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Prayer for Laurie, March 4th, 2017

March 4th, 2017

Prayers are simply a way for us to connect beautifully with God.  My prayers – this direct communication with Him – are simply a personalized form of writing and communication between the sender and the receiver. For some people, praying is speaking, singing, artwork or just thinking; and although there are many different ways to pray, I found that my praying has deepened my relationship with Him as I have seen those prayers be answered.

So what is my favorite way to pray?”

For me, it is writing Him letters in my journal.  Yes, I have been writing Him letters since April 1, 2012 and I always attempt to share with Him my thanksgivings, my joy, my questions and my pain so that He can guide me.  And the blessing of writing these letters is that I see my prayers being answered – and that is a beautiful thing – because as they occur, I highlight those answered to see His gifts come to fruition and I learn from those prayers that have not been answered as I was told that my prayer was not right for me – those unanswered prayers.  

Today, I have a very big prayer as today marks three years since my dear friend and business partner, Laurie Hutchinson, passed away.  I have gone through many beautiful times here at Whispering Hope Stables and some hard times as well, but I always find myself saying, “I wish you were here, Laurie, to join me in this adventure that we started together.”   

In honoring Laurie on this day, I find myself wanting to share today’s prayer with you.  So here we go….

 

 

Dear Jesus…

 

I thank You for this day; I thank You for bringing me to this day.  I consider it a privilege to wake-up on this morning and have another opportunity to love and walk in this special place where You have placed me.  Please help me to keep my eyes and ears open to every opportunity and please continue to change my heart to be more aligned to You.  I want to “thank You” for Your continuous grace, mercy and forgiveness; it is such a precious gift.

You know my heart and you know that when I lost Laurie, I was so very sad and in a bad place, but it was one of those life moments, that many of us all have had, where I didn’t know what end was up and what end was down.  At this time, I didn’t know what steps to take and I didn’t want to take any.  But with that, I now can thank You for in the Word, You revealed to me that I needed to “Get up! And pick-up my mat and start walking.”  I learned and you kept revealing that as your beloved daughter, Your work and mine was not done here at Whispering Hope; not yet – as there are more souls to reach, teach and love through my action and guidance in You.”

At no point was it easy, but I knew that I had to keep moving and so I put one foot in front of another and after 3 years of doing just that, I see the reason WHY You placed this Scripture in my view as Laurie’s Dream, and mine, are being lived out.  With that and still today, there is still a lot more to do, but those gates are still open and I know more souls are to find a place here – whether human or horse.  Laurie’s Dream and our business model is something uncommon in this business, but you have brought me so many beautiful people through doing it your way. I pray that all those that read this come to know the calling that You have on their life, as you have put this calling on mine.  Please help them come to know that LOVE supersedes all other priorities.  With that, I pray for this as I have seen the “Dream” that You placed on Laurie’s heart, and mine, come to life through careful listening.  

Going forward, continue to guide my steps, continue to guide my community, and continue to guide every soul reading this letter so that they know how to walk each day, each relationship, and to recognize the Dream that You have placed on them and in their hearts.  Please let them live an amazing and abundant life as you have enabled all this to come to fruition.  I am humbled and I want to thank You for the people that You brought to me through the gates of Whispering Hope and I pray that I walk and serve them in a way that pleases You and honors Your name.  I truly appreciate the healing and restoration that You have done on me and in each person and horse here at our farm. I do see the miracles that You continue to do here for us.
I pray all this in Your name, Jesus…Amen
 

And to my beloved sister, Laurie, I miss you badly. I hope you know how much I appreciate the journey you started on with me.  I will continue to miss you badly, but I will continue to hear your voice say, “You Go Girl” every time I’m on Hugo.  My dear friend, I love you and miss you very much.  Always and forever!!!  

Amy Peters

Whispering Hope Stables

 

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Quiet The Soul

January 14th, 2017

Nothing brings me more joy than being a mom and wife – nothing!!! I will say, though, every mom does need some time during the year to get away by herself for a few days. For me, that is to take my horse to a horse clinic just a few hours away. It is an awesome feeling to throw one piece of luggage, my tack, and a few bales of hay in my truck and head out for a couple of days with my horse. Now that is the ultimate girl’s weekend!

At the clinic on the first day, I was eager to ride. I woke up early to start the day with my horse. After putting on my riding gear, I headed to the barn where my horse had spent the night. What a sweet feeling it is to see my horse’s head enthusiastically leaning over the stall door, anticipating the arrival of the hands that will feed him. As I turned the corner to walk into the barn, I looked down the aisle and his sweet face was not visible. I knew at that moment something was off.

As I got closer to his stall, I could see that he was lying down. I did not notice any severe signs of discomfort right away. He simply appeared tired to me. At this point, I was a little unsettled, as I knew something was off; however, I was not really worried yet. 

