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ACCESS ADVENTURE

Challenging the Limits of Disability
Harnessing Hope and Healing

 

 
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     SEPTEMBER 2018

 
 

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 Rush Ranch Stephanie-44 low res 5 Rush Ranch Stephanie-44 low res 5     “

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe."  John Muir 

IN THIS ISSUE:
  • Volunteer Birthdays
  • Meet Our Drivers
  • Pulling Together
  • Stonewall Sporthorses
  • Stories from the Stonewall Studbook
  • Journey Across America
Contact Us  707-999-1419
accessadventure@yahoo.com


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HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO:


Ann Farber - September 4

Brenda Duncan - September 9

Tom Muehleisen - September 23

Kristie Satterlee - September 24

Jo Ziemer - September 24

Deena Kirby - September 25

 





MEET OUR DRIVERS
Cecilia Kirks


Cecilia Kirks Driving Samba for NL 2 Cecilia driving Samba with United States Driving for the Disabled coach, Sara Schmitt

Cecilia writes: “As far back as I can remember, I've always loved horses. At five I got my first horse, actually a pony. I rode bareback all over the 20-acre family ranch in Elk Grove. I would ride to my friends’ houses and even to the country store 4 miles away. Growing up I competed in local gymkhanas and High School Rodeos in my teens. Through the years I've tried different horse events, team penning, team sorting and cutting cattle. What I enjoyed most was helping friends at branding time.
 
In May of 1999, while camping at Sand Mountain in Nevada, I was driving an ATV over a dune but it surprised me by ending in a small cliff. When I landed after jumping the cliff, I shattered a vertebra, leaving me paralyzed from the hips down. During my recovery I tried to keep a positive outlook, hoping I would be able to ride my horse again. I was only able to ride a few times, before his unexpected passing.
 
As the years passed, I became discouraged; it seemed that my involvement with horses was over. About five years ago at the Draft Horse Classic, a friend of mine introduced me to Michael Muir, the founder of Access Adventure. I didn't know much about the program, but Michael encouraged me to give it a try. From that time on my life has changed. He started by teaching me the etiquette of carriage driving.   My disability was no longer relevant.  I can see a future and have committed myself to learning all I can on the skills of carriage driving; my goal is to start competing. I'm back, doing something I love; I have a big dose of renewed self-confidence. Because of Michael, his helpers and Access Adventure, and their selfless giving, they have changed my life. How does one say, "Thank you", to people who have done so much?

 

 

STONEWALL SPORTHORSES

In the coming months, we will feature profiles of each of the current mares in our stable, their 2018 foals, and notable Stonewall Sporthorses currently performing at the upper levels of competition in dressage, combined driving, jumping and other disciplines.
 

Stonewall Montero
MONTERO FOR NL
Stonewall Montero

Stonewall Montero is the firstborn of our 2018 foals by the World Champion Friesian *Monte 378 (Sport) (Netherlands).  He is produced by Stonewall Samba, one of our three full sisters by the imported Friesian stallion *Apollo (Netherlands).

Monte 378 Sport 3 for NL Monte 378 Sport (Netherlands)
Samba for NL Stonewall Samba
Sisters on the Hill 3 for NL Stonewall Calypso, Stonewall Samba, Stonewall Minuet

Apollo  for NL
*Apollo (Netherlands)

A handsome, friendly, big colt, Montero clearly takes after his famous sire.  His dam is a full sister to the Champion Dressage Horse, Stonewall Fandango.
 
Stonewall Fandango_Sandra Hansen for NL Stonewall Fandango Ridden by Sandra Hansen

Stonewall Montero was recently sold to Debi Lebowitz, Los Alamos, California (Watch Hill Breeders).  Congratulations and best wishes for success with this promising young stallion.
 
 
 

 

STORIES FROM THE STONEWALL STUDBOOK

Published in the monthly Access Adventure Newsletter, online, and on Facebook. Copyright Michael Muir
 
In this issue we bring back tales from Michael Muir’s career with horses that began more than fifty years ago and spans the globe.
 

