HUMAN INTEREST PIECES
A human interest story focuses more on the personal aspect of an event rather than just the who, what, where, when, and how, and is more descriptive and detailed than a “just the facts, ma’am” press release. The “interest” is generated more through emotion or inspiration than by the facts surrounding the event.
Written under the name: Beverly Lehnhardt on June 2, 2008
Equine Hydrotherapy Swim Tank Now Open in Verde Valley
The B Cross Ranch’s new equine hydrotherapy swim tank is now open to the public. Located at 2200 North Dancing Apache Road, Cornville, right on Oak Creek, the B Cross Ranch is owned by Tanner and Cory Bryson. It is a full-care facility offering boarders 3-to-5-times-per-week swims, grassy turn-outs, and daily rides, as well as breaking, roping and Western-style training.
Area residents can buy a membership at the ranch and trailer their horses in for swims and training if boarding is not necessary. Owners can swim their horses 3 to 5 times per week, Monday through Friday, giving crucial rest time on the weekends. Overdoing any new regimen is not recommended.
When designing his hydrotherapy tank, Bryson consulted Central Arizona Equine veterinarian Dr. Tim Delaney and followed many of his recommendations. Delaney is also the vet-on-call for the B Cross Ranch.
The hydrotherapy tank is 120 feet long, 12 feet wide, and 12 feet deep with gradually sloping ramps at either end. Horizontal ribs on the ramps create natural steps to prevent horses from slipping when entering or exiting the pool. A narrow chute controls the horse’s approach to the entry ramp while concrete walkways on either side of the tank allow ‘walkers’ to guide the swimming horse by leads clipped to its halter. This also helps to safely coax a hesitant first-timer into the water, however, experience has shown that after 2 or 3 swims, even the most reluctant horses begin to eagerly anticipate their next ‘dip in the pool.’
Containing 75,000 gallons of fresh water, the tank is totally gravity-fed by two artesian wells that provide 600 gallons of circulating water per minute. The water intake vent is located at the bottom of the pool nearer the exit end; the overflow vent is level with the top of the entry ramp. The horses swim against the slight current created by the location of these vents and enjoy the benefits of the increased water resistance. Sixty-two degrees year-round, the water contains no chlorine or other chemical additives, providing a clear, clean, natural environment that promotes a shiny, healthy coat and clean skin.
In addition to the benefits of a regular freshwater bath, one length of the pool is a 30-second swim and is equivalent to a 20-minute workout, without the stress and lower-body impact of normal exercise. When a horse swims, he naturally stretches his legs farther than when walking or running, using more and different muscles in a different manner. Swimming provides a healthy cardiovascular workout and intense physical exertion with much less stress and pounding of the feet and legs.
The cold temperatures of the water also provide physiological benefits to horses suffering injuries. The body reacts in a predictable manner to the trauma of strains and bruises. When soft tissues are injured, the body releases enzymes and proteins causing the blood vessel walls in that vicinity to dilate and become more porous. Extra fluids carrying oxygen and protein for tissue repair pool around the injured area, causing swelling that helps immobilize the injury. Hormones are secreted, causing much of the pain that aids in preventing overuse of the affected area while increased blood flow to the injury site causes a ‘hot spot’ in that specific vicinity.
The three main symptoms of inflammation – pain, heat, and swelling – can be effectively treated without the use of drugs. The safest way to treat these symptoms is to use the application of cold to allow the horse’s own circulatory system to remove excess fluids that have collected in the tissues.
Immersing the injured limb in cold water elicits three basic reactions. First, the metabolic response of the cells is reduced—they need less oxygen to function, naturally reducing the amount of oxygen-bearing fluids sent to the injury site.
Second, the permeability of the blood vessel walls is decreased, thus reducing the amount of fluid able to accumulate in the injured area.
And third, the cold numbs the area to a certain degree, reducing pain.
The circulation of the swim tank’s slight current creates an aerating effect that: 1) increases the level of dissolved oxygen in the water aiding the healing process much as hyperbaric chambers do and 2) subjects the soft tissue to gentle massaging action that helps disperse any accumulated fluids.