Then the ball of yarn began to unravel. Within an hour, my horse went from being a little off to being in an obvious state of discomfort. My immediate response was to call my vet until I remembered that she was two and half-hours away. This much anticipated girl’s weekend was not starting off well.

So, where did God come into all of this?

The awesome thing is…God took care of it from this point. It was about an hour before the local vet could make it to the barn. As I waited, all I could do was cry and think to myself, “If I lose my horse, my soul will be at a loss. This journey with him is very important to me.” Of course, this line of dramatic thinking stirred up my inner energy, and my horse felt every bit of it. My worry was only making matters worse for my boy.

At that point, I realized there was only one direction I could turn, so I began to pray. I sent a text to my prayer warrior group to ask for prayers of healing and peace. Community is so important at times such as this and I knew I needed to resist the desire to be left alone. Deep down, I needed a shoulder to lean on and help me be strong when I could not do it on my own.

God sent me Betsy. Betsy was auditing the clinic and had heard my horse was not well. She left the clinic to come stand with me until the vet arrived. My insecurities made me question why she would do this. Why would she put a hold on her tasks to stand with me? Was I worthy of a friend like this? Apparently, God thought I was.

Betsy arrived at the stall and her immediate response was, “Let’s pray.” What better way to start when standing face to face with an injured soul or an ill body? I felt my burden become lighter. Next, she went into the stall and stood motionless. The quieting of her soul brought peace to my horse. The sweet, soft words she spoke caused his body to relax. His inner being calmed down and his distress was lessening right before my eyes.

I felt an astounding feeling of silence and calm while Betsy was present. The power of prayer and her “Quiet Soul” radiated a contagious healing affect to both my horse and me. All horsemen and women who are faced with horse-related trauma should have the chance to experience what I did.

The horse world is dramatic. Horses do not make this world dramatic, people do. From my personal experience, I wish to share with you a few things that I learned to help make a situation less dramatic and more peaceful:

  • Do not play the blame game. Horses are living, breathing creatures and things happen and can go wrong. Don’t blame yourself or anyone else.
  • The power of prayer works. As Mark Batterson wrote in his book, The Circle Maker, “Sometimes the power of prayer is the power to carry on. It doesn’t always change your circumstances, but it gives you strength to walk through them. When you pray through, the burden is taken off of your shoulders and put on the shoulders of Him who carried the cross to Calvary.”
  • Allow someone to stand with you. Having a “Quiet Soul” with you during the difficult times will naturally bring peace and healing.
  • Remove drama and negativity. Horses deserve and crave gentleness, serenity, and respect in all ways.

 

Twenty-four hours came and went and my horse was healed – Thanks to God! It was a scary time and I wish it had not happened, but I did receive a blessing from this event. I learned the importance of a quiet soul – both to horse and human – especially when one or both are hurting. Think about this for you, personally. If you were in the hospital and hurting how would it feel to have a “Quiet Soul” be with you? Now, imagine being that Quiet Soul for your horse. I am so grateful for the unexpected lesson from a girl’s weekend gone awry.

Now let’s get this next girl’s weekend planned….

 

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Seeking Within by Amy Peters

May 11th, 2016

I am The Horse.

I know what I am and how God made me. I am the hunted, not the hunter. I flee, and I do not fight. I see all that is around me and do not see what is in front of me. I am more powerful than any human. And what most humans do not realize is that I put my needs first and I trust my herd and my herd alone. So as I leave my herd and join you, I seek trust and respect within this relationship.

So my question to you is always, can I trust you with my life?

While in my pasture on a dreary and stormy morning, I stand tall, head erect, ears pinned forward, shoulders broad and my hooves firmly grounded with my herd surrounding me. The wind is blowing through my mane and I am motionless soaking up the call of the wind that is flowing through every hair on my body. I stand here in a daydream surrounded by the beauty of the land and my herd.

Night has come and gone and you approach from a distance with a halter ready to take me from my most trusted environment. You always appear with a smile and open arms, and I know this because I am so in-tune to how you feel. Without you knowing, I can sense your inner energy just with a stroke of the halter.

As we walk away from my green, grassy field and my herd to the large building that holds my wooden containment area, we encounter so many things that are strange to me. The storm is still hovering with heavy mist and high winds, there are cars out of place, strange black cats darting to-and-fro, garbage cans in a place that they were not yesterday, music blasting from a near distant shed, a little white bird that exists only to annoy me, and a new flower arrangement that mysteriously appeared throughout the night. My question is, “why did my norm have to change?”

So have you earned my trust? Well, if you are ever questioning this, just try putting me in a situation that is new to me and unknown. Are my feet grounded waiting for your command? Or am I shuffling my feet and moving them in whichever direction I please? When I walk forward, is it because you asked me to or is it because I chose to?

