[caption id="attachment_61018" align="aligncenter" width="600"]<img src="https:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2019\/09\/DSCN9778.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="420" class="size-full wp-image-61018" \/> Photo courtesy of George Deike<br \/>Pam Pierce, a Level 2 equine massage therapist from Wellington, Colorado, meets the Icelandic horses at a clinic at Shalimar Farm in Cass.[\/caption]\r\n\r\nLaura Dean Bennett\r\nStaff Writer\r\n\r\nA recent equestrian clinic at Shalimar Farm brought together riders and their horses for a special \u201cMassage to Dressage\u201d weekend.\r\n\r\nThe clinic was conducted by Pam Pierce, a return guest of the farm.\r\n\r\nPierce is a horsewoman and Level 2 equine massage therapist from Wellington, Colorado, who comes to visit her friends at Shalimar Farm. \r\n\r\nMickey Deike offered the clinic free of charge to a small group of friends, ranging in age from eight to 80. \r\n\r\nThe back-up clinician was George and Mickey\u2019s daughter, Selene Deike.\r\n\r\nSelene, a well-known local horsewoman, now lives in Louisa, Virginia, where she\u2019s a professional horse trainer.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe were so happy to have Pam Pierce here with us again, and we jumped at the chance to have a few friends and their horses experience equine massage,\u201d Mickey said.\r\n\r\n\u201cAnd it really worked out well that Selene was home that weekend.\r\n\r\n\u201cShe was able to contribute a lot by working with the horses and riders on other issues while Pam was doing the massage therapy.\r\n\r\n\u201cSelene comes in a couple times a month, and she\u2019s always happy to help anyone who\u2019s here with their horses.\u201d \r\n\r\nAlong with the horses the guests brought to the farm, Mickey\u2019s two horses, a \u201cWalkaloosa\u201d (a Tennessee Walker\/Appaloosa cross) named Keeper and an Appaloosa named Koda also took part in the clinic. \r\n\r\nEach of the seven horses received an hour of therapeutic massage by Pierce, who took time to explain what she was doing as she progressed along the horse\u2019s body, from head to tail.\r\n\r\nThe equestrians spent time getting to know each other during lunches provided by Shalimar Farm. \r\n\r\nEach participant received a 15 minute per day protocol for continuing an ongoing massage therapy regimen individually tailored for their horse. \r\n\r\n[caption id="attachment_61020" align="aligncenter" width="600"]<img src="https:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2019\/09\/DSCN9827.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="473" class="size-full wp-image-61020" \/> Photos courtesy of George Deike<br \/>Above, Pam Pierce takes eight-year-old Torrie for a ride on Koda, a safe and steady Appaloosa. At right:\u2008horses show trust in their human companions as they step through a strips challenge.[\/caption]\r\n\r\n<img src="https:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2019\/09\/DSCN9794_2.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="477" class="alignleft size-full wp-image-61019" \/>\r\n\r\nMany horse owners and riders say equine massage therapy increases the performance level, competitiveness and endurance of their horses.\r\n\r\nEquine massage is also said to shorten recovery time after many sorts of injuries. \r\n\r\nMickey said she was especially gratified that each participant seemed to get as much out of the clinic as did the horses.\r\n\u201cIt\u2019s really all about the horses,\u201d she said. \r\n \r\n\u201cHorse people \u2013 no matter what kind of horse they ride or what kind of riding they do \u2013 all want to take good care of their horses. \r\n\r\n\u201cAnd we all want to build stronger relationships with our horses.\r\n\r\n\u201cI just love that we had such a wide age range of riders at this clinic, and they all enjoyed themselves and learned something.\r\n\r\n\u201cOur common love of horses was the bond that brought everyone together,\u201d she added.\r\n\r\nThe clinic promoted Sharon Wilsie\u2019s book Horse Speak, which Mickey extolls as a must-read for every equestrian. \r\n \r\nTracie Hickson, a local friend of Mickey\u2019s who spends a lot of time helping out at Shalimar Farm, participated in the clinic.\r\n\r\nShe brought her niece, eight year old Torri, who also took part.\r\n\r\nBoth reported that they had a good time. \r\n\r\nJane Wasson, Margie Kelly and Geraldine Johnson travelled from Pennsylvania to enjoy the early fall weather at Shalimar Farm with their Icelandic horses. \r\n\r\nEveryone was fascinated with the Icelandic horses and their unusual and particular gait \u2013 called the \u201ctolt.\u201d\r\n\r\nFourteen year old Emily Rimm, of Green Bank, had an opportunity to learn about equine massage and enjoyed a little time in the saddle onMickey\u2019s horse, Koda. \r\n\r\nLynette Otto is a licensed professional counselor who has an equine assisted psychotherapy practice on Browns Mountain.\r\nShe brought her nine year old thoroughbred, Cinco, to the clinic.\r\n\r\n\u201cI always enjoy being at Shalimar Farm,\u201d Otto said. \u201cIt\u2019s a beautiful place.\u201d \r\n\r\nShalimar Farm is an idyllic 700-acre equestrian retreat which borders the Monongahela National Forest and features 24 miles of riding trails.\r\n\r\n[caption id="attachment_61017" align="aligncenter" width="600"]<img src="https:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2019\/09\/DSCF0293.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="450" class="size-full wp-image-61017" \/> At left, Mickey Deike, spends time with her best friend, Keeper. Mickey and her husband George have operated the farm since 1971.[\/caption]\r\n\r\nGeorge and Mickey Deike were living in Elkins and had been visiting Pocahontas County for years when they decided to buy the extensive property in 1971 and open it to riders who wanted to vacation with their horses.\r\n\r\nWide open spaces, barns, loafing sheds, green fields and an impressive covered riding arena make for an ideal setting in which horses can enjoy a little time away from home.\r\n\r\nAnd the humans come to enjoy the pleasure of trail riding on private, groomed trails through fields and forests in the mountains of Pocahontas County. \r\n\r\nWith its three rustic cabins, Shalimar offers country hospitality to only eight guests at a time \u2013 spectacular views and cool mountain air thrown in for free. \r\n\r\n\u201cWe try to keep this a relaxing and private experience; that\u2019s why we book only eight guests at a time,\u201d Mickey explained. \r\n\r\nEach fully furnished cabin, with wood-burning fireplace, has accommodations for horses and is connected to the vast trail system.\r\n\r\nShalimar Farm Retreat welcomes guests year-round, with weekly or monthly rentals from November to May. Guests and horses are welcome May through October. \r\n\r\nGeorge and Mickey and their horses seem to have found a bit of heaven in the hills above Cass.\r\n\r\n\u201cOh yes, Pocahontas County really is \u201calmost heaven,\u201d like the West Virginia slogan says,\u201d Mickey said. \r\n\r\n\u201cWhere is the sky a darker blue?\r\n\r\n\u201cWhere do the stars shine any brighter?\u201d she challenged.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt\u2019s just out of this world \u2013 a unique place unto itself.\u201d\r\n\r\nAnyone interested in learning more about Shalimar Farm can find them at shalimarfarm.com or on Facebook. Call 304-456-4852 for reservations.