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, March 17, 2010

Trimming and Play Time Fun Last Night

This morning, as I left for work, I was able to see what I consider a wonderful, peaceful moment. My horses were all laying together, one right next to the other, next to the barn, in the sunshine, relaxed, at ease, and enjoying each other's company. I cannot tell you how happy this makes me (and no, I don't have a photo)! Lola is truly part of the herd now and the three of them get along so well, I could not ask for a better match. Anyhow, knowing that it has been a long time since I've written , I decided this morning, to share with you all, my experiences from last night.

I decided to take advantage of the gorgeous weather and trim Fosse's hooves before dark. I like to trim on the concrete pad located just outside of the barn. It is level, dry, and the sunshine makes for excellent lighting. It was sunny and 65F last night. I haltered Fosse and draped his lead line over the fence (he was not actually tied to anything). I pulled out my hoof toolbox full of farrier tools and educational guides, a two-step, plastic stool I use for mounting and for sitting on when trimming, and my wonderful, Equine Innovations Hoof Jack. Needless to say, Fosse knew it was trim time and Lola and Whiskey decided it was play time!

As I proceeded, Lola and Whiskey decided that they needed to participate and inspect, everything! They were loose and in the area as I don't typically lock the horses away from the horse being trimmed because we have so little time together as it is! Plus, I think horses should be flexible no matter the situation. Anyhow, at one point I was on Fosse's right side trimming his front right hoof that was cradled in the jack. Lola was standing next to me and proceeded to lower her head and put her face way down near mine, looking at the procedure, looking at me, and then back at the hoof. At the same time, Whiskey wanted to check things out from the left-side of Fosse and was inspecting the action. To do so, he lowered his head and stretched it under Fosse's body and stretched over to the hoof on the Hoof Jack! I just had to laugh because Fosse, the alpha horse of the herd (when I am not around), was putting up with all of this. Hilarious. After shifting positions and stretching Fosse's hoof forward to finish up the trim on the hoof post, I found myself rasping while being licked on the back by Lola and stared at by Whiskey! These two are very curious critters! I looked into Fosse's face and checked in with him several times and he seemed okay with the course of events! To me, another example of a great relationship between me and my horses. Later during the trim when I moved to the rear feet, Lola and Whiskey switched positions, Whiskey now on his right and Lola on Fosse's left. Anyhow, Lola was checking out his mane and Whiskey decided to inspect under Fosse's tail! Fosse never offered to kick or get ugly, just let me trim and the other two jokers fuss with him. I love these horses, wow.

After the trim was complete, I played at liberty with the horses out in the muddy paddock (we had about 20 minutes of light left). Fosse was playing catch me while galloping away and wanting me to get him and I replied with a non-verbal no, come catch me by looking at his hindquarters, backing a few steps--and he did what I'd asked for, he would stop, turn and face, and then walk to me for a scratch (I think I smooched to him as well).

Lola also came and caught me without me engaging her (I cannot get her away from me actually--well I could if I really wanted to). With Lola, I primarily played with her driving in zone 3 with the carrot stick on her back as well as a little sideways, and a few tight spins in front of me--all done very well I might add. We went everywhere! As Lola and I played, Whiskey decided to join us. I find that leaving him alone works best and he engages when he is ready (it is good to take the pressure off the right-brained introvert). Anyhow, he and I also played driving in zone 3 as well as sideways (at liberty) with Lola in tow and Fosse galloping about acting like a snotty kid! All very nice indeed! The last game was driving Lola in zone 3 while the other two followed us to the barn. The goal was to keep Fosse and Whiskey behind us--no rushing ahead allowed (which is precisely what Fosse wanted to do of course). It all worked well. I used my left hand and carrot stick for Lola and my free, right hand and arm to direct the other two. The four of us walked calmly to the barn just the way I wanted it to happen, around the tight corner without incident (the electric fence was on by the way) and each horse going to their respective feeding spot inside. I dished out dinner and said good night and walked back to the house. A beautiful and productive evening I thought. One important thing that I came away with was that all was not lost over the winter (something I worried and had guilt about). In fact, all of our little 5-10 minute interactions actually added up! How cool is that? Very cool in my opinion.

If you were wondering, I got into trimming for two reasons (horse health and desperation). It all started when I was in Virginia. First, I had a very difficult time getting farriers to travel all the way out to our place. And, to find one that didn't want to hit your horse if he moved a muscle was the other trick! I'd also always question how my horses' hooves and frogs looked with this hoof care being provided to them. I just felt like they were not in the best possible condition. Now the horses were never lame or anything, I just felt like something was missing.

Finally, I found a trimmer that was doing the natural barefoot thing and had them out, once. I was informed that the man and his family were moving out of state and that they'd not be returning to care for my horses. I asked what should I do now (and felt very upset). They told me to learn to do it myself. This gave me a lot to think about. I was afraid to even try in the case that I'd mess up the horses but, I had no choice really.

All while this was going on, a fellow natural horsemanship friend, Dave, in the horse group I was running were doing Gene Ovnicek trimming methods with their horses and running clinics (that I could not afford to attend). Anyhow, I was stuck with a choice, learn it and make my horses' hooves healthy or, resort back to the traditional farriers with whom I was not overly pleased. I decided to bite the bullet and do research and self-study. I purchased Gene's materials, Pete Ramey's book, Jaime Jackson's book, and read a lot on the Internet. I purchased all of the tools and got to work.

Fortunately, I have been extremely successful. My horses, Fosse and Whiskey (now Lola too) have never been lame and seem very healthy and as for Fosse and Whiskey, they are much healthier than when the good 'ole boys trimmed them. Fosse has one club foot to contend with too! I've also trimmed several rescues including Fosse's half sister Stella who came to me previously foundered, Wilbur my TB who had really strange, flat feet, and Mini-me who came with dutch clog feet (My friend Dave helped with the initial trim on that one and I continued to rehabilitate his feet until they looked fabulous a year later--I had to trim every two weeks) and all of these cases ended with great success.

So, there you have it. I have to say that I don't claim to be perfect and don't trim anyone else's horses. I am probably quite conservative with my methods but what ever I am doing is working. I have have happy healthy horses. (And yes, it is a lot of work but it is worth it.)

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