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, April 25, 2010

Slow and Right Does Beat Fast and Wrong Everytime


I feel like more now than ever, I can finally get in horse time that is of better quality, like my facilities are coming together, and like I have a game plan. It has been two years since we moved here and wow what a lot of work we've done and a lot of horse time that has been lost. There have been several time where I felt hopeless, like I was never going to move forward, and like I was a failure or should just give up figuring I could never get back what I had let alone move on. Fortunately, Rick and Clare are in my life and between them, I've been able to hold on, have more patience, and keep persisting despite the obstacles. (Thanks you two!)

I've been playing with all of the horses and riding. There has been progress with each one of them and with myself. It is so nice to be back outside with the horses. And, the feeling I have is refreshing. I have been taking things slowly and am making progress. This time has allowed the horsese to gain confidence and for me to as well. Slow and right always beats fast and wrong.

As you know, Lola and I are working on primarily who is the leader and then, using patterns to support the leadership while giving her a task to complete. It has worked wonders and each time, we make more and more progress. I've stopped making assumptions about what she should know and acting like we are learning everything new, together (it is working much better). On Friday night, we played for over an hour, on the ground. It all started with saddling her (she was quite emotional). I took the time needed to get her more comfortable with the saddle and then, played on the ground in the round pen area (still no fence up), then to "horse henge" using the rocks to facilitate weave pattern, get her to think before moving her feet (there was a lot of maintain gait and direction going on...she had to watch where she was going or hit the boulders). It worked wonders for her confidence and brain as she was acting like a freak! I asked her to go sideways all around our huge garden, played with the huge tires, used falling leaf, s-pattern, circles, etc. and worked on no eating of grass unless I say it was okay. In the end, rather than being defiant and strong-headed, she was light and responsive. By the end of the evening, I took her to eat grass and mosey around, she was almost too tired to do so! There we times where she was running around like a lunatic and tired herself out. Tonight, I saddled her with the bareback pad and put on the natural hackamore. We played for a few minutes on the ground working on transitions using circling game (she was awesome), played with the obstacles, and I let her graze a bit. Then, I asked her to come to me while I stood on this huge stump that Rick cut for me to use as a mounting block. She stood very still and I swung my leg over and mounted. She walked ahead a few steps and I asked her to stop, flex, and we just stood there, I gave her a treat and pet her. We moved forward and for a few minutes, we had an argument about her wanting to go eat grass and me wanting her to move forward. She was ringing her neck, backing up, acting like a total snot, and offering a suggestion of maybe wanting to buck me off. Fortunately, I kept at it with her and she finally realized that her antics were not going to get me to go away. She finally moved forward, I then asked for a flex and stop, another treat. Then, I asked her to walk between the tires and over to the other tires and between them. What we worked out was figure eight pattern with squeeze, using obstacles, lots of friendly, etc. She finally stopped trying to fight for the grass and did exactly what I asked. I was very pleased. Once I believed that she had it down and that she respected me as the leader, we discontinued the exercise, I dismounted, gave her another treat and walked her to the grass patch she was so desperate to eat. It is not that I would mind that she eat grass while I am mounted but, when I let her at this time, she takes over the leadership role and gets disrespectful, thus, the reason I am using treats as a little reward/incentive once in awhile and not allowing the grass eating as some kind of reward during the session. Anyhow, we mosied all around the property finding all kinds of yummy grass to munch on, she was delighted. I played a lot of friendly game with her and then took her back to the barn and paddock where the boys were.

Whiskey as you know has been difficult since we moved. In Virginia, we did all kinds of riding and ground games and had a blast, here in NY, we lost something and it has taken this long to just start getting it back. I simply had much more time there thus far and it makes a difference to him. I want to talk most about this evening but know that I did play with him on Friday too. I saddled him just like Lola and took him to the playground. I let him graze for a bit, played some ground games, and then, walked over to the mounting block. He was not quite over close enough for me to just place my leg over him. So, I decided I'd mount where you put your belly on the back and then swing over. However, unlike this summer, I was able to do this so athletically I surprised myself. I actually was able to put my hands on his withers, hold myself up (my belly never touched him), swing my leg over and mount, gracefully and politely. WOW!!! I know all of the exercise and weight loss really made this happen. I cannot even begin to tell you how excited and happy I feel about it and when I did it how happy Whiskey must have felt. Anyhow, I waited for a few moments and then asked him to move forward. He immediately wanted to go to the same grass that Lola was obsessed with and I didn't want him to. Well, he pitched a left-brained temper tantrum, hopping (mini bucking) with his rear legs, twisting and turning, being very snotty and cranky, but, I just kept at it. I breathed, and politely asked him to move forward, eventually he stopped being a spaz and moved forward like a champ. We did the same pattern that I wrote about Lola and even expanded it by going around some other obstacles in the playground. For the first time in a long time, I felt like I had my responsive, fun, horse Whiskey that was in Virginia, the horse that I rode solo with in the mountains with Rick on the 4-wheeler! (We really had good times). YEAH!

Fosse was great fun Friday night. I barely played with him on the ground but, I did ride him bareback (no pad) with his halter all around the driveway and playground. We also worked on the no eating grass, okay to eat grass thing, played with the obstacles, figure eights, etc. He was awesome and we had a blast. I didn't play with him today though as I had to get back to the house.
So, I guess in closing, I just want to say how thankful I am to Rick for getting these facilities going for me and the horses, that I am thankful to have Parelli in my life, and happy that I've taken charge of my life and health (thanks to Weight Watchers) which is directly making a new, positive impact on my horsemanship. And, of course, thank you to Clare for being my rock and support through everything.

1 comment:

Naturally Gaited said...

My pleasure. You do the same for me! :-)