About Me

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North Lawrence, New York, United States
I can be described as lover of life, an animal lover, and lover of education. I am constantly striving for knowledge and learning opportunities. I've been around horses my entire life. I enjoy working with horses and their human partners through natural horsemanship philosophies, natural balance bare foot hoof care, reiki, red-light therapy, essential oils, aromatherapy, crystal healing, chromotherapy, flower essences, and more. I am a Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki Master Teacher who offers treatments for people, horses, dogs, cats, and other creatures great and small. I also teach Reiki classes for those interested in learning how to treat themselves, their loved ones, and even their animals! Natural Horse Lover Farm is located in Northern New York between the St. Lawrence River and Adirondack Mountains. Heaven on Earth. naturalhorseloverfarm.com

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Fun with Whiskey (the horse)

Hey Horsey Friends! I just wanted to share an experience I had yesterday with my Arabian Gelding, Whiskey. I LOVE THIS HORSE.

If you recall, he was the horse (rescue or sorts). When I got him, he had no manners and had been let in a field, ignored (unbenown to the owner) at a trainer's place (in Northern Virginia) where she was paying almost $500/mo. Being out of state, it caused her a problem. Then, her finances messed everything up for her and she wanted to place him with someone. She found me and gave him to me (papers and all) because I practiced Parelli Natural Horsemanship and she knew, he needed someone like that in his life. This is a very emotional horse who can be a challenge.

So, I had him well on his way on the ground until I made the stupid mistake of asking a trainer (a different one, more local) to help me get him started, I doubted my skills and made a grave error in judgement--I will NEVER do this again. I was eventuall told that was a danger to himself and others and that he should probably be put to pasture or put down. He was kicked out of the barn and I was told to take him home, she and another person beat him to get him on the trailer, totally ignoring me (it was not my trailer and for some reason, everyone was in a hurry. They all thought I knew nothing and that is was evident because my horse was acting up. Well, he was acting up because of them, not me. It was like they were yelling at him (whether in horse or human language) and he was shutting down. So now I have my own trailer and I will only load and transport my horses using the PNH methods, no so-called assistance from others---and funny thing, they load, great!I can even ask Whiskey to back to the back of the trailer and come forward without gettting off--we made a game of it!

Ok, so he is home at this point. I had to come to grips with the fact that due to my schedule, everything would simply take longer, and you know what, I decided, who cares! My husband was supportive and reminded me that there was no hurry. Anyhow, I took my horse and my skills with PNH and decided to fix what she screwed up and decided we'd move forward, at whatever pace we had to. So, when I got him back, after three weeks where she did nothing but ruin his mind and spirit, and refused to mount as she was terrified of him, and now, he was a basket case. He and I lost our communication and trust because I was an idiot. So, after many months of regaining our relationship, I started him, myself, in a Parelli rope halter, nothing else. I guess that was last summer. I hopped on him in the filed with a pair of shorts on (I had sat on him before a few times). We didn't do too much that summer. I sat on him, walked him a bit in the arena, and then he had some hoof isues so not too much had been accomplished after that--I also started trimming myself as his hoof issues were related to poor farrier work--his feet are looking really good now--not perfect but, on their way. It seems that he was at the local trainer's perhaps the fall before this, it is a blur at this point.

He and I are so good together, we communicate on a level that others only dream of. I should have never doubted myself or questioned him. This is not to say that he always agrees with me but, we work things out. This summer, I have been riding him mostly at a walk in the arena. We also do some work with the other horses in the arena. Remember I told you how I ride him, drive Wilbur at liberty, and Fosse follows? That is great fun. We finally have started consistent walk/trot transitions on our own and he does get a little ugly with the trotting (nips my foot on occassion), I think as a youngster, he gets worried or uncertain of himself, I also think he is a horse that easily gets bored. I am careful to follow the appropriate phases and give him time to respond (as an attempt to be certain I am not yelling in horse lingo). He is a L1 riding, L2/3 ground if I were to evaluate him using the PNH criteria.

Ok, so I have innundated you with this long story and here is why I am so pleased. I FINALLY rode him out of the arena for an extended period of time. I have sat on him before in the yard but not often. So, yesterday, after playing the 7 games on the ground, riding in the arena doing walk, trot, one-rein stops, and side passing, going through the obstacles on the ground and under saddle (bareback pad), we left the arena, explored the yard, he ate some grass, the dogs were pestering him and he could have cared less. Rick was riding the 4-wheeler around the property and near us and he was fine with it. So, I decided to ride him up the hill to our camp. We explored the camp and went just a little way down one trail. I am riding him in a Parelli bareback pad and natural hackamore by the way, not boots just barefoot--we have round rocks and dirt.. He did well with that. Fosse called once and Whiskey ignored him. We trotted up the hill by the way and he was not ugly at all--as Linda Parelli would say, "how interesting" . Ok, so now we are back in the yard, Rick pulls up with the 4-wheeler and asks me if I thought Whiskey would go to the back of the property on the trail (we have 26 acres to give you an idea of range). Rick wanted to show me a level area back there that may be nice for riding. (Remember, we live in the mountains, very steep terrain in places, flat is a miracle LOL.) I looked at Whiskey, looked back at Rick and said, I don't know but let's try! So, I asked Whiskey to stop eating grass (he is great with this, just a little shake of the rein and he knows it is time to go). So, off we went, Rick said he'd follow shortly after we left and wanted to give us time as he is riding a 4-wheeler and I am on a green horse.

Whiskey did GREAT! He was a total trooper. We walked and trotted up and down the mountain slopes (as asked) and made it back to the rear portion of the property without any problem--he was sweaty and tired though. We waited for Rick to approach (Whiskey ate leaves off of a tree, calm and relaxed, looked up when he heard the 4-wheeler approach but kept eating and standing calmly). Rick got off and walked in front of Whiskey and I as he showed us the area he spoke of--it was really nice and fairly clear. Then Whiskey and I headed back down one trail, Rick on the parallel trail. We were going to meet at the bridge (yes, we have a little bridge that we crossed too---when we came in, Whiskey was a little worried about it but leaving, he was fine--I was preparred if he decided to jump it both times though). I thought it was so cool, I was finally enjoying my horse out of the arena and he absolutely loved the woods. Rick told me that he believes Whiskey makes the trails for the other horses in their new turnout (which is in the woods) so for him, this was probably really fun. I thought it was neat that I could ride my horse and hubby could be on the 4-wheeler, together. Rick has also indicated wanting ride Wilbur with Whiskey and I-- I agreed and I think it would be great fun. I also love and am impressed that Whiskey does not care when Fosse is calling to him, he is focused on our journey, not what is back at the barn (so to speak).

So, this is my long-winded tale of the day. I am heading out to check on things and if the weather holds, riding in the woods again, with my beloved Whiskey. I look forward to more adventures with him in the near future. I think that this proves a few things to me. One, to never underestimate your skills and assume everyone else must know more than you do. If you have put in the time, why wouldn't you have knowledge and skills. Two, never underestimate the power of partnership, and three, (paraphrasing Pat Parelli) taking the time it takes, putting principles before goals, and patient persistence all pay off!

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