 

MICHAEL MUIR REMEMBERS

THE MIDNIGHT RIDE OF FROSTED LADY

Uh-oh! When the phone rings in the middle of the night you know it isn’t going to be good news.  I was a teenager roused by the ringing phone when my father hollered “Mike, get up! We’ve got a problem.  I got a call about a couple of loose horses running through town!" (ring, ring!) the phone again “three or four horses just galloped by…looks like Frosty in the lead.”  My Dad and I pulled on our boots and I grabbed a halter and lead.  (ring… the phone again) “A herd of horses just galloped by with a white mare in the lead.  You better get Mike and come quick.”  We were out the door.

My family and I lived on the edge of the little town of Dixon and my stable was two miles down the lane out of town.  Everybody knew my first mare, Frosted Lady, a prancing white Appaloosa.  By the time I was fifteen, Frosty had a couple of daughters and my new brood mare Ramona had a pair of daughters, too.  Apparently they were loose on the streets of Dixon.  It is a good thing people knew who to call.

Cowboy for NL

We arrived at the downtown city park on a cold, muddy winter night, just past 2AM.  There were two police cruisers with a full array of lights blazing and my horses were turning the pristine grass to mud in a big way.  The bars had just closed and a drunken cowboy staggered out of his pickup truck eager to help.  He left his truck running with the door open in the middle of Main Street and promptly tackled one of my yearlings.  The filly took off at high speed dragging the determined drunk through the mud.
 
I pleaded with the man to let go and step aside and asked the officer to turn off the lights and stop chasing my horses.  I caught Frosty, looped the lead rope over her neck and climbed aboard bareback.  I settled the rest of the milling band and rode off toward the stable.  My father followed with a police escort and a drunken cowboy just begging for a DUI. 

We made it safely to the end of the lane and I thanked the officers for their help in getting us home safely.  I was putting the horses away one at a time when that determined cowboy came careening around the corner with a headlock on another filly.  The alcohol caught up with him as he made a majestic faceplant into the manure pile.  Order was restored.


Photo Credits: Randie Boardman, John Fazel, Rebecca King, Tom Muehleisen

Dear {FIRST_NAME}


PULLING TOGETHER

Every teamster knows that to get the task done you need horses that can work together smoothly, each leaning into the collar to accomplish the job. In that same spirit, Access Adventure relies on an all-volunteer team to provide our free services to people in need.

Any sensible person would say our business model is unsustainable. We don't charge for what we do. All the programs of Access Adventure are free. We have no paid employees.

Although we receive donations, and the occasional grant, our work is supported mainly by our horses, a notoriously difficult and risky business.

Yet, somehow we survive, and thrive, and grow...all these years. The secret is the contributions of a remarkable team of volunteers, some of whom have been with us from the very beginning. This is
the lifeblood of Access Adventure. We couldn't do our life changing work without them.

 

Sean Cassidy-Burgess

Sean Riding Baron for NL Sean Riding SH Baron

Sean Cassidy-Burgess and his mother, Sherri Cassidy have been devoted volunteers for Access Adventure since 2015.  They spend long hours on “foal watch” in the spring, and are especially interested in helping to socialize and train our new young foals.  Sean and his mother take a feeding shift every Sunday and are not shy about picking up a shovel for “manure management”.

Sean and Montero for NL 2 Sean and Stonewall Montero
It is often hard to say “goodbye” when we sell one of our homebred horses.  This was particularly difficult for Sean when we recently sold Stonewall Montero.  Sean took an active role in helping to raise this colt and was his principal trainer for his initial halter lessons.  Now back in school, Sean spent much of his summer helping Mike at the ranch, cheerfully tackling any task he was asked to perform.  see video. 

 

Sean and Montero for NL_1Sean Leading Montero

We appreciate our junior volunteers and the hard work they do for Access Adventure,



2001 JOURNEY ACROSS AMERICA ©

Horse Journey  for NL

Last minute rumbles that we were not to be allowed near the park grounds adjacent to the Capitol were squashed when Ellen Kay Rees and her connections brought out the big guns. (Oops, you can’t use language like that in DC these days).  Anyway, they got through to Secretary of Agriculture Richard Lugar, who thundered, “Make these people feel WELCOME in Washington.”  Ah, it helps to have friends in high places.
 

