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, June 29, 2008

Level 1 Inventory - A Study Group Task


This week, I tasked the NCPPG with a level 1 inventory of skills. So, I decided to reflect on my own situation. Here goes...

I can do everything with all of the horses with the exception of:

Mini-Me: No riding/saddle tasks for obvious reasons. Would eventually like to teach him to drive and do those tasks.

Fosse: PPL at a trot--not sure, never asked him for a trot due to his heart condition. But can do PPL at the walk. I'd suspect it would not be a problem.

Whiskey: Could do everything until we moved, now having trouble getting him to move forward without grief--will be working more on that. LOL

(FYI--My official level 1 assessment was with my TB Wilbur if you were wondering and hadn't read the blog post about it.)
(Photo from Parelli Awards by Ginny Sue)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Weekly Task Challenge: Level 1 Assessment Inventory

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.)

Using the Level 1 Assessment guidelines, do an inventory of your level 1 skill set. Determine how many of the tasks you can do with your horse and which ones you need to work on. PNH Level 1 Assessment from parelli.com (instructors page) http://files.parelli.com/assess/new_one_assess.pdf For help, refer to your level 1 kit and your other Parelli study materials.

*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.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Power of Support and Self-Reflection



















I just want to start by thanking members in the NCPPG, other horse friends, and family for their kind words of encouragement, praise, and support brought about by my anthropormorphism blog post. I believe that the exercise of writing it down and sharing my feelings and experiences, once again, helped me with my horsemanship (with the ability to recognize my strengths and weaknesses), helped me remember why I do it, and helped me remember that my horses are not "bad" or "hateful", they are just being horses. This exercise in self-reflection, awareness, and truth are very valuable (to me anyway). I must remember the responsibilities of horse and human:

4 Responsibilities of the Horse-Learn to act like a partner not a prey animal- Don't change gaits- Don't change directions- Look where you are going

4 Responsibilities of the Human- Learn to act like a partner not a predator- Develope an independent seat- Think like a horse- Use the natural power of focus

I truly believe also, and remind myself, that there are 7, not 6 keys to success (as Parelli's revised list suggests) and they are...

Attitude, Knowledge, Tools, Techniques, Time, Imagination, and Support!

I'd also like to report on my time with the horses last night. I took time to do extensive grooming, hooves, clean the barn, clean the paddock, and feed. I took my time, spending quality time with each horse. They could not leave me alone and even tried to groom me back! It was a wonderful time and great feeling (ok, yes, anthropomorphic but--they were loving me.) I was quite pleased because I won't see them until July 3rd--leaving on a good note is really nice.


Photo from: http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=91275869

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Anthropomorphism, Sorrow, and State of Mind


an·thro·po·mor·phism (ān'thrə-pə-môr'fĭz'əm) n. Attribution of human motivation, characteristics, or behavior to inanimate objects, animals, or natural phenomena. anthropomorphism. (n.d.). The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Retrieved June 24, 2008, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/anthropomorphism

Photo by Nan Rawlins www.nanrawlins.com

As humans and horse lovers, we have a tendency to be anthropomorphic with our horses and other pets for that matter. Yes, we try hard not to but it never totally works. I know I am totally guilty of this with my dogs and yes, I have to admit, with my horses on occassion too. I know they are prey animals, I do know it but I am human.

Lately, the horses have been spooky and acting funny, ignoring me and just not right (in my mind anyway.) Is it boredom, is it the weather, is it the move, is it me? Not sure I can answer that.

A few nights ago Mini-me reared up at me and hit me in the throat and face. I was picking hooves, he at liberty as usual, and he was acting up (which has not happened in awhile--I thought we had made such progress). I tried to ask him to stand still and he blew up. I have decided that I finally know what he is, right-brained extrovert, this became crystal clear this week. Although I was a little sore physically, what was hurt more was my feelings. I thought that he and I had finally connected, at least on some level. I was supremely angry with him and frustrated and felt unloved I was also upset with myself for having these feelings, I know these are prey animals but I could not help it. Does this make me a bad horse[wo]man?

