Oct 21, 2014

American Gold Star Mothers~ New Mexico

October 18th, 2014  American Gold Star Mothers Memorial Dedication & Presentation Ceremony

On Saturday we proudly hosted our partners, the American Gold Star Mothers, Albuquerque Chapter, for their autumn meeting and used that opportunity for them to reach out to other NM Gold Star Moms and invite them and their families to the ranch to see the Gold Star wall memorial that we designed, built and installed on the west wall of our bunkhouse. This one of a kind living "sculpture" contains brass  dog tags of all of the Post 9-11 Iraq and Afghanistan NM residents who gave their lives for our country. 

One of the dog tags is permanently mounted and the second was presented by the Gold Star Mom's leadership to their fellow Gold Star Mom's. 

The beautiful fall day had our service flags fluttering as we opened with introductions by American Gold Star Mom and rancher Becky Christmas. NM Cabinet Secretary for Dept of Veterans' Services, Tim Hale provided our invocation and led us in our opening prayer. 
    
Horses For Heroes-NM Executive Director Rick Iannucci provided a brief history of the Cowboy Up! program and how the wall was designed and constructed. He also introduced Cowboy Up! Director Nancy De Santis and our current Cowboy Up! crew of veterans/instructors who were on hand.
    
American Gold Star Mom's Current President Kay Coleman, incoming president, Becky Christmas and past president Pat Merville, as well as Gold Star Chapter Mothers Jo Ann Zembiec and Lisa Bowels then read the names of our fallen heroes, their children and presented the dog tags to the visiting Gold Star Moms.
    
The ceremony concluded with a benediction and meal blessing by our chaplain and former US Marine, Jose Villegas.
    
Our dear friend Laura Gentile, GM of Santa Fe Olive Garden generously brought her staff and served lunch for all.


The American Gold Star Mothers NM Memorial Wall at the Crossed Arrows Ranch~ Santa Fe
Gold Star Moms~NM going over the final details prior to the presentations
Cabinet Secretary Tim Hale NM Dept of Veterans' Services opening the ceremony with prayer.
American Gold Star Mom from the Navajo Reservation
American Gold Star Mom incoming president 
Becky Christmas speaking to the assembled families.
 Laura Gentile our dear friend takes a moment at the wall.
 The Olive Garden crew standing by for our hungry folks.

The line moved quickly and everyone had plenty to eat thanks to Laura.
Chaplain Jose acting as the greeter.

One of our crew, Carl Hawkins USMC RECON aka "Gunny" with his wife Jo and our good friend Jeff Lowdermilk author of " Honoring our Doughboys" take a moment at the wall.
" Greater love has no man than to lay down his life for his friends" John 15:33

Cowboy Up! participant  Cpl. Paul Duran USMC points to his friend's dog tag. Paul and Chris Adelsperger served as Marine Scout Snipers together in Fallujah.
LCPL Christopher Adlesperger USMC
1984-2004
KIA Iraq~ Navy Cross~ Purple Heart~ RIP Brother

"Oh beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved and mercy more than life.
America! America! May God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness and every gain Divine!
(from America the Beautiful)









Oct 16, 2014

October

October 1st, 2014
Cowboy Up! Instructor & Native American Peer Counselor, Alroy Billiman brought US Marine Iraq veteran Wes to the ranch for some tuning up.
L. to r. : Alroy, Wes and Rick
Executive Director, Rick Iannucci, works with Wes
illustrating how leg ques combine with "soft hands' for 
clear communication.

 With clear communication our horses move effortlessly. 

Alroy on Knight through the cones at a trot.

~~~~~

October 16th, 2014 

We end the week of riding with the art of the round pen. 
Here Army veteran Sarah J. illustrates the joy of partnership 
with Knight.

 After moving Knight in all directions, with smooth
transitions of all gaits...

 Knight Joins up with Sarah...

and followed by Follow-up; both terms affectionately borrowed from 
renowned horseman Monty Roberts.
Nice job Sarah!

After observing Sarah, Dillon (US Air Force) is ready to work with T-4 aka Montoya Cedar.
At first Cowboy Up! Director, Nancy De Santis, assists
Dillon with correct body position and instructs on using her 'Chi',
 energy, mind and body to direct T-4.  Quickly it becomes a dance
between the two, ending in a beautiful partnership.

 Click the collage above for larger view.

Outstanding job Dillon!

Well done all.



Sep 28, 2014

Vet Resource Center & Wisdom Within Women Veteran Retreat


September 26th, 2014- Santa Fe Community College ~
Veterans Resource Center visit
What a great visit from this band of brothers from the SFCC VRC. Under their new leadership they are rocking! Congrats Greg and your great team. We are looking forward to doing some great things together.

A great crew and a good visit. One of many more.

~~~~~

September 27th, 2014
Our 3rd Wisdom Within Women Veterans Retreat met underneath
a perfect warm sky.

