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

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy Holidays--Looking Forward to a New Year!

Good New Year's Eve everyone! I just opened an order I placed with Parelli Collection and am excited to share! I ordered the Katie Drake CD, "In Your Shoes," a Parelli disposable slicker, and a Parelli Arena Banner. The order was originally for the banner which had been back-ordered for a long time. When placing the order, I decided to buy Katie's CD because I enjoyed some of her songs played at the last Parelli seminar I attended. Well, money well spent--what an inspiration (and yes, the Parelli Patterns are the next purchase). Anyhow, her music made me feel happy and excited to go play with the horses, happy about life in general, and I sang them all to my puppy Morgan--it was funny and fun!

Anyhow, just checking in, not much to report. I am looking forward to a healthier, more horsey-time new year! Be safe tonight and be ready for 2009!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More about "the horse before the cart" ...

This is a follow-up to my preceeding post, "Are you guilty of putting the horse before the cart?"

My friend e-mailed me her thoughts and I was intrigued. I just had to share (she okayed it).


Good morning!

I have some thoughts that I’d like to share following the reading of your blog post yesterday. Some are directly related to it, and some aren’t. ;-)

First off: You may want to examine your emotion-based judgments versus factual statements. They are very different.. Question reality. Love what is! (Dig my color scheme.)

1. The move from Virginia to New York caused the set-back. (Fact: It was a huge factor in slowing your progress. Not to mention starting a new job with new commitments, and renovation your new home..)
2. The facilities at our new farm are all but non-existent whereas we had things relatively in order in Virginia . (Fact: But things are coming together now.)
3. The weather is very cold, the weather is wet, it gets too dark too soon, etc. (Fact: You do live in a more challenging environment than previously, and you will have to adapt. Perhaps the indoor play area can be in your near future?!)
4. My horses are adjusting to their new surroundings. (Fact: They have had a year to do so, and by spring should be pretty well adapted.)
5. I am adjusting to my new life and responsibilities. (Fact! This is a good thing.)
6. I am too tired. (Emotional judgment: action builds energy)
7. I am not in shape. (Judgment: You are where you are. This is constantly changing. You do not have a limiting disability.)
8. I am not good enough. (Judgment: Of course you are! You are strong, and smart, and have good timing, and knowledge, and desire – I could go on and on.)
9. I don't deserve it. (Judgment: Why are you beating yourself up? Progress NOT perfection!!)
10. I don't have someone to join me--I am all alone. (Judgment: You are not alone (although you do have fewer local resources). You have a strong online community. And you have your horses! ;-) You may want to seriously consider attending an upcoming PNH event in person, if at all possible. Let me know when you did and I may try to join you.

** Accept where you are – it is where you are meant to be right now! After all, it is where you are and it takes tons of energy to argue with reality. And that will free you up to take the next right step, without reacting on an emotional level.


Your thoughts are very valid and important. I hadn't put things into the perspective of emotional versus fact and it completely makes sense. I suppose my assumption was that I'd move and not skip a beat! And that perhaps, things would automatically be even better, automatically! Well, we all know about assumptions don't we...how interesting.


I have been playing with the horses every night, even if for only 10 minutes at a time. It has been freezing here, usually single digits or below zero. However, I've not let that get in the way--no excuses! I found a document, 10-minute Tips by Pat Parelli on HorseChannel.com and have been playing with those ideas too! I am having fun and planning for spring. So, we are having fun, continually working on our relationship, and I know it is making a difference.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Are you guilty of putting the horse before the cart?


This wonderful image is from MetroNet IQ and was used in a story about a municipal broadband debate. However, this common euphemism clearly illustrates what many horse people are guilty of, me included. Ok, so what does this euphemism really mean, "Putting the horse before the cart?" To me, it illustrates many things in life but today, I am talking about horses.

As you know, I have been catching up on Parelli DVDs this weekend which to me is the epitome of studying. I am afterall a Parelli student. I know that some of the material are truly review and that it is mostly known information. However, it is presented in a different manner and thus, I find a great deal of value in it. Repetition is the crux of learning--Pat always tells us he will tell us again and again those things we need to know--eventually it all sinks in.

So far this weekend I have watched the October 2008 Savvy Club DVD, Natural Rider, Beyond the Round Pen - Liberty, and Calm Ride. I am also reading through the November 2008, issue 21 Savvy Times and will be done this evening. Like I said, I always learn something new, see something from a different perspective, or gain an insight I never imagined.

I know that I have often put the horse before the cart because I have a very extroverted and driven personality that desires everything now, not tomorrow, but now. I have set up expectations that are unrealistic (for example: I think I can go out and have a great ride because I have imagined it, planned for it, then it will happen, automatically--yeah right! What side of the corral did my horse wake up on? Have I truly prepared for it? I have to remember these and other factors--horses are not cars that you can turn on and off, drive where you want--they are living creatures with brains!)

