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, May 27, 2009

Tonight's Parelli Tele-Seminar

The Parelli May Tele-seminar for Savvy Club Silver and Gold members just ended. The questions asked were very interesting and I enjoyed it a great deal. Neal Pye, Pat Parelli, and Linda Parelli were on the line. Neil asked the questions and kept the conversation going and Pat and Linda answered them. They were all in Pagosa Springs, Co.

I was disappointed that my question was not answered but they indicated that unanswered questions were going to be taken to the Parelli faculty and they'd get back to us with some answers. I'll let you know!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Weekly Task Challenge: Needle Preparedness

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

After reading an article in Equus magazine about helping your horse become a better patient, I quickly and easily made the connection between this and the basic skills we all should have being Parelli students. We have no excuse if our horses are not good patients, we know better!

Equus Article:Williaam, Jennifer, Barakat, Christine, "Help Your Horse Become a Better Patient", Equus, Oct 2008, i 373, p.34-37, p40.

This week, evaluate your horse's confidence and his willingness to yield to your "needle" (simulations for this exercise).

Needle Shy or Needle Savvy? Is your horse ok with needles--you know the kind for vaccinations, medications, and diagnostic tests? This was a Level 2, liberty assessment task (L5). *Now is an on-line skill Level 3 in the Parelli Patterns.

From the Level 2 Assessment Sheet:
L5. Pinch your horse’s neck and show that he relaxes and
yields to it (needle prep. as in new L2 Program).
qualities of Level 2” in DVD#8

See also, "Assessing the qualities of L2," DVD#8, Level 2 Kit
• Horse turns head toward student, relaxes—a
positive reflex to a potentially negative stimulus
• Horse braces
• Horse is unconfident, panics or leaves
• Student is rude and abrupt (no Friendly Games before or after)
• Student shows lack of “feel”
• Displaced behavior: ears back or swishing tail
If you are having trouble with this needle task, here are a few resources to help you become successful! This is not an exclusive list.

Parelli has many other things out there to assist you in your learning. Please refer to the Savvy Club Website for additional educational resources (you must be a member to access this site) http://www.parellisavvyclub.com/

Parelli Level 2 Kit (new level 2-blue box) --There is an instructional portion in your kit. Please see it for details.

Parelli E-news, Sept 5, 2008, http://enews.parelli.com/2008/enews090508.pdf

Parelli Patterns, Online Skills DVD, Level 3

Parelli Savvy Club DVD, "Attitude/Knowledge. Needle Shy Demonstration" (57 min), May 2006Pat Parelli, Jesse, Karen, Cash and Sage In this demonstration Pat helps Karen's mare, Sage, with her dramatic claustrophobia and fear of needles. While riding Cash, Pat plays the Seven Games with Sage to develop trust, leadership and expose Sage's deep fear of confinement. This demonstration is not intended to teach the techniques for dealing with this kind of problem. It is to expose just how deep and severe it can be in some horses plus show the Level of savvy required to address it safely for both horse and human. IMPORTANT SAFETY WARNING: This session contains Level 4 techniques. Please do not attempt. In severe cases such as this, please consult with your Parelli Endorsed Professional.

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

Monday, May 18, 2009

My Share Parelli Groups

shareparelli team

Have you heard about Share Parelli? It is a new, free, website for you Parelli lovers (especially those not in Savvy Club). I have two groups listed there that may be of interest. If not, click on the Share Parelli Logo above and find a group that better suits you or better yet, create one!

Parelli Lonely Barnyard - Are you the only PNHr at your barn? Do you find your motivation lacking at times and need others to chat with? Join this group and talk to fellow PNHrs in the same position. Let's support each other!

