ESS News and Events - 2009 & 2010
2009 (most recent news first)
November 2009 News and Notes
Star and Mateo are doing well. Star is now a gelding and has had the first surgical removal of proud flesh and two flaps of skin on the wound that will not heal over. He tolerated both procedures with his usual stoic attitude ("pain - what pain??!") and now is enjoying turnout in the round pen during the daytime. So far he's not showing any signs of lameness on the injured hind leg and hoof.

Mateo has gained a lot of weight and is looking and feeling lots better. His eye laceration has healed almost completely and he's enjoying his four daily meals of mash and the Nature's Select pelleted feed. The Nature's Select feed is an extruded product, which makes it highly digestable and great for horses like Mateo, who cannot chew hay well but he can chew these pellets. They are not hard and dense like alfalfa and beet pulp pellets, which have to be soaked into a mash that he can chew easily. Thanks to the kind donations and support from Chamisa Feed and Nature's Select dealer Diane Dau, Mateo's eating quite well these days!

Photos by Laureana Miera. Laureana is an 18 year old high school student who is coming to ESS for a work study program. Watch for our newsletter - coming soon - with stories by Laureana on Star and Mateo!

ESS Christmas party November 28
Our second annual Christmas party was enjoyed by many ESS visitors. The barn was decorated and we had a lot of great items for holiday shopping. A large number of poinsettias were sold for this fundraiser. Unfortunately, there was a mixup at the greenhouse and the poinsettias did not arrive in time for the party. So we just had cookies and fudge and a lovely decorated barn. When the flowers did arrive the following week, we were shorted 63 plants, and were unable to fill all the orders we'd taken. Needless to say, this was very disappointing and frustrating. Unless we find a new supplier, we probably won't do this fundraiser next year. A big thanks to everyone who supported the fundraiser and came to our event anyway.

We have two new residents at ESS. One suffered a bad injury to his hind ankle and pastern, and a bad quarter crack. Star a nice four year old paint horse stallion. The other is Mateo, a very sweet older gelding that needs some dental work and veterinary care. Click here for full Oct. 20 newsletter with photos and details: EMAIL NEWSLETTER.

October 31 - Horse Psychology - Understanding how horses think with MeSah, animal communicator/horse trainer/riding instructor from Santa Fe
MeSah gave a great little clinic on "Horse Psychology - What is important to the horse." Topics discussed included herd psychology, why the horse's physiology affects his psychology, how the different breeds affect the horse's psychology, things that can effect or change a horse's temperment or personality, the psychology of how to catch a hard to catch horse. She tried to do a demo with a few different ESS horses, starting with Ginger, the hardest to catch mare. But Ginger, and the others, simply allowed her to walk up with the halter and lead rope. No running away, no resistance. Bad for the demo, but nice to see how friendly and trusting the ESS horses are!

This clinic was packed with valuable, insightful information about understanding horses better, and we will try to do another clinic on the same topic, perhaps in January.

September 26 & 27, 2009: ESS Fall Festival of the Horse
The weather was great and we had a good turnout for our second annual Fall Festival of the Horse. The free event featured talks and demos, refreshments, and free horse rides for the kids. Dr. Heidi Hamlen from Santa Fe gave two talks on equine first aid and emergency care, and attendees practiced taking temp, pulse and respiration, listening to gut sounds, etc. on our very patient ESS horses. She explained how to recognize equine emergencies and how to deal with these, what important information your veterinarian needs to know when you call with an emergency, what to do until the veterinarian arrives, and basic first aid for horses. Congratulations to Susan Washburn, who was the lucky winner of the first aid kit donated by Dr. Hamlen.
DeAnn Hall did a demo of her New Ground Counseling Equine Assisted Psychotherapy program, a unique counseling approach that uses horses as tools for communicating and for therapy.
Me-Sah did a demo on Communicating Naturally with Horses, followed by a blessing ceremony of the ESS equines by Rev. Pam Tyler. Volunteers, visitors and ESS horses gathered in the parking lot where Rev. Tyler said a prayer of thanks and blessing for ESS. Then she blessed each equine, one by one, thanking them for their service to ESS and for the joys they bring to people, and praying for those who have been through bad times as well. It was amazing to see how the horses and Bindy responded to their prayers, and was a very moving ceremony.

Sunday Me-Sah did a mini-clinic on “Communicating Naturally with Horses.Participants worked with ESS horses or their own horses, doing groundwork, then everyone rode and we worked on horsemanship skills.

