Yonder

Yonder

~*~

Finally, some nice spring weather and a chance to be creative with the horses again.

I call this image Yonder. It has two points of focus … the horse’s eye in the foreground and then something less defined on the horizon.

Life is kind of like this. Of course, it’s important to be aware of what’s right in front of us, still it’s equally important to be open to the unexpected possibilities that await on that fuzzy horizon. We just never know what little slice of wonder is coming our way.

Be well … and be open ❤️

Nurture what you love …

Dorothy
Horse Mom

©Dorothy E. Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2019
Aimwell CreativeWorks

 

Celebrating Unsung Heroines of the Horse Industry for International Women’s Day

Many incredible horse women have made a difference to my life. Either through their skills, talents, or examples, they’ve shown me how to be, and not to be, around these magnificent creatures.

Unsung Heroines Poster

The equestrian world is its own school for life, speaking to those with hearts open enough to listen and learn.

Here’s to hardworking horse women everywhere, making a positive difference to the lives of horses, and humans, alike.

Nurture what you love …

Dorothy
Horse Mom

~*~

©Dorothy E. Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2019
Aimwell CreativeWorks

A Passion for Standardbreds … Part II

Inside feed LR

Marni Reimers of Mono, Ontario, fosters, rehabilitates and retrains retired Standardbreds for their future forever homes.

Check out Unsung Heroine of the Horse Industry: Marni Reimers … Part II for the complete interview.

Again, my thanks to Red Scarf Equestrian for providing a broader platform for these interviews.

Nurture what you love …

Dorothy
Horse Mom

~*~

Unsung Heroines Poster

Related: Unsung Heroines of the Horse Industry: Marni Reimers ~ Part I

~*~

©Dorothy E. Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2019 … Aimwell CreativeWorks

 

A passion for Standardbreds

pat LR

Marni with Santo Domingo, a 12-year-old retired Standardbred trotter she’s fostering and retraining as a pleasure riding horse for a future forever home.

~*~

While I contemplate what’s involved in setting up a dedicated Unsung Heroines of the Horse Industry website this blog of horse mom musings is the temporary outlet for sharing this work. There’s still so much to learn about building an effective website. I don’t entirely understand “embedding” or the little extras like “slugs” or “excerpts.” I’m a writer and horse person, not a web expert.

Still, I better get on it.

In the meantime, please follow this link to Unsung Heroines of the Horse Industry: Marni Reimers Interview to find out about this remarkable woman’s passion for fostering, rehabilitating and retraining off-the-track Standardbreds, giving them a chance at a second career by turning them into amazing pleasure riding horses.

My thanks to Red Scarf Equestrian for providing a broader platform for this project.

Unsung Heroines Poster

Nurture what you love …

Dorothy
Horse Mom

Further reading:

Unsung Heroines of the Horse Industry: Eira Engzell Interview

~*~

©Dorothy E. Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2019 … Aimwell CreativeWorks

No “Snow Days”

life goes on

There are no “Snow Days” on a horse farm.

No cancellations due to icy road conditions or blowing snow
(with the exception of riding because, yes, there is wind chill in the arena not fit for human or horse)

On the coldest, snowiest, blowiest, most unpleasant days:

the stalls still need to be mucked;

the horses still need to be fed;

water buckets in the paddocks still need to be dumped and replenished;

hay still needs to be distributed several times a day;

the barn still needs to be swept and cleaned;

the horses still need to be groomed ;

an ailing horse still needs attention;

the manure still needs to be dumped …

and so it goes.

Just sayin’ …

Here’s to the unsung heroines of the horse industry enduring winter conditions at equestrian facilities everywhere!

Stay warm and nurture what you love…

Dorothy
Horse Mom

 

~*~

 

©Dorothy E. Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2019 … Aimwell CreativeWorks

 

 

Trust Me

greetings

~*~

Horses are social creatures. Curious and affectionate, especially among those they trust.

In that way they are like people. We all want relationships where we can be ourselves and feel comfortable socially. Where we can be curious and open to new ideas that help us to expand our experience of life and grow without threat of judgment or censure. So we can thrive, and not merely survive.

Still, trust is a fragile thing and easily abused. Horses are slow to trust. We must earn it every time we interact with them. To do this we must be authentic and consistent every moment we spend with them. To this end we must release the ego and its toxic agenda and surrender to the truth that lies within the heart.

Canadian horse trainer, Chris Irwin, describes horses as “victims waiting to happen.” To me this says that when we want a connection with a horse we must demonstrate that we are worthy of their trust. For, when we engage with them with the intention of creating connection we’re actually asking them to relinquish their natural instinct as prey and trust that we are not, in fact, a predator.

In my opinion, one of the most precious and satisfying feelings is to have earned the trust and made a connection with one these 1,200 lb (+/-) flight animals. From this perspective alone it is a privilege to pat a horse never mind sit on its back.

Too few people understand this.

Nurture what you love,

Dorothy
Horse Mom

©Dorothy E. Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2019 … Aimwell CreativeWorks

New Year; New Horizons

New horizons

As 2019 approaches it’s time to consider what was and what might be.

For me the past year has been one of awakening in many positive ways.

Sophi and I have already far exceeded my expectations in our training this year. This makes me really happy. A year ago we were just beginning third level dressage movements (she had previous knowledge, I was catching up). This year we are getting stronger and more correct, and have begun our journey to fourth level/Prix St. George, all because we have a coach who believes in us.

Sophi studyWhat a difference it makes to have a coach who really cares; really believes in our development, and is willing to share their knowledge. Far too many coaches, in my experience, are content to keep their students ignorant in order to shore up their earnings. Either that, or they’re simply too lazy to do what’s required to bring out their best. I feel blessed to have found a coach who teaches what she sees and wants Sophi and I to thrive in our chosen discipline.

