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, January 28, 2009

Are you speaking the same language as your horse?

Funny Hugh Laurie & Stephen Fry comedy sketch! 'Your name, sir?' - BBC comedy
Video downloaded from YouTube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNoS2BU6bbQ

***To view and listen to this video successfully, please remember to pause the Play List Radio first. The radio is near the bottom of the blog. ***

So what did you think about the video? I think it is funny but then again, I've always enjoyed humor from across the pond. The point is, these two characters were talking in the same language but not really communicating, not well anyway.

Are you speaking the same language as your horse? Does he seem to understand you? Do you understand him? Are you in sync or just occupying each other's time with little communication? Are you hearing or actually listening to each other?

As Parelli students we all know that our common language with our horse is the 7 games. If you've been studying, you know that the games are ways horses communicate with each other and that games 1-3 are principle games (a foundation of your language) whereas games 4-7 are purpose games (the language expanded for higher levels of communication). You also know that these games can be played using thousands of variations, while on the ground or mounted, and that your creativity is the only limitation (which is in-part why Pat released the new materials called the Parelli Patterns.)

To be certain I am communicating to you, and if you need a refresher, here are the seven games, listed and briefly explained:

Game #1 The Friendly Game
"This game proves to your horse you will not act like a predator, that you are friendly and can be trusted."

Game #2 The Porcupine Game
"This game is called "porcupine" as a reminder that the horse should not lean against a point of pressure but learn to move away from it."

Game #3 The Driving Game
"This game teaches the horse to respond to implied pressure, where you suggest to the horse to move and he moves without you touching him."

Game #4 The Yo-Yo Game
"The object is to get backward and forward movements equal and light."

Game #5 The Circling Game
"Do not confuse this with mindless lunging! The Circling Game develops a horse mentally, emotionally and physically. It teaches him to stay connected to you and get the tension out of the line between you while maintaining his gait and direction."

Game #6 The Sideways Game
"This is teaching the horse to go sideways equally as well to the right and left, with ease."

Game #7 The Squeeze Game
"Horses, by nature, are claustrophobic. They are afraid of any small or tight space. The Squeeze Game teaches your horse to become braver and calmer, to squeeze through narrow spots without concern."

To learn more, consider reading Pat Parelli's article, "Understanding the Language of Horses by Pat Parelli" (Courtesy of Natural Horse Magazine).

OK, so what language are you using? To know and understand the games and that they are your language does not mean you are "speaking" correctly and actually getting through. Technique is as important as knowledge. The tools are another issue--what are you using anyway? So, do you remember the 7 keys to success? Can you recite them? Here you go if you are having trouble:

Attitude, Knowledge, Tools, Technique, Time, Imagination, and Support

For an explanation of the 7 keys, consider reading this article, "The 7 keys explained," by Parelli Professional, Geneviève Benoit.

How is your technique? I cannot tell you how many times I've seen fellow students or enthusiasts doing things to their horses that drove me nuts! (Although to be fair, I've seen much more good than bad.) Anyhow, those doing bad, wrong, inaccurate, or otherwise incompetent things made me want to take their horses away from them and tell their horse that not all humans are this way. Now, I am far from perfect so please don't misunderstand me. I know I have plenty of room for improvement, tons to learn, but, keep reading to learn why I have felt this way--I think you will agree.

Examples of human incompetence! (Why people should actually study and learn, then go practice instead of just using their horse as something for their own entertainment.) *Note some of this is Parelli people and other instances are that of gunsels.

Case #1- Talking the Talk
Imagine this, you know that the person you are observing has been studying Parelli for at least a year (or claims they have) but still cannot recite the 7 games nor do they understand what the point of each one is. Are you kidding me? It is not rocket science folks! How can this be? I am baffled and speechless. (Well not speechless.)

Case #2- Walking the Walk
The definition of the Porcupine Game (game #2) is to use applied pressure, using the appropriate phases, to move your horse around, you are teaching them to move off of pressure rather than into pressure. I witnessed, on more than one occasion, a woman using her carrot stick like a stabbing implement in order to get her horse to move. The woman looked like a fool, the horse looked at her like she was nuts, and I was going out of my head about it! I even gave this person several lessons on proper technique (and was asked to do so). When I played with the horse, she moved around as asked, no trouble. This horse person has viewed this game being done on several videos by Pat, Linda, their students, etc., and still, stabbing at the horse! Good grief (to put it politely). I don't even want to discuss the other 6 games oye vey!

