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, July 29, 2007

Fosse's First Ride!

I just had to share, I rode Fosse for the first time this morning!!! Can you tell how excited I am? Unfortunately no one was around to take a photo of me on him. I got Fosse several years ago as a baby who was to be put to death because of a grade 5 heart murmer. The vet had finally cleared him for riding (on flat or easy terrain) late last year but all I have done was sit on him, two or three times last year and play tons of ground games since I got him. She is amazed at how healthy he is and looks (besides the murmer of course).

So, how did we do it? We played on the ground for a bit, working through obstacles, then I saddled him with the Parelli bareback pad using obstacles in between cinching to make it a "saddling with savvy task" (first time he has ever been saddled with anything by the way), once saddled, more obstacle and ground work.

After that, I layed over him twice, then mounted. I sat there, flexing his head to each side several times. I then thought, what the heck, and asked Fosse if he wanted to walk! He stepped around a little, getting his footing, using the Parelli techniques ("My Horse Won't Go"), I asked him for forward movement and got it! We walked around the arena, went over groung poles, and around obstacles. He did great! I look forward to riding him again soon.

I also rode Whiskey today. He did well but was up to some of his usual antics. We had fun regardless but, I warned him that he may have competition now! LOL

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Mini-Me is Making Great Progess in Many Ways

Today I played with Mini-Me. He is very intelligent, brave, and willing. We were able to accomplish all of the 7 games with success, go through the obstacles, and then a grooming session. I even put the bareback pad on him back (just for fun--it is almost as big as he is).

I have become very fond of him and he seems to trust me much more now. I did not walk up to catch him for this playtime, he came and sought me out. How exciting! I sat in the arena, and he came to see what was going on. Fosse aand Whiskey were not interested. Whiskey came down and got a drink and left. Fosse never bothered to come down at all.

Mini-Me is looking great and totally different from when I first got him. It has been an amazing transformation. Check out some before and after photos. (By the way, the top photo at the beginning of this post is of Mini-Me and Fosse.)

This is when when I first got him (he was a rescue destined for a bullet by his previous owner)...

This is him now (4 months later)...

Friday, July 27, 2007

Making Use of Time No Matter What

I am very sorry to report that we had to cancel our meeting today. I did haul Whiskey to Clare's this morning in hopes that we'd meet up. I ended up driving back to her place after the library picnic in a thunderstorm, loaded him in the rain, and dodged raindrops and torrential downpours on the way home. I look at it this way, he got in good trailer practice, grazing time at a strange place, I got to practice hauling him around and backing the trailer at the house and at Clare's. So, it was a good experience for both of us overall.

Rick fixed my trailer (obviously) but, on the way home from Clare's, my electric cable ended up dragging and wore through--no lights, no brakes ARGH (the truck seems to be sagging for some reason too---I WANT A NEW TRUCK!). Rick just looked at me, smiled, and said, no problem, he'd fix it right away (but not tonight). He is a gem.

I decided to get in some horse time this evening and worked on trailer loading with Fosse primarily and then a little with Whiskey and Mini-Me. It was fun and yes, Fosse did load, several times. It was time well spent, fun, and very productive. I do have to figure out something for the mini horse though. The dividers in the trailer are at a height where he can slide his back under them. I see this as a potential hazzard. So, we are going to have to be creative and figure something out. I want a solution that is easy to put on and remove--hmmm, I'll have to think about this--I bet Rick will know what to do.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Trailer Practice

This evening I was getting the trailer ready for tomorrow's excursion. Our Parelli Play Group is having a meeting at Pandapas Pond. I decided to work on trailer loading with Fosse and Whiskey. Whiskey loaded fine (no surprise there, he loves this trailer). Fosse loaded only his front half. The interesting part was, when I asked him to get his front feet off of the trailer (using yo-yo or porcupine game), each time he decided he did not want to and pushed into me or bended his body in such a way that he'd avoid me and thus not getting off. After he did remove his feet from the trailer and disembarked, I'd ask him to load again. He'd put his front feet back in and each time, stomping them harder as if to say, I had them here and you made me remove them! All I can say is... how interesting.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Good Riding and Horse Play This Evening

I rode Whiskey tonight and it went quite well! I started by playing on the ground with him using obstacles and testing our communication and skill together. Then, I saddled him with the Parelli Theraflex pad (paying close attention to the shimming) and my English saddle. I usually ride him bareback or with the Parelli bareback pad so this was one fairly new. I also used the rope halter and 12 foot lead. I think I may have ridden him one other time with a different saddle about 4 months ago. At first, he was pissy and not overly cooperative moving forward. This time however, there was not one incident of biting or nipping. This time, a bit of ear pinning. (Remember, he has not moved forward yet.) Rather than push the issue or dismount, I looked it as him testing me. I took a step back, did not get frustrated or scared, and just breathed deeply, relaxed, and checked for my position (to be sure I was in the proper position). I made some adjustments. I then lifted my reins and used my savvy string (spanking the air) to ask him for forward movement. He gave it. It took about 3-5 5 minutes and I got him to ride the rail and go through obbstacles for the next 30 minutes (at a walk). I used the savvy string and leg pressure (with no objection from him--first time) . I also allowed him to eat a little hay that was on the ground (showing confidence and trust to allow his head to drop--especially because in the beginning he showed a bit of a desire to possibly buck). He liked this. I would allow one mouthful and then ask for forward movement. He complied with no argument.