You earn my trust and respect when I experience patience, consistency, and discipline, and most importantly, a willingness to connect with me mentally. And when you have earned it, you will begin to gain control of my feet. Knowing where to put my feet during times of threat is the key to gaining my trust.

And, yes I love the apples that you share and I always look forward to receiving one, but please know that it is not the apple that earns my respect and trust. It is the journey that we walk together.

I’m always in flight mode. We are always ready and quick to move if we feel threatened or in danger. So when I am under your hands, I need you to have my feet, as they are the center of where the trust starts and grows because when you have my feet you are in control.

Knowing where to put my feet is a process of unlocking my hindquarters and moving them in times of concern. It is getting me to face the object of potential danger. It is backing me to reassure me that you have it under control, and it is maneuvering me toward the danger to let me know it is not danger. This process takes time, consistency and confidence on your part.

Trust and respect, not blankets, fly masks, fancy saddles, beautiful reins, grooming tools, saddle pads and toys, are the two key items for us to have the connection. These other items do not have meaning to me, as all I care for is that you provide me with a place to be a horse and a platform of trust and respect to build upon. Just so you know, I do not have a preference between the $100 reins and the $1000 reins, but I do want to know that I can trust you as you pull me away from my most trusted environment…my herd.

The Horse.

Author: Amy Peters – Owner, Whispering Hope Stables

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Bugs, Flies, and Parasites – OH MY!

May 7th, 2015

Keep your Horse Safe from Pests this Season

Whispering Hope Stables is a premier horse boarding facility located 10 minutes from downtown Raleigh and our primary focus is to provide top horse care to all of our horses at WHS.

Spring is such important time of year, because it is the start of an equestrian’s riding and training season. You always want to make sure that your horse has the best transition into spring and maintains optimal health from flies and parasites!

At Whispering Hope Stables, we provide the best possible horse care throughout the year, no matter the season. We have adopted certain practices and procedures to keep our horses in the best possible health.

 

Fly Management

Whispering Hope Stables uses natural and organic methods to fight flies during the spring and summer. Flies are not only a nuisance, but some biting species like the “stable fly” can be painful to a horse and transmit diseases like equine infectious anemia (EIA).

Fly predators are tiny insects that do not bite or sting. They find and kill roughly 75 pest fly pupae before they hatch into pest or stable flies and they can travel around 150 feet. These little predators are virtually unnoticeable and they spend their entire life cycle in fly breeding areas like manure piles or rotting organic matter.Fly predator

We have been using Spalding Fly Predators for the past 3 years at Whispering Hope Stables and have been greatly pleased with the results. They significantly minimize the number of pest and stable flies. If you are going to use fly spray this season, we recommend you read the warnings and avoid dosing yourself while spraying your horse.

 

 

Deworming

In addition to Fly Management, the staff at Whispering Hope Stables deworms all horses twice a year, rotating the type of dewormer medication. The purpose of deworming is to decrease and eliminate the number of parasites in the intestines and colon. When temperatures rise in the spring, internal parasites boost their egg production. More eggs in the intestines or colon can potentially increase the risk of internal parasite infection, intestinal damage, and even colic.

We want to ensure the best care for each horse at Whispering Hope Stables and one way we do this is deworming. We request and arrange for our members’ veterinarians to pull fecal samples the month before deworming. Fecal samples are tested by the veterinarian in a laboratory to determine the fecal egg count. This is the number of eggs passing in each gram of manure, measured as eggs per gram (EPG).

When the test results come back, the number helps your veterinarian determine the type of dewormer. If the fecal egg count in a horse is less than 200-250 EPG, then the horse is showing a natural immunity and overall a low parasite load; your horse would then be considered a “low-shedder”.  However, if the test results for your horse come back with a number higher than 200-250 EPG, then your horse may have a high parasite load or considered a “chronic shedder” or “high-shedder”.

Horses which are chronic or high shedders may simply need to be dewormed more often than other horses to keep the parasite load down. For high shedder horses, veterinarians will usually recommend taking another fecal sample 10-14 days after the deworming. The results from this second fecal egg count enable the veterinarian to determine if there was any resistance to the dewormer medication and how often the horse will need deworming that year.

Some horses may need to be dewormed more often than others depending on the climate, geographic location, and fecal egg count. Most veterinarians will recommend that you deworm your horse at least twice a year, in the Spring and Fall, no matter the results from the fecal egg count. Dewormer medication also helps eliminate or decrease tapeworms and bots.

These are some of the practices that we have implemented at Whispering Hope Stables to minimize, manage, and eliminate pests and parasites. At Whispering Hope Stables, we want our members to enjoy their ride and know that their horse is receiving the best care possible.

 

Author Information:   Madeline Gioja, Office Manager at Whispering Hope Stables

To learn more about Whispering Hope Stables, please call (919) 851-6237 or email Madeline@whisperinghopestables.com.