The very next day, while picking out Fosse's hooves at liberty (like I have done for years), he jumped, a startle really, and at what I have no clue. I continued to work on cleaning out his feet and he spooked at something, ran out of the barn and in the process hit and hurt the top of my foot. At this point, I felt like I would just give up on horses altogether. I left everything, walked out of the barn and met up with Rick who was still working on clearing our possessions in the front of the building--something he and I had been working at all day.

I sat down, and then uncontrollably, burst into tears and asked him why I bothered to spend all of my time, money, and energy into horses who apparently hated me. I felt depressed for several days about this and could not even look at them, Rick cared for the horses to relieve my responsibility. Last night I finally felt like I should face them and I did but, they barely wanted to see me and I barely wanted to see them. I am not typically this emotional, I am more grounded than this--who am I lately???

I know that this is irrational, I know it but these human feelings are interferring. It is a weird place that we are in and I don't know what is going on. I have always been very connected to horses in general and especially my horses. Rick believes that in truth, with the relocation and uproar at the new farm, that it is akin to me not being with them, not really, for more than 6 months. (And truly I am not all myself either, still adjusting to our new life, my home, job.) That our routine has never been back in place, not really, that I have no place to "work/play" with them except the turnout areas, and simply that I need to realize that patience and time is what will bring everything back together including facilities, schedules, and partnerships. I guess until I recognize and accept that, my feelings, because of anthropomorphism, will be hurt.

It took me days to even consider writing about this. Fear, sadness, and a sense of failure I suppose held me back. But, writing things out heps me clear my head and evaluate things. I am usually analytical and logical. (I am leaving for 10 days to the west coast, and, I do get nervous before such a long stay away from my hubby and critters---maybe this has something to do with it all too.)

What gets me is that more often than not, things are great. (And for the record, Whiskey has been a pleasure lately. I worked on his feet, at liberty, with no problem at all, total relaxation, total commitment to me.) I have even trimmed hooves without halters on, I mean really, how can these horses go from that to freak? Oh yeah, prey animal. I feel like I need to go back to baby steps. This is very frustrating. When I left Virginia I was ready to assess at level 2, now, I feel like so much has been lost. Our foundation is there but some of the progress has vanished into thin air. *sigh*

So thank you for listening/reading, not sure what good this post does for anyone but, it gets it off my chest. I do appreciate it.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Weekly Task Challenge: Time to Catch-up!

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.)

Is life hectic these days? Are you barely keeping up with your chores let alone your e-mail and weekly tasks? Well, this week's task is designed to help you with this burden! It's called, "Time to Catch Up!" So, if you are behind in reading your Savvy Times, behind in viewing your Parelli DVDs, your levels materials, your e-mail, the message boards, or anything else related to your study of Parelli Natural Horsemanship, this is the week to play catch up!

*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, June 19, 2008

Is Your Horse Like a Fish Out of Water?

I just got back inside from playing with the horses, cleaning the barn and paddock, and feeding. We played with the large puddles in the yard and the tree debris laying all around. Just using what we have!

Fosse and Whiskey, after about 15 minutes of play walked calmly through the large puddle. Before the play, they were reluctant to do so. I bellieve that the playtime reestablished my leadership role and they were confident that I would not steer them wrong. As far as play time, I used the tree debris as places to walk through and over, we also did sideways with and without something in front of them, sideways around trees, and more. Fosse actually did sideways for the first time in the middle of the paddock! Mini-Me looked at the puddle, first time, and just walked right through, then the pedestal, trees, etc. He is a real trooper!

Here are some notes I took when watching the Successful Water Crossing DVD by Pat Parelli:

Remember:

· Use approach and retreat.
· Have a plan; look at the water obstacle before you get there; then look towards where you want to go, not down at the water (you already looked there). Use the power of focus!
· Make sure your “go button works.”
· 10 second test, if the horse won’t cross, get off, fix it on the ground, evaluate, remount and ride it.
· Detailed lessons on the 7 games and riding with focus refer to your Level 1 Partnership Kit.

Q&A with Pat Parelli (Notes--paraphrased):

Why are horses afraid of crossing water?