Sophi is such a delight. Our connection has deepened over the past year and I am intent upon ensuring she has the best life possible. Her confidence is rubbing off on me, and that’s a wonderful blessing.

Creatively, of course, the horses have inspired me to great things this year …

From the success of Barn Mavens at the ScotiaBank CONTACT Photography Festival in Toronto in May, and the further success of these images and others in the Unsung Heroines of the Horse Industry project at EQUUS Film Festival 2018, where it received a WINNIE Award for Best Equestrian Photo Journal, I feel beyond blessed.

Of course, the challenge now is to be open to the next step and go wherever it leads. If  I’ve learned anything this year it’s this ~ that being open to opportunities, leaping at chances and, of course, believing in oneself, are important to success. By the same token, releasing agendas and welcoming change is the only way to move forward in a truly authentic way.

The ego plans rigidly; the heart moves with the sea of change.

SiestaAs a wretched control freak most of my life it’s been very difficult to learn to live without an agenda and trust the process. However, I’m realizing I really do prefer to let go and live from my heart. It’s a much softer, less stressful, way of being.

So, who knows what the new year holds. Other opportunities await and I am open to giving them a go and following an unknown path.

Still, as we move into 2019 my intention is to thrive and live abundantly in spirit. To be my best self and make a positive difference, as I am able, to those around me.

New horizons await. Here I come!

My heart is filled with gratitude for the friends, family and all others who have crossed my path this year and pointed me in a good direction. As well, I thank you for bearing witness to my journey through this blog.

May I wish you all a happy, healthy and abundant new year filled with new and promising horizons.

Nurture what you love …

Dorothy
Horse Mom

~*~

©Dorothy E. Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2018 … Aimwell CreativeWorks

Speechless

In the wake of receiving a WINNIE Award for Best Equestrian Photo Journal ~ English at the EQUUS Film Festival I have prepared a short speech.

Here goes …

1 - EQUUS FIlm Festival - WINNIE WINNER copy“I’m speechless. Really, I am. Lost for words. Hardly able to describe the extent to which horses have guided and transformed my life. My bastions of comfort; reflective mirrors of my inner world. When I consider my debt to these amazing creatures it goes beyond words. Particularly in the past few years when my level of self-awareness has been raised by my conscious interactions with them and people qualified to guide the process of healing.

Horses have taught me to stand my ground; set boundaries; be in the moment. They’ve helped me to learn how to regulate my anxiety. They’ve softened me. They’ve shown me a beautiful language that requires no words, only presence.

This past year has left me speechless. My recent success with Unsung Heroines of the Horse World in its very infancy as a project has, in some respects, been overwhelming and in others perfectly wonderful. I’m still trying to process this. To receive these Laurels is amazing and the fuel I need to keep moving forward. The challenge now, as I wait at this junction, is to continue to follow the path. To flow with a creative project that began just over a year ago with the submission of a few photographs to an art gallery in downtown Toronto.

IMG_1408The biggest challenge, as always, is to be in the moment with what is and listen; to feel; to be open to what’s next without an agenda, and I will do my best to meet it.

I’d like to thank Lisa Diersen and Diana DeRosa of the EQUUS Film Festival for a chance to share my message of women who work behind the scenes in the horse world through my photography, and for honoring my film with this prestigious award …

… my family and friends for tolerating my preoccupation with light and shadow whenever I have a camera in my hand, and then lending me their courage when it comes time to sharing my vision …

… my husband for believing in me every time, and through everything.

Finally, I’m grateful to my horses, Bear and Sophi ~ my heart and my wings, respectively. They raise me up, always.

To finish, let me just say that horses will show us the way, if only we will listen. So, please, take a moment to turn down the volume of our incessant hectic modern-day experience and tune in to the invaluable, healing frequency of Equus. It will leave you speechless.”

Nurture what you love …

Dorothy
Horse Mom

~*~

©Dorothy E. Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2018 … Aimwell CreativeWorks

 

 

EQUUS Film Festival … Here we come!

Mane Tamer

The EQUUS Film Festival is just around the corner and there’s lots of excitement around here.

First, this is a first! Having my fine art photography recognized in this way is such an honour. The subject matter, the skilled empathic people (in this case women) who work quietly in the background of the horse industry to keep the engine humming, is one near and dear to my heart. Partially because I’ve been there.

When I was interning for my national coaching certification at a hunter/jumper show barn/riding school years ago it was a hard slog, long hours and exhausting on every level. I was in my mid-thirties trying to figure out the next phase of my life, struggling with personal battles in the pursuit of a dream that was barely formulated. Good people with a passion for horses and working behind the scenes in various aspects of the equine industry have inspiring stories, too, and I want to tell them.

2018 OFFICIAL FILM SELECTION LAUREL copySecond, how cool is it that Unsung Heroines of the Horse Industry (see menu for YouTube link) has now been selected as a finalist for an EQUUS Film Festival WINNIE Award? I’m beyond speechless to have my work acknowledged in this way. We;ll find out Sunday evening if we’re bringing a little something special home.

Third, this is my first trip to New York City. Being a country girl now the thought of spending time in a large city for any length of time is a bit intimidating. I love the wide open spaces and the tranquility of rural life. Cities tend to overwhelm me. But I’m going to have fun and make the most of it. It’s my birthday weekend, too. I’ll be fine.

A year ago I submitted six photos for a Toronto exhibit and now they, and several more, are being acknowledged in a film festival in New York City. We never know where life is going to take us as long as we’re willing to dream.

Nurture what you love …

Dorothy
Horse Mom

~*~

©Dorothy E. Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2018 … Aimwell CreativeWorks