June 6, 2009: ESS and Goldstar Animals Helping People hosted the first "Animals Matter Day" in Taos. June 6 was officially proclaimed as Animals Matter Day in Taos, in honor of this event. The proclamation, signed by Mayor Darren Cordova, read as follows:

Whereas, On this day we come together to celebrate the importance of our animal friends. We recognize the strong, unique bonds between people and animals.
Whereas, Animals enrich our lives, we honor the many blessings that our animal friends give us, in companionship and pleasure.
Whereas, We seek to promote responsible animal care and encourage the development of compassion and respectful attitudes toward all animals.
Whereas, We acknowledge that public support and community involvement are critical to the success of animal related programs in our community.
Whereas, In the spirit of kindness and consideration of all animals, we reach out to the minds and hearts of all people, because Animals Matter.
Now therefore, I Darren Cordova, Mayor of Taos, do hereby proclaim June 6, 2009 as "Animals Matter Day".

I encourage all Taos area residents and visitors to participate in this celebration.

Also, artist Kristina Benson has created a beautiful logo for the event.
For full details, click here: "Animals Matter Day"

May 2009
Summertime activities and programs have begun at ESS. Dustee's given his first lessons to kids, and seems to be very happy to be back at work. He's made it clear that he thoroughly enjoys the little people and takes his job very seriously. He's a dream lesson horse - safe, quiet, smooth and dependable for novices, but he can also handle the more advanced riders as he shows off his dressage skills and athletic moves. Mandy and Kat and Bindy are back at work, too, enjoying their visits with clients from the Arc. Mandy excels at her job as a therapy activity horse, setting the standard for the rest to follow as far as being steady and patient. Little Bindy has matured into a solid little citizen, and Kat too enjoys the visits and extra grooming.

We enjoyed a visit from a group of kids from Eagle Nest School. They helped clean the barn, and got lessons and practice in showmanship at halter with the ESS horses.

Little Baylee is now getting some training, with basic groundwork. He's a very willing, sweet horse to work with. Ruth rode him for the first time, just as an intro to future training, which will not begin in full until he is closer to four years old. He took it all in stride, no fuss, just looked up as if to say, what's next?

A big thanks to all who came to the Donkey Fiesta, and to the volunteers who helped put on this event. Photos will be posted soon of this event.

April 11 Spring cleanup day
Our first cleanup day was wet and chilly, but we still got a lot accomplished. A big thank you to Andy Vargas, Sandra Miller, Mary Sue Comstock, Kiowa Montoya, Jim Howell, and Debra Munro. We got the stalls - walls inside and out - of the main barn scrubbed clean. We also got the inside big double door repainted a lovely blue color.

In honor of Baylee's second birthday, we had a little celebration with cake for people and the horses. Baylee didn't even notice the rain as he gobbled up his cake, pictured here with Kiowa. The other horses enjoyed their share of the gooey molasses, grain and carrot mixture, too.

Hopefully next Saturday the weather will be a bit more cooperative so we can get the outside cleanup done!

2009 Programs
We now have plans finalized for the programs that ESS will offer this year, beginning the first week of May. Cliick on the following links for full details about each program:
"Learn About Horses" program for Kids

"Learn About Horses" program for Foster Kids, specifically for children in the foster care system
Equine Assisted Activities for the disabled, including Arc clients

Lessons for adults also available, by appointment. $35/lesson.
Art at ESS - Sundays from 3 to 5 - for artists, photographers, writers -

2 nights lodging at the Taos Inn with museum passes, Cumbres & Toltec scenic train passes, Ojo Caliente hot springs - click here for more details. Prize package is valued at over $800. Tickets are $10 each. The drawing will be held at the Open House on May 16. You can also purchase tickets with PayPal (see link above).

2009 Events
April 4: Look for ESS and Goldstar Animals Helping People at the Taos Home and Garden Show. We will be there sharing a booth and answering questions about both organizations. Program sign-up sheets and information will be available.

April 11 and 18Spring cleanup days at ESS. Just what we've all been waiting for - the chance to get out and clean, paint, spruce up the facility in preparation for the summer activities! No matter what your interest is, we have a job for you! Join us from 9 to 4 these two work days. Bring gloves, rakes, rags, whatever cleaning materials you have on hand and are willing to share. Bring a sack lunch or chip in for pizza that we will have delivered.

May 2: Donkey Fiesta! Come to the party at the Alley Cantina and Twirl Toy Store in honor of our wonderful donkey friends. Look for the "Burro Ally" signs pointing the way to the festivities. Music, games for the kids, food, a silent auction, and meet the donkeys, Bindy and Marley, coming back to town (by popular demand!). 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

May 16: Open House at ESS. EAP demos, meet the instructors and sign up for summer programs, meet the equines. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

June 6: ESS and Goldstar Animals Helping People are proud to host the first "Animals Matter Day" in Taos. This event will feature booths and displays from area animal interest groups, businesses, organizations, artists, anything and everything celebrating our love of animals. This free event will be held at Kit Carson Park.