1. Today, horses live in artificial environments (stables, pastures) without a lot of water, not like horses living in the mountains with a lot of water to cross.
2. From a horse’s point of view, they are perceptive to danger, people places, and changes, it is a change.
3. How their depth perception functions, water is illusive in horse’s sight (and people’s)—how deep is that water?
4. It is a confidence issue.
5. It can be exposure, experience.
6. Some LOVE it and some are not as able to make the transition easily.
7. Innate fear (lions waiting at the water hole for their prey), it is in their DNA

How early in a horse’s life can you teach a horse about water?
It is never too early to start teaching your horse. It is a leadership issue. If mom is confident, so is the foal, the same thing can happen with the human as the horse’s leader.

What can I do if my horse jumps rather than walking through the water?
Get on the ground and get the issue dealt with there. Often times, the horse does what we tell him to do. Often when the horse get’s enough confidence to get in, we give him a kick to go and they do (they jump it). Use the power of focus instead. You can determine what he will do on the ground. Ride him across as many times as it takes until you can synchronize.

Why is my focus so important when crossing water?
Focus gives us feeling, timing, and balance. Think about when you drive a car, you look out there, things happen automatically when you use focus. If you look down at your feet, you crash. It is natural to focus and our body reacts appropriately and naturally. When you focus on the wrong thing, you usually do the wrong thing.

Is swimming a horse a valuable thing to do?
Teaching a horse to swim gives them a good experience, a holistic approach to raising your horse. It does good for their confidence, a good skill, great exercise. Good mentally, emotionally, and physically. Also, it is a lot of fun!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Horse Stuff Tonight

Well, I just got back from feeding and cleaning up after the horses a little while ago. I also trimmed Mini-Me's hooves tonight and played with the others, briefly. In the process, Mini and I worked on our patience with each other, keeping frustration out of the equation, and using a lot of friendly, and certainly approach and retreat. I really have to be mindful of using love, language, and leadership in equal doses with him. Anyhow, all went well.


I also decided to watch the October 2007 Savvy Club DVD this evening. It is a brief intro to horsenalities with Pat and Linda. I checked
eBay and there are copies pretty cheap if you want to acquire a copy. They highlight each horsenality quadrant and it is a nice precursor to the other horsenality segments on other DVDs. There is also a horsenality chart in the DVD case. Every time I watch something they have put together I learn something.


One thing that was very touching was that Pat was talking about his horse Revolution who died by a sudden heart attack and his new horse, Evolution (both Atwood horses). He was very choked up and emotional. It was nice that he shared this raw emotion with us. I feel for him and his pain. Hugs to you Pat!

I really need to dig back into my level 2 pack. I have viewed the entire "old level 2" but the "new level 2" I have not gone through in its entirety ever. I have a lot of studying to do!

Surfing around my old photo bucket account, I found these pics. I hoped you enjoyed looking at them! (If some look familiar, it is because some of them have been used on other blog posts.)

OT: Boating on the St. Lawrence River

Well, this is not a horse-related post but, I just had to share! Rick, the dogs, and I had a great time boating this past weekend in our new pontoon boat! Although taking everyone out on the fishing boat has worked in the past, and we'veeven done it in the canoe (but with only 3 of the 5 dogs), this vessel was much more accomodating to our comfort needs!


Anyhow, I just wanted to share some of the photos with you all. We truly needed this time off from anything resembling work, especially after all the storm damage adding to the task list!

So, enjoy the photos!



Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Lightness Equals Politeness - My Experiment

I just had to share an experiment I tried last night. It is all about lightness and politeness with your horse. If you have studied any form of natural horsemanship and especially if you have followed Pat and Linda Parelli or Dressage Master Walter Zettl, you hear about the goal, about the necessity, of lightness and politeness. It is about you learning to be light (less is more) and your horse becoming light for you, and that being polite to your horse is very important and key. Does this sound familiar?