I sometimes fall into the direct-line thinking trap because of this too. (Read my post about direct-line thinking here: http://naturalhorselover.blogspot.com/2008/12/dont-be-direct-line-thinker.html ) Anyhow, this type of behavior (the horse before the cart) can make a person feel defeated, unsuccessful, and sometimes even stagnates progress. This would be like me thinking because my horse Whiskey loves to jump that we can go straight to the competition circuit, without practice, without preparation, and without studying the nuiances of the sport. Horsemanship is no different than any other subject area--to be an expert or to even just be proficient, you have to do your homework (lecture and lab), test yourself, practice, and strive for constant improvement. This is why the Parelli's have sections of their courses where you are in a classroom and not just time with your horse. --it totally makes sense (I really want to go to the ISC.)

So why do I bring this all up? In reviewing these study materials this weekend, as it always happens, I am feeling motivated again, empowered, and ready to get back at it! But, this is where the horse before the cart comes in. I have to study before I go play because it prepares me for success. If I play without a plan and without knowledge to help me, I am putting the cart before the horse. The realization of where barries are is very important. I need to avoid or conquer hurdles in many forms.

Thinking about how far along we all were in Virginia and seeing where we are now, I can place blame in many places: (blame/excuses are a barrier)

1. The move from Virginia to New York caused the set-back.
2. The facilities at our new farm are all but non-existent whereas we had things relatively in order in Virginia.
3. The weather is very cold, the weather is wet, it gets too dark too soon, etc.
4. My horses are adjusting to their new surroundings.
5. I am adjusting to my new life and responsibilities.
6. I am too tired.
7. I am not in shape.
8. I am not good enough.
9. I don't deserve it.
10. I don't have someone to join me--I am all alone.
11. And the list could go on!

Is this list sounding familiar? Do you have something similiar? HMMMM, Have you read Dr. Stephanie Burn's book, "Great Lies We Live By?" Well I have and now, I know in order to succeed, I have to read it again to start making progress again. This is just another addition to my education and I need a review session!

Although many of the listed items are true, they are all excuses. I think that the crux of it is me putting the horse before the cart. How I believe I did this is that I came here thinking that everything would be the same or better, immediately. My expectations were far from reality and therefore, I had what I perceived as slow progress or failure. (Rick keeps reminding me that we have only been here for a short time--I know but sometimes I forget or ignore that reality.) One huge problem is me not taking the time it takes and being happy for what we do have in place and taking advantage of that. I don't think that I am lazy but perhaps have become a little complacent. Funny thing is, I finally know that I am not alone. I've chatted with other PNHRs of all levels and we have all expereinced this. Whew--I am normal.

This realization is not the solution but action is. I need to create an action plan and stick to it (much like I need to have in place to become healthy and fit again). It is so simple yet so difficult! How intereting. (Speaking of fitness, I did walk my Morgan today for about 30 minutes through deep snow.)

S0, I have two easy choices: 1. Do something 2. Do nothing

Choice 1: Do Something
Doing something means getting back on track, playing with my horses daily, and going out with a plan recognizing my limitations and embracing the things we can do. We will have success, over time. It won't all come together immediately but if I put the time in, we will be back to having a great time again.

Choice 2: Do Nothing
Do nothing and I'll still have horses living here but I will not have a good rapport or relationship with them, I won't be having fun, and will feel worse for it. Guilt, failure, and other feelings alike.

My advice or thought of the day is to do something but not put the cart before the horse. To be realistic and proactive, and be happy that you are on this journey. My plan is to complete watching any DVDs I have until January 2nd when I will purchase the Parelli Patterns which will serve as another study tool. I've heard that the concepts are the same but the footage and explanations are new. I plan to go through the new assessment model. But thinking more practically, I will play with each horse, even if just in the confines of the barn, at least 15-30 minutes. Each time, I will go out with a purpose/plan in mind--I start tonight.

Here are a few Parellisms to keep you thinking and to keep you motivated!
  • There is only one rule - there are no rules .
  • The horse doesn't care how much you know until he knows how much you care.
  • Allow your horse time to digest your thoughts.
  • Do it for the horse, not to him.
  • Don't walk the extra mile for someone walking in the opposite direction.
  • Slow and right beats fast and wrong.
  • Practice doesn't make perfect - only perfect practice makes perfect!
  • Never ask a trying horse to try.
  • Cause your ideas to become your horse's ideas, but understand his ideas first.
  • If your horse is recreation for you...can you be recreation for your horse?
  • Find out what happens before what happens happens.
  • If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got.
  • Take the time it takes so it takes less time.
  • Play with the horse that shows up.
  • Expect a lot, accept a little, reward the slightest try.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Inclement Weather Doesn't Mean "No Horsey Time" Even in the North Country!

Good afternoon, it is COLD outside today--BRRR. When I went to feed this morning, it was a blustery -7° F ! I believe it is around 10° F now--whoa a heatwave! The sun is shining but, that certainly does not mean it is warm or that anything is melting. The horses are at the barn (able to come and go), blanketed, and munching on some yummy green hay.

Now, just because it is cold does not mean I cannot have a horsey-filled day! I decided that my time would be well spent watching DVDs, Parelli DVDs of course. Besides all of the educational components, I find that I am looking at their facilities and getting ideas there too.

