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, November 08, 2009

My horses make my world go round...

“The Legend” by Kim McElroy
In the dark of night
a magic awakens
the veil is lifted
and for a short time
horse spirits walk the earth…
They call to our hearts
in the language of dreams
If you listen closely
you will hear them
If you wait patiently
you will feel them
Then, in wonderment and joy
you will remember
And until you meet again
the stars will shine
with new meaning…

Between the bad weather, heavy work load at the University, several nights with lost sleep and many visits to the veterinarian's office because of the dogs, and the multitude of projects going on here (Rick has stuff in the horse trailer until one job is complete), I have been unable to haul Lola to the local indoor as planned, have been exhausted, and have been at a loss for having any sustained play time with the horses let alone any riding. I did recently join the Eastern Ontario Natural Horsemanship Club and am committed to a few events in Canada this month. I am very excited to have made contact with some new Parelli friends.

Nonetheless, life changes and today the weather took a nice turn for the better (it was nice yesterday too but I was too busy with other work to get out). Anyhow, I enjoyed the beautiful weather and the horses today and feel a renewed sense of calm, a happiness that is hard to describe to a non-horse person, my horses simply make my world go round.

I let Morgan go for a much needed run and headed to the barn. I cleaned out the barn with Lola by my side, Fosse and Whiskey in the front paddock near us. None of them were concerned about the 4-wheeler and trailer being moved about, they didn't care that Rick was operating a Bobcat and moving rock nearby, everyone was just relaxed and enjoying the quiet time together. Lola was curious and checking things out between munches of hay, and it was simply a calm and beautiful morning. Once the chores were done, I was tired and hungry. I decided to head back to the house for a bit and played with the dogs, watched TV, had a snack, and thought about heading back outside (or taking a nap). Clare happened to call me on the phone and told me about a trail ride she was heading to. I believe she helped give me a little spark to get back out there. I wanted to ride a little but was concerned about Rick working in the vicinity. After a brief conversation with him, and the assessment that the horses did not seem bothered, I decided to play and ride. All of the horses were in the front paddock where I have a few barrels, some log jumps, trees, basically a natural playground. The footing was wet in spots, dry in others, choppy too, so I decided that any riding would be just at the walk for safety sake. (Slow and right beats fast and wrong you know.)
Fosse had been really anxious to play with me, he would whinny at me over and over and so, as the first horse to show up, I was excited to play with him. He is a wonderful partner, we have a fabulous relationship, the leadership hierarchy is clear, we communicate well, and have fun together no matter what we are doing. I tacked him up with the natural hackamore and bareback pad. We played on the ground for a bit playing with the log jumps, using the figure-8 and s-patterns, the basic 7 games, and some fruity candy canes for treats. Whiskey and Lola joined us and at some points, they were obstacles too! It was a time of decompression, it was lovely to have them breathing on me when I fed them their treats, it was calming to just be out there with my fuzzy friends. I decided Fosse was rideable and so, I stood on the huge log and used it as a mounting block. I swung my leg over and just sat there, took a few deep breaths, asked for lateral flexion and got it, we were ready to move forward. Fosse and I worked on ride the rail, direct and indirect rein, disengagement if the hindquarters, figure-8, walking over log jumps, backing, carrot stick riding, and more. He was totally in-sync with me and we had a blast! Lola and Whiskey followed is everywhere and a few times I used the carrot stick (with string attached) to move them off a bit. Other times, we welcomed them in our space and everyone got head scratches. When I dismounted, we played a bit more, walked to the barn, I took his tack off, and gave him a few alfalfa cubes for treats. I think we were both grinning ear-to-ear.

Next, Lola was tacked up. I placed the hackamore on her and that was fine. She initially seemed very worried when I showed her the bareback pad. She backed up and was bracey. Now remember, besides our daily contact and brief play moments, any real, lengthy, sustained play time has only occurred maybe 3-4 times. So, this was an opportunity for us. I did not release on the brace but once she moved one step, I released. I then allowed her to check out the pad and placed it on her. I barely cinched it and we left the barn, Fosse and Whiskey in tow (I took 5 cinchings overall and over time). Lola has been coming along quickly during our time together and so, each time I see some sign of progress. We played the 7 games online, figure-8, walk over logs, etc. She was much better this time, no brace on circling, no problem with the figure-8 either. I then did simulated riding exercises with her which went well. I eventually stood on the huge log and asked her to come by my side. This is a new position for us, me towering over her, she took it well. I laid over her back and rubbed her a few times, and once, she walked off with me laying on her (we did this a few times). Finally, I sat on her and we moved at a walk forward (our first ride). I had decided to ride her one-reined as a safety precaution. We meandered our way around the barrels, the tree, and finally to the barn. She stopped. I asked for lateral flexion but she became quite bracey and then started to feel as if we might have an issue (was she going to buck or something else? Not sure. I decided that we might have a leadership/communication issue. Therefore, I dismounted and practiced flexion for a few minutes on the ground. Then, I did riding simulations back to the log. I stood on it, laid over her several times, then played more games, and once I felt we were on the same page, I discontinued. She seemed happy and I know I was. A very productive session. Fosse and Whiskey were hanging around during all of this. I am not sure she's ever been in this kind of situation with a rider on board so a new experience for her.

Lastly, Whiskey was hanging around and having fun through these sessions. It was his turn to be tacked up and when he realized it, he dropped the carrot stick that he was chewing on and walked to the barn. Rather than pursue him, I decided to let him be and determined that he was engaged during the other play time and that as fine with me.

So, I suppose nothing too exciting for most but for me, this was a great time, a much needed head break, a time to breathe, and enjoy my passion, my horses.


Marion Princic said...

Oh I know exactly what you are talking about! Have fun going to Canada. I know some of the people you are going to meet and they are really nice and sweet. *so jelous* I want to live there too again!

Naturally Gaited said...

Next time, you've got to get Rick to snap a photo of you on Lola!!