Well, sometime ago (I was still in Virginia), I asked for advice from the OTparellinaturally Yahoo Group about getting Whiskey to move forward and that he seemed very upset when asked. I was using Pat's, "My Horse Won't Go" techniques but, he was still resentful, confused, and I know something more needed to be done (or something less). The advice given was to wait for him to have time to digest the request and respond, to be polite to him, basically a long phase one. This really worked well (especially because of his introverted nature).

More recently, a few weeks ago, I read Wrangler Jayne's Horsemanship with Heart newsletter (she has been influenced mainly by Pat Parelli and Philip Nye). The particular segment I am referring to is when she talks about not only being able to move your horse with your finger, but, moving your horse with a feather--now that is lightness! This really stuck in my head although I did not fully understand or perhaps just digest and try the idea. I have not exactly been spending the same amount of time with my horses as I did in Virginia. I know it is because we are still all adjusting, setting up, etc. But, I do have horse things running in my head constantly (as if you all did not know that by now).

Okay, so what was this experiment you ask, well here goes...

I decided to start by touching Whiskey with the mpst absolute and extreme lightness I could possibly manage. I asked him to flex his head and neck, to lift his feet, etc. The touch I used for friendly between tasks was also extremely light. I would rate this as a feather-like lightness, barely touching, a long phase one. I also used the power of focus to think about the task and result desired. And, he responded and was very light and calm, very at ease and very responsive. It was interesting, how this high-level politeness through lightness affected us both. We were very connected, amazingly together as partners. He flexed his head in both directions, I asked him to move around from all parts of his body, and for his feet. He was so relaxed by the time we got to his feet, when I was done picking, he left his foot laying tipped on the ground and was standing without a care in the world. I then asked for him to lower his head from the poll using the same technique, long phase one, and he did it. These are all tasks he does but the point to this all is that now, I was using feather lightness, phase one only.

I then tried the same experiment with Fosse. His reaction was similar but not quite the same. He was a bit uncertain about the lightness. This seemed strange to him I guess but once he realized what I was doing, he also responded with lightness, calmness, and ease. (He is extroverted and more accustomed to extreme play that sometimes involves quicker phases and responses. I only asked for his feet, no flexing or other tasks.

Mini-me was acting a bit right-brained this evening. However, once I had his attention, I tried the lightness with him. He was tense until the exercise and then, very relaxed during and after. For him, as with Fosse, I only used the technique to ask for his feet.

So, the question is, how can I take this lightness and apply it to our riding tasks. I have not quite figured it out but know it is the key to success. I plan to start by setting up an area where I can ride him without interference or distraction from the other horses. Then, I'll saddle him and use my natural hackamore. I am going to set the barrels up in a pattern and will put a treat on the top of each one. I will use long phase one and light requests while mounted asking him to go from barrel to barrel. The treats are not a bribe but, a reward for the try. Remembering the horse's hierarchy of needs (safety, comfort, play, and food), I believe that this is a good strategy for Whiskey. He is a horse that is not motivated by food and will refuse to eat if he feels unsafe or uncomfortable even to a minor degree.

So, that is it, the experiment, my thoughts, and a plan. I really enjoyed this time with the horses and sharing the experience with you all. Horses are truly way more than riding! (Although riding is a heck of a lot of fun too!)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Weekly Task Challenge: The Comfort/Learning Zone



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.)

This week's task is all about the comfort and learning zones!

Do you ever feel stuck in a rut with your horsemanship? Do you feel like you have stopped making progress or you are afraid to try something new, to progress further? Do you make excuses as to why you are not making progress rather than dealing with the issue at hand? Do you want to put new skills in your comfort zone but are avoidant to do so and don't know why? Whose fault is it (if fault is really a "real thing" in this horsey world), you? or your horse?

Well, this week, reflect, plan, and react! Work on moving your comfort zone or your horse's comfort zone! Remember, that change occurs outside your comfort zone. This is the point where learning happens.

For more information on this important topic, you should consider consulting your L1 and L2 materials and read, "Move Closer, Stay Longer" by Dr. Stephanie Burns. http://www.stephanieburns.com/products/movecloser.asp Be sure to also take your horse's horsenality into consideration.

Here is more info for you (in addition to the suggested studies above).