North Country Parelli Play Group - The North Country Parelli Play Group (NCPPG) was created to bring together like-minded horse people studying Parelli Natural Horsemanship. If you live in St. Lawrence County, New York or close neighboring areas and would like to join us, we meet monthly for a video or article meeting and have one play date a month (weather permitting). **This is just a sister site to take you to our Yahoo Group.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Looking for Some Parelli Resources

Library of Congress

I joined Savvy Club Gold but, was a little late in doing so. Therefore, I missed out on the following resources. If you have them and are thinking of selling, please let me know because Parelli is out of them and does not know when they will (or if) they will get more. I am mostly concerned about the manuals and CD as my Library now has a hole in its collection! (This drives most Librarians like me, nuts.)

--March 2009 Audio CD Issue #2 - update - Purchased on eBay! (6/15/09)
--Mastery Manual #1 Balance - update - Purchased on eBay (6/15/09)
--Mastery Manual #2 Independent Seat - update - Purchased from PNH! (5/26/09)
--Savvy Club Gold, Club Pin - update - still looking! ( as of 6/15/09)

(I am also interested in acquiring the old, white VHS tapes if anyone has them at a reasonable price.)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Preakness Stakes - The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans

SirBarton-Johnny Loftus-1919Preakness
Image from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:SirBarton-Johnny_Loftus-1919Preakness.jpg

Did you realize that The Preakness Stakes is also know as the The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans? Wikipedia reports, "The Preakness Stakes is an American Grade I stakes race 1-3/16 mile (1.91 km) thoroughbred horse race for three-year-old horses, held on the third Saturday in May each year at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. Colts and geldings carry 126 pounds (57 kg); fillies 121 lb (55 kg). The Preakness Stakes has been termed "The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans" because a blanket of Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta), the state flower of Maryland, is traditionally placed around the winner's neck."

If you've been reading my blog over the years, you know that I used to work at several racetracks and have had many experiences in a variety of roles there (some better than others). I used to even be able to understand the racing form and choose the winning horses, although now, I am not so sure, it's been years since I've bet money on a race. Do you have your Preakness picks yet? Are you planning to attend and bet on the race or just hope for a particular horse from the comfort of home? With the Internet, you can hedge your wagers online and get pretty good Preakness Stakes Odds, watch from the comfort of your couch, and even use your own bathroom! That said, there is nothing better than watching a race in person and hearing those pounding hooves, meeting the owners and jockeys, and having fun (on the back stretch that is--I never went unless I was on the backside where ALL the action happens).

So what happens behind the scenes? It really differs from barn to barn for sure. One thing I'd like to encourage is that all of you race horse owners, jockeys, and even just fans, consider a few factors when being involved in this high-level sport such as:

-physical health (is your horse's weight and coat in good condition, is he mature enough to compete?)
-proper nutrition (you are what you eat and so is your horse--pay more and feed better)
-emotional health (what is your horse's horsenality--are you addressing it?)
-clean environment (keep their environment clean at all times, stall, paddock, trailer, etc.)
-appropriate tack (no need for harsh implements with your horse)
-appropriate development and preparation (take the time it takes)
-and so much more!

I mentioned this in my Kentucky Derby post but believe it is important to talk about again. I want to bring to light a study I recently read about the physicality of the horse (all breeds). It has been said for years that horses develop different based on breed but, this article, Timing and Rate of Skeletal Maturation in Horses truly questions that theory. Consider reading this article and then consider what you are asking from your horse. I can say that once I read it, I felt even more secure in the fact that I waited to start my horses until they were a bit older (actually, until this past year, they did not appear to be physically like an adult horse to the naked eye let alone to the radiograph).

On that note, if you plan on betting, I hope the Preakness Stakes Results are to your liking. Play safe, be savvy, and may the horse be with you!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Tele-Seminar Question: Horse Biting While Mounted

Image from Parelli Email List parelli@lists.parelli.com

As a Savvy Club Gold Member, I am able to participate and send questions in for their Tele-seminar. I thought that sharing my question with you all would be interesting and I'd love to know what you think about the issue. So, let me know!

