Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Bess and Corie

I met Ferronato Shen and became acquainted with Three Treasures Farms in the Spring of 2010 when I assisted in catching their beautiful stallion, Coppola, after he’d escaped from his stall.  He was so well-behaved that I had no idea he was a stallion until a few days later when I formally met Ferronato.  She was in the process of moving the program into Whispering Meadows Equestrian Center, where I was currently boarding my thoroughbred mare, Bess.  At the time, I was both actively coaching and coordinating the University of Oregon Equestrian Team and fully-enrolled in classes but I became so enamored with the amazing program that 3TF runs that I quickly found ways to become involved and do my part to help. 
My first hands-on experience with 3TF was when I introduced Bess to the Massage Intern Program.  I was amazed at Ferronato’s skill at handling and assessing the physical and emotional state of my sassy mare as well as how educated and professional her students were.  I put Bess into as many classes from then on as I could.  Being a college student (and a little horse-poor), however, I wasn’t able to pay to have Bess in all the classes I wanted her in.  So, I became one of 3TF’s working students and began my journey into the 3TF family.
I started off by cleaning stalls, turning out, blanketing, all the while picking Ferronato’s brain about nutrition and homeopathic supplementation.  I kept at it, working whenever I could and asking as many questions as I could think up.  Eventually, I passed the perseverance test and was introduced to the after-school program 3TF ran for underprivileged kids from Lane county.  I had an absolute BLAST working with the kids.  Ferronato had designed such an incredibly rewarding program and kids that might have shown up a little sad, or without wearing their smiles, would leave happy and fulfilled. 
The work I was doing with 3TF offered a kind of fulfillment that I wasn’t used to.  I’d been a working student throughout my entire show career- assisting with client horses, teaching lessons, performing general horse-keeping chores, but the work 3TF does allowed me to not only continue to grow as a horseperson, but also to directly affect the lives of both children and the horses in the program.  That feeling isn’t something I’d trade for the world.
As my time spent with 3TF increased, I was able to place not just my mare but also my Mom’s mare, Dolley, into the Massage classes.  About 30 minutes into her first class, you could not only see but actually feel Dolley’s overwhelming anxiety about the world just melt away.  To this day, Bess and Dolley become ecstatic when they see Ferronato or one of the first interns to work on them. 
After I graduated and moved back to Portland, I kept in touch with 3TF and updated on the program’s success stories.  Not 3 months after I left Eugene, I was back every other weekend taking Equine massage classes from Ferronato and, once again, learning as much as I could from her.  Being 2 hours away and only being a part of the 3TF team twice a month, I started helping out with grant proposals and recently took over as Donations Coordinator and PR person for 3TF.  I tried off and on to take a career path within the business world but I never quite found anything that left me feeling both happy and content with the path my life was taking.  Eventually, I ended up working as an assistant to a couple of training programs in Portland.  During a massage class I set up, Ferronato used her knowledge help a client’s horse who suffered from a sugar allergy.  He is still on the herbal supplements she recommended during that session, and is doing incredibly well.  I also used my massage knowledge to help rehab an injured horse in the other program I was working with.  The horse was high-strung and full of vinegar from his 6 month stint on stall rest.  I was only able to work with him successfully because of the in-hand work I learned while working with 3TF.
I am currently living in Corvallis, Oregon, and am about to start a job working with troubled youth and horses.  I continue to use my massage and nutrition knowledge with Bess and hope to show her this next show season.  The issues she was having prior to our relationship with Ferronato and 3TF have been almost completely resolved, and I know she and I will both continue to benefit from the experience, wisdom, and compassionate nature that Three Treasures Farms exudes.
My goals with 3TF are not just to help them raise the income that they need to continue to provide scholarships for their programs, such as the ones I received, but also to allow them to grow and reach more passionate, caring, horse-friendly, and hardworking individuals so that they can continue to influence the lives of those who need it the most. 

Corie Townsend

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Fall Herb Walks

Our intention with the Herb Walks is not to make a student leave feeling like an herbal expert, but that they will take with them some powerful and simple tools which will enable them to sow the seed of change in their lives. It is no easy task to change our life style, even when it is a change for the better. Many of us end up in less than healthy patterns or cycles, whether it is the food we eat not being in the best interest of our bodies, too much work stress, or a lack of exercise. It is challenging to make the changes we need to feel better when we are in this place of depressed health. Modern society is not making it any easier with its conveniences designed to save time, which, in the end, ultimately steal it from us. Most of us know someone who lives a healthy lifestyle and we think: I would love to be able to do that. Given all the things going on in our lives, the distance between where we are and where we they are seems like an overwhelming distance to cover. We end up thinking: why bother? However, some of us are going to make that positive change next week, or next month or when that thing happens that will let us do what we need to.

