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

Friday, May 30, 2008

Are you ready for a play date? Checklists and Info Below!

I sent this message to the NCPPG and thought you'd all be interested too!

As we plan to embark on our journey together, traveling with our horses, meeting at play dates, for trail rides, competitions, or other events, there is a lot to think about. Are you ready? Here are some tips to help you have a fun and safe adventure!

First, please be aware of your horse's current medical care and those requirements of the host farm or public facility. Please have your documentation handy! I try to have a copy of my horse's records both in the truck and trailer. And, if I travel with someone often, I have a copy of theirs and they a copy of mine in case we shared a ride.

CHECKLIST:

  • Have you signed a hold-harmless- liability waiver?
  • All horses must have a negative Coggins report, ready to present before entering the play date grounds and before you unload your horse. Is yours handy?
  • If traveling to out of the state, you will need a health certificate. Talk to your veterinarian about the requirements.
  • It is recommended that your horses's deworming program is up-to-date. Some even consider deworming upon return from a strange place as a precaution.
  • Vaccinations should be current. There are several vaccination programs available, speak to your veterinarian about what is best your horse.
  • Be sure your horses feet are ready for the task you will be asking him to perform. (Shoes, hoof-boots, or barefoot!) You may even want a few farrier tools handy in case of an emergency.
  • Finally, ask the host site if they have any special requirements, needs, etc.

Next, you should check your trailer and equipment for suitibility. This is a very important thing to think about.

CHECKLIST:

  • Check tire pressure & wear (both on the truck and trailer)
  • Check your spare tires
  • Check your brakes
  • Check your floorboards for rot & cracks
  • Check gates and latches for damage
  • Check your hitch for wear
  • Check your brake lights and turn signals
  • Look for any sharp edges or rust holes
  • Gas up before you load! (This may take weeks of saving money these days.)
  • Mats on the trailer floor are in good condition
  • Put bedding in the trailer to soak up any urine or horse manure -- it will help to keep the floor from becoming slippery

Other things to consider:

CHECKLIST:

  • Is your horse ready to even be trailered? If not, you need to prepare him for the journey first, before the event. Then on that day, play with him before you load, don't just throw your horse on the trailer!
  • Shipping boots or wraps (optional)
  • Map of where you’re going, noting parking areas for trailers (Even consider doing a pre-visit to prepare yourself for the actual event).
  • Clothes appropriate for the weather that’s been forecasted
  • First aid kit for you & the horse (in the truck)
  • Bring a tool kit
  • Bring a flashlight
  • Bring road cones
  • Bring flares
  • Bring extra fuses (I changed my friend's once when she was at my house and her lights stopped working and she had to drive home in the dark.)
  • Tack and equipment for the event - saddle, bareback pad, natural hackamore, bridle, etc. (be sure it is all in good working condition)
  • Halter, leadline, carrot stick, savvy string, 22 foot rope
  • An extra savvy string in your pocket or on your belt loop
  • ASTM approved riding helmet
  • Appropriate footware
  • Fly spray for the horse
  • Insect repellent for you
  • Sunscreen (Bug and Sun is highly recommended by a friend of mine)
  • Grooming box
  • Towels
  • Horse treats
  • Grain (optional)
  • Water & hay
  • Buckets & hay net (Don't share people's buckets, this is asking for trouble. You don't your horse to spread or catch anything.)
  • Cooler with water & snacks for you (Kashi bars are great for a long ride, lots of protein and your horse will want one too!)
  • A friend or cell phone – let someone know where you’re going & when you expect to be back or have a buddy with you!
  • Camera
  • Chair
  • Hat (for when your helmet is not being worn)
  • Fly mask (sheet optional)
  • Muck bucket and shavings fork--clean up after your horse! Haul in, haul out--leave no trace (of you or your horse ever being there.)
  • Put a sharp pocket knife in your truck in case you need to cut off a halter in an emergency
  • Have an extra halter and leadline in the TRUCK for each horse in the trailer in case of an accident.
  • Whistle on a lanyard to call for help if you are hurt or in danger (be sure your horse is ok with this being blown if you think you'll use it while on him)
  • Portable corral

Finally, have a plan, bring anything else you are asked to bring, and prepare for fun. Play with the horse that shows up, be flexible, and support others on this wonderful journey.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Finally Riding Again

I have been playing a little with the horses on the ground for about a week or so now. They have been home for about a month and as I reported before, Fosse has been initiating play time. This evening, I decided that it was time to play and perhaps ride both Fosse and Whiskey (Mini-Me was off the hook). I was right, we had fun!

