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, April 29, 2007

Wilbur and Cantering

Well, Wilbur and I are doing great with cantering. He is finally doing it and I am comfortable with him doing it. We were able to canter all over Clare's fields and paddock at our PPG meeting on Saturday. It was FUN! I rode him in the bareback pad and rope halter. Whoo-Hoo!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Reconnecting with Whiskey

Whiskey and I have had a bit of distance between us. Therefore, I am trying to reconnect with him. As you know, the new Parelli Group is going strong. We are setting goals and reporting. Here is a post that I sent regarding my progress.

PPG note
Good Evening Parelli Play Group--

Well, I have played with Whiskey again--this morning. My goal was to ride him in the arena and then in the woods two times during the two week lag between our meetings. If you recall, I modified my goal noting that maybe he was not ready for the riding component and that we may have to work on other related issues.

This morning I played with him and we had what I would consider a great session. He came down to the arena and said hello. I put a halter on him and played with him a little. Then, I saddled him with the bareback pad. I took a long time to do this (probably 15 minutes total). I used a great deal of approach and retreat, asked him to put his nose on the pad, etc. I then used a very long phased cinching with several tasks in between the three cinchings. I did this specifically because I have recognized that I may have been rushing the phases with saddling and mounting tasks with him which may be part of our problem (including of course the lack of time we have spent together since the fall). In any event, the saddling exercise went well as we worked through the process together.

Next, I stood on the mounting block. He decided to circle me and instead of correcting him, I allowed it. Then, I asked him to disengage and then sent him in the other direction. I think he was surprised with this. I then asked him to stand at the mounting block for me to lay over him. He nipped my leg and I nipped him back by pinching his neck (phase 4 porcupine game really). I proceeded to lay over him, he looked as if he might try the nip again so I blocked the action, layed over him, he pinned his ears (not totally back but, I could tell he was annoyed or upset). I got off of him and played friendly game for a bit and then started laying over him again, rubbing him all over, and then standing on the mounting block. I did this maybe 15 times and each time, I noticed a progressive change in him--for the better. He eventually relaxed and was fine with the activity. No biting or ears laying back. He was calm and relaxed.

This is where I ended the session. I did not mount (as he may have expected). I walked with him on a lose line to the water trough, took his halter and the bareback pad off, and released him. He took a drink. The other horses had been coming in and out of the arena the entire time but at this point, Wilbur was the only other horse in the arena. I layed the bareback pad on him (did hot cinch it) after haltering him. I then just took it all off and gave him a good scratch. These horses had no clue what to expect from me today.

Wilbur left (slowly, not running away or anything) and Whiskey stayed around. I walked to the shed to get their breakfast ready and noticed Whiskey looking for me--it was so cool! So, I took a few treats down to him. It was wonderful to see that he was not upset and not wanting to run away to the herd.

So, personally, I think I was successful these past two weeks. I may have been able to actually do the riding tasks but, as you know, the last two weeks have been less than normal and i have only played with Whiskey twice, MIni-Me once, Fosse once, and rode Wilbur once. I typically play with them all on a daily or every other day basis. In any event, I think progress on our relationship (Whiskey and I) and communication skills are going well. We are reconnecting for sure.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Trail Ride on the New River Trail

My friend Clare and I went to the New River Trail at Draper, Virginia for a trail ride. I took WIlbur and she took her horse Smokey. This photo (from the Washington Post), represents what we say while we were there. The horses were riden WTC and hand-walked over trestles like this one. We also got to see part of Claytor Lake. This was a fun-filled adventure for sure!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Total Undemanding Time Today