Also, research has shown that horses tend to relax more in moving water than in still cold water, as evidenced by reduced heart rates.
Proven benefits of using the hydrotherapy swim tank on a regular basis are:
• Increased physical stamina
• Muscle conditioning; more muscle definition; more flexibility
• Cold-water benefits for injuries; less chance of re-injury
• Psychological benefits: more relaxed, more focused, more usable energy on demand
• Cuts down on the amount of time spent working out
• Reduces stall vices and nervous energy
• Fresh water is good for overall health and coats
Bryson and Dr. Delaney recommend that horses with back, leg, or shoulder injuries or those recuperating from surgery utilize the rehabilitative benefits of hydrotherapy to maintain a level of exercise during recuperation without chancing re-injury and to build and/or maintain muscle tone. In addition, prior to a horse’s working season (roping, rodeo competition, dressage, etc.) he should be conditioned for a minimum of 30 days so he is in top form, increasing his performance ability and greatly reducing the odds of sustaining an injury.
Proponents of underwater treadmills (Aqua-Treads) will be happy to know that the water level of Bryson’s state-of-the-art hydrotherapy swim tank can be lowered to chest height. This allows the horse’s weight-bearing muscles to be worked as he walks and/or trots against the slight current.
Call 928-634-0100 for more information or to make reservations. You can also visit their website at www.bcrosshorses.com .
Written under the name: Beverly Lehnhardt on July 24, 2008
New Talent in the Verde Valley
There is no disputing the fact that much talent resides in the Verde Valley: artists; actors;
writers; musicians and an abundance of other gifted personalities. But there is always room for one more and area residents should open their arms to Native American flute player, David Wolfs Robe.
Wolfs Robe recently relocated to Sedona from Southern California and is now making his home here amidst the red rocks. Born in 1966 to Shawnee/Cherokee parents in Park Hills, Oklahoma, he was adopted by a non-native family when he was five years old. Growing up in two worlds, he was familiar with both but not completely accepted in either.
In high school, Wolfs Robe discovered two talents, one in each of his two worlds: football and dancing in traditional Native American Pow-wows. At that time, his dream was to play college football and go on to the pro’s but that dream was short-lived due to a freak accident. In his own words, he tells how that dream came to a painful end – and another was born:
“In High School I played Varsity football and one day during practice there was a freak accident that left both my knees badly damaged. At this time I was being scouted by the University of Southern Florida. When the doctors told me I would never play sports again, my dream was no longer a reality. My other passion, dancing at our Traditional Pow-wows, also ended that day. I felt I had nowhere to go, no dreams to live for, and eventually found comfort in a bottle. My life was rapidly spiraling downward.
Luckily, I had some Native brothers and sisters who cared a great deal about me. They knew if I found something else that would talk to my Heart I would hold on and not let go. One of my Native brothers recalled at one time I was drawn to the flute. I had once met a man who was a flute maker that traveled the same Pow-Wow circuit I did. I never spoke much to him – only a “Hello” in passing. It was at this time my brothers and sisters intervened…
At spring Pow-Wow in Northern Florida I was setting up my teepee lodge when I heard a voice saying, “Need some help?” I was not going to turn away help so thus my friendship began with the flute maker I had met briefly in the past. His name was Nathan and he was a fourth generation Blackfoot flute maker. Our friendship grew quickly and sometimes he was more like a father to me, occasionally going with me to AA meetings just to make sure I was okay.
One weekend at Ceremony he asked if I would like to learn to make flutes. There was only one answer to that: “Yes!” I had long been haunted by the beautiful sounds that rose from the flutes he put his lips to and thus began my life as a flute maker. Sometimes it is hard to make a long story short because we want others to hear all the details so it may help them in some way and heal old wounds.