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Whispering Hope Stables Gets an “A” in Horse Care: Hay Analysis Shows Competitive Advantage

February 24th, 2015

Whispering Hope Stables is a premier horse boarding facility located just 10 minutes from downtown Raleigh that defines its competitive advantage around horse care and the community.

Most recently, Whispering Hope Stables had an independent nutritional analysis conducted on their Timothy hay, out of New York, and the hay analysis focused on protein, fiber and the quality levels. In the article, Choosing Hay for Horses, by the University of Kentucky, “crude protein levels for Timothy hay should range between 7% and 11%.” The hay analysis for Whispering Hope Stables came back at 11.1%.

Additionally, in the article, All About Hay, written by Audrey Pavia on HorseChannel.com, “…adult horses require 10 to 11 percent crude protein in their overall diet…” meaning that Whispering Hopes’ hay alone, not including the grain given or forage in the pasture, provides the essential need of protein to their horses.

The owner of Whispering Hope Stables, Amy Peters, explains “if you want great clients, clients you love and who love you right back, you need to be crystal clear on exactly what kind of clients you want to work with and what they value.”

One of Whispering Hope Stables’ key differentiators is around horse care. “Whispering Hope Stables stresses that the horses that call this place home receive the best hay, grain, attention and care,” says Peters. And as a result of this, their members value and are excited about the quality of care their horses receive.

Outside of the science, Whispering Hope Stables focus on conducting daily horse inspections, leg checks, hoof picks and monthly inspections from an outside nutritionist. “Daily we spend time doing full body inspections, leg inspections, and picking of the hooves because horse care is extremely important to Ms. Amy,” says the Facility Manager, Erik Tecu.

Peters concluded that “being able to accurately communicate our competitive difference in horse care is important in finding clients who love us and value what we do. At Whispering Hope Stables we recognize that equestrians who value the science and quality of horse care, as key components in their decision-making process for selecting a horse boarding facility, will make the best clients.”

Whispering Hope Stables Gets an “A” in Horse Care: Hay Analysis Shows Competitive Advantage Raleigh, NC, February 24, 2015 –(PR.com)— http://www.pr.com/press-release/606692. Lenox Martin (lenoxmartinpr@gmail.com), Lenox Martin is a free-lance writer who covers various businesses.

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The Hope Movement Begins

January 28th, 2015

The Hope Movement is underway at Whispering Hope Stables. We will be creating two 2-minute videos each month with short stories of hope and inspiration for all equestrians. Our first video was on Catherine Loughlin and her horse Hanz! Check out her story on YouTube:

http://youtu.be/jzm3UIdxpfE

Join the Hope Movement #hope @WHS5237!

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Leaving a Legacy

December 17th, 2014

Whispering Hope Stables is a horse boarding facility nestled just 10 minutes from downtown Raleigh and we focus on horse care and developing a community of people where joy, kindness, and understanding prevail. A member and friend of Whispering Hope Stables, Judy Humphries was informed of shocking news that would cause most people to lose hope and stop living life.

“Ovarian cancer,” said the doctor. It was December 24th, 2008.

That evening after hearing the news, Judy sat quietly contemplating what she really wanted to do before she left this earth. Jon Gordon, an American author and consultant, once stated, “Every one of us is going to leave a legacy. It just depends on what kind.” This was the exact question she was facing.

She did not have an answer yet about whether she would fight the cancer, and she wanted to focus on the things left for her to accomplish in life. Was there anything left she wanted to accomplish? At that moment, she decided she wanted to get back into horses.

Judy had ridden horses when she was a child, but the riding had been more about the technique and training. She had not really focused on building a relationship with the horse, and she had never had that special bond. She so desired that special relationship.

After the diagnosis, Judy chose to not focus too much on the cancer but on horses!

whs-7hump-123

And so her journey began with leasing a horse. She quickly got into the groove of grooming and riding again and soon she was longing for a horse of her own. A good friend found a mare that she believed could be a partner and companion along this journey with Judy.

The mare was named Peppy Cayenne and she had her own baggage. She was skittish and little leery of people. This mare needed love and attention, and someone to teach her to trust again.  Judy decided to open her heart and family and made Peppy a part of her journey!

Peppy was a turning point for Judy. Judy spent the next year establishing a trusting relationship with Peppy, and getting her healthy and happy. Peppy started to come to life and bring such joy to Judy. Through the cancer treatments, Peppy also provided a distraction and a reason to get up and go every week.

In 2013, Judy realized she wanted more from this experience of getting back into horses. Together, Judy and her husband, Wofford, decided to breed Peppy.

Peppy is a full bred Quarter Horse, and Judy decided to work with the Quarter Horse Foundation and find a stallion that would help continue the true breeding lines for Quarter Horses. Her goal and journey of getting back into horses was becoming a legacy. She was deciding to give back to the breed that gave so much to her.