Case #3- Horses are Servants to Humans--What?
When I lived in Virginia, my husband and I were camp hosts on Flat-Top mountain for the National Forest. I cannot even count how many walking/gaited horses I saw with riders flopping around on their backs, huge bits for breaks, spurs, yelling and absolutely cruel and ridiculous behavior by their owners. Talk about needing the ASPCA! I mean what the heck is wrong with people, the horse is not a motor vehicle, it is a living creature and these poor horses, in my humble opinion (if it were ever really humble) is that they were being tortured for the enjoyment of their riders (knowingly or not). I have friends with walking/gaited horses and they are natural, one does PNH and the other Clinton Anderson, their horses are happy and willing partners.

Case #4-Fear, Fear, Fear = Failure
Fear is a genuine thing and I understand it. I had a terrible jumping accident prior to PNH (12 years ago) and was told never ride again--and I gave up horses for several years (as per my Orthopedic Surgeon). Well, you can't take the horse out of a born horse nut! So, years later, I bought Fosse (a youngster--probably inappropriate at the time--all well). But, I sought out a better way to be with my horses looking for not only technique but a philosophy that adhered to my personal beliefs (thanks Pat Parelli) and worked through any fear issues (thanks Stephanie Burns and Linda Parelli). It took time and persistence, support, but I did it and so can you!

Why are so many PNHrs still using fear as an excuse not to ride or even just not to be with their horses? You have to work through these fear issues folks, if not for yourself but for your horses! I know a lady who could not stand near her horses and owned 3--one a mustang! She literally grabbed onto me and stood behind me in terror when her horses came to us in a field for a look-see. Can you believe this?

For the afraid, fear may have brought you to Pat for help but, his program will also address those issues. However, you have to do the work and get through it (check out the Level 2 pack about fear--it is very interesting--do your homework and move on). You learn, grow, change, and find success by moving outside your comfort level (approach and retreat--this is a technique for the human often forgotten). Please be brave, learn, get support, and enjoy your horses. You can do it and can be successful. You can play on the ground, ride, and even compete if you want to! You don't need to have a pasture ornament (unless that is what you want anyway).

For more on the comfort zone, see my blog post, "Move Your Comfort Zone Challenge," Monday, June 16, 2008.

Finally, tools--what the heck do you have on your horse and in your hand? Once again, my personal preference but, I prefer the genuine, Parelli items. That said, I wanted to make a natural halter into a costume class halter for a fun show and bought the supplies at Natural Horse Supply (who I believe is under new management) to make my own fancy halter with beads, tassels, etc while still maintaining communication with my horse. It served the purpose very nicely (we won the blue--the photos are on the blog). People have preferences but I've tried many knock-offs with friend's horses and did not like the stuff--it usually lacks true feel (if that makes sense). So, now, if I am playing with someone else's horse, I bring my genuine Parelli equipment, always.

I guess the post rambles quite a bit and I do apologize. My point is, if you are communicating with your horse, please be sure he understands you and that you have taken the time to improve your technique, are using the right tools, that you do your homework and know the language (terminology, purpose, psychology, etc). Be kind to yourself and your horse and you'll be happier for it (and so will they).

Friday, January 23, 2009

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

Well, it's 13°F (5°F windchill), cloudy, 13mph winds. By Sunday, we'll be back down to -22°F. (Yes, that is negative and not a typo--I'm not sure what the windchill will be.) And, it is going to snow. Now mind you, I am not complaining at all--I missed "real" winters when I lived down south, I really did! I am finding that although last year I about froze to death (well that is exaggerating a bit), this year, I am different (more like when I grew up in Western NY and the Finger Lakes regions). This morning, I actually caught myself saying to the convenient store attendant--it is warming up and nice outside! LMAO

As you can see in the photos (not the greatest--from my Blackberry), the horses are blanketed. I am still using their medium-weight turnout rugs from Virginia. They seem to be fine but, I'd like to pick up some stable blankets and perhaps heavy-weight turnouts when the sales happen (pending fund availability).