Equine Guided Odyssey, an EAP program by New Ground Counseling at ESS
Also new for 2009 is a series of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) programs offered by DeAnn Hall and Gayle Barklie of New Ground Counseling. Some of the programs will be held at ESS. For details, click here to go to New Ground Counseling's website.

March 2009 Newsletter
The link above is for a 767kb PDF file.
I am going to start doing a monthly newsletter again (in my spare time!). This will be a bit of an expanded version of the email news that we send out. A PDF file of each month's newsletter will be available from this web page. If you would like a printed copy, please email your request to me

Spirit of the Horse Art Exhibit
The second annual Spirit of the Horse Art Exhibit was held Feb. 14-16 at the Stables Gallery. It was a wonderful event for ESS, starting with a wonderful cover story feature in the Taos News the week of the show. The opening was well attended, catered by Caffee Renato and with flute music by Paul and Grace, Kokopelli Flute Players of Taos. Mary-George Eggborn read an excerpt from her novel "Garcia Park." Participating artists this year were Isabella Kristina, Sandy Miller, DeAnn Hall and her students - Kylie Lujan, Destiny Manuelito and April Montoya, Grant Besley, Tony Manzo, Lenny Foster and Dora McQuaid, Valerie Graves, Kim Treiber, Ursula Jorch, and John Farnsworth.

On Saturday and Sunday, miniature donkeys Bindy and Marley were at the show to meet and greet visitors.

2009 ESS Annual Meeting: January 31, 1 p.m.
Please join us for the Annual Meeting, beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 31 at ESS. The meeting will include introduction of the ESS board of directors, a review of 2008, and discussion about upcoming activities and plans for 2009. This meeting is open to the public and everyone is invited!

Snow / Winter Schdule
As you may imagine, we've had a lot of snow out here. We are still open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. till 4 p.m. (and other days by appointment) for anyone who wants to come out and visit the horses, but until it warms up (significantly) and the snow melts, we are not scheduling riding lessons.

We do have some other activities in the works, though. Details will be posted here as soon as we get the activities organized. In the meantime, we welcome guests. And, of course, volunteers are always welcome to come out and help. The horses still need feeding and grooming and the barn still needs to be cleaned!

Aside from the fact that the cold and snow do not make riding much fun, it is incredibly beautiful out here. It's a photographer's dream. Visitors are encouraged to bring their cameras!
2010 (most recent news first)

Taos Equestrian Center Open House and ESS Fundraiser
Held November 28, 2010 at the Taos Equestrian Center, Arroyo Seco

Ellen and Mist

Kathy and Annie

Ruth and Scribbles

Hava, with volunteers Ellen and Marta

Warming up!

Eddy Gallegos entertained

It was a bitterly cold, windy, snowy winter day for our holiday event, but even with the nasty weather there was a good turnout. Hava, the pony, was a real trooper, happily giving pony rides to many children who came. She had her youngest rider yet - a 2 year old. It was his first pony ride.

The horses and riders in holiday dress did their rides to Christmas music, getting in just one performance before the really bad weather hit. The riders, coached by instructor Ann Clemons of Taos Equestrian Center, included Scribbles, an ESS paint horse, ridden by Ruth Bourgeois, Mist, owned and ridden by Ellen Wacai, and Annie, owned and ridden by Kathy Brown.

Bindy greeted visitors and had bags of Christmas goodies for the little ones.

A variety of arts and crafts, many horse related items, bake sale, and gift certificates from local area restaurants and shops were sold, with proceeds going to support the programs of ESS. Each gift certificate came with a card from ESS also, telling the recipient that the purchase helped to support the programs of ESS.

Star's horrendous ankle injury has healed up incredibly well and he is now turned out in a larger area.

He enjoys being brushed and is getting used to wearing a saddle and bridle.

Star still thinks he's Mr. Stud and gets a bit excited when the pretty fillies go by, so it may be a while yet before he can go out much, but he's coming along nicely.

Star, started under saddle, at the training clinic held July 17 & 18, 2010, with trainer Julie Phillips.

Star and Baylee both were started by Julie. Both made great progress and learned a lot!

Congratulations to Dora and Carl, who adopted Star in September. Star is coming along well now as a calm, safe riding horse and has a good life with his new family.

Mateo, Bindy and Talitha

Bindy's best friend Mateo (left, with Tali) is doing very well. He now has a new donkey to take care of also, little Talitha, who arrived at ESS the second week of May.

"Tali" is a one year old Mediterranean Miniature Donkey. She was an orphan at birth and has a few little problems with balance and coordination, but we expect her to grow up to be a strong, healthy donkey.

