Raised Gardens Volunteer Day!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! — to our WONDERFUL volunteers at Wilderwood’s recent Volunteer Day to Build the Raised Gardens! By name, we’d especially like to thank Jayme, Joe, and Lee Anne.

Thank you also to RockIt Stonescapes in Peralta for much appreciated discount and help with the gravel and your expert delivery! Thanks for your continued support of Wilderwood and belief in our mission.

Thank you, too, for those who signed up as interested, but were unable to come on the day. We didn’t quite get finished what we’d planned, so may be having another day soon to finish off. We’re getting so close now to opening for the pilot it’s very exciting! … but there are still some things to be done.

The Raised Gardens are an important part of Wilderwood’s curriculum, particularly the Preceptorship. We’re so excited to see another vision and dream become a reality!

For now, here’s to another successful Volunteer Day and our heartfelt thanks to our amazing volunteers. Here are some pictures to show the “Before” and “After” of the Raised Gardens.

Before and After images of the Raised Gardens

Getting Ready …

We’ve been busy at Wilderwood getting ready! Our next Volunteer Day is Saturday, November 2 on a “drop-in” basis. We’ll be working from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on building the Raised Gardens! We’ll also ask our amazing volunteers to help us with the last remnants of clean up (moving branches to the bonfire, hauling building materials to the truck).

Below are pictures of things we’ve been doing in the last month. The solar lights on the Wilderwood sign look amazing at night! The utility area (now chained/cordoned off) is a safe place to put needed tools and equipment to maintain the Wilderwood grounds. And, take a look at the video showing the horses checking out the new Round Yard. Desmond, of course, steals the show!

In other exciting news, we’ve been preparing our sign-up and informational materials for the upcoming Wilderwood Therapy Curriculum Pilot Program! This program is to help us test the curriculum as a “trial run” before we open officially in September 2020. There will be no fees involved for participants and the information and feedback we receive will be crucial to help make sure the curriculum is sound and ready to go!

Interested in the Pilot Program? Check out our Application Form on the homepage. Once we’ve received the form, we will contact you to discuss the program, your goals, and the ways in which Wilderwood may be able to help you.

The horses check out their new round yard. Desmond, of course, steals the show!

Second Volunteer Day!

Volunteers from our first Volunteer Day

Getting ready for our Second Volunteer Day! Please help! Wilderwood needs YOU on Saturday, August 31, 2019, 9:00 a.m. to noon.

Activities include:

* Marking the arena with gabions
* Painting the planter underneath the Wilderwood sign
* Laying weedcloth and rocks in the Meditation Garden
* Lining the roundyard with latilla panels

and, of course … hanging out with the horses and dogs!

We really need you! Please show your support and sign up today at the Wilderwood Equine Therapy facebook page.

http://www.facebook.com/wilderwoodequinetherapy

Visit to Colorado State and Temple Grandin Equine Center

This month, we were very fortunate to receive a lovely invitation from the Temple Grandin Equine Center (TGEC) at Colorado State University. As an autistic person, this was a special place for Bec to visit as well as an opportunity to meet the splendid people and amazing equines there who are working with innovation, drive, and passion to make the TGEC happen.

TGEC/CSU is a very special place, too, for Bec and Mark because, believing in and supporting the mission and goals of TGEC, they have chosen it to be the recipient of their entire Estate. This generous gift will assist TGEC/CSU develop its future programs and facilities to ensure continuation of innovative equine activities and therapies.

We look forward to future visits along with collaboration and sharing opportunities!

Image courtesy Temple Grandin Equine Center/Facebook

Hor/tism: the Parallel World of Horses and Autism


“Horses were basically my salvation. If I hadn’t been able to go down to the horse barn and take care of the horses and clean the stalls … I would have just been miserable.”

~ Temple Grandin ~

My name is Bec Evanko. I write this as an autistic horsewoman, a Ph.D, a small and fragile soul, someone who, through a combination of luck and tenacity, somehow made it despite incredible odds against it, and someone who is forever grateful to the magnificent horses who were with me on this journey.

Horses are a lot like autistic people.

We are prey animals. In many ways we are gullible, naïve, open to literal interpretation, liable to be wary and learn our lessons well when we are hurt or frightened. We can be flighty and afraid of things for reasons that neurotypical people find hard to fathom.

But when we trust and learn to love, we are fiercely loyal, devoted, and dependable, willing and wanting to please, and also happy to be left to our own devices without the constant need for human company. 

We recognize and respond to kindness.

We fear and flee from that which we do not understand. We learn our lessons through repetition and reward. We seek reassurance and comfort. We find solace in our own kind (autistics with autistics; horses with horses) and find incomprehensible much of the neurotypical human world.

Whether (horse) grazing on grass in pasture or (human) working diligently at a computer on a given task, we can focus for hours and do not wish to be interrupted in our pursuit.

We need familiarity before accepting the new.

We do movements for our own understanding and comfort that you do not understand and sometimes strive to curtail.

We need to build trust before permitting you into our world.

VIV P&L WITH FRAME

Viv and Des

Today we spent time working with the little ones. It was also the first day we rode Desmond under saddle! — being so close to his third birthday (April 11), it was time. He did great! Gentle, happy horse; interested and curious, yet also quite focused and calm.

We then worked with the Baby (Viv), who is close to his second birthday (also April 11). He did wonderfully well, too! Although not yet close to coming under saddle, we took time with Viv with his turns, voice commands, and becoming accustomed to strange things like mounting blocks and cavaletti rails. Viv is so gentle. We looped the lead rope over his head and he just stood there, wearing it proudly!

These two boys have been raised with lots of gentleness and love, and give it back to us in abundance. Love our boys!

Baby (Vivaldi)
Baby (Vivaldi) and Bec