So, what does one do with their horses when it is cold outside? Well, I've been playing on the ground once in awhile but not as often as I should. I have been playing at liberty and with obstacles but mostly just feeding them and treating them with candy canes! However, the ground is choppy and icy--I even have to remove snowballs from the horses' feet sometimes! (If anyone has any bright ideas about this, please let me know.)

I am very excited as I was approached by one of my readers and asked if I had purchased the Parelli Patterns yet. I was originally going to buy them back when they were first released in September, then October, then November, December (for my b-day), January before the sale ended, but it never happened. Unfortunately, I was socked with several veterinary bills and auto repairs that kept draining my fun money! GRRR. Anyhow, then the new sale hit (Buy the patterns for considerably more but get L&HB free). I already purchased L&HB last year. Although I know I could have sold it on E-Bay, I was reluctant and struggling putting the additional money from what I budgeted towards it--that annoyed me and I felt horrible that I hadn't foud a way to buy the Patterns earlier. Well, anyhow, I was asked if I already bought the Patterns as this person had the Patterns and got them again to get L&HB free and wanted to sell them! It seemed like she and I were exactly having the opposite problem and could help each other. We struck a very amicable deal and I mailed my check to her yesterday! I am so excited and feeling very motivated. (I really love fellow PNHrs--we are all in it for each other, right?!--Thank you!)

So, this excitement has got me thinking agin about facilities--I know, over and over I go, thinking about this stuff--I just want to get it right, the first time. Yes, I'd like an indoor arena but that is not going to happen anytime soon. So, since I seem to be able to handle the cold, this spring, we (Rick and I) are going to focus on building an outdoor, all-weather arena (not sure of size) and outdoor, all-weather round pen (I am thinking 80 foot), both lighted. This way, when winter comes around again, at least I'll have lights and can bundle up. I am hoping that we can find a way to have great footing and something that he can carefully plow with the 4-wheeler. I wonder if there is some kind of horse-friendly de-icer out there? (Anyone know?) Now, this does not mean that I am not going to continue to strategize and plan for an indoor solution, but what it does mean is that I'll have better all-weather solutions for not only the winter but rainy days, etc. And yes, I knew that all of this had to happen and that I, once again, lack patience, but, you know me, I have to write it and figure it out--sometimes multiple times!

So, the plan is to start studying the Parelli Patterns and using them right away--maybe something shiny and new is giving me a little motivational push? Ok, I can live with that. LOL I do want continue to be officially assessed and am looking forward to reviewing the final rubric. I believe that is coming out at the end of the month. I'll also start drawing up plans for facilities to make them feel more concrete and discuss the issues with Rick and our contractor (maybe the contractor closer to Spring).

What are you all doing in the cold? How do stay motivated? What kind of facilities do you have? Do tell!


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Horsemanship Quizzes and Weekly Tasks!

If you really want to be successful, you should be studying, testing yourself, and practicing--constantly. As Pat Parelli has said, a million times (at least), "Practice doesn't make perfect - only perfect practice makes perfect!" So, you have to know what you are doing! This is no different than learning in school, at college/university, on the job, etc.

As a creative way to study my level of horsemanship, I created online quizzes using Survey Monkey and my horse-related study materials (books, videos, articles, and more). These quizzes were originally distributed to my PNH group, the NCPPG, via e-mail as wa way for all of us to learn and test together. I decided to revive them and post them on the blog thinking that some of you may be interested and find this tool useful in your journey. If you are intereted in testing yourself, do take a look! I plan to continuously add to them so be checking back periodically! They are on the right-hand side below my levels status information. You can take them as many times as you like. Included are not only the questions but the answers! *Please note that the responses are collected as a function of Survey Monkey. However, your IP address is not collected in the responses.

I also used to post a task of the week for the NCPPG. It was a great way to motivate myself and others. I plan to do this on the blog as well. I'll be putting tasks towards the bottom, above the Zoneology map. Give them a try and let me know what you think! You can always send email to me at arabhorselover1@yahoo.com

Questions? Thoughts? Comment here! I look forward to hearing from you!

P.S. I added several new tunes to the online radio. If there is something you like, let me know and if I like it too, I'll add it!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Leadership While Mounted....Do you have it? Do you need it? Do you want it?

Image taken by me at a Parelli tour stop a few years ago.

