Monday, June 7, 2010

Hutchinson, KS Open House - Saving Horses & Changing Men Part 1

The Hutchinson, KS Correctional Facility has a wild horse program, and this weekend was their Open House.  It is the first time I got to go, and I was very impressed!  The inmates get to train horses then they are put up for adoption....the horses....not the inmates.  :-)  These guys are just like us...they bond with these horses and get attached.  They are sad to let go, but yet proud of what they have done and all these guys loved talking to everyone about their they should.  There were some riders who had previous horse experience, but most of them had not been around horses until now.  I took so many pictures and can't say enough good things about the is going to be hard to narrow it down to a hand full of photos for the blog.  I have many more posted on Facebook since I can put them in an album.  Okay....I didn't do very well at only picking a few...I will have to do a couple of blog entries.

This is the back of their shirts - I love this!  I am thinking they could also raise funds for the program by doing the shirts in a few bright colors and sell them to the public. 

Seeing the relationships between these guys and their horses was heartwarming.  The horses are being prepped to find good homes, and some of these guys are learning about a new kind of love and trust.  Not to mention how proud they should be of themselves to start with a wild horse that has not been touched by humans, and end up with something as magical as this!

The guys had family there throughout the weekend, so they got to visit their families while telling prospective adopters about their horses.  They laughed while telling stories of their experiences....and some had a sad look to their eye when they talked about the adoption.

This blog entry is going to be about the basketball/rugby game!  OMG!  Talk about a blast!  The thing is, there are very few rules....just the obvious ones like no pulling other horses reins, you can't score more than once in a row, if you are off your horse you cannot score but you can throw the ball to another team mate, but ONLY if you still have a hold of your horse!  Other than that, it is a free for all!  Yee Haw!!!!

Each team starts at opposite ends of the arena and there is a blue barrel that is the 'basket' on each end.  The ref gives the 'call of the wild' and each team blasts to the center to try to get the ball first.  Players on the team volley the ball back and forth while the other team protects their 'basket'.  This is something that is special about this program - you are getting training that you can't get at a professional trainers place.  Not that they don't do a good job, because they do, they just don't do THIS!  :-)  The horses have to get used to being in the middle of the pack, pushing each other around, and still keep their head screwed on straight.  Plus, these guys who have not been riding long learn how to stay on real quick!  Not that they always do....they can pull each other off!  HA HA!  Here are a few pix of the game.  Nash is the black guy in the middle on the sorrel horse, and he has the ball.

Look close - see the GIRL on the pony sized mustang?  That is a volunteer, Natalie, and she not only received a bunch of bruises after two days of playing ball, she also gave her fair share!  She was fearless and so was Mighty Mac the pony!  The horse they are moving towards is another volunteer, Patrick, and mustang Cheyenne.

The ball is flying thru the air...the object is to keep passing and catching so you can score.  Sometimes it falls on the ground and as long as you keep a hold of your horse, you can hop off to get it then throw it to another team mate.

Most of the horses looked like they had a great time and they knew when it was time to rush to the other end of the arena.

Yee Haw!!!!  Coming thru!!!!!

There were breaks when the barrel fell over....

I thought this was very impressive and it gave us all ideas of stuff to do at home.  When a basket is made, one guy would lift the barrel, sometimes next to his horse and sometimes over like this first guy is doing, then the other guy would reach in to get it.  The horses took it in stride.  How many of us can do that with our horses?

All the horses were great, but the little sorrel with the flaxen mane and tail was my #1 pick.  He was shy and stand offish while tied to the fence, but when Nash rode him, the horse was so responsive.  Then come to find out, a couple from our Mustang Club adopted him!!!!  The husband adopted him and gave him to his wife!!!  WHAT A GREAT HUSBAND!!!!!  He also adopted the tallest horse for himself.  :-)

Two guys off their horses wrestling for the ball.  Remember, as long as they keep their horse they are fine.  Sometimes they forget and just keep wrestling!

Here is the pack going in to the barrel.  Some trying to score, some trying to keep them from scoring!  There was no kicking from the horses...the only issues were a couple of horses did not like being in the pack, so they would back out, but other than that, they all did great!

They score!!!!  And they are off to the other end of the arena!

The guy on the right must have played football....look how he is holding that ball!  Slam dunk!

Look in the middle of the group....there is Natalie!  :-)

Time for a break!  It was hot the 90's under the beating sun!

The little paint horse, Taco, got pulled from the adoption.  He was still available but you had to talk to the head of the program.  Taco did great on day one and actually did great in the games on day two, but he got a little nervous around all the people and he just was not thinking.  So they decided to pull him from the adoption and not send him out as a green broke horse.  I thought that was very responsible.  Before we left the trainer was out riding Taco, and Taco had calmed down and was going thru his exercises like a pro.  He is a newly trained horse and had a moment of overload....he just needed a break, they took a few steps back, and he will be just fine.

Natalie gives Mighty Mac a drink out of the hose...

I have a lot of pictures so will post more blog entries thru the week.  This was a lot of fun to watch and I WANT TO PLAY BALL!!!!

A while back my Mom and I were talking about me wanting to be a Roller Derby Queen when I grow up.  I found out we have a local team and my Mom tells me that I need to give it a try before I get REALLY REALLY old!  HA HA HA!!!  That is how I feel about Mustang B-Ball with the guys!  I need to hurry and do it before I get REALLY REALLY old!  :-)

Until later....Karen and Tripp who isn't so sure he likes full contact sports.  :-)

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