A motorcycle escort was waiting for us when we arrived at the reflecting pool near Independence Avenue.  Our access to the Capitol Mall was greatly expanded.  We were met by Delbert Richardson, who had entered Washington on his recumbent bike after peddling all the way across the country.  A media team arranged by our sponsor, the Betaseron Champions of Courage program began to cover the event.  Sybil pulled strings, too.  Her nephew from the Washington Post was there.  Passersby were fascinated by our assembly. Everyone lined up in front of the reflecting pool with the Capitol behind us.  You could just feel the stock of Kodak begin to rise.  It was a moment to savor, and to remember.
 JAA from Chrissy 1 FOR NL
 
A delegation from the Swedish embassy joined Congressman Erlich to see us off.  Our flag bedecked carriages were sent down Independence Avenue while our DC motorcycle cops expertly guided us through the traffic.  Our parade made a loop that seemed to end too soon.  We couldn’t resist galloping around the trees beside the reflecting pool.  And then, it was over.
 
JAA 1 FOR NL

Time to pack up. 
Bittersweet feelings about journey’s end were swept aside by hunger pangs.  The sun was going down and nobody had eaten since dawn!  All our efforts had gotten us only this far.  We needed a plan and nobody had one.
 
All the DC cops from our motorcycle escort posed for pictures with the horses, then we loaded up and headed for Water’s Gift Farm, the home of the National Center for Therapeutic Riding.  What should have been a simple seventeen mile drive into Maryland turned into a confused logistical nightmare.  Our strung-out collections of trucks and trailers wandered through the legendary DC traffic.  We stopped and started and circled around until we finally reached the farm, well past dark and WAY past lunch time.  Horses were tended to and the people finally headed out to dinner. 
 
We settled into our seats, basking in the wonderful glow of support from our friends.  Our long-sought goal had been attained.  We were too tired to say much, but there was little harm done to our appetites.  A milestone had been reached.  Three thousand miles.  While this is certainly a remarkable achievement, we were reminded that the important thing is the journey itself, not the destination.  This journey continues.
 
Friday, November 2nd – Our mares enjoyed their turn-out at Water’s Gift, a hidden away gem among Maryland horse farms. 

Bob Douglas, who has MS, has been the director of the National Center for Therapeutic Riding for twenty-seven years.  He is a former virologist with the National Institutes of Health and now runs this landmark riding center with his daughter, Dr. Robin Watts.

 
 Alison _ Lindsey for NL Alison and Lindsey
Gerry took a very reluctant pair of British girls to the airport.  Lindsey and Alison were not eager to go home to London.  They could only be consoled by the plans to carry on in Great Britain next summer.  Jose was bereft to lose his constant companions.
 
Kate took Ingvar and Stig into Washington where they could spend the weekend touring the historic city before flying back to Sweden on Monday.  Everyone was scattering back from whence they came.

 
Ingvar Agirmo_ Stig Larsson for NL Ingvar  and Stig
 Saturday, November 3rd - Gerry and Jose hauled the mares on to Snowden Clarke’s Rock Ridge Farm in The Plains, Virginia.  The hard working horses would spend several days turned out there, before going on to Kentucky for the winter. 

Michael and Joanna returned to Shoulderbone Farm in Maryland carrying flowers for Sybil (for services rendered, above and beyond the call of duty). Sybil announced that the state of Maryland would place a historic marker at the entrance to Shoulderbone Farm, commemorating the arrival there of the Horsedrawn Journey Across America and an international crew of drivers with disabilities.  Everyone’s name and country of origin was noted, along with details of the three thousand mile journey.

Sunday, November 4thIt was just “the journey boys” now…Mike, Gerry and Jose, along with Joanna Crell from Maine.  Joanna stayed over to help pursue some exciting new ideas for the coming year.  She and Bob Douglas worked on arranging a visit to the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington.  This would be the final performance of the year for our mares, before taking the winter off.  They have been working steadily for a full year and are ready for a well-seasoned break.

Volunteers have come forward to work on the design of the Journey Across America stamp.
A proposal went to Breyer to feature Stella and Blanche as the Journey Across America model horses in harness, complete with a wheelchair accessible carriage.  Proceeds from the sale of these models would benefit United States Driving for the Disabled.  We received exciting news from Alison and Lindsey in England.  They are putting together a proposed route for the next leg of the horsedrawn journey. Volunteers are already pledging their support.

 

 

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Enriching the lives of people with disabilities and underserved members of our community by providing outdoor recreation, open space access, education and therapy through a working partnership with horses.

 

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