A friend recently asked me about leadership while mounted and if I'd consider writing something about it. Of course, I readily agreed and was very thankful for the blog content idea. And, the answer to my three questions above: I've got it, I need it, and I want it! (How about you?) I don't want a push-button horse--may as well have a nice sports car--I want a challege!

So, let's talk a bit about leadership between horse and human in general terms. Horses are not egocentric, they don't feel bad or feel insulted if you are the dominate party in the relationship. They expect someone to be number one and the other number two. It is up to you to establish the pecking order--and know that they will test the order--all of the time--it is natural! However, this "pecking order" must be established in such a way that you are not rude or insulting, not harsh or cruel (anyone can beat an animal or human for that matter into submission but it takes a true leader to cultivate a mutually beneficial relationship). It takes a common language so that you two communicate the issues and have understanding, it takes a person who loves their horse to take the time to do this, and of course, leadership (the third component in the Parelli formula of "Love, Language, and Leadership" takes savvy and a true understanding of what leadership is.

Remember this? It is IMPORTANT!

Horse's Hierarchy of Needs (IN THIS ORDER)
• Safety = Confidence + Leadership
• Comfort = Release
• Play = Fun + Creativity
• Food = Incentive

Also, I was trying to figure out the components of: Love, Language, and Leadership and this is what I came up with (I have yet to find anything official and I swear I had notes on this somewhere--I'll update if I find something better!)

Three L's:
Love=Have your heart in your hands (be kind to your horse).
Language=The seven games in many combinations (unlimited) is your common language.
Leadership= The act of motivating your horse to do something that works you both towards a common goal. (Make it your horse's idea, not just yours.)

In my "normal" life, my career is all about leadership as I am an Academic Library Director. I have to lead all of the time, working with different people, scenarios, and other issues that take quality leadership (and I am doing well actually--I have data to prove it--LOL). The reason I bring this up is that leading in one's so-called regular life or leading in your relationship with your horse have principles that apply much the same.

Philosophically, let's talk a little about what leadership is and what it is not? Pat Parelli has said many times that, "Your horse is a reflection of you as a leader--what kind of leader you are is truly reflected in how your horse is." To me, leadership is and is not...

Leadership is NOT:

  1. Power. The idea of power is offensive, rude, and simply out of line. Keep power trips out of the picture and you will create a safe environment for your relationship to grow.
  2. Waiting for something to happen and hoping the other party will make the first move to allow you to lead. Leaders get the ball rolling, allowing the relationship to build and happen.
  3. Being closed minded and thinking that you are always right. Leaders also make mistakes and you must own up to them for the relationship to work.

Leadership IS:

  1. Knowing that change starts with you! If there is a problem, it stems with you, not your horse---kind of like your computer. Computers are not intelligent, they can only think in terms of one and zero. It is humans (the operators/manipulators) that actually make them work to create the wonderful things we do with them. If they are not working right, it is usually our fault. Do you remember seeing Pat Parelli on more than one occasion take a "bad" horse and make him a "good" horse? The horse did not change, his leadership changed making him react differently to the situation. (This is not magic, this is leadership.)
  2. Being able to always find the positive in any situation. Dwelling on the negative does nothing but sabotage you and your horse.
  3. Not having power-trips. POWER is a dirty word!
  4. Understanding that you are a role model, you are infectious--do your horsey friends want what you've got--you'd better hope so because if they do, chances are you are doing something wonderful with and for your horse.
  5. Knowing that your horse is evaluating you on a daily basis (perhaps every minute, every second). Does he believe in you and your leadership? Are you trustworthy? Does he want to be with you? Remember you are a predator asking a prey animal to follow your lead---to some horses this could mean something akin to trusting a lion to take them home to meet the pride for dinner. (Do they think they that they are a guest or the main course--hmmm?) Does your horse see you as a scary dominating predator or a partner?
  6. Acknowledging a job well done at the very moment it happens. Remember this quote, "Pressure motivates but it is the release the teaches"--Pat Parelli? The release is the acknowledgement or reward (a cookie never hurts either).
  7. Someone who leads by example, listens, compassionate, self-aware, tough and courageous, optimistic, intelligent, fun, motivational, creative, accurate, concise, dedicated, punctual, sensitive, enthusiastic, accountable, troubleshoots, understands verbal and non-verbal cues, is able to trust, is trustworthy, plans, and prepares.