Ok, so these were not major, show-worthy rides but fun nonetheless. On the ground first, we played the games using all kinds of maneuvers and then I saddled with the Parelli bareback pad and rode with a Parelli rope halter and lead line. We worked on mounting and doing hurry-up to do nothing (basuically mount and not move for a bit and also stop and not move for a bit), one rein riding; disengagement of the hindquarters; the indirect rein; and leading the front end the direct rein. After riding, we then played on the ground again, making the games more interesting and complicated including but not limited to jumping a jump, sideways around a tree, and figure 8 around barrels.

Overall, I would rate our experiences this evening as fair to good. The horses both did fine but, it felt like I had plunged back a few steps with them from where we were when we left Virginia. I guess this was to be expected. My plan is to try to work on these tasks and riding improvement as much as possible and to keep an open-mind and positive attitude!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Weekly Task Challenge: Finesse on Horseback

If you don't know what to do, have little time, or are just feeling stuck, try the weekly task challenge as a way to at least do something with your horse! (It just may motivate you to do more.)

Level 1
Have someone drag a plastic tarp in front of you while you follow it around.


Level 1 Advanced
Have someone drag a bag of cans in front of you while you follow it.

Level 2
Place 2 cones 6 feet apart and draw a line 22 feet from the cones Back your horse across the line and then back him through the cones.

Level 3
Ask your horse to go sideways for 50 feet in 9-11 seconds.

*Weekly tasks are based on many different Parelli resources I have studied as well as my own ideas on how to proceed through my journey. Some of the content was copied to make it easier to put up in a timely manner. Please consult http://www.parelli.com for any official instructions or materials.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Weekly Task Challenge: Slaloms


If you don't know what to do, have little time, or are just feeling stuck, try the weekly task challenge as a way to at least do something with your horse! (It just may motivate you to do more.)
I know that it is raining out but, the weather is supposed to clear up. So, if you don't have an indoor arena, no worries, you'll have an opportunity to try this one! (Or go out in the rain.)

SET-UP
Use cones, logs, barrels, what ever you have. Create a slalom course.

GROUND TASKS
Start on the ground, teaching your horse to slalom. If you need
to use porcupine first, that is ok, then move onto using driving
game, increasing your distance from your horse. Use landscaper's
paint to draw a "do not cross line" for yourself and be mindful of
your "proper position". Try backing your horse through it too! (You
may need to cross the line for this part of the task.)

RIDING TASKS
Start by walking your horse through the slalom. Then, try it at
the trot and canter. Now, back your horse through it!

RESOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Parelli Savvy Club DVD - Issue 18 June 2006--IMAGINATION “Parelli Games & Puzzle Solving—The Slalom Puzzle” with Pat Parelli and Magic (12 min.)

Parelli Tournament info (found on the Savvy Club website): ON-LINE #3 SLALOM

FUN PHOTO
Slalom im Stehen www.fluidum-reitschule.de/erfolgsgeschichten/ (Standing Slalom)


Have fun, be creative, and remember your savvy!


*Weekly tasks are based on many different Parelli resources I have studied as well as my own ideas on how to proceed through my journey. Some of the content was copied to make it easier to put up in a timely manner. Please consult http://www.parelli.com for any official instructions or materials.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

And They're Off! --140th Belmont Stakes Only Weeks Away!

Secretariat with regular jockey Ron Turcotte rears slightly at the start of the most dramatic moment in thoroughbred racing history; The Start of The 1973 Belmont stakes. Sham is seen starting on the outside. Image from Champion Gallery.


The 140th Belmont Stakes is set for June 7, 2008 at Belmont Park in Elmont, NY. This race is the third leg in the Triple Crown for top 3-year-old thoroughbreds in the United States with a one million dollar purse. However, going through the minds of many race fans all over the world, I am certain, is the death of Eight Belles in the Kentucky Derby only 5 weeks before (and other fallen athletes in the sport of course).