My Submitted Question:

Dear Pat and Linda,

I apologize in advance for the length of this message but I believe the background information is necessary. Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

I have been around horses since I was a child but active with PNH since the fall of 2003. I have an 8 year old Arabian gelding who is a right-brained introvert named Whiskey (acquired in January 2004). Over the years using the program methodology exclusively, I've really begun to develop a better understanding and relationship with this complicated horse thanks to your materials (I have everything you have ever produced after the white VHS tapes, I think). I enjoy studying PNH and am simply fascinated. I can acknowledge that we've had stumbling blocks, that indeed he is maybe more challenging than I ever expected but I am learning so much. Our relationship is strong but much stronger and developed on the ground than while mounted and even just in the last few weeks, I have discovered even more.

This horse was originally supposed to show in A circuit shows and his owner at that time for a variety of reasons needed to find him a new home. She believed that mentally, he needed more than she understood and that a small horse farm "doing" Parelli would be best for him (and someone not going to those level shows).So, that is how I got him.I made the error of taking him to a so-called professional trainer (predator) after I first got him (and because I was being pressured by the horse club). I had played and won the games with him but felt incapable of starting him under saddle. This trainer was well-regarded although I cannot understand why. After three weeks, I was told to put him down, that he was a danger to himself and others. I saw him with her and he was a basket case (and this is just on the ground), totally frantic and totally right-brained. I could not understand this as I was having a great deal of success with him on the ground. I took him home and had to start all over again (the trainer never mounted or did anything she promised). Our relationship was ruined and we started all over again. I will never take my horses to anyone again (unless they are Parelli endorsed). I know that this was a huge mistake and regret it to this day. (I have started my other horse, Fosse, 7 year old gelding, Arabian, left-brained extrovert (acquired summer 2003--the first horse I ever played with using PNH) under saddle too, no issues with him.--this is after I started Whiskey by the way.)

This situation brought me to the realization that only I was willing to take the time it takes with this complicated creature and I started him myself (a couple of years ago), bareback with a rope halter. (Thanks to Parelli and our growing relationship.) I am not saying that I've done it right or should have but did because I had no other choice or option. I don't consider this project finished, not by a long shot and this is where the question (or this question I should say) comes in.

Riding Successes: I've ridden him up the mountain (when I was in Virginia) bareback using the Parelli bareback pad and in the natural hackamore, alone, leaving the other horses in the paddock. We did great, walk, trot, and even cantered/galloped up a hill to get home. All was great, stopped with the slightest suggestion. I've taken him on a several trail rides with other horses (walk/trot), riding bareback (same equipment as above) or using the Theraflex pad and my English saddle and natural hackamore with success. In the outdoor arena, we have done walk/trot successfully (pushing passenger). We have never cantered in the arena. In the arena he lacks impulsion. On the trail, he is even and perfectly impulsive (if you know what I mean). - He loves the woods.

Riding Issues: There have been several times where I've tried to ride (I always do ground prep with him) and he's acted very emotional. This has only happened in the arena. Gulping, popping his head, and lastly, trying to bite me. It seems to me that this is a negative reaction and and emotional one. What I don't understand is where it is coming from, especially because we've had so many successes. I am careful to use my phases slowly and correctly for an introvert, but this thing is baffling. When he does it, I swing my savvy string and he "runs into it." I do move my feet back away from him to not get bitten. This works but I don't think it is solving anything. I have also tried offering treats and this seems to make him happier and has helps but, also, does not seem like a solution. (This does not happen all of the time but is frequent enough to be a concern. It is something he developed over time and after those successful rides (I think...this time line is fuzzy). I usually dismount, play on the ground more, mount again, etc. I've played point to point with treats on the barrels, this has helped. But, I don't want to be handicapped in the arena with a treats only horse! I have to say, that when I taught him to trot, in the arena, we did not have these issues. What I did was, I tacked him up with the bareback pad and hackamore. My other two horses at the time (Wilbur and Fosse) were also in the arena. I had my carrot stick in hand. I directed Wilbur at Liberty to get in front of us, then, I tapped him and asked him to trot, once he was trotting, I asked Whiskey to trot and he did, following Wilbur, Fosse decided to join us and followed behind Whiskey and I. We had great fun trotting around, me on Whiskey and my other two at liberty, no biting, no gulping, just fun.