I can tell you that the Native American flute, some beautiful, caring people, and a little guidance from Creator saved my life. It was years later, after the passing of Nathaniel Decker, that I learned my brothers and sisters had spent time with him telling him my story. It had moved this mountain of a man to ask me on that day if I needed some help and now I walk a road of beauty. I still slip once in a while but when I do, I play my flutes and remember the People who love me.
The Legacy of the Native American flute is most important to me; it is an awing experience to be able to share this beauty with others. The Traditional way of the Native American flute is a true Song from the Heart and Soul and I am proud to keep this Legacy alive.”
Between 1984 and 2000, Wolfs Robe tapped into the same passion that had made him such a successful football player to make traditional Native American flutes. His flutes were much sought after because of his perfectionist nature and his attention to the tiniest detail. Flute making helped Wolfs Robe reconnect with his Native roots and he has found his Path – he now belongs fully to the Native world and is proud of his culture, saying, “I admire them (my People) for their strength, courage, and resilience.”
In 1996, Wolfs Robe took another huge step – out onto a stage – and began playing his beloved flutes in front of live audiences; he recorded his first CD, With Sacred Breath, in 2000. After that, there was no stopping this extremely talented musician. He recorded Turtle Island in 2005, Visions of a Past in 2007, and Ancient Dreams earlier this year.
Visions of a Past, was nominated for both the 2007 and 2008 Native American Music Awards (NAMA). All four CDs can be purchased in Sedona at Infinite Light on Jordan Road; The Worm Book & Music Store, 6645 Hwy 179; and Sedona Sunset at the Matterhorn Shoppes; or by visiting Wolfs Robe’s website at www.akaflutemanent.com. His music can also be heard on NativeRadio.com.
In fully embracing his heritage and the arts of making and playing the traditional Native American flute, Wolfs Robe says, “My walk in this life is very clear to me now and it is simple: walk softly, spread love, compassion, healing, knowledge and peace through the flute.”
In only 8 years, Wolfs Robe has become internationally known as a very gifted musician and a generous teacher. During his concerts, he plays his flutes in the traditional way – from the Heart – and his music celebrates tradition and reverence for the Earth. His original compositions are not written down and each one is completely unique and impromptu; his eyes are often closed as he plays because he ‘hears’ the notes in his heart and soul.
Sadly, most young Native Americans today are not interested in learning the history and art of flute playing so a significant part of Native culture is being lost. Wolfs Robe not only entertains his audiences but also educates them on the history and importance of the flute to the Native people, often referring to himself as a Musician Preservationist. Stemming from his commitment to the preservation of the Native American flute as well as his own ancestral connections, Wolfs Robe’s work has been credited with helping conserve the art of traditional flute music. He says of his concerts that he “…likes to take listeners on their own journey – to a place where they feel at peace and their Spirit is full of light.”
Wolfs Robe also occasionally offers flute workshops where participants can create their own traditional flute and learn the basics of how to play the instrument. A down-to-earth, hands-on teacher, Wolfs Robe’s students come away from his workshops with a true appreciation for the flute and a deep respect for their instructor.
Wolfs Robe has performed at such places as Grand Canyon, Chaco Canyon, and Badlands national parks; Devil’s Tower National Monument; Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix; and many libraries, churches, and other venues across the country. He has also had the privilege of performing for many dignitaries from around the world.
We are fortunate to have this talented performer in our midst and so easily accessible. Anyone in the Verde Valley searching for unique musical entertainment or a special and very novel workshop for their group should contact David Wolfs Robe through his website e-mail address as soon as possible: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written under the name: Beverly Dennis in September of 2000
Spannagel Paints His Way to Navarro Gallery
Almost everyone can doodle; some have real artistic talent; but only a few can create detailed masterpieces on previously blank canvas. In itself, that caliber of talent is rare, but add a voice as smooth and velvety as fine aged brandy and you have the incredibly gifted John Spannagel.
Next Saturday, October 14, from 4 to 7 p.m., Spannagel will be honored at the recently opened Navarro Gallery in the Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village. This unique reception will provide art and music lovers a rare treat—Spannagel’s smooth vocals and guitar virtuosity combined with exceptional fine art originals. This event allows aficionados the opportunity to enjoy the best of both worlds.