The 11-month pregnancy brought Judy and Peppy infinitely closer. Judy was there for every ultrasound and injection, and she regularly massaged and hosed Peppy’s legs when she would stock up. When Peppy delivered, the baby came quickly and easily, and Judy was actually able to be in the stall immediately after the delivery.

Unlike most horses, Peppy did not mind that Judy was in the stall at all. She was not protective or aggressive toward Judy in the least bit. She trusted Judy explicitly with her new foul. With tears in her eyes, Judy shared, “It is a special place of bonding. It is a privilege to share that moment with the mom.”

whs-7hump-115

Upon his arrival, the black foul was named, “Legacy”. His name had a two-fold meaning, because this was a legacy for both Peppy and herself. Legacy has become one of the most meaningful and rewarding accomplishments in Judy’s life. Judy and Peppy’s story is an inspiration to many at Whispering Hope Stables.

As we approach the end of 2014 and as you live out life, what is the legacy that you wish to leave? Will you chose to leave a legacy of hope and life?

This upcoming year in 2015, I challenge you to make every effort to do the thing you really want in life. Leave your legacy!

Judy Humphries is one of our faithful members at Whispering Hope Stables. She expresses a sincere love for people and her horses in everything that she does at the stables. She is still fighting cancer to this day. Every day, she chooses to bring warmth and joy to people’s hearts by creating a positive and loving environment around her.

 

Written by: Madeline Gioja

Office Manager, Whispering Hope Stables

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Dreaming Big

November 7th, 2014

This story of big dreams starts with some of our Whispering Hope members at the farm, sitting in the Crown Lounge, sharing Chinese food, good wine and great conversation.  Having an absolute blast and marveling in the joy of the farm, food and friendship, these ladies take to Facebook with their posts.

“I’m thankful for this place.” 

“This is a happy, peaceful environment where you can meet up with your friends, have Chinese food, laugh, giggle and be silly and then have a wonderful ride with your horse under the stars on a beautiful evening.” 

“All of us women folk are having such a great time.  Thanks for having the vision to create this place for us.”

I read these posts and realized:  It worked!  We had dreamed BIG and that dream was becoming reality.

As children, we seemed to always have big dreams and there were never limitations or restrictions on how big those dreams could be for us.  Additionally, we never put up our own obstacles from living out those dreams.

So what was this Big Dream that came to reality?  COMMUNITY

Whispering Hope Stables became a community showing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control as guidelines to each other, to our horses, and to the staff that shower our horses with love.  At the end of the day, we are all here living out our dreams with these wonderful animals and striving for a community that does not judge or condemn who we are individually. This was and is the Whispering Hope dream, but one that I was told would never come to fruition as “all barns have drama” and because “you don’t have a lot of experience with horses and horse women, you just don’t understand how barns really work.

Really?

Dreaming big is great and needed to bring the calling in each of our hearts to life.  However, as Steven Spielberg once stated, “you shouldn’t dream your film, you should make it.”  And as I sit here roughly (2) two years after opening our doors, the dream that once was concocted by two women with hearts filled of passion is now our reality.  When we just opened our doors, I was told by a boarder at that time and no longer with us, “Good luck having a drama-free barn.”  We were being told that drama-free barns simply didn’t exist.

Really?

Well, whether it is a group of girlfriends celebrating life together over Chinese food and wine or a group of women that once rode horses in their youth and simply needed some encouragement to now get back up in the saddle, or members leaning on each other in time of need and during moments of greatness, we have community here at Whispering Hope Stables.  We spend our time building each other up and experiencing life together.

So what’s the Secret to bringing our dream to reality?  Here are the lessons that I’ve learned:

1.  Set high expectations and ignore Trolls.  Set high expectations and let it be your roadmap.  I relied on certain principals that I described above, but will again re-cap: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  If I don’t see these in people or their actions, they must go.  And as Katharine Hepburn so profoundly exclaimed in the movie Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, “don’t speak, just go.”  See many critics are like trolls hiding under bridges simply waiting for your failure so that they can say “told you so.”  Langston Hughes, an American poet, novelist and activist once stated, “Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.”  My high expectations became my roadmap and from there I didn’t have to focus on the destination, I enjoyed the journey.  So remember, set high expectations, ignore those Trolls, and enjoy the moment as it will only be here once.

2.  Jesus asked us to “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”  Dreams do not come to life by sitting and being still.  We are called to live life to the fullest.  In my short time on this rock called Earth, I’ve seen that there are (3) three kinds of people:

*  Those that wish things would happen to them;

*  Those that wonder when things will happen for them; and

*  Those that make things happen.

       Which one will you be? 

So remember, walking is not always easy, but each step counts.