The questions is, why do horses bite while under saddle and what is the appropriate way to deal with it? I saw Linda dealing with it and someone's horse on a past Savvy Club DVD but the issue was not really discussed as she was dealing with many issues that day. ( I don't know which DVD but am willing to find it if you need me to.) Thanks!

By the way, my original "levels" horse, Wilbur, Thoroughbred gelding, 18-20 year old, is no longer with us (originally acquired Oct 2005). I passed level 1 with him via Carol Coppinger in Sept 2006. Therefore, my intention is to use Whiskey for future assessment (which is why I am stuck in Level 2 limbo - the riding portion - also, relocating from Virginia to New York - has caused a huge delay in any progress for a variety of reasons - and the fact that I have a full-time career.) Fosse cannot be used as he has medical limitations that may prohibit us from performing some tasks needed to be assessed. Anyhow...I want to progress to level 4 and need some guidance or insight. Please note that my horses, Fosse and Whiskey are the two I have now and I have no intentions of acquiring any others. Therefore, I have to learn more and fix this issue.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to read this and your consideration to discuss it.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Living Healthier for Life, Forever, and for Your Horse

Image from:

If we are not healthy, living life and enjoying horses becomes quite difficult and limiting. I run a Yahoo! Group called the Plus Sized Riders. The Plus Sized Riders Group (PSRG) was established to help bring together horse lovers of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds who desire a healthier lifestyle and are looking for support through their journey. Topics include general health, weight loss, healthier living, medical issues, and more. These topics are coupled with the added joy of horses and how our health affects our experiences with them. It has been designed to be a group that enables support through learning and sharing. Any weight loss program or exercise program is open for discussion. Any horse-related topics are welcomed.
For more information contact the list owner (me) at: plus_sized_riders-owner@yahoogroups.com

I recently sent this message to the group and thought that some of you may be interested...

Dear PSGR Members:

Well, these may not be new to you all but just in case, I thought I'd share. Having to deal with an unhappy gall bladder and 3.3cm stone, and subsequent surgery, I have really had to make some changes in my eating habits--and for life, forever, no excuses. So, here are some things I've tried and they work for me, maybe they can help some of you.

* Instead of oil (for baking, pancakes, waffles, etc), use unsweetened, natural applesauce (no corn syrup).
* Use Better 'n Eggs (or just egg whites) instead of whole eggs. Sometimes, I just substitute a few eggs whites (or the Better 'n Eggs) for whole eggs and have less whole eggs in a recipe.
* Use Butter Buds (or Molly Mc Butter) to add butter flavor without the fat.
* Use Pam or other oil sprays to cut back on the oil.
* Use butter spray on steamed vegetables to get the flavor (if you need it) rather than swimming veggies in butter.
* Use Brummel And Brown or I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Light instead of butter.
* Use a small amount of sea salt, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar on salad instead of dressing or try the dressing sprays.
* Try Veggie Shreds instead of regular cheese and also, if you can believe it, fat free cheese does melt now (it didn't used to).
* Eat veggie burgers (the fresh ones are best).
* Eat turkey burgers (if you make your own, use all ground turkey breast for the leanest burger).
* Eat on a smaller plate to keep portions down.
* Munch on baked chips, cereal, animals crackers, or pretzels to keep the calories and fat down while still having that munching fest.
* Drink water, Pelligrino, or seltzer and even add lemons for flavor and kidney & liver health.
* Don't be part of the finish your plate club. Stop eating when you are satisfied. Try eating many small meals throughout the day instead of huge binges.
* Eat lots of fruits and veggies, not candy or refined sugar products.
* Use pure maple syrup (the real stuff--my hubby makes ours!) or honey instead of refined sugar.