Bindy isn't sure what to think of his new friend, but he has decided she's quite special (and she definitely is!). She is absolutely adorable, with the prettiest face and big brown eyes.

Therapeutic riding begins (FINALLY!)
August 2010 - Kat and Dustee have made their debut as therapuetic riding horses and both performed their new jobs calmly and with grace. We have begun to offer the therapeutic riding lessons for autistic persons and will be expanding the program as our resources, volunteers and trained horses allows. If you're interested in volunteering, contact Ruth. Currently we are doing this program on Tuesdays.

ESS in the news!
Be sure to pick up a copy of the Taos News July 29 issue. ESS is featured with a full story and photos in the new special section pet guide. Here is a link to the on-line version of the article:

Saturday, July 24 - 1 p.m. "The Path of the Horse - Exploring Harmonious Relationships Between Horses and Humans"
Free event - everyone welcome to attend the showing of this video. This inspirational documentary was created by Stormy May, a professional trainer, who gave up her career to travel around the world, interviewing other horse trainers who have taken their profession to the next level of a higher awareness of the horse and what the horse has to offer. In this innovative documentary, May explores the future of horse human relationships and ultimately all human relationships. As our culture evolves from domination over nature into a partnership, we see this change being reflected in the work that people are doing with horses. The Path of the Horse shows the progress toward true partnership between horses and humans. The people have learned to relate to horses in ways that, in many cases, bring to life the myths and fantasies that have long surrounded the equine species.

The 60 minute documentary film profiles six internationally-recognized innovators known for taking the horse’s physical, emotional and even spiritual well-being into consideration.

The Path of the Horse takes an honest look at what we’re doing with horses today and asks “is this the world we want to create?” For more information go to

August 15 - 1 to 4 p.m. Equine Art Class with Valerie Graves.

Class will include head study of 3 to 4 horses and one of the donkeys. Study the characteristics that make each horse unique: breed characteristics, type, etc.
Can we see temperament in a horse’s physical characteristics? Can we learn to see each horse as an individual when we use them in artwork?
A person often tends to see horses in terms of their color and markings and there is so much more which makes each individual horse special - the set of the ears, their eyes, shape of their muzzle, jaw line, and on and on.
Sketch using colored pencils, charcoal, pastels, watercolor or whatever materials the artists enjoy working with to capture fleeting moments of color and composition.
Each participant will receive a signed copy of Valerie Graves’ TAOS COLORING BOOK as a gift from the artist. Cost of this Sketch Class is $45 per person, payable to Equine Spirit Sanctuary. Please sign up early as class is limited to 15 artists. RSVP by calling 758-1212 or email
Class will be held rain or shine (indoor area to work)!

Spring Clean-up Day held April 10, 2010
A big thank you to the wonderful volunteers that came and helped clean and rebuild fences. It was a very productive day! Baylee's birthday was April 10, so we celebrated with a cake and goodies for him. He enjoyed the attention, as always.

Therapuetic Riding Program - starting this year!
ESS will be offering a NARHA-based therapuetic riding prgram, beginning this summer. Volunteer training for the therapeutic riding program will be held on Tuesdays. Please call or email if you'd like to be part of this wonderful new program.

Volunteer training days
New volunteer training days will be held the second Saturday of each month, from 9:30 to noon. Anyone interested in volunteering at ESS is encouraged to come out during that time. These training sessions will be held regardless of the weather, so be sure to dress appropriately. There is indoor work to do in case of inclement weather.

Typical volunteer orientation sessions include an overview of the ESS programs, facility and horses, hands-on work - cleaning the barn, cleaning stalls, cleaning the turnout areas, learning to lead and groom horses, etc.

2010 Spirit of the Horse Art Exhibit
The third annual Spirit of the Horse Art Exhibit was held Feb. 12-14 at the Stables Gallery. This year's evented feature fine equine art, a silent auction with lots of great donations, and raffle basket of Valentine's Day chocolates from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and roses. The miniature donkeys Bindy and Marley, along with ESS's rescue horse Mateo, met lots of visitors at this year's event. THANK YOU, everyone, who helped make this year's show a success!

Photos by Ursula Jorch and Ruth Bourgeois

Click here for PDF program with information about the artists and ESS updates.

2010 ESS Christmas Letter
2010 ESS Annual Meeting: January 30, 1 p.m.
Please join us for the Annual Meeting, beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 30 at the Public Library meeting room. The meeting will include introduction of the ESS board of directors, a review of 2009, and discussion about upcoming activities and plans for 2010. This meeting is open to the public and everyone is invited!

The Equine Spirit Sanctuary - For Horses and People!