Blog – UMass Draft Horse Program

Level 2 (mostly): Quick Updates and Photos!!!  

Posted by Justin Tuesday, March 06, 2012 2:35:00 PM Categories: Level 2
Maddie and Mark having a moment.

Holy cow! There is just so much good stuff going on that I have been trouble keeping up with it all. I can assure you that the teamsters in training at UMass are definitely learning how to work with sensitivty, mindfulness and understanding with the horses and each other. Everyone is blowing my mind (in a good way)! Needless to say, I am so intensely proud and over-joyed at way everyone is handling this semester...

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Intro to Draft Horse Husbandry - Week 4 

Posted by Justin Tuesday, February 28, 2012 6:16:00 PM Categories: Level 1: Introduction to Draft Horses
Bob in his glory. What a handsome, handsome boy, and great teacher. I am so proud of him.

Lately, I have been thinking about the words "Draft Horse Husbandry." I like how we use it and how it sounds. It reminds me of stewardship, much like stewardship of the earth. We should be stewards of these beautiful 4-legged partners. They have made an agreement to be with us, which I believe we are obligated to honor.  We honor this agreement by meeting their needs, which amongst other things, absolutely includes having some sort of job or work. Plenty of activity for both the body and mind are crucial to an equine's well being.

This is what we are teaching here at UMass, and one of my goals is to create a space for young teamsters to become GREAT horse-people.  I see what I do at UMass as creating a safe space, and perhaps an opportunity. It is up to the student...


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Intro to Draft Horses: Week 3 

Posted by Justin Monday, February 06, 2012 9:42:00 PM Categories: Level 1: Introduction to Draft Horses

If you are wondering what has been going on in the Intro class, don't worry it's been kind of boring. Well, until this week, week three. This Monday's class was full of excitement! Not only did we take a quiz on harness parts, we also ground drove each other with our eyes closed. Most importantly, we all gained some better understanding of how to work with Mark, Bob, April and Ruby.

I must say that I really love this semster's Intro class. We had such a wonderful time working together today, and witnessed so many special things happen. Class began with some basic ground work in the parking lot. Everyone had questions, insights, and epiphanies...

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Like Mike 

Posted by Justin Sunday, February 05, 2012 6:30:00 PM Categories: Training
Above: Tyler and Mike, both trying to figure out what's going on in the other's head.

Yesterday was another successful training day, and I feel inspired to talk about it. Within this blog, I do have the intention of keeping focused on the UMass Draft Horse Program, and I only wish too add in some other exciting happenings from the Blue Star Farm. There are some things I feel need to be discussed and I promise I'll have plenty of pictures to go with it (That's right. I know that you are all in it for the pictures!).

Recently, I have been deeply inspired through my work with a few Blue Star horses, particularly Mike and Billy. I'm feeling called...

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Level 2: Harness Repair 

Posted by Justin Thursday, February 02, 2012 8:18:00 PM Categories: Level 2
Edgar, stitching Bob's new and improved throat latch.

I have decided that I need to brush up on my blogging skills. I think I need to just write and write, as long as Zoe continues to let me borrow her camera, I'll snap as many as I can remember. And while I will continue to document Intro to Draft Horses' time together, I will also throw up as much as I can from UMass. So, I take back what I said! This will not be a blog solely dedicated to Intro to Draft Horses.

This week in Wednesday's Level 2 class, we looked at harness repair. Learning to repair harness has been a very empowering skill for me and I thought it would be a great topic to cover...

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Week 2: Responsibility 

Posted by Justin Tuesday, January 31, 2012 8:32:00 PM Categories: Level 1: Introduction to Draft Horses
Teachers Mark, April, Ruby and Bob, lead by student teamsters Sarah, Jenny, Emma and Ally, are excited to be walking over to their harnessing barn once again.

As I juggle managing the care of 30+ horses, all the trainings, wagon jobs, trimmings, sooo many kids, different personalities, the UMass Program, and begin to think about growing food this year, I can't help but think of how Pam makes it all look so easy. This year, Pam has committed to a wonderful, daily blog called The Learning Curve. That's right, she did it! The captain of the ship committed to writting 7 days a week. That's 366 entries over this next...

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Welcome and Fall 2011 Semester 

Posted by Justin Wednesday, January 18, 2012 11:14:00 AM Categories: Level 1: Introduction to Draft Horses
Above: UMass students ask Bob if he likes being in the lead of this unicorn-hitch. Bob was sooo honored and proud!

As this new year starts off warmer than I think any of us can remember, Blue Star Equiculture is busier than ever as we plan for the spring. I am happy that we have one very successful semester under our belts at UMass, and as I look forward to another great Level 1 introductory course, I am also finalizing some of the final...

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