I would love to be that person who was turned onto herbs and a holistic lifestyle who made a sudden, dramatic, and complete change. The truth is I didn’t (and I haven’t) and I still look to find the little subtle ways I can keep shifting my life towards that course of action. On the most basic level I find people really need three major things to shift to start feeling better. We attempt to touch on these three areas in our Herb Walks with real and simple solutions for people to try.

The first is to become more aware of how the foods we eat impact our bodies. For a long time I was unaware that I had some food allergies that were causing a variety of problems. Once I became aware of my allergies and took steps toward being more mindful of them when making food choices I saw a variety of health improvements. We have simple, sample foods and recipes available for people to try that will encourage them to incorporate herbs into their everyday eating habits in manageable ways.

The second is stress. Perhaps not everyone finds the forest as a relaxing as I do, but I think for most people it is far less stressful than the office and just the smell of certain herbs can lower heart rates. By getting people out into Nature we are able to reconnect, re-charge and remember what is possible for us. For those that need to hold onto reasons and agendas the Herb Walks allow one to be in nature with purpose by teaching people which herbs are helpful and can become useful parts of their health program. The kitchen part of the Walks teach people what to do with the herbs once they have them, in simple, easy to follow steps that can be duplicated outside of class.

Third is exercise. I am not a fan of the electronic era although I appreciate and value what technology allows us to do. I find that many electronic devices steal our energy and motivation. It is so much easier to sit and be entertained then go out and create our own adventures. Maybe walking isn’t exactly what you had in mind when making the New Year’s resolution to exercise more, but it is a start. You will find as you try and discover new places or when re-visiting old ones to test your Herbal IQ that you will start to feel better for having gotten out of the house and way from the TV. At each Walk we provide plants from our garden, so that for people who are ready to make a start have a jumping off point. We choose hardy and easy care for plants so that budding gardeners are inspired to get out and do more in and with their soil.

 There is so much information out there that it can feel overwhelming. We strive with our Herb Walks to provide fun and simple ways that you can take with you (a plant for your garden and samples of products you make) to start living a healthier life for yourself, your animal companions and the planet.

For more information regarding our Herb Walks check out our website, the Events section on our Facebook Fan Page http://www.facebook.com/ThreeTreasuresFarms or email us directly threetreasuresfarms@gmail.com

Friday, September 7, 2012

Chase Community Giving Contest

What it is:
Chase Community Giving Contest provides grants ranging from $250,000 to $10,000 to qualifying non-profits based on our ability to achieve Votes from the public. One of the things that I appreciate about this grant contest that as we touch the lives of more and more people around the country with our services we are able to in turn have them express their appreciate and lend us assistance by taking just a few minutes to Vote for 3TF and share with others. The Chase Community Giving Contest also gives us a chance to really connect to a variety of people and spread 3TF’s mission of education and empowerment.
What we plan to do with the grant:
As we receive grants and donations we are able to provide more and more scholarships to youth in need. One of the things we strive for with our programs at Three Treasures Farms is sustainability. We find ways in which our scholarship students can help us to help them by creating income producing activities, such as with our Herb Walks. At our Herb Walks students are taught to identify, harvest and make products using the herbs they find during the Walk. Some of those herbs are dried and used to feed to the horses and ponies of 3TF while others are used to make tinctures that are either fed to the horses or sold to help provide income for the non-profit. Students are able to take a sample of what they make home for their own personal use as well. Money received from donations and grants like Chase Community Giving provide us with the seed money we need to purchase the supplies necessary for our programs and merchandise to sell, which not only brings income in, but also helps us spread the word to others about what we do.
Our class sizes are limited, but the internet allows for us to be more and more connected to those around the world and as technology continues to advance we at 3TF strive to keep up by providing free coverage of our classes and programs so that those who aren’t able to be with us in person can still benefit from the experience. This technology takes money, time and knowledgeable people to maintain it. We plan to invest some of our Chase Community Grant funding into being able to expand our use of technology, thereby reaching and sharing our knowledge with more people.
We hope that you will join us by Voting for us and sharing this link. For those able and interested we welcome donations of all kinds and as a 501c3 are able to provide tax deductible receipts.