Updated: Dec 19, 2020
How I got from there to here - Bringing the story up-to-date
By Justin Dunn
Well we made it to North Carolina! We chose a place where horses and golf are the activities of choice. One of which I am very passionate about, and you can probably guess which one! We are located in a little town of Aberdeen, and really close to Pinehurst. Both towns are uniquely different, yet have a charming appeal. The most important reason we chose this location, is we are centrally located between the mountains, and ocean. My family loves the ocean, and visit as often as we can.
As you can probably tell, we love adventure and experiencing new things. The adventures we've had so far have helped us learn and grow. Adventures come with uncertainty, and teach us how to experience life for what it is. We've learned to have realistic expectations, evaluate experiences and learn from them. The best part, we enjoy life as it happens, without preconceived expectations of how it should happen. That is the answer I give to people that ask how we could "give up" the great life of living in Colorado to move to North Carolina. We never looked at it as "giving up" something better for something worse. Those labels were their perspectives. Life is to be lived, and enjoyed. We moved to fulfill a much bigger purpose, a purpose that required another adventure.
To date, its been a year since we moved from Colorado, and WOW has it been an adventure. We traveled thousands of miles going back and forth between Co and NC, moving equipment, horses, vehicles, and transitioning new people into my last company. The plan that took three years of making, is actually happening fairly close to original, with one major exception, the Corona Virus.
As I wrote down the plan of fulfilling my purpose in this life one day in October, 2015, I couldn't have imagined we would be affected by a total shutdown due to Covid 19. Over the three years of planning with my family, we looked at many possibilities, and came up with contingencies should plans need to be changed. The shutdown never factored in, nor did a contingency for it. As of this writing, we have been dealing with the affects of the Covid since March as we develop American Mustang School.
In February, we had planned many clinics and events for networking and fundraising to provide equine therapy programs to our Veterans, Police, Firefighters, EMT's and families. Every one of our events were canceled, and essentially caused a standstill in our plan for going forward. We were able to continue to provide therapy sessions to many veterans, and children of our veterans at no cost to them. The plan to provide for our police, firefighters, EMT's is on hold, and we've been operating on our savings account. Once we drain that down, the no cost programs will no longer be an option.
As we go forward on this adventure, making new contacts and sharing horsemanship with those in need, new ideas and information come in. One of our new ideas for an income stream is horsemanship classes. We have now started teaching children and adults horsemanship, and the classes cost $75 per class. We have two students per week so far! Again, the Covid pandemic limits the confidence people have to engage in extra activities.
Please don't read these words as a complaint or as a negative commentary, but as an informative look into what its like to develop something worth developing. Some would say that its time to do something else, or quit altogether and sell out. I know that anything worth having is worth sacrificing for, and the things that have lead us to here and now were so worth sacrificing for.
I just had a phone call this morning, from an organization that helps special forces military members and their families. The news was that I have a wonderful program, unlike what they have seen before. They want to get involved, love the concepts, practices, and horsemanship aspect, and are very excited going forward, but have no money. So we keep on going, working hard toward the goals of the mission. We have exceeded every goal set so far, fulfilled many plans. Our purpose here has an actual "proof of concept" as many people have given feedback that their lives have changed for the better. We have children and adult participants that were suicidal, some were contemplating for days and weeks the thoughts of suicide. We've had couples stay married when divorce was thought to be the only option. We have guys tell me that they haven't felt so good in a decade, and horses were never an option to them before.
I could go on about all of the beautiful stories I get to actually witness with people and my horses, it's these experiences I evaluate that give me the strength to keep going. As I've already said, the fulfillment of what I wrote down in October 2015 has happened. Seeing the lives of others enriched, and actually saved through the sharing of horses is powerful. Being involved in watching my horses enrich the lives of others, is proof to me that every decision to get here was the right one. Thinking about the people I've met and shared these horses with, had I not had the confidence to make the move is much scarier than what we are facing with Covid 19.
If you have been following this story, you know that I really do not fear anything in this life. The fear if we want to describe it as fear I have, is not fulfilling my life purposes. In these short monthly stories, I'm limited on many details of how I got from there to here. It takes a lot of work, dedication and energy to commit to actually fulfilling one's purposes. Please know this, whatever it is that you really want to do, especially if for others to benefit, will happen. I'm here to tell you, things I've really wanted in this life have happened, and will continue to happen. Helping others get what they want has always helped me get what I really want and need.
No fear you say? I say I have no fear because I know that in doing what I am called to do in this life, it doesn't matter when my time expires. There is nothing to fear while experiencing life as it unfolds, doing what you are born to do. The things you need are provided, the things you really want will happen. Life is a wonderful experience, an adventure to be had with joy and excitement. I love people, and I love horses, I love experiencing the adventure of life with them!
In our following newsletters, I will be sharing stories of how we are going forward with American Mustang School. Please share with anyone you know that may be interested in how our adventure unfolds!
Last Month's Roundup
We had some more wonderful therapy sessions at AMS this month. In addition to working with veterans, Justin has been holding therapy sessions for some amazing kids!
AMS Adventures - Here's What's Coming Up
We will continue with our Member Group videos and veteran therapy sessions this month. As COVID restrictions ease we will offer other programs.
Happy 4th of July from Justin and Sunshine!
Words to Ride By
"Have realistic expectations for your horse."
When training your horse it will take at least three (although it may take many more) days to get him to understand a new idea. The first day is a concept day when you introduce the idea. The second day is a "What's what" day to see what he retained from day one. The third day is a polishing day, to determine where he is lacking understanding and you are lacking in presenting.
You should expect a 1% improvement per session but you will very likely see a much greater percentage improvement if you have already firmly established communication using Five Part Series.
Quotes about Horses - Can you name the horsemen who are credited with these quotes?
"There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man."
"We have almost forgotten how strange a thing it is that so huge and powerful and intelligent an animal as a horse should allow another, and far more feeble animal, to ride upon its back."
“I can make a General in five minutes, but a good horse is hard to replace.”
“No hour of life is lost that is spent in the saddle.”
"I am still under the impression that there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a horse."
"A man on a horse is spiritually, as well as physically, bigger then a man on foot."
American Mustang School Horse Spotlight
Name - Peso (appaloosa)
Age - 12
Favorite activity - He loves people, so anything involving people............and food!
Best adventure with Justin - Overnight pack trips, he loves to lay down in camp (like a dog). People will lean on him at the camp fire. We literally have to walk around him in the camp.
Peso is special because -
He really connects with people in therapy sessions, almost as if he adjusts himself to each person, helping them feel comfortable faster.
Answers for Horse Fun Facts
John Lubbock/Winston Churchill
Group members have access to discount and offers from my sponsors. Right now members get 10% off of all Big Dee's purchases and 20% of Synergy by Weaver products.
Not a member of our private Facebook group - Adventures of the Enlightened Horseman yet?
Please consider joining because every dollar goes toward providing Veterans and First Responders (and their families) Equine Assisted Therapy - at no charge to them.
In return, Justin shares his knowledge of Bitless, Spurless, No pain, No fear Horsemanship with you.
A win-win that could save someone's life and enrich your horsemanship!