HORSE CHART: (Acquired as notes on a student's blog-- ISC Colorado Experience--cannt find the link now)


Comfort Zone Info Adapted by Michelle Young from Philip Nye Horsmanship Model POSTING by Sharlene on Sun Jun 15, 2003 9:20 am on the, “Savvy Circle - A Worldwide Chat and Discussion Forum Dedicated to PNH”
**Info added here relating to the human experience. Diagram constructed based on text instructions and knowledge of the concept.
**Please note that Stephanie Burns and Pat & Linda Parelli have very similar information in the levels kits.

Comfort Zone
Think about your horse when he is comfortable; say in the paddock eating grass, how he appears physically, eg. head down, relaxed muscles, this is the zone where your feels safe.
Think about when you are riding your horse. At a walk, you are relaxed and happy.

Not So Sure Zone
You horse has left his comfort zone, he is feeling tense and could be exhibiting physical signs such as tail swishing and ears back.
You are riding your horse and ask for a trot. You don't mind but, feel some aphrehension.


Unknown/Danger Zone
Your horse believes his life is in danger, terror, rock hard muscles, we don't want to be there with our horses.
The thought of cantering your horse makes you physically ill. You are scared for your life. You feel inadequate and quite sure death is eminent.
______________________________________________

The idea of the model is to explore where you and your horse are and stretching the comfort zone by taking your horse and yourself into the Not So Sure Zone and returning back to the Comfort Zone, while avoiding the Unknown/Danger Zone.

This can be applied to any game we play, on the ground and while riding. The base line of the zones will be different for every horse and human and will change with progression in the Parelli Program.

We want our horses and ourselves to be in the Comfort Zone most of the time. If we decide to go into the Not So Sure Zone we need to know that we can deal with their reactions and with our reactions and then return safely back into the Comfort Zone. The further into the Not So Sure Zone you go, the further & longer you need to go back into the Comfort Zone for both of you. This will build you and your horse's confidence.

*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.

Move Your Comfort Zone Challenge!

This week's task is all about the comfort and learning zones! Below is the task and e-mail I passed along to the NCPPG and I am passing along to you! I plan to work on my riding issues with Whiskey---weather permitting. LOL And, yes, I have a plan--do you?

Do you ever feel stuck in a rut with your horsemanship? Do you feel like you have stopped making progress or you are afraid to try something new, to progress further? Do you make excuses as to why you are not making progress rather than dealing with the issue at hand? Do you want to put new skills in your comfort zone but are avoidant to do so and don't know why? Whose fault is it (if fault is really a "real thing" in this horsey world), you? or your horse?

Well, this week, reflect, plan, and react! Work on moving your comfort zone or your horse's comfort zone! Remember, that change occurs outside your comfort zone. This is the point where learning happens.

For more information on this important topic, you should consider consulting your L1 and L2 materials and read, "Move Closer, Stay Longer" by Dr. Stephanie Burns. http://www.stephanieburns.com/products/movecloser.asp Be sure to also take your horse's horsenality into consideration.

Here is more info for you (in addition to the suggested studies above).

HORSE CHART: (Acquired as notes on a student's blog-- ISC Colorado Experience--cannot find the link now.)


Comfort Zone Info Adapted by Michelle Young from Philip Nye Horsmanship Model POSTING by Sharlene on Sun Jun 15, 2003 9:20 am
on the, “Savvy Circle - A Worldwide Chat and Discussion Forum Dedicated to PNH”
**Info added here relating to the human experience. Diagram constructed based on text instructions and knowledge of the concept.
**Please note that Stephanie Burns and Pat & Linda Parelli have very similar information in the levels kits.

***SEE CHART AT THE TOP OF THIS POST***

Comfort Zone
Think about your horse when he is comfortable; say in the paddock eating grass, how he appears physically, eg. head down, relaxed muscles, this is the zone where your feels safe.

Think about when you are riding your horse. At a walk, you are relaxed and happy.

Not So Sure Zone

You horse has left his comfort zone, he is feeling tense and could be exhibiting physical signs such as tail swishing and ears back.

You are riding your horse and ask for a trot. You don't mind but, feel some aphrehension.