So how do we and horse people better prepare for such competitions? I am not raising and racing thoroughbred horses mind you but, I did work at the racetrack as a teenager for my aunt and her horse-business colleagues and for other race-horse owners during those years. The track is a fun, interesting, and sad place all at the same time. I enjoyed being on the back stretch, at the training farms, seeing all of the horses, and actually helping (cleaning stalls, exercise riding, hot walking, feeding, grooming, etc.)

My philosophy about horses (and people for that matter) is to treat them with respect and dignity. As a natural horseperson, I know that I can accomplish my goals without coersion and torture devices. I also know that it is vitally important that we be sure our horses are prepared, mentally, emotionally, and physically to perform the tasks we ask. That we remember their hierarchy of needs (in this order) safety, comfort, play, and food. Only then, can we have any real expectation of greatness.

I can only hope that our top TB trailers, owners, jockeys, etc., while preparing for the Belmont (and other competitions for that matter), take these factors into consideration when entering their horses in competitive sports. I am sure many do and I am sure many don't. I believe that we will be seeing a diametric shift in competitive equestrian sports but, it will be a slow one.

So, when you think about Belmont Stakes betting, or just watching the race, be thinking about what goes on behind the scenes, in front of the camera, and after the event. Be proactive and encourage your competitive horsey friends through your own actions, help them to understand that the change will actually help them (and their horses) have more successes. But, as Pat Parelli has said, "Don't walk the extra mile for someone walking in the opposite direction." Use your time and energy to change your own thinking (if you are not here yet) and lead by example. Don't preach and push others, they will often run in the other direction. It is amazing how one can lead by example (and your horse can do this too--you'd be amazed) and how others will follow. ---How interesting.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Finally Making a Connection


Fosse

This morning started out like every morning these days. I wake up around 5:30am and head out to feed and clean the horses. I was sleepy today, feeling a bit sad because of the disconnect I am having with the horses. I do realize that they have been home, with me, only since April 25th but, I long for our old relationship, I long for them to love me (I know anthropomorphic but...) I do know that they are still adjusting, that they may be concerned about having to leave this home too (even though we are not moving--ever again if I can help it), and perhaps, just simply unsure and leaning on each other for safety, comfort, play, and me for the food (the hierarchy of needs you know--and in order of importance).

Anyhow, I headed down to the horses, walking down our long driveway and they were not at the gate. I went in the paddock and saw them by the trees. I opted to sit down on a plastic barrel and just hang out for a few minutes. Then Fosse arrived.


Fosse, my left-brained extrovert, alpha gelding, 6 year old, Arabian is typically playful, bossy, interesting, and challenging. This morning, he was being nippy, and unusually pushy about it. So, while sitting, I used rhthymic direct and indirect pressure (porcupine and driving games with some friendly mixed in) to move him out of my space. I was curious as to why he was acting so playful. (Remember, backing cures biting, this is what I was doing.) This was not hateful biting per se, just playful tugging of clothing, and nippy attempts towards me. After a bit of this playful time, I stood up.

Well, if you have ever seen Remmer play with Linda Parelli when they are running back and forth, like horses would, in the round corral (where Remmer does not run past Linda but they almost act like cutting horses and cows), you'll understand this (even if I cannot illustrate it well). I stood up and Fosse kind of leaped forward at me, with his ears back, but, not truly aggressive, more dominate but playful and definately to get my attention. He did this a few times and so I postured my arms like front legs but in the air and leaped at him in much the same manner (trying to mirror my horse). We did this back and forth and I could tell he was playing with me, just like a horse would with another horse! This has NEVER happened before, it was intriguing, fun, exciting, and I have a feeling that is almost indescribable--I was grinning from ear to ear--we were totally connecting and he prompted the play time! I thought to myself, is he telling me he is ready to be with me again, as his partner? After a few minutes of this jumping around play, I asked for him to stop, back up a few steps, and circle around me, at liberty (Whiskey and Mini-Me were just watching and grazing). Fosse gladly circled in both directions, disengaged hind-quarters when asked, changed directions, no problem, at the trot and walk. I then gestured for him to follow me and we walked and trotted together through the paddock, around the trees, zig-zag, and finally, back to the barn. I even asked for an immediate halt and back up (my back was to him) and he did it, with joy!