As you can see, leaders have a great responsibility. Sure, you can get a horse to do what you want through fear and intimidation but what fun it that? I personally prefer a horse who wants to be with me and who is having fun.

For the sake of this post, I am not going to get into leadership on the ground. Personally I believe that if you don't have it there, you have no business riding your horse. Not only for your own safety but for the safety and comfort of your horse! (It is not all about you!) LOL

Here is what I believe a clear example of a time when my leadership shined through while mounted and why I believe it did.

While trying to teach my Arabian Whiskey to trot, I thought it would help if he saw another horse doing it. Now I am not saying that makes sense but at the time, it was what I was thinking. Anyhow, I wanted him to trot on the rail in my outdoor arena. It was a nice sunny day and the horses were all feeling good--so was I.

I had three horses in the arena: Wilbur my Thoroughbred (who was at liberty), Whiskey my Arabian (the green horse with whom I put under saddle and who I was riding with natural hackamore and bareback pad--Parelli brand of course), and Fosse my other Arabian (who was also at liberty). So basically, I am riding Whiskey and the other two are running around the arena carrying on. I decided that we all needed something to do, together (sure I could have put the other two horses in another turnout area but why--my time with the horses was limited as it was and I wanted to play with them all. Anyhow, I managed to reach a carrot stick that I had on a barrel and directed Wilbur from across the arena to get in front of Whiskey. He lined up at a distance where I could tap his butt (phase one) with the carrot stick. I then asked Wilbur for a trot by light, rhythmic tapping, once he began to trot at liberty in front of me on the rail, I asked Whiskey for a trot and we began trotting around the arena (I remained in the passenger position, intermixing sitting and posting trot). I happened to glance behind me looking for Fosse's location and Fosse was following Whiskey and I at a trot too! This was so cool, so fun, so exhilarating! The session continued where I directed the horses at liberty here and there, and the one under saddle, Whiskey, with little effort, had huge success. Sometimes Whiskey and I would just stay still and the others would circle, sometimes we'd pursue another horse, it was great! All of the horses saw me as their leader and we all had fun, together!

Why did this work? Was it planned? It was not planned but a spontaneous creative thought I had based on imagination, lack of time, and a yearning to make progress. It worked because I had taken the time to get respect on the ground first, with all of the horses, not only that day but many days, weeks, months, etc.--I put in the time (Pat Parelli says, "Take the time it takes and it takes less time" and frankly, it is true, in all walks of life.

The other reason it worked is that I have an independent and balanced seat. This is critical to have your horse believe you are trustworthy as a leader while mounted, period, no exceptions. I can rider bareback with or without a Parelli bareback pad (and this has actually helped my balance--and understand that my shape or weight are less than perfect but, there is more to balance than being the perfect 10--really! However, this is precisely why I joined a gym and am trying to get back into better shape--I believe my fitness level has been interfering with my natural balance (which leads to confidence) and thus my leadership while mounted lately is lacking in my opinion--so instead of crying the blues, I am doing something about it! If you get on your horse and kick him when you mount, yank on his mouth, flop and bump around, flail your legs, or other horrible riding incompetence, your horse will not gauge you as competent and not trust you (for good reason) and thus, he will try to be the leader instead simply out of self-preservation. Now, what if this is a right-brained horse to begin with? Do you want a right-brained horse to play leader? Not me!

Other components I can attribute to this one example of success is that I study the Parelli Program, I discuss issues, reflect, and strive to learn more. I also understand and reevaluate myself and my horses' horsenalities. I know who/what I am dealing with making strategies more easily created and implemented.

True horsemanship is not easy, it takes work, dedication, perseverance. Yes, I see people who hop on, kick to go, pull the reins to stop, just sit on their horse and ride. They say and seem happy and that is their prerogative and that is great for them. For me however, I am looking for a deeper relationship with my horse and not the path of least resistance. I am willing to put in the time, to learn to be a good leader, because I believe that what I get in the end is a richer, deeper relationship with a truly magnificent creature. It is truly a personal choice.

So, I guess my conclusion is to tell you to seek out what you want with your horse and make a plan, be savvy, be creative, have fun with your horses, but work on yourself too--success starts with you!