3.  Don’t let the struggles along the way stop you.   When we live out BIG dreams, there will be struggles.  As Gary Thomas, an American Christian author, states, “Struggle makes us stronger; it builds us up and deepens our faith, but this result is achieved only when we face the struggle head-on, not run from it.  Struggling successfully and profitably brings a deeper joy than even trouble-free living.”   So do not be afraid of the struggles ahead.

In closing, I pray my experience and life lessons through owning and running a horse farm finds a place in your life and heart.  If not already, I, too, hope you start Dreaming Big.

And to the Whispering Hope Family – my dear Members – I love each and every one of you.  You may not have realized it, but you all had a part in making this dream come to life.  See you in the Crown Lounge for Chinese food, wine and great conversation.

With much love,

Amy Peters

 

Owner, Whispering Hope Stables

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Lessons Learned From Laurie Hutchinson – I Got Your Back

August 13th, 2014
Laurie and Hugo

Laurie and Hugo

Life is a journey and one day we will see the destination.   Going through life, having the right attitude, the right friends, seeking in Him, and having faith are the important ingredients to finding Hope.  My journey started in December 2012 and from that point until today, many life lessons have been learned of which I wish to share with you.

“I got your back, I got your back” is what I remember telling my business colleague and friend, Laurie Hutchinson, over and over again.  There were many times in the first year that I had said those words to her.

Starting this horse boarding business venture together was taking a big risk for both Laurie and myself.  For Laurie, a single mom with two beautiful children and a reputation on-the-line; and me a mom, wife, and business owner, about to open my personal farm and home to people and these wonderful animals with minimal experience.  As I have heard from other entrepreneurs, “…with great risk comes great reward.”  Once Laurie and I decided that we were going to take this risk together, we then met with a business consultant who asked us the ultimate question:  “What is your dream and vision?”

For those that did not know Laurie, she did not cry easily.  She was a strong woman who believed in living her life as a warrior and she knew there was no other option than to survive and provide for her two girls.  Laurie only cried about the people she loved and her passions so with that being said, to see Laurie shed tears over this question, I knew that any response was going to come from the heart.

Laurie’s response was simply, “I dream of a place, a peaceful sanctuary, where people of all ages experience kindness, joy, understanding, and where you can achieve whatever goal you wish to achieve no matter how small or grand.”

After I heard this, I knew instantly that I was about to start this venture with the person that God had intended me to start this dream with.  So we started this business and tried to achieve our dream and, we quickly faced obstacles and trials.  However, I will tell you that life is about trials and at some point we all fall, but the question is, “will you get back up and continue to live that dream?”

This is the question I was faced with on the tragic day of March 4, 2014.  I would have never anticipated dealing with what occurred to my beautiful Laurie.  Beautiful, and when I say beautiful, yes Laurie Hutchinson was a beautiful woman on the outside, but she was a beautiful soul that radiated all the Fruits of the Spirit:  Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control.  I, personally, witnessed this in my sweet friend when handling herself with horses or others.

How could anyone be prepared to lose someone that was such a blessing in their lives?

Laurie Hutchinson died on March 4, 2014 and about 4 hours after Laurie had passed, I remember walking down to the barn and looking at all that we had started and thought, “That is it, I will not get up from this one.”  But I remember my heart feeling, “I got your back.”  At that moment, I knew that I needed to put my confidence in my Faith.   I felt myself saying to Him, “How do I lead this community who so loved Laurie and the blessings that she placed in these lives?”  “How do I help this community to feel the Hope that they all will need?”

Our Whispering Hope Stables community suffered a great loss.  With that great loss, it produced a level of perseverance that we walked out each day together.   This perseverance brought each one of us patient endurance during this hardship and it was the ability to be persistent in this state of hardship that has deepened our community’s character.

Our staff had changed, but our vision and character had prevailed as a special place.  Each and every one of us that walked through this had experienced our own level of Hope, whether it was starting a show season with our horse that Laurie trained, having a foal to care for, becoming more solid in a journey with our horse, or growing stronger friendships.   The Hope was shining through in so many ways at Whispering Hope Stables.

For me, I truly experienced every stage of grief:   shock, sadness, anger, and depression.  I was not familiar with depression and I just remember thinking how do I get through this?  Well, God answered my prayer about 7 weeks after Laurie passed when a friend and member of Whispering Hope Stables, Judy Humphries, sent me a text saying, “God placed it on my heart to tell you to start spending time with the Boss.” 

I kept thinking to myself, “HUGO, are you insane? “   Every time I looked at Hugo I would cry, as he lost his rider and the one woman who had his back.  My heart broke for him and there was nothing that I could do to help him outside of considering selling this fancy, Dutch Harness, Dressage horse.  So shortly after receiving the text, I went into his stall, which I never did.  As I stood there looking into his eyes which I learned quickly are very gentle and kind, I said out loud, “well Laurie, I will never ride him like you did, but I will do everything in my power to love and care for this 1200 pound animal.  I’ll provide him a home where he can feel safe and be a horse that he so deserves to be.”   God blessed me with a husband that allowed me to keep Hugo no longer as an investment that Laurie and my husband envisioned, but now as a sign of Hope that I needed.