All I can say is, this truly made my day. Once back at the barn, he hesitated, but only for a moment, I signaled for him to come in with me and he did. I fed him an apple, and he did not have to share it with the others! LOL Afterwards, I fed everyone their breakfast, picked hooves, checked them for any injuries, and groomed them (as I do at each feeding) . I also cleaned out the barn (I also do this everytime I am out there). I did skip my normal morning paddock pick-up--oopsy; I'll do this when I get home. :)

Once everyone was finished eating, I headed back to the house, to get ready for work, feeling incredible! I could just cry, iwth pure joy in my heart.

I took these photos (and the one at the top of the post) with my cell phone on my way to work this morning. Enjoy!

Mini-Me

Whiskey (L) & Fosse (R)


Fosse (LR), Whiskey (RR), & Mini-Me (F)

Whiskey

Monday, May 12, 2008

Weekly Task Challenge: Tarps, Plastic Bags, and Bags of Cans---OH MY!

If you don't know what to do, have little time, or are just feeling stuck, try the weekly task challenge as a way to at least do something with your horse! (It just may motivate you to do more.)

Play with your horse on the ground, at liberty, and while riding. Use these items to up the ante--how good is your relationship?

Tarp: Have your horse walk on it, wear it, and drag it behind him/her.

Plastic Bag: Use the bag as an extension of your carrot stick while playing friendly game. Even try it while riding and driving with the carrot stick.

Bag of Cans: Fill a sack with aluminum cans. Have your horse drag it while you are on the ground first and if you are confident, try the same task while riding!

Remember to do this with savvy and use the appropriate PNH techniques (hint--approach and retreat will come in handy).

*Weekly tasks are based on many different Parelli resources I have studied as well as my own ideas on how to proceed through my journey. Some of the content was copied to make it easier to put up in a timely manner. Please consult http://www.parelli.com for any official instructions or materials.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Grass IS Greener on the Other Side!

The horses have finally been turned out on the big [hidden] meadow! Actually, they have been turned out in a large section of it. Rick put up a temporary fence in part of the meadow and is starting to work on fencing in the entire area this week. He will be able to fence around them and then just remove the temp fence. We are not sure exactly, but it is like 5-7 acres in size. Certainly nice enough for our three little horses. The smaller turnout near the barn (horse hut--whatever) is very nice too, but the grass is not like the large meadow. I am looking forward to using my harrow on it and should really seed it.



The large meadow, in theory, should be burned and reseeded but, not right now. There is also another area we plan to fence in on the other side of the driveway and over. So, we are hopeful to end up with 3 or 4 places to rotate the horses around in. Each area needs work but, it is a start. How exciting--they did not have grass like this at our Virginia home--I love NY! They munched on grass, rolled, ran and ran and ran! They had a blast! Rick, the dogs, and I sat out last night watching them and enjoying our new home.


Now, just in case you were wondering or had a concern, we are weaning them onto this new pasture. We realize that this and all of the other transitions (diet, exercise, new home, etc.) can be hard on them so, we are taking things easy, no worries!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Weekly Task Challenge: 7 Games with an Obstacle

If you don't know what to do, have little time, or are just feeling stuck, try the weekly task challenge as a way to at least do something with your horse! (It just may motivate you to do more.)

Play all 7 games with your horse using one object as the focal point of your playtime. This could be anything you choose. How many variations of each game with this obstacle can you do? Remember, to keep your horse interested, you should consider using an object as the focal point for the games rather than just playing the games. This is an idea introduced in the L2 . Share with the group the object of you and your horse's playtime and how the games went for you. Think of this like Emeril's "kick it up a notch!" This can be games on the ground and/or while riding---be creative!

*Weekly tasks are based on many different Parelli resources I have studied as well as my own ideas on how to proceed through my journey. Some of the content was copied to make it easier to put up in a timely manner. Please consult http://www.parelli.com for any official instructions or materials.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Eight Belles Euthanized after 2nd Place Victory in Kentucky Derby

A sad day yesterday for Eight Belles who suffered two broken ankles after placing second in the Kentucky Derby (Big Brown won the race). My heart aches for her and the other young horses pushed to the limit.

Here is a nice video tribute--bring your tissues, you'll need them.




CLICK HERE
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8575380343891807283&q=Eight+Belles&ei=R9QdSOzjMIeIrgLB9MzBAg&hl=en

Photo from: www.latimes.com/media/photo/2008-05/38467246.jpg