Unknown/Danger Zone

Your horse believes his life is in danger, terror, rock hard muscles, we don't want to be there with our horses.

The thought of cantering your horse makes you physically ill. You are scared for your life. You feel inadequate and quite sure death is eminent.

______________________________________________


The idea of the model is to explore where you and your horse are and stretching the comfort zone by taking your horse and yourself into the Not So Sure Zone and returning back to the Comfort Zone, while avoiding the Unknown/Danger Zone.

This can be applied to any game we play, on the ground and while riding. The base line of the zones will be different for every horse and human and will change with progression in the Parelli Program.

We want our horses and ourselves to be in the Comfort Zone most of the time. If we decide to go into the Not So Sure Zone we need to know that we can deal with their reactions and with our reactions and then return safely back into the Comfort Zone. The further into the Not So Sure Zone you go, the further & longer you need to go back into the Comfort Zone for both of you. This will build you and your horse's confidence.

Be sure to report back to the list on your progress! We are interested and can learn together!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tornadic Activity at Hidden Meadows

Whiskey checking out some of the damage from yesterdays storm.

Well, was it a tornado? We are not sure, but what ever it was, it was severe. The North Country (and other parts of New York) were hit by a terrible storm yesterday, winds exceeding 80 mph, more than 7000 power outages in our county, St. Lawrence County, and a great deal of property damage all over. We have heard reports of at least one death attributed to the storm.

These are the beautiful birch trees (there were four of them) that made a beautiful entry-way to our drive through the woods. We had planned on putting up an overhead welcome sign on them. They are now gone, destroyed by the storm and destined for the fireplace. We are very saddened by their demise.

When we were in Virginia, we experienced terrible storms with a great deal of lightening and windy. But yet, this storm, up here in North Lawrence, was far worse. We don't have any photos of the actual storm but I did find this one online.

Photo by Warren and Susan McLear submitted to North Country Now

We heard that one woman's indoor riding arena (not far from our place) was picked up and set down--about a foot off from where it used to be! Can you imagine that? So as you can tell, many areas and many people were affected. Our little town was barely reported about but I can tell you, many people were hit.

This huge tree actually fell on the horse fence and had the fence pinned to the ground. Rick ran out during part of the storm to cut it off of the fence to keep the frightened horses from escaping and getting in to the road.

The storm hit our property pretty hard, nothing official but, it seems like we were hit with some sort of tornadic activity. My grandmother grew up in tornado alley and have heard all of the stories and believe we know the signs in the weather patterns and the signs on the ground. In any event, no matter what it was, trees are down all over our property and we have a ton of clean-up to do. Five or more trees hit the bog and the count of trees down in the woods is undeterminable. Rick was actually trapped at the house because the entire driveway was also blocked by trees (our driveway is two-tenths of a mile long and the house is in the woods)--thank goodness for chain saws! We are thankful that none of the vehicles or structures were damaged (that we can ascertain). The house may have sustained a lightening strike though. The power was off but lightening was hitting all around the house and at one point, the kitchen's flourescent light illuminated orange at the ends of the bulbs!

Whiskey Looking Worried at the Downed Trees on the Pathway to the Big Meadow

Rick told me that the trees were all bending sideways and that the sky was dark and ominous, taht the clouds passed furiously, and that it was something unbelievable. Rick is never scared and he told me that he was absolutely terrified. He said that he had never seen anything like this in his entire life! He locked our dogs in the bathroom to keep them all together and safe, they were scared too (except for Frasier who was fast asleep on the bathroom shower rug). He also told me that our parrot Chi-Chi was upset so Rick sang to him and soothed him and Chi-Chi calmed down. Madeline, our cat was in her cat-cave inside the staircase. The horses were outside and able to get into the barn. When I got home (I was at work during all of this), the horses were clearly spooked and jumpy. But, after spending time with them, they were ok and able to calmly walk around and act fairly normal.

This is our parrot Chi-Chi. This photo was taken back in Virginia.

This is our cat Madeline laying on the kitchen cabinets.

These are the dogs. The photos was taken in Virginia.