I am feeling rather excited to get the Parelli Patterns. I have starting hearing more and more good things about them. Today, while watching the October 2008 Savvy Club DVD, Pat said something that rings true to me, (paraphrased) "practice your patterns is like a musician practicing their scales." The new assessment is designed to show real savvy (which comes from your heart), Pat says. So, I cannot wait to see what this all means--and yes, I will continue to do official assessments!

Which leads me to...I can say that I am feeling a bit sad today (and lately). There are several segments that are clearly only done by a physically fit person--very fit. Linda is 50 years old this year and looks fantastic! (She mentioned on a video segment that she was turning 50 in a few weeks). There was also a girl, Amy, 20 years old, and very fit too. I know I am not physically fit anymore, I am strong but not fit, toned, etc. anymore (I was always one of those physically fit, active, and pretty people that the guys chased after--I doubt anyone would dare look anymore out of pure fear--LOL). I'm in my thirties and finally life is all coming together nicely (career well on track, married 18 1/2 years to my soulmate, beautiful home, wonderful animals, etc.) except for this, my physical fitness...I also feel like I can never get it back (which probably is something to do with my own mental/emotional fitness). A few years back I was looking great, on the path back to beautiful and thin, and I plateaued, finally giving up and feeling like a failire for not being aboe to continue to lose weight, and so here I am (what an idiot)--grrr! I am feeling like a tremendous failure for ever letting this happen...why, why, why did I fail myself--and in essence fail my horses? Anyhow, Rick and I have both vowed to get back on track to a healthier us as our New Year's Resolution. (I am sure I'll write more about this in January--stay tuned.)

I have to update this post (5:17pm). I just got off the telephone with my best friend in the world, Clare. She is the most supportive and fun person I know (unfortunately she is in VA and I am in NY so we can no longer get together on a weekly basis like we used to). We met up several years ago because of Parelli--she sought me out actually--how funny is that! Anyhow, we had long talk about physical fitness this evening and she pointed out several reasons why I need not be so upset and discouraged. We even made a tentative plan of action that I know I can do! Thanks Clare, you truly are a wonderful and valuable friend--I miss you terribly!

Ok, so back to watching videos...are you caught up? I plan to watch the final few Success Series DVDs that I have not watched and finish up the riding sections of the so-called "new" level 2. What are you watching? What are you learning? Comment here or e-mail me! I'd love to know!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Don't Be a Direct-Line Thinker!

"And next to footprints on the trail from man's dark hidden source towards the civilized, we find the hoofprints of the Horse"
......Vernon Scannell, B. 1922, from "the horse"

I've been chatting with a horse-loving friend recently and it really got me to thinking about how most people are direct-line thinkers when it comes to our horses (hey, I am guilty of this too--let's all be honest here). We [humans aka predators] usually all want everything to be how we want it to be and now, not tomorrow, not in a few minutes, but now. We tend to be impatient and don't like it when our horses [prey animals] don't seem to understand our demands and respond instantly--as Pat says, and I thought this morning, SHAZAM--this is the problem, period!

Our predatory direct-line thinking actually gets in the way of our progress and in the way of our horse-human relationship. Horses are not direct-line thinkers but as prey animals, they are lateral thinkers. Direct-line thinking leads to perfectionism, obsessive behavior, extreme goal orientation, which often leads to putting our goals before our principles (an a-ha moment), which leads to disharmony in our partnership with our horses, and that lends itself to contempt towards us from our horses (not good at all--quite depressing actually).

In order to be successful, harmony comes from willingness both from human and horse; partnership and harmony equals safety; safety lends itseld to confidence; confidence enables you and your horse to have fun; fun makes you feel and become successful. We [humans] need to think and act laterally and not think direct-line. This is our responsibility.

All of this brings me back to the 8 responsibilites of horse and human, again! (Pat Parelli is brilliant--everything really does fit together--I have tons of this stuff on the blog for you--look to the right of your screen!) I have been studying this stuff for years (not like Pat does of course--my career and life tend to get in the way of my horse passion and progress at times). Anyhow, as time goes on, everything falls into place but in a clearer and more cohesive way. I encourage you to constantly review things you've seen and read, each time, it will have a more concrete meaning to you. Some day I may even know what the heck I am talking about! :)

So here they are, again! The 8 Responsibilities for Horses and Humans
There are four responsibilites for the horse and four responsibilities for the human.

Don't act like a prey animal (Learn to be calmer, smarter and braver.)
Maintain gait (Don't shift gears unless I ask.)
Maintain direction (Stay on course even if I'm not steering.)
Watch where you are going (Be responsible for your self-carriage.)

Don't act like a predator (I won't use force or lose my temper no matter what.)
Have an independent seat (I never grip with my hands or below my knees for balance.)
Think like a horse-man (I consider the horse's perspective.)
Use the natural power of Focus (I concentrate on what I want, not on what the horse may be doing.)
As an aside, I found this interesting site, Road To Horsemanship Series from Austrailia and it appears to be natural horsemanship friendly. I have not see everything yet but it looks pretty good! You may want to check it out!