We began the day with a simple exercise using our five senses
which helps us with becoming present in the moment.

Coming together again over time...

has created an even deeper sense of comfort and love within the group.

Here is one Cowgirl who at our first was not very comfortable 
with horses, and who now wants one for herself!

Every moment with a horse is a special moment.


Here are some of the benefits that our veterans experienced from the day:

"Major healing of my heart from the horses especially Hollywood, with whom I have formed a special bond." ~ Bloom B. US Navy 

"Being in Fellowship. Insight into myself. Being aware of my senses. Being Present!" ~ Tamie G. US Navy

"I learned what I have to work through - a big thing for me." Rae M. US Navy

"Better insight into myself, others and that includes the horses!" ~ Jayne M. US Army

"I am not alone. Every time I come here I learn something new. I change somthing about myself. I leave something in the pen or the arena or conversation that no longer serves my highest good. I listen better. I love who I am. I love the people here. The change keeps me coming back." ~D. Johnson. US Air Force

We will have another group starting up in the spring, so don't miss out!
E-mail us to get on our e-mail notification list for when that will be.
info@horsesforheroes.org



Sep 24, 2014

August and September

It has been a little hard keeping up-to-date with the blog while going through the loss of our very dear friend and program partner Mr. Henry McKinley. Now with his beautiful memorial service completed and having brought Henry to his final resting place at the Ghost Ranch this past weekend, things are getting back on track, so here is a recap of some of what we've been up to.

August 5th, 2014 brought Rick and I down to UNM for their Student Veteran Resource Day.


Our info booth.
 Executive Director Rick Iannucci gave a slide show presentation to the assembled veteran/students explaining about our programs complete with  a short  Question and Answer period.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In the days to follow we were back in the saddle with our veteran sessions.
Junior and Sarah, Jack and Nancy after a great session!

Some horse exercise for Knight while Nancy and Dillon worked together on direction and collection.

USAF Airman Dillon and Star ~ Both shine. NICE!

Cowboy Up! Instructor Chris goes over brideling with Sarah.

Afterward the girls pratice their new roping skills after having Chris share his knowledge that Mr. Henry McKinley imparted on him.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

On August 14th it was time for the cows to go back to the Rez with Alroy...
...BUT not before having a little bit o' fun with the girls!
Sorting and gathering in our NO stress way.
Team work always makes the job go smoothly.
A blessing to have Alroy's dad and Johnny with us. 
Bunkhouse time brings out some good stories.
Father and Son. True Navajo warriors and our honored friends and brothers.
USAF veteran Matt back in town for a visit. 
Rick and Eric working with Matt on refining movement cues and keeping his horse tuned up.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

August 16th we got up bright and early for a Veteran Healing Retreat at the Canossian Spiritual Center in Albuquerque.  This retreat was sponsored  by the Catholic War Veterans. 

We were honored to have Archbishop Michael Sheehan of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe open the sessions with his wit and wisdom. 
Archbishop Michael Sheehan sharing a light moment with our crew and three generations of family; Paul Duran, Nick Trubiano( Rick's nephew), Rick Iannucci and Jerry Iannucci ( Rick's dad).
Some quiet time and a chance for reflection at the Canossian's labyrynth. 
 ~  ~ ~  ~ ~


We managed to get back to the ranch to work the rest of the week in between the much welcomed rain. But we did get rained out one day so  Paul invited us up to see his families place up north.... 
Absolutely beautiful along the Chama River!

Then we traveled just a short drive up the road for a visit to  Christ in the Desert Monastery. As usual the Benedictine monks extended their characteristic hospitality making the rainy day visit to this beautiful and prayerful place very special. Check it out at www.christdesert.org

Told ya it was raining! These guys were so muddy they had to ride in the back of the truck. 

A welcomed stop on the road home for a traditional New Mexcio din-din, green and red..dessert too! 
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Once the rain cleared next day we were back out working  in the arena.
Bareback really helps to work that centered seat.

Nice job Bianca, Hollywood, Sarah, and Star!

Paul hitting a lope!


~ ~ ~ ~ ~
September 1st, 2014 brought us back to the  Laguna Pueblo to help our Sedillo Cattle Association partners with branding and doctoring remnants 

Dawn on the REZ and our crew standing by and ready to rock!
L to R Bianca, Sara, Marco, John, Eric, Andrew, Rick I, Rick R, Paul & Nancy aka Cowgirl Chancy!