A popular entertainer at many area venues, Spannagel is also recognized as the artist who ‘paints in public.’ Tourists and locals alike often watch the magical transformation of blank canvas… to work in progress… to breathtaking masterpiece.
This ‘duality of talents’ created quite a dilemma for Spannagel when attending Adams State College in his home town of Alamosa, Colo. Trying to choose a major—art or music?—he finally decided not to decide and double-majored in Music Performance and Art/Graphic Design. His was the first, last and only major granted from the school of music with a degree in guitar performance—and he has put that degree to good use!
Over the years, Spannagel has privately taught guitar to many people, young and old, and spent 10 years on the faculty of his alma mater teaching fretted instruments. But he is no stranger to the performance spotlight and has played in numerous bands, sharing the stage with music legends John Conlee, Marshall Tucker, Doug Kershaw and Michael Martin Murphy. He also opened for the Sons of the Pioneers earlier this year at the newly completed Sedona Cultural Park Georgia Frontiere Performing Arts Pavilion.
Although music occupied a huge part of his life, Spannagel also utilized his artistic skills as a design artist and later as general manager for an art gallery in Breckenridge, Colo., the area’s only Greenwich Workshop Dealer. Six years ago he moved to Sedona and painted in public from ‘94 to ‘97 at the Artisans Galleria, formerly located on West Highway 89A. His work can be found in many galleries in both Arizona and Colorado as well as several resorts, B & Bs, The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum and in numerous private collections around the world.
Gentle, caring and down-to-earth, Spannagel is known for his interest in furthering artistic awareness, education and opportunity for children. His piece, Englemann’s Bounty, was donated to the Sedona Taste 2000 to help raise money for the Sedona area Boys & Girls Club. He is also noted for inviting guest artists to share the performance spotlight, encouraging young talent as well as welcoming already-proven vocalists.
Over time, Spannagel has given much of himself for others’ listening and viewing pleasure. The year 2000, however, is proving memorable for this hard-working, multi-talented artist. Only a few months ago at a unique sunset ceremony, Spannagel married long-time significant other, Carol Acuff. Several weeks later, they left on their annual Colorado tour—each year, Spannagel is invited back to Breckenridge and the combination music and art tour has grown in scope and popularity. This year the Colorado 2000 tour expanded to include performances in Grants and Taos, NM., as well.
The tour also included a special ‘Meet the Artist’ event in Leadville, Colo. where art lovers viewed Spannagel’s original masterpiece, Opera Time. The piece currently graces the cover of the annual Chamber of Commerce publication, Leadville Magazine, and features the old Tabor Opera House, commemorating its 120th anniversary. The sale of several original paintings on this tour sent Spannagel home energized and inspired.
Thrilled with the invitation to show his work at the new Navarro Gallery in Tlaquepaque, Spannagel said, “Chris is one of the best. He’s genuine—and his work is amazing. His piece, When Champions Meet, literally took my breath away. I’m honored to hang my work in his gallery.” Chris Navarro, owner of the gallery, is a well-known Western bronze artist and owner of the original and very successful Navarro Gallery in Taos, N.M.
Fate? Destiny? Whatever it was that brought John Spannagel and Chris Navarro together has set the stage for greater things to come. As Navarro’s piece implies, ‘when champions meet,’ whether it’s a saddle bronc and expert rider or two extremely talented artists, almost anything can happen.
Art lovers and music fans everywhere are invited to the Spannagel reception at the new Navarro Gallery, Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village, next Saturday, October 14 from 4 to 7 p.m. Browse through the exciting new gallery, listen to Spannagel’s velvety voice and treat yourself to some tempting hors d’oeuvres catered by L’Auberge de Sedona.
Spannagel will also perform at the Sedona Arts Festival, Sunday, October 15 at 2 p.m., Sedona Red Rock High School. You won’t want to miss the opportunity to see this extraordinarily talented artist at both events next weekend!