A final FYI...I participate in leadership seminars and courses all of the time too (I was at an all-day Leadership, Negotiations, and Mediations seminar last Friday)! Anyhow, I strive for continual improvement in all aspects of my life, a life-long project I suppose, and a truly good use of my time. Currently, I am using the FISH! Philosophy with my faculty and staff (and doing a self-study, Leader Fish for myself). It is fun! And, they seem encouraged, interested, and enjoying it--and it truly compliments my PNH journey by the way. The whole idea stems around four principles: Be There, Play, Make Their Day, Choose Your Attitude!

Friday, January 09, 2009

A Step in the Right Direction

Image From" The Horse Magazine" AUSTRALIA'S NUMBER ONE EQUESTRIAN MAGAZINE
Check out the website, there is good information there.

So, I've been contemplating my fitness level. It's not good but can be fixed--anything is possible, right? I am strong but need to lose weight, tone, and get even stronger really...like many Americans these days, I need help! Anyhow, my strive for fitness not only comes from my vanity and my experience with earlier years being physically fit but from the desire to please my horses and be more in harmony with them. I cannot imagine they are too delighted with my weight gain (although they don't seem to complain). I am a balanced rider, a strong person, althletic despite the extra baggage, but certainly don't look or feel like my former self (ahh to age...grrr).

This all brings me to my thoughts of a new year, a fresh start, and a need to have a plan and reasonable goals. (I think this will be a life-long battle.) I've been working out all week at home--Leslie Sansone videos and walking Morgan, our great Dane puppy (my New Year's Resolution), making fairly good choices at mealtimes (but not always), have curtailed extracurricular snacking, and am drinking more water. I am feeling motivated and trying, even if only a little, to make change happen. I actually feel better already if you can believe it, even just after several days of new attitudes and practices. It is amazing how the body can react to the smallest changes.

My lifestyle simply is not what is was when I was younger. My career forces me to be fairly sedentary (in meetings or on the computer most of the time) and although I do a great deal outside at home on the weekends (weather permitting), during the week, I about collapse when I get home from work, sitting on the couch vegetating in front of the TV or, with my computer on my lap---working. In Virginia I did get outside more during the week but, the facilities were set-up and, the weather was less harsh. It was 8 degrees Fahrenheit here this morning---BRRR--I am not complaining, I love it here but, things are different and I need to learn how to adjust--I am getting there. Just the other day I took a walk and it was 24 degrees Fahrenheit! Anyhow...

So, here is the big step I am now committing to, are you ready (I think I am).....I am joining a gym! I cannot believe it really, I have been reluctant to spend the money, not sure how I will find the time but, I think it would be very beneficial, motivating, and something my horses will appreciate this spring! I am going to start with a month-to-month contract and just see how it goes. The local gym, recommended by everyone at the University, offers a discount for University employees and all classes are included. It is five minutes from work. (I could use the University gym but, it is shared with all students, faculty, and staff. Colleagues here told me to just join the local gym, that it was simply nicer (it even has a full-service salon--not that I am really into that kind of thing--well maybe a little--LOL).

So, here I go, feeling empowered, motivated and supported. Some of my colleagues have joined, I knw of friends now joining gyms, Rick supports my joining, and well, frankly, Fosse and Whiskey would too if they could speak English! I know, you are probably thinking well, this is all the new year thing and it will end in a few weeks/months. I hope not, it could but, I think I'll be all the better for atleast trying.

I am getting in very little sustained, hands-on horse time right now but, do what I can. I trimmed feed a couple of weeks ago and an trying to incorporate Pat's 10-minute tips. They seem happy and comfortable. I've been working on getting Morgan used to them and they used to her. The other day I fed all three candy canes. They were on one side of a metal gate panel and she on the otherside (no halters for the horses and no leash for her so they all participated on their own accord). They were all touching eachother and enjoying their treats. It was pretty neat (especially because the horses were leary of her and she terrified of them back in the beginning).

I suppose that is it for now, wish me luck and certainly consider your own health as well as your horse's! I did write an entire blog post about exercises for the rider some time ago. Here is the link if you are interested! The information is really good and I look forward to reviewing it again for myself. Exercise for the Rider, April 2, 2008, Natural Horse Lover Blog Post