Expedition #5 - Giddy Up! Leadership Through Ranching

Words & Photos from Julia M.

For our fifth and final expedition day, we were super excited to get back to the horses. We split into two groups in the morning and headed off for our day. The drive was long we but we were eager to get started. Through the day we were going to go on a two hour trail ride at Alpine Stables and then head back to Spiritgate Farm where we spent our third exhibition day. In the morning, my group started off at Alpine Stables where we quickly saddle off headed into the trails of Cobble Hill Mountain. Our guide led us up the north side of the mountain as the horses easily navigated the steep terrain. Being immersed in the quiet nature was very rewarding for the group. We were able to experience a little bit of what our end-of-year trip is going to be like.

In the afternoon, we drove over to Spiritgate Farm and reunited with our best friend, Hoover. The farm had changed locations since the last time that we were there and Michelle, the owner, showed us around and we explored the new farm for a bit. We started our activities with splitting into two groups of three where we would start to work with the horses. Our task was to lead the horse, with just commands and cookie incentives, down a long path with the goal of crossing a bridge over water at the end. The first horse we worked with, Solstice, was a bit stubborn and apparently full, explaining why she didn’t want the treats. We then switched horses and started working with Ginger. She was much bigger than Solstice and immediately came to greet us. The three of us worked really well together and were successful in guiding Ginger across the bridge. She had not yet crossed the bridge as this was a newer home, definitely an added bonus for us. We then switched groups and were spectators to the second group as they also guided Ginger across the bridge. This activity was very rewarding for us, a feeling shared by the group, as we sat down with Michelle to reflect on it.

Next, we moved our conversation to where we started off and then Michelle educated us and led a discussion on environmental and sustainability issues. The most interesting part was definitely when she made plants sing. This sounds a little crazy but can be easily explained. According to Michelle, there is a group in Northern Italy studying the vibrational energy signals that run through plants, similar to humans. They have developed a machine that can transmit these signals and synthesize them into musical notes. We were all fascinated by this, this being something never seen before by any of us. Overall, we experienced new things, learned plenty and went home feeling accomplished and inspired. Now, onto our next adventure!