist was also included, as a gift under the tree. Bidding for the tree is done through a silent auction at El Monte Segrado, with the party and winners announced on November 30. (Click on the small image of the tree for larger version.)

We finally got the OK for the kids at the Eagle Nest School to begin riding. All the insurance requirements were completed, safety helmets arrived, and first lessons are Nov. 29. A big thanks to the volunteers who have been helping with this program. It's coming together very nicely!

July 2007
Work and lessons have resumed at Eagle Nest School after a summer break. See the Eagle Nest Program page for more information on this great program.

Soxy and Ginger and Baylee came to live at Ruth's place. The horses are learning lots of great lessons and becoming more confident around people and well mannered every day. ESS volunteer Lee Hester has spent a lot of time helping to work with the horses, getting them to overcome their fear of people, using gentle healing methods.

Pictured here is Ginger (yes, that is the same horse!), socializing with Dustee across the fence. For more photos, see Soxy's page.
Family Fair for Positive Pets May 12, 2007
ESS participated in the first annual Family Fair for Positive Pets held at the Juan I Gonzales arena (Taos). This was a fundraiser event for Goldstar Animals Helping People, featuring local area animal rescue and animal interest groups.

ESS had a table there, but the main part of our display was live - Buck, Bindy and Wilbur. Thanks to Pam Barker, who brought us a set of portable panels which we used to set up large stalls inside the indoor arena.

Buck and Bindy shared a stall and Wilbur was in an adjoining stall. We had display boards with photos of ESS horses, handouts on ESS and the Eagle Nest School horse program brochures.

On Buck and Bindy's stall, we hung before and after photos of Buck. People who stopped by to see him could not believe it was the same horse! All three were outstanding - very well mannered, friendly and interested in what was going on. Ruth did a demo with Wilbur, showing what a typical lesson at the Eagle Nest School consisted of. We offered to take photos with Bindy, as a fundraiser for ESS, and got some very cute photos of kids with Bindy. Bindy was very cooperative, as long as we didn't take him too far from his big buddy, Buck.

We also had a raffle for one of the nice horse plaques donated by Michele Carra. As this was primarily a fundraiser for GoldStar, we did not try to do a lot of fundraising for ESS, just primarily use it as an opportunity to let people know about ESS and what we are doing. As such, the event was a great success.

It was Bindy's first public appearance, and he was delightful. He handled the noise and all the different sights and sounds well. towards the end of the afternoon, he got tired and just retreated to the back of the stall and went to sleep. But he never once let out one of his noisy brays, much to our relief! He was fascinated when he saw the miniature horse from the Taos Equestrian Center (TEC). It was like he finally saw someone his own size. Buck was equally fascinated with Kiro, the huge dressage horse from TEC.

The Taos News printed a nice story about the event, with Buck's photo included. Ruth participated in two radio interviews prior to the event, which also were great PR for ESS.

The highlight of the day, however, was when we went to take the horses home. Little Bindy had never quite learned to load in the horse trailer. We always had to pretty much just lift him up into it, which required the assistance of a couple strong people. Bindy finally either decided it was time to grow up and be good about loading, or he was just plain ready to go home, because when it was time to load him again, he hopped right into the trailer! What a sweet little donkey!

April 2007
It's a boy!
Soxy, the little mare that ESS took in last May, gave birth to a healthy, beautiful colt on April 10. Though Soxy is just 2 1/2 years old, just a baby herself, she is a wonderful mom. Click here for more pictures.

E-news and updates
We are now sending out email newsletters and updates. The first one was sent in February to people that are on our e-mail list. Please sign up if you are interested in getting news from ESS. These mailings will replace much of what is on this page, as we work towards improving the web site and improving communication at the same time. There is a sign-up form in the lower left column of this page and on the home page. If you got the first e-mail news, you can use the sign-up button to confirm that you wish to continue getting these mailings, or to cancel if you do not wish to receive the news, which will assist us in keeping the e-mail list up to date.

ESS to Assist with Horse Program at Eagle Nest School
There is an amazing, wonderful new program at the Eagle Nest School, under the direction of the school's principal Lee Mills. They have built a barn on the school grounds, and adopted four horses and have another riding horse that was donated to the program. The children, supervised by Lee, take care of the horses and facilities. The horses provide a unique opportunity for animal assisted activities, helping teach responsibility, compassion and problem solving in a way that the classroom does not.

ESS will be helping Lee with the program and we welcome volunteers who would like to assist. See the page on this web site with more details and information (EAGLE NEST). Please email Ruth if you'd like to participate. In addition to volunteering your time, the program needs things like equestrian safety helmets for the kids, tack and horse equipment, feed, etc. Watch for more news soon on this awesome program!
The Equine Spirit Sanctuary - For Horses and People!