After our excellent and fun session riding, I dismounted and fed grain to the horses. (Oh, by the way, it was thundering and sprinkling during all this.)

When Fosse was finished eating, I played with him on-line and at liberty. It was a riot. We were playing like I've seen Linda play with Remmer--so exciting!

So, I really had fun today and I think they did too.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Discovery and Learning, Ponderings about Today's Horsey Fun

Today, Clare and I took Parlay and Whiskey to the White Cedar Horse Camp an Recreation area in Dismal, Virginia. This area has very nice camping, day-use, and trail areas. Apparently, there is also good trout fishing!

Our journey started this afternoon when Clare came to the house to pick us up. My trailer still needs a wiring job and so, she agreed to transport us. Whiskey's trailering experiences have not always been pleasant (he was beaten on one once), and he is used to my 3h-slant load stock. Her trailer, is a cute, 2 horse straight load. Loading at the house took about 5 minutes, Parlay was already on board. Clare pulled in, turned the trailer around, and we began the loading task. Whiskey was skeptical but, willing to load after some coaxing. I find that with this trailer, I am not always certain where to stand and how to proceed whereas with my trailer, I stand on the end, point, he loads (it just seems more open and roomy), and I walk in and tie him and put the divider in place. So, this was a challenge for both of us. I am thankful for this experience and Clare expertise with her trailer and the loading issues. She helped keep us both on track. It is really not about the trailer but the task, the confidence of horse and human, and the savvy to accomplish the goal. Once both horses were loaded and comfortable we then hit the road to the camp. (We had them just sit and hanout on the trailer before our departure--you know, hurry up and relax.)

Once we found the place (the directions were not very good), we were delighted to run into the camp host and talked about the facilities and policies for usage. This is a definate place for a trip whether you plan to ride, do ground training, or just hang out with the group. It was about an hour from Rich Creek, Virginia. The fees are reasonable and the accomodations are nice (and new). The sites have are level and gravel. Each includes a tublar steel corral--there are single ($15/night) and double sites ($25/night). There is a playground and dogs are also welcome.

Ok, so imagine this, we are in the parking lot of the day-use area (free by the way) and Whiskey decides to not unload! He is used to backing out but, is reluctant this time. It is a good thing to remember that each experience with the trailer and horse may differ and using our skills and techniques always come in handy. Using the yo-yo and porcupine games, we were able to unload him. I am finding that now, unlike the past, I am calm, cool, and not anxious about these trials and tribulations. In the past, I would get so frustrated and angry. Parlay does not unload by backing and unloaded by walking off front-ways. This is a task Clare plans to work on with her.

We decided to "dog walk" the horses and work on obstacles rather than ride. Clare was not feeling well and I have not done anything substantial with Whiskey in a long time. Our first obstacle was a stone covered bridge. We asked the horses to go off the side of it and the ends, no problem. Then the water crossing. It was a babbling brook. Whiskey leaped it, several times, very high in the air--I think he is a pegasus with wings. Parlay was wonderful and crossed it with ease. Clare's work has really paid off. This horse is coming along nicely. Then, we did other tasks like backing while we were seated eating our snack -- Clare had Parlay playing the hot/cold game with her sandwich, backing up embankments, sidepassing, walking over logs, one foot at a time, very slowly with pauses, etc. On the way back, the water again. This time, on the third try, Whiskey walked across, not as good as Parlay but, calmly and better.

This takes us to the parking lot and trailer loading to go home. Whiskey decided to not load immediately. We were trying it without Parlay on board yet (oh by the way, she is in heat and has been flirting with Whiskey throughout our excursion). A good-looking "cowboy" comes over to offer his advice/help. He soon realized, thanks to Clare, that we were thankful but uninterested. She even asked him to not go behind the trailer and he complied--thank goodness. He did walk away from us while we were talking, frustrated I am sure, with these "weird women" and their non-compliant colt horse (as he called him). Clare would eventually load Parlay first and Whiskey, was still not loading but, he was not alarmed either (he was in the very beginning though). We ignored him, and used several approach and retreat, driving, and other games/techniques. He was on the trailer within 20-30 minutes. He was not afraid and was pleased to be aboard. We then waited a little more before pulling out, just to be sure the horses understood that there was no rush or urgency to worry about.

When we got back to my place, we soon realized that the trailer and truck running lights were not working. We unloaded Whiskey first--he offered to back out and did like he usally does on my trailer. I was able to locate, test, and replace the fuse that had burned out in her Chevy truck. Clare was able to travel home safely.

So, what did I learn. I was able to recognize and remember the fact that Whiskey has really only been off the property 5 times and thast we have a lot of learning to do, together. I was able to understand that taking the time it takes really does mean something and know that I need to spend more with Whiskey. I also was able to better comprehend the need to understand the major differences betweeen "them and us" (regarding horsemanship styles) and that I have to remember I already have one strike against acceptance simply for being involved in PNH (IE. the cowboy deal--he really meant well but, assumed that the helpless women needed his help, yadda, yadda, yadda). I also remembered how much fun Clare is and why I love natural horse people. Patience is not just with our horses, but with each other.

Tonight, while watching the Next Food Network Star, Bobby Flay said something that rings true to me, "If you're not nervous about your passion, you're not passionate about it." I tend to feel nervous while "performing/playing" with my horses in front of people. I am not sure about all the whys but my own body image is one thing. Failure or making a fool of myself another. These are things I need to work on. Clare also says that nervous could also be excitement. Anyhow, I have some work to do on myself as well.

Well, that's it! Night all!