I cannot even begin to tell you how worried I was about my family. About Rick, about all of the animals. There was nothing I could do but wish I was with them during the storm. I love them all so very much.

Fosse Looking Worried at the Driveway and Downed Trees

Rick and I have realized that we have no good emergency plan or emergency kit/pack in place. We are going to look at this issues and remedy it ASAP. This is not the first storm we have endured in our lives but the worst thus far. We feel devastated but lucky too as it could have been much worse.

This is Rick getting the generator ready to be transported to the house.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Weekly Task Challenge: Water Fun!

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.)

This week's task is to view and apply the techniques in Parelli's Successful Water Crossing DVD.

So, can you wash your horse with a hose? Will he cross a puddle calmly on-line or jump in your lap? Can you ride through a puddle or across a creek with confidence and ease? What about swimming your horse, is this possible? What are his thresholds, what are your thresholds? How can you improve his confidence and your confidence around that SCARY WATER!

*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, June 08, 2008

A Little Bit of Riding Today

I am trying to get things back to normal for the horses and I. Tonight, I did a litte, very little riding but, had fun.

I saddled Whiskey using the Theraflex pad, my English saddle, and my Parelli Country Bridle with horseman's reins. The horse above is not my horse but, I wanted to use it to show you what the bridle looks like that I used this evening. I did not have my camera handy--maybe next time. He stood quietly and was quite nice. When I mounted, he stood completely still and once aboard, he did not move at all, he stood quietly and very calmly. I asked for forward movement at the walk by lifting the rein and he complied nicely. We walked towards the barn and then stopped, flexion both ways, all fine. He reached a little to bite my foot but he actually played with my foot and the stirrup so that was fine. Upon asking for more foreward movement, he was unwilling to move forward. I think some was him being defiant and some was the little bugs that were bothering him, he was shaking his head quiet a lot (and he has Equispot and AbsorbineX on). I cannot believe the bugs here! I am dismayed at this riding issue as we were riding so well in Virginia. Anyhow, I dismounted, walked him back to the mounting block, remounted, did the same, then dismounted again. I took his tack off, haltered him, walked back to the block, mounted, rode him bareback around the yard and near the barn, dismounted and took off the halter. He did not leave me. So, we played a little stick to me until we got back to the barn. He only left me after I left him. This was interesting and a fairly good time. The riding was nothing sustained but, I reminded myself that he is still adjusting and that we are back a few steps from where we were. I was not frustrated at all but happy to have spent good, quality time, strategizing and planning for tomorrow.

I then fed the horses...

I decided that Fosse has been very interested in doing things with me. So, for the first time, I put a saddle on him (I have always used the Parelli bareback pad or nothing at all), I used the Theraflex pad and English saddle (he is a little cinchy so we have to work on that), I then bridled him with the Parelli Country Bridle with horseman's reins (basically everything that I used with Whiskey). He has had a bit in his mouth for fun but I have never ridden him with one until tonight. I have always used the Parelli Natural Hackamore or Parelli halter and lead rope. Anyhow, this horse is mouthy and loved the bit! He was chomping and playing with it. I took him to the mounting block, and mounted politely and the Parelli way. Fosse stood there calmly and waited until I asked for forward movement. I lifted the reins, smiled with all four cheeks, and we were off! He was bothered by the bugs too but moved forward with ease and was not argumentative. (The bugs seemed to bother the horses around their ears and face--little tiny flies or gnats.)We walked all over the place, he offerd to walk through obstacles, and he was very fun! His flexion was also great and no biting at all (not that he ever did that--that is Whiskey's deal). I only rode Fosse for about 10 minutes but, it was all wonderful! Fosse is a fantastic partner. When I took his tack off, I was sure to rub the girth area and his whole body, playing friendly and he appreciated it (I had done the same for Whiskey).

So, that is it. Everyone got treats afterwards--even Mini-Me who was just hanging around, eating and rolling in the dirt during all of this. Fun horse time, maybe not the fanciest or most advanced, but fun nonetheless. I hope you all are playing with your horses this weekend!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

My Latest Quest: In Search of the Bareback Buddy and Saddle Stabilizer by Hot Stuff for Horses!