I knew that my personal goal was to develop my relationship with Hugo and enjoy riding him on trails and traveling to places to ride him with my family.   So my journey began with training with Brian Nichols, a friend of our family.  While training with Brian, I have seen so much of myself in Hugo as he is a mirror image of my faults and weaknesses:  patience, worry, yet gentleness.  Hugo is a wonderful and gentle soul when he is not under my reins, but under my reins he lacked patience and worried all the time.  I learned quickly about the powerful connection between the rider and her horse.  Very similar to the line in the movie, Avatar, “…make the bond…” it is almost as the souls are fused when the horse is under reins.  Brian Nichols once said to me, “softness comes from the heart,” which is so true, but equally true is that Hugo was teaching me about me.

For those that do not know Hugo, he has a mighty trot so trying to learn to ride him will be a long journey and a process that requires patience. However, he is very cautious when we trot and I asked Brian one day, “why is it so hard to get him to start the trot?”  And Brian’s response was, “he is taking care of you.”   So in essence, he has my back too.  Who knows maybe Laurie has a hand in all this as it is possible that she is now returning the favor.

I miss Laurie so much and there is not a day that goes by that I do not look to the gate to see that grey Mercedes come flying through the Whispering Hope Stables gates.   And for those of you that may not know Laurie and her driving, she always drove with a purpose.  One of my favorite stories of Laurie’s driving was following her in my pickup truck and seeing a deer jump out in front of her car.  She slammed on the brakes and thank God she did not hit the deer.  I called her on her cell phone and she quickly answered the cell phone saying, “Can you believe that beast almost made me spill my coffee?”  Oh how we ALL would love to see her one more time just to hear those lines.

To conclude, I believe that her presence is everywhere around us, if we just look and listen.  Each time I am on Hugo, when I talk to her daughter, when I am with my staff, Erik, Madeline, Dawson and Nelson, when I talk to her past students like Eva, Mindy, Darlene, and many more, I feel Laurie and her spirit.  What I hope for people to take from this article are a few things:  First, Laurie was a great woman and mom and her legacy will continue here at Whispering Hope Stables.  Second, live out each day as it is your last and love everyone like it is the last time you will see them.  Next, take care of those who have your back and have faith to know that He has your back at all times.  And lastly, speak to your obstacles not around them as life is a journey that only a few experience – so enjoy the ride you are on.

Written by:  Amy Peters

Owner

Whispering Hope Stables

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Raleigh’s Top Kid’s Pony Program: Finding the Perfect School Horse

July 29th, 2014

Whispering Hope Stables, Raleigh’s best horse boarding facility offers a Pony Time program for children under the age of 6 years old in which our wonderful children dive into the imagination of becoming a Young Equestrian. In this program parents can expect their children to learn safety around a pony, groom, tack and ride, and how to care for a pony.

Our Pony Time program is a wonderful way for children to embrace the peace and spirit of a pony and for parents to relax whether in the Crown Lounge at Whispering Hope Stables or off-site on their own time. In preparation for the start of our Pony Time program, I wanted to share with you my comical story behind finding the perfect school horse.

We all know the names of the great horses – Man O’ War, Secretariat, Gem Twist, and Big Ben – all of which are iconic race horses and show jumpers. For me, my fondest memory of a great horse is the first school horse that took care of me when I was learning to ride at the age of 6. She wasn’t famous to the outside world, but in my world she was simply – Lotti, a 14.2 hand Appaloosa pony. She slowed down her trot when she felt me lose my balance, she stood perfectly still as I climbed awkwardly up on her back, and she never flinched when I got left behind jumping and took it straight in the chops.

I’ll never forget getting to my first horse show so late that I literally had to sprint to the ring. My Trainer, Amy Wales, threw me up on Lottie and trotted me to the ring. I pleaded with Amy that I didn’t know the course to which she just smiled back and said “that’s okay… Lottie does.” Horses and ponies, like Lotti, aren’t always the prettiest or the most athletic, but in the eyes of children just starting to ride they look like the biggest, most magical animals ever seen.

Now, how do you find these wonderful horses?

First and foremost, trust your gut. Next, look for a horse or pony that is tolerant and truly loves being around children. Most horses are not cut out to be the perfect lesson horse because they need to be tolerant, kind and a little bit numb, but the truly great ones are worth their weight in gold.

Our journey at Whispering Hope Stables began with trying to find the tolerant, kind and a little bit numb pony for our Pony Time program. I was going to teach toddlers, yes toddlers, how to ride and the basics of horse care. All I needed was just one small pony.