TOTAL undemanding time today--I really mean it!! LOL I went in the arena, Wilbur was already there. He and I met up (he came over to me) and I happened to have a few apple treat cookies in my pocket. I gave him scratches and cookies. He then left. I walked over to the new gate (Rick put up for me today--he has also redone the fencing--more photos later) and I turned around and Wilbur was there. I had no more treats but lots of rubbing and scratching. He stuck around. Then, Fosse, Whiskey, and Mini-Me (Rick is now calling him "Hippie" because of his huge mane), came down the mountain to check things out. I got some more treats andjust scratched them and gave them treats--even the mini was interested (a first). I then left the arena and got their dinners ready. I started feeding them Purina Ultium http://www.ultium.com/ (My friend Clare also feeds it and her horses look great.) and apparently they really love it. (I also got new hay--we have had some major nutrition issues in the last several weeks.) Anyhow, I yelled down for them to run up the hill and they all were bucking, jumping, and galloping up to me with happy whinnies!!! (They usually just walk or trot up. We do plan to put in 4 tie posts in the arena to start feeding there but for now, they have their own trees.) It was so cool, they seemed engaged with me. I really think they loved to treats but, it seemed like more than that kept their interest. (By the way, they all finished their dinners too, I may finally have a yummy, nutritional hit!)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Parelli, Motivation, and Learning

I have been catching up on Savvy Club DVDs today and thinking about our newly formed group. Yes, I have revived the Parelli Play Group. http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/parelliplaygroup/ I cannot even begin to tell you all how pleased I am with this.
I was watching the September 2006 DVD this morning, the segment with one of the Level 2 Parelli students, Yvonne and her horse (an Arabian mare named Escada). Her journey has also been featured in the Savvy Times (I am going to have to review the articles.) She really gave me some insight on the idea of not going out with an agenda but just letting things come together with the horse. I tend to be an agenda driven person (if you haven't noticed already), probably part professional hazard (for those of you who don't know me well, I am an academic librarian) and part Sagittarian personality http://www.astrology-online.com/sagittar.htm. Apparently this was something she learned from the Parelli Behavior and Liberty DVD set (something I just cannot afford to buy right now-$649 yikes). However, I am going to take some of the tid-bits from the Savvy Club DVD and apply them with my play time today. I was reluctant to even watch the segment (not being driven by one of the Parellis). I cannot really explain why but perhaps my assumption was that I would not learn from the time spent (26 minute segment). I was wrong. I really gained insight and knowledge by viewing it.

Ok, so how it all went. I was out with the horses twice today. The first time, there was a lot of undemanding time. It was my goal to see what my horses would do and what they would be interested in.

Wilbur saw me and left. Mini-Me ignored me totally. Whiskey and Fosse came to investigate. I did have Fosse putting his front feet in the trailer; I then tried to get him to load with the savvy string only. I think that for today, he was pushed too much. He did come back several times but was not convinced he wanted to stay with me, totally. (Oh, did I mention that there were dog cage panels behind the trailer and he was basically in a 10x10 dog cage with one side swung open? I was shocked that he came in--Whiskey did too, at the same time--no claustrophobia here folks). Whiskey came a few times but really was more interested in what Fosse was up to. When I went to get the halter, Fosse and Whiskey left. I found this all to be interesting and depressing. I question why my horses are not interested in me--could it be today? Could it be because we have done little since November? I am just not sure. Other times, they seem so much more interested in me.

I went back out this evening to feed. They all came running down to their trees to be haltered and fed their grain. So what is this all about? Am I just their waitress? HMMM

After they were finished, I released everyone and took Whiskey with me to the arena. I played with him a little, saddled him with my English saddle and Parelli Natural Hackamore. I then rode him. Overall, I think it was successful on many fronts. He was willing to move forward and we weaved in and out of cones, side-passing, and stopping. This was all at the walk. He also bucked a few times. Rather than bailing out, I worked through this threshold of mine and was fine, I lived, I was ok and so was he. Whiskey is an emotional horse. I am convinced that this behavior was a left-brained temper tantrum. I really thought long and hard about this and he probably wanted to be up with the other horses. I dismounted one time and played on the ground with him again. Remounted, only for a few minutes and then dismounted again. I took his tack off, blanketed him, fed him cookies, and he was reluctant to leave me. Does this mean he really does like to spend time with me? HMMM

Overall, I am really satisfied with our time together. I believe that we are making progress. And no, I did not trot today. Why? Because, I believe that would have pushed the limits a bit too hard today. This is the first real, successful session I have had with him since November and I believe that we made true progress, both of us.
Another thought---I have not done too much with the horses since November (remember I got injured--my fault, and then the winter weather--oye!). This may also have some implications.