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Bella to the Rescue

Kristen Warning
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Bella to the Rescue

Postby Kristen Warning on Mon Feb 15, 2016 1:57 pm

Change has been a major theme in my life for the past year. Thankfully the one, steady constant has been horses for riding, photographing, and training with friends in different circles. Being around horses in all of these ways has been wonderful exercise for the mind, body and soul.

The change in my family included saying a final good bye to my horse when he was 29 years old last August. It was one of the hardest good bye's, breaking my heart and my kid's hearts, as he was that reliable, steady, trusted family friend that we loved for over a decade. Just down the road from my family, there were people and a special horse that would come into our lives not long after that difficult day.

In 2013, a person who lived near a mare and her nursing foal in Kentucky, witnessed how poorly they were being cared for, with both not being at healthy weights. This one person made the situation known to friends from Kentucky and New Jersey, who then rallied together to raise funds and transportation to get the pair to Heartland Equine Rescue in Henryville, Indiana that same year. The mare and the foal, named Baby Belle, spent their days together being loved, building human trust and each of them reaching a healthy weight. After Baby Belle was weaned, the mare was adopted. There were adoption applications for Baby Belle, but she wasn't placed for a while because of one reason or another. Then, in October 2015, Baby Belle was adopted into our family. Her name was slightly changed to Bella.
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Last edited by Kristen Warning on Mon Feb 15, 2016 2:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Kristen Warning
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Re: Bella to the Rescue

Postby Kristen Warning on Mon Feb 15, 2016 1:58 pm

During 2014, a dear friend of mine, who owns Split Ridge Rocky Mountain Horse Farm in Scottsburg, Indiana, asked if I was interested in learning Clinton Anderson training methods to train horses. I certainly was, as training was an aspect of horses that was foreign to me, and a bit intimidating honestly. I took on the challenge, working with a young horse named Harvest. Was it all smooth sailing and perfect? Goodness no! I asked things of her but sent her mixed messages at times, I fumbled, I tried again, asked many questions, tripped, dropped ropes and sticks, having good days and then some that just did not go how I thought they would. Eventually handling the stick and string with her on a lead rope, as well as communicating with Harvest all came together, until she had lovely ground manners. The day came when I got to sit on her back and ride her, and what a wonderful feeling it was.

Fast forward to Bella, who was two years old and loved being around people and other horses. We were smitten with her, but she was much different to handle than our older horse that we had become so familiar with. Bella was ready for training but I lacked a round pen or a good area to begin her training at my barn. My friend offered to bring Bella to her horse farm for training boot camp, which I certainly appreciated and jumped at the opportunity. I was excited and nervous to be working with Bella, as it had been quite some time since I started from ground zero working with a horse. The first day with Bella in the round pen was lots of work as there were new expectations from her and she was a bit stubborn. At the end, we were all tired, but both of us were in a better place.

The training with Bella continued in the round pen three or four times per week. I remember the first day she hooked on to me - when I asked her to change directions several times, eventually I turned my back to her, and she walked up and stood behind me, waiting for what was to be asked of her next. I turned and rubbed my hand on her forehead, with my daughter squealing with excitement as she knew what had just happened. Those moments continued to happen with each new step for Bella to take in her training, each just as amazing and worthy of such excitement.

I came to realize that while in life I was starting a new chapter personally after divorce, Bella was along with me in the journey in many ways. There were new expectations, new routines, new spaces, being afraid, failing, frustration, consequence. We were also building trust, succeeding, seeing things differently, trying as much as was needed, and being patient. Young Bella and I were both beginning our new lives together.
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Kristen Warning
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Re: Bella to the Rescue

Postby Kristen Warning on Mon Feb 15, 2016 2:03 pm

The day came when it was time to put a saddle and bridle on Bella. I was excited and nervous, because her reaction could have been that of excitement and nerves resulting in some action in the round pen. With my friend Marcia guiding me, I tacked her up and stepped back. Bella stood still as a stone. I sent her around the round pen, and she went on her way like she had been doing it with a saddle on her back the entire time we had been training. No bucks, no kicks, no rolling. Afterwards, Bella had some time in the round pen by herself to let it sink in a bit further, and she waited patiently for me to return. It was a beautiful thing to see.
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Kristen Warning
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Re: Bella to the Rescue

Postby Kristen Warning on Mon Feb 15, 2016 2:05 pm

During the weeks that Bella was in training, I also got to know the folks who run Heartland Equine Rescue. I asked if they would like pictures taken of their rescues and if I could share stories of the residents, which they said yes to both. There are different breeds and ages of equines, each with their own story of rescue. Their faces reflect the love, care and safety they now know.
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Last edited by Kristen Warning on Mon Feb 15, 2016 2:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Kristen Warning
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Re: Bella to the Rescue

Postby Kristen Warning on Mon Feb 15, 2016 2:09 pm

A donkey rescued, along with many other animals, from a local family business.
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Last edited by Kristen Warning on Mon Feb 15, 2016 2:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Kristen Warning
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Re: Bella to the Rescue

Postby Kristen Warning on Mon Feb 15, 2016 2:15 pm

There are equines ready and available for adoption. Some are ready for trail rides or eventing, while others need a quiet pasture at a forever home. While they are residents, attention and love are welcomed from facilitators and volunteers.
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Kristen Warning
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Re: Bella to the Rescue

Postby Kristen Warning on Mon Feb 15, 2016 2:17 pm

Rudy was just a baby during our first visit.
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Kristen Warning
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Re: Bella to the Rescue

Postby Kristen Warning on Mon Feb 15, 2016 2:32 pm

Winter has arrived and Bella is back home. While Bella's training has paused, she is a lovely equine model. I look forward to being a part of the life story for a rescued foal, who will turn out to be a loving, trusted horse for my family. I also look forward to photographing equines for the rescue, sharing their stories, and in the end, hopefully helping them find their own forever homes.
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