I hope everyone has been well! I apologize for the hiatus. Last week, I had taken some time off to spend with my parents leading up to Christmas. And, as detailed in the last post, things have been very busy around here as of late. Luckily today is a fairly slow day, so I can settle back into the mix and tell all of you how awesome the Christmas party/open house was the other week!
Setting up for the event wasn’t too much of a hassle. We had put up the Christmas decorations and whatnot a couple weeks in advance so there wasn’t a scramble to make everything festive at the last minute. I suppose most of the prep work has been going on since November, with cleaning out the upper barn and decorating the white house and all that jazz. The whole event felt like a more laid-back Bluegrass and Burgers, which was nice.
I was stationed down with the bunnies and goats. There was a large wave of guests in that area when the party first began. But thirty minutes in, the majority of them had trickled up to the white house. There was actually about a twenty minute gap where it was just Xena and me chilling outside the Red Barn. Xena was purring up a storm, content with being my primary focus as we waited for more guests.
About an hour into the event, things picked back up down by the bunnies and goats. A second wave of visitors came as the first group was coming back down. It was really refreshing to have activity again. I was both pleased and surprised with how huge the turnout ended up being. The goats loved the attention and were rock stars (as always). And the bunnies did a great job tolerating having so many people wanting to pet and hold them. There were a lot of cute pictures taken of kids holding the bunnies.
The relaxed nature of the event allowed me time towards the end to offer my parents a tour around the property. My mom is a weekly volunteer, but my dad had not been out for several months. I was excited to show him just how much the Barn has grown and to introduce him to all the amazing people who have made such a transformation possible. Being able to share all of that with him was sincerely one of the proudest and happiest moments of my adult life.
All in all, the party was a big success! All the guests seemed to enjoy themselves and were happy to see how the Barn’s growth. We raised a nice amount of money, though we still have a ways to go to reach our year end goal. Every little bit of support in this final week of the year means so much to us! We appreciate all the support and love everyone has given us this year and are excited to share that love and support with all of our kids in 2017!
Though riding lessons have paused for the holiday season, we’ve still been keeping very busy here at the Barn!
Monday morning was filled with hauling extra tack and other horse-related goods to the upper barn, which has become the official home of the horse team. We then cleaned these items and the storage room they had been living in. And though I wasn’t a part of it, there was also a volunteer training going on that morning. In the afternoon, our instructors made phone calls to parents to review their child’s progress for the term. Ellen, one of our instructors and our resident occupational therapist, took some additional time to talk to our staff about hippotherapy and its differences from therapeutic riding.
Yours truly was out ill on Tuesday, but it was also jam-packed. Several staff members attended a seminar lead by speaker John Maxwell at Church of the Highlands. Then the horse team lead a brainstorm for potential ground work lessons and the Bully in the Barn camp occurred that afternoon.
Wednesday is my off day but Barn friend and horsemanship expert Anne Alan led a clinic, which I heard was awesome!
Thursday started with a camp for a group of home-school children. The kids had hands on experience with grooming horses, cleaning the horses’ stalls, playing with the goats and bunnies, and even doing a little bit of lassoing. In the afternoon, our intern Emily gave a presentation on ways we can help empower our students. She did an amazing job and I know I’ll personally incorporate the advice she gave into every lesson.
On Friday (that’s today!), a volunteer group from Cornerstone Christian School came in the morning to help put crush & run in and level out both Elvis’s and Salty’s stalls. They also made decorations for our upcoming Christmas party/open-house and cleaned up the piles of leaves that had been in the roadside ditches. We really appreciate their help! This afternoon was kind of slow, though I’m a bit thankful as it finally gives me an opportunity to update y’all on what’s been happening around here.
While it may be freezing and none of our kids are currently riding, work at the Barn never ends. All these groups we’ve had in the past week were scheduled around cleaning out 16 stalls every morning and the multitude of other daily chores that come with having horses. The Barn is rarely not busy and bustling, but I like it that way. I find comfort in knowing that there is always something going on or something to do here. There’re no idle hands here.
On Thursday, local paramedic/fireman Brant Bice came to the Red Barn to teach and certify CPR to several of our staff members and a couple of volunteers. Though several attendees had been previously certified, the license is only good for two years. We were happy to have the refresher course.
The course primarily focused on CPR and the usage of AEDs. We also learned signs and signals for life threatening emergencies such as heart attacks or strokes. At the end we covered basic first aid procedures for breathing difficulties, controlling bleeding, broken bones, diabetes, seizures, shock, bites, burns, and dehydration. So there was a lot of useful information crammed into three hours of training.
This was my third time through CPR training, but even then I gained some new knowledge. For example, when a person is seizing it’s best to let the seizure run its course. And in the vein of a cool trivial fact, the Heimlich maneuver has been relabeled as “abdominal thrusts” due to the Heimlich family wanting to distance themselves from any potential lawsuits involving people injured by the technique.
Brant is a hilarious guy and did a great job teaching the course, so it was a very enjoyable experience. Everyone was joking around and seemed to have a good time all while learning very valuable skills that are necessary in this line of work. I hope the worst never comes where one of us has to perform CPR, but it’s nice knowing we’ll be prepared if such a situation ever arises.