This is my friend's new Quarter Horse Toby. And yes, that is me in pink (and my new "Equissentials Parelli Icelandic Jods"!

Hello everyone! Well, I thought that this would be a great place to post my quest! I am in search of the "Bareback Buddy" and "Saddle Stabilizer" products that were produced by the now, closed business called, "Hot Stuff For Horses." Unfortunately, a few years back, the California wildfires closed them down. Apparently, they lost everything, including their home. I feel very sad for Maddy Bartell (the owner) and her family. (Maddy, if you find my blog, please know that our heart goes out to you and we are very sorry for your devastating loss!)

So, if any of you have either of these products just laying around, collecting dust, or know where I can get them, PLEASE let me know! I really believe that they would be very useful for me. Thanks in advance for your help!

I am posting information and photos for your reference below (all from the cached website of Hot Stuff For Horses found on, The Way Back Machine--Internet Archive).


The Bareback Buddy


"The Bareback Buddy™ forms 2 loops, with a hand-hold in between. One loop snaps around your horse's off leg, the webbing lays over your horse's back, and the other loop hangs down for you to step in and mount! It provides a firm anchor to allow you to mount up, by wrapping around your horse's leg where it joins the shoulder....this unique approach means there can be NO slipping while you get on your horse...and it's veterinarian - approved! Let your HORSE give you a leg up! It gets you on your horse quickly and easily; then you simply unsnap it from your horse's leg! It is designed to wrap around your horse's neck, so it's always with you when you need it, but not in the way. It can be used as a portable mounting block for saddled horses, too! It just goes over the saddle, and then you place the foot-loop lower than your stirrup to help you get on."



"HOW TO USE:

1) Lay The Bareback Buddy™ over your horse's back, with a loop on each side.
2)Snap the large adjustable loop around your horse's leg.
3) Place the adjustable hand-hold at any height you need. (First use only)
4) Adjust the large foot-loop to the height you need, (first use only). It is held open by a rubber foot-pad while you mount.
5) Unsnap both the leg loop and the foot loop after you are on your horse.*
6) Lay the open Bareback Buddy™ over your horse's neck, half on each side. Reach under neck with both hands, grab the opposite sides of the Bareback Buddy™ and bring the ends up, over and under 2 to 3 times.The ends can be snapped together after you wrap the The Bareback Buddy™ around your horse's neck.
Your horse carries it while you are riding!"


*"The Bareback Buddy™ was originally made with plastic buckles, but is now made with lightweight but strong metal buckles! Pictures are of the original version, not the updated style...."


The Saddle Stabilizer


"If you have a problem with the saddle rolling/slipping when you get on, the SADDLE STABILIZER™ will solve the problem permanently!Because it "anchors" around the horse's off leg while you are mounting, the saddle can't roll.It unsnaps from the horse's leg after you mount up, so it doesn't interfere with your riding.It's just like having a helper holding your saddle in place while you get on. Adjustable for any horse and saddle, just leave it snapped on the saddle while you ride, if you wish, so it's always there to assist you in remounting."


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Rain, Rain, Rain, Rain, Rain, and More Rain!

So what is the weather like where you are? Although we needed rain, I feel like we have had enough! It has been raining for 4 days with a brief reprieve. However, I am lucky that a lot of my property has sandy soil nad good drainage.

So, progress with the horses...well of course! We can always find something to do. My thought of the day is to remind you that PNH should be a part of your life, how you always interact with your horse, not something you do on a Sunday! Any time you interact, you should employ the PNH principles, always. It is an all or nothing proposition!

So, have you hugged your horse today?

Painting image from http://paintingsbyjoan.com/paintings.html

Monday, June 02, 2008

Week.y Task Challenge: Safety on the Farm

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.)
Take a look around your farm, think of your current habits, surroundings, and think about you and your horses' safety.

Identify and fix at least one safety hazzard and report to the blog (using comments) what it was and why you fixed it.

This is a great learning opportunity for everyone! Good luck, have fun, and be safe!

*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.