How hard could that be?

How was I, a professional trainer, able to forget how hard it actually is to find a really good small pony?

Keep in mind this pony has to be not only small, but completely safe as I was planning on having a bunch of little kids brushing it, riding it and especially loving on the pony. Oh yes, did I mention little kids can and will scream, cry and squeal? And in most cases, in that order.

So my journey started, I first reached out to my horse friends to let them know what I was looking for and my budgetary limits. They all said good luck with that and I never received a call back and that maybe should have been my first clue. Then I hit the web and after seeing what was out there, I became pretty discouraged until I found the miracle little pony…or what I thought was a miracle.

He was the most adorable little pony you ever saw. They had all these great pictures of him – one picture had him in a bath covered in bubbles and another one with a little girl on him with a big smile. There he was, I found him! We even renamed him before he got to the farm, “Goliath”. I called the Seller and asked if I could go see him. The Seller said, “sure, come on over, as he is in our backyard.” “Great,” I said, “I will be there this afternoon,” and off I then went.

I was so excited to be going to get my first school horse! I arrived at the house and there he was tied to a chain-link dog kennel. He was tethered on a long rope grazing away so I walked up to him and looked him over. He was fat and a bit scruffy, but that’s okay I thought, he can be cleaned up. He had a long mane and his forelock covered his eyes; he was really cute. I could just picture the pretty pink and blue bows in his mane. I told the Seller what my requirements were and he reassured me that his little pony would be perfect.

Rule #1 – Don’t go by what others say, find out for yourself.

Rule #2 – Make sure that you have a trial period of a minimum of two weeks before purchasing.

So the next day Goliath came to our farm. I checked him out and to my surprise he was much scruffier than I remembered and infested with ticks. I lead the pony to the wash stall, turned on the hose, and to my surprise the pony reared up to make a run for it. It took about an hour to wash him as he galloped all around me. Meanwhile, my thoughts were that’s “okay” he’s still a bit unnerved from leaving his little back yard and the chain-linked dog kennel. Now the task of removing all those ticks. I carefully removed around 500 ticks from this little guy and when I was done I lead him to the back of the barn to graze in the sun. As we were standing there I began telling him how wonderful his life was now going to be. I was petting his wet, nappy fur and describing all the love and attention and good care he was now going to get, when WHAM two little back hoofs hit me square in the stomach. I quietly caught my breath, lead him back to his stall, and called the Sellers. Time for them to come on back and pick up their pony.

There had been hints that this pony was completely wrong throughout this entire process, but instead of looking for the traits of tolerance, kindness and a bit numbness, I was completely caught up with cuteness, and I never really looked at what was in front of me or behind this little pony.

So Rule #3 – Do not take my previous advice of going with your gut as literally as I did.

Before the pony left our farm, I gave the Sellers a little lecture and a bottle of my own Tick and Fly Spray to spray him every night while he grazes in the back yard next to his chain linked dog kennel. May Goliath live happily ever after right next to his chain linked dog kennel.

From this adventure, what you should take is to stay in the here and now. If the horse you are considering is giving you red flags or you just don’t have a good feeling about what you are seeing, trust your gut, and walk away.

Next, understand that the great school horses are molded by the children and the farm on which they are kept. They truly do love their job and want to please. They enjoy the attention of the children, the little voices around them, and the steadiness of their life. Observe how the horse reacts to the excitement of the children. Is he/she hesitant or curious with all the attention? After my excitement described above, I found two wonderful school horses and I stopped daydreaming and opened my eyes to what I was truly seeing. It took time, but we are there now.

If you are interested in learning more about the Pony Time program or other horse training programs, please contact our main office at (919) 851-6237. You can also learn more about us at www.whisperinghopestables.com, follow us on our Facebook page “Whispering Hope Stables” or on Twitter @WHS5237.

Written by: Dawson Kingsley
Head Trainer – Hunter Jumper
Whispering Hope Stables

Dawson started her career as a junior rider in Darien, Ct where she rode and showed at NCMT. From there, she went on to train with Rory Scallon at Millbrook Equestrian Center in Millbrook, NY where as a working student she rode and trained young horses and showed in the local eventing circuit. When Dawson’s working student training was completed, she was hired by Joanne Kovacs and John Williams at Show Horses Inc in Darien Ct, where she worked and rode for one of the top Grand Prix riders on the Triple A circuit. Wanting to pursue a career in training, she then went on to teach at Moss Creek Stables in Hilton Head Island with Rory Scallon. She taught beginners to advance riders in hunt seat equitation. Dawson is married to Chris Kingsley and has a little girl, Grace, who is 3 years old and loves ponies. When Dawson is not teaching, she loves being with her family, gardening, and painting.