* Plan you meals, plan you grocery store trip, and be prepared. Have everything at your finger tips to make success easier and less stressful.
* Watch your sodium intake.
* Limit your alcohol intake (but still enjoy it).
* Exercise daily and vary your workout to avoid boredom!
* Get rid of the stress in your life, pick your battles wisely, realize what is truly important to you.
* Love yourself, love your friends, love your family. Life is too short.

If you have others, please share!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

What kind of saddle and pad are you using?

Saddles and pads are a frustrating issue for many horse owners. I am not sure that there is one best practice except to say that each horse is different and you must accommodate them accordingly.

I am quite embarrassed to say that I have a very cheap, leather, all-purpose English saddle (see Whiskey in it), made in India, I bought years ago for around $200 new (I think from Big Dee's--this looks like my saddle). It was one of those starter kits in the catalog (the ones that come with a bridle, girth, stirrups, etc). From a distance, it looks nice, lol.

At the time, it was all I could afford and, having youngsters, I figured if it got trashed, no big deal. Anyhow, I have ridden many different horses in it and can tell you that despite it not being a Cadillac saddle, it is very comfortable and has worked quite well. I attribute some of this to the Theraflex pad (my answer to having a cheap saddle and wanting a comfortable horse). I rode in it prior to the Theraflex with a fleece pad or quilted pad and it was okay. However, the Theraflex pad has been a dream for me and my horses I believe.

I also have a western saddle, a cheap one but it is pretty from a distance (Arab show saddle also from India) that I barely use but have--used just a saddle blanket with this one but would prefer a Theraflex for it (I don't use it because I am not a huge fan of western saddles and the leather cinches are SO STIFF. I also have a Wintec synthetic I've ridden in that worked with the Theraflex as well. One time, I was riding my Thoroughbred and someone wanted me to ride him with their saddle. I had to creatively pad him and used a western pad and the English Theraflex - it worked well!

Personally, I really want a Parelli saddle but don't have the money to invest at this time as I am working on improving our new property and home. So, I'll have to stick with what I am doing. I primarily ride in my Parelli bareback pad (or naked bareback) anyway!

So what are you doing?

Friday, May 01, 2009

Utilizing My Time Well

Image from: http://foolery.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83451972669e2010535d1c819970c-800wi
As for everyone, time is precious and often not in great supply. As I mentioned in my previous post, I've been quite ill and needed surgery but was still playing and riding the horses. Well, this past Monday I said good-bye to my gall bladder and good-bye to riding for the next 8 weeks. I've been told once I am feeling better, ground games are fine but "no abdominal jarring." (I want to take a moment to mention that my hubby Rick has been simply wonderful and is taking good care of me.)

At first, this news was terribly depressing but then I decided, well, horses, for me, are way more than riding and therefore, there was plenty we could do together and have fun. Before being able to play hands-on, I am using my time to watch my DVDs and am currently enjoying the Savvy Club Volume 41, "Solving and Extrovert-Introvert Mismatch." It is very interesting and being an extrovert with one extrovert horse and one introvert, the concepts and issues ring true. I do have to say that I don't have a mismatch issue any longer (usually) but, it took time and reflection to figure it out. I am looking forward to my Savvy Club Gold package which should be here any day. I am certain that there will be plenty of material for me to review!

It just so happens that my wonderful local contractor also came this week and is getting my round pen and horsey playground areas put in place as well as Rick's garden so, I have the need (and now time) to make more plans for these areas and the rest of the property plans, I am sure, will also start coming together. Rick and I have been making plans for our fencing needs to and the close we get to things looking more in-line wiht our expectations, the better we feel and the more we fell this new place is truly ours.

Here are a few photos of the excavation. What fun.

We are calling this rock display "Horse Henge" and we believe it will be a fun and neat looking obstacle!

This is one of the pieces of equipment in the playground area.
Future home of our 80 foot round pen!

Future garden and playground areas shown here.
Future playground and new shed area.
I'll be sure to check in from time to time and feel free to comment or contact me!