“Courage is the power to let go of the familiar.”Raymond Lindquist
What a lot of adventures, big and small, have been happening along the Joystone Journey! This post will take the form of an update, that will hopefully capture the main points, and allow Winston and I a point in time, an anchor, to reflect back upon in the future.
June 23rd, 2022 was a momentous day. It started by officially registering my business as a corporation in Canada. I had originally planned to register right off the bat as a not for profit, however, it looked a bit to tricky as a starting point. Instead of staying in a state of stuckness — feet planted and doe eyed, I decided to incorporate, with plans to either transform, or add a Not-For-Profit branch in the future.
The registered business name is Joystone Pathways EFW Inc. “EFW” is the acronym for Equine Facilitated Wellness. This is a Federally registered business, which means I can run my business anywhere in Canada, which is particularly exciting as we continue to explore where it is that we want to put down roots for the next part of our lives.
After registering my business, I headed over the Winston’s farm, where I met with Barb and Jenny to officially purchase Winston! It feels strange in some ways to “purchase” another sentient being, even a horse, and when asked if it felt any different, our relationship, post transaction—I couldn’t say it did. We were companions and partners before and after, just the same. The exchange of money and title was just that.
The REAL feeling of change was what came next. Finding a new place for Winston to live, that was closer to my current house. After speaking with Jenny and beginning to look at the options, I came across a post by Sam at Restoration Ranch, offering space for outdoor board. Following the synchronicity, I reached out, and made plans to go and visit the farm.
Aaron (my partner) and I went out (very early!) the following Saturday morning, to look around, talk to Sam, and decide if we liked the vibe, and felt that the farm would be good for the next part of our journey with Winston. We both agreed after having a look around that the horses looked healthy and well cared for, that there was a great number of trails on the property that would be neat to explore, and that the family-like atmosphere, free roaming farm animals, and values aligned with our vision. With that, we decided to go for it, and made arrangements for Winston to be transferred to the farm before we left for our trip to Alberta (more on that in another post!).
I knew Winston had been trailered previously, but I had never personally trailered a horse, and it was important to me to practice with him so it was a positive experience for both of us. We practiced slowly, using R+ (positive reinforcement) with clicker training, and within 20 minutes he made it in, and out of the trailer twice. When I came to loading day, he walked on without much challenge at all. Restoration Ranch is about an hour from Barb’s farm and after all that time on a hot day travelling, he was excited to get off. He was curious, but not to upset as we walked together off the trailer and to his quarantine paddock.
Best practice in terms of biosecurity when introducing a new horse to your property is to have them quarantine away from the other herds for 14 days to prevent the spread of communicable disease. Sound familiar?! Winston started out on his own, but with a few other horses, the neighbours and Sam’s, as well as some cow and wandering goats, within sight.
It was beautiful to see him graciously introduce himself to one of the geldings “next-door” and walk along the fence line step in step. At this point I knew he would be ok.
I was able to go out to the farm daily to visit Winston when he first moved—and noticed right away that our relationship had changed, in that he had always felt connected, but now he called out when he saw me, and didn’t want to be out of my physical proximity when he was in the paddock. He and I became our own mini herd. The first time I went out there, the most beautiful and joyous dance at liberty erupted from our connection and attention, we walked step in step, he ran little circles around me with the tiniest of cues. It was just the two of us, but a moment where afterwards I thought “wow, I wish I had captured that on video!” But then, that takes away some of the magic, now I have this memory, this magically moment of movement between horse and human, step in step, kind of like a secret handshake only the two of us know.
With the purchase and move, I went from part-boarder, to horse owner. I now have a vet and farrier, and horse food and hay to arrange and purchase, not to mention…full board! Of course all of this has been budgeted, as I would not have made the commitment without ensuring I could follow through. My first feed store bill was over $400–which was a bit of a shock, and mostly a result of supplements. All important pieces to acknowledge and learn about when taking this next step. Then, preparing his food in order to ensure he will be trained daily while we are away—that was something that I hadn’t thought about, but now needed to get into action fast! I prepped all his food and supplements after playing with various containers, bags and storage. I haven’t found a forever method, but I was a decent start. And after having my car be a feed room and tack room on wheels for a week, the car was finally cleared out to drive across the country.
That’s quite the update, and brings us to the beginning of a new chapter in The Joystone Journey!