 Catching horses.
 Jessica and her horse getting ready to gather.
 John all ready to go.
 Heading out on the range.
 While back at camp Andrew, John and Marco unload wood.
 Pastor Rick practices his roping skills.
 Here come the cattle.
 Paul takes time to show Marco how to properly sharpen his pocket knife.
Branding iron fire getting hot!
 Prayer before working. Rick had the honor of doing the opening prayer for this working.
 Elder Stan shows Paul how they pick a calf from the herd to rope.
 John and Jameson head and heel, while ground crew is ready to help.
 Momma oversees her calf is taken care of.
 Catchin' a ride.
 With the remnants branded, the guys prepare for the next stage.
Gather and...
Rick hangin' around with John Romero.
 It's gonna be a long day!
 Carmen welcoming Rick into the "office" to get vaccinations for the calves.
 Jessica hard at work recording.
 Movin' the girls up the alley.
John Romero and Rick  health check and doctorin'.
 Sometimes the girls need a little help moving through the line.
Here is what's on the other side of the chute.

 Andrew and Paul work the gates and help sort.
 Working is done and lunch shared among friends.
Doesn't get better than this! Friends, food and fellowship.

~~~~~
Soldiers Heart Workshop
We headed up to Colorado to participate and complete 18 hours of Continuing Education for the
Restoring Soul and Society from War Workshop put on by Soldier's Heart, a non-denominational group of clergy, care-givers and chaplains who are extending their respective ministries to the veterans community. We were honored to be invited and participate.

Discussing the issues we face with reintegration


9-11/ veterans remembrance altar. We contributed a piece of the WTC and mementos from Rick's friend ,  SEAL Team commander Lt. Mike McGreevy who lost his life during Operation Redwings.
Rev. Chris Antal,  US Army Afghanistan veteran & Chaplain conducted the 9-11 memorial service
Rick reading the opening prayer.
We visited "Remember" in honor of 9/11 the next day.

-->
Designed by local artist Pat Olson, Remember honors the victims of the 9/11 attacks and serves as a kindled reminder to those who still live.
 
The most remarkable feature of the September 11 luminary is perhaps the iron object that is suspended between the acrylic towers. The Pentagon provided an actual piece of steel beam from the World Trade Center, weighing over 200 pounds, which serves as the centerpiece of the statue. The raw shape of the steel, obviously cut to size with a powerful torch, is a stark reminder of the effort that was undertaken to clean up Ground Zero.

Designed by local artist Pat Olson, Remember honors the victims of the 9/11 attacks and serves as a kindled reminder to those who still live.

Remember is constructed of two transparent, 11” thick blocks of R-Cast® that were carefully crafted with details of the Twin Towers, right down to the arches above the lower floor windows and the spire atop the North Tower. The memorial’s lighting was, quite appropriately, designed by local firefighters and harmonizes perfectly with the reflective properties of R-Cast®, providing for the towers to shine with striking brilliance.

The most remarkable feature of the September 11 luminary is perhaps the iron object that is suspended between the acrylic towers. The Pentagon provided an actual piece of steel beam from the World Trade Center, weighing over 200 pounds, which serves as the centerpiece of the statue. The raw shape of the steel, obviously cut to size with a powerful torch, is a stark reminder of the effort that was undertaken to clean up Ground Zero. - See more at: http://www.reynoldspolymer.com/page.cfm?pageid=29458&articleid=5740#sthash.WEmqihhx.dpuf
Designed by local artist Pat Olson, Remember honors the victims of the 9/11 attacks and serves as a kindled reminder to those who still live.

Remember is constructed of two transparent, 11” thick blocks of R-Cast® that were carefully crafted with details of the Twin Towers, right down to the arches above the lower floor windows and the spire atop the North Tower. The memorial’s lighting was, quite appropriately, designed by local firefighters and harmonizes perfectly with the reflective properties of R-Cast®, providing for the towers to shine with striking brilliance.

The most remarkable feature of the September 11 luminary is perhaps the iron object that is suspended between the acrylic towers. The Pentagon provided an actual piece of steel beam from the World Trade Center, weighing over 200 pounds, which serves as the centerpiece of the statue. The raw shape of the steel, obviously cut to size with a powerful torch, is a stark reminder of the effort that was undertaken to clean up Ground Zero. - See more at: http://www.reynoldspolymer.com/page.cfm?pageid=29458&articleid=5740#sthash.WEmqihhx.dpuf
~~~~~
Dept. of Veteran Services PTSD Resource workshop 2014.
Once back home it was business as usual...

We set up our booth for Albuquerque's Veteran Resource Day.
L to r is Executive director Rick Iannucci with Cowboy Up! Grads and Instructors Erick Yorty and Chris Chaisson.

Another day of unloading hay with the help of...

 ...Keith Bates and his student driver crew from San Juan College.
...A few more loads...
...Then LUNCH!!!

More riding the next day...

 Dillon on Hollywood and  Nancy on Jack.
And Bianca on Junior and Sarah on Knight.


 NM STATE FAIR 2014 MILITARY & VETERANS DAY
Setting up Hollywood's corral right on a soggy Main Street!

 Our poor neighbor Manny, don't worry he came to our tent to get out of the rain.

L to r: Hollywood, Rick and Eric.

Staff Sgt. Andrew Kuklis visiting his buddy Hollywood.
The kids loved 'em and appreciated his mellowness

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