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

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Weekly Task Challenge: Get you tools together

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!)

School is just around the corner (we already started back at CU), and it is a great time to check your tools (equipment)! Do you have everything you need to communicate with your horse? How does your equipment look anyway? Are you truly using the right things to get the job done? I know that I could use some new leadlines (or at least clean them) and would love a Cradle Bridle some day.I've also identified that I need a new saddle for Lola (I don't have one that fits her) and should get something sooner rather than later (looking for a Wintec Wide English, still--think I'll be going new at this stage of the game and want some MDC stirrups too!). In any event, this week's challenge is to evalutate your tools, clean them, buy some, and sell the stuff you don't need. It is better to be prepared and have everything in good order! Remember tools are one of the Parelli, Seven Keys to Success (Attitude, Knowledge, Tools, Technique, Time, Imagination, Support). AS a bonus to this week's task, here is an article to read! The 7 keys explained by Parelli Professional, Geneviève Benoit

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Weekly Task Challenge: How well do you know your horse?

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!)

This week's challenge asks, "How well do you know your horse?" What I am referring to is your horse's anatomy! Do you know all the pieves parts of your equine friend? Here are a few resources, including an anatomy pop quiz! Have fun, learn a little. test your friends!

Horse Anatomy Pop Quiz from Natural Horse Lover

Equine Anatomy from Wikipedia

All About Horses

Anatomy in Motion, The Visible Horse

Celebrate Equus

Roundpen Magic Horse Anatomy Site

Ultimate Horse


Monday, August 23, 2010

Received my L2 String, Certificate, and Pin

I am happy to report that Parelli Central stepped up to the plate and resolved the issue of my level 2 award, string, and pin not arriving since my passing the audition back in May. I wanted to thank you all and let you know that I appreciate your continued follow-up, communication, and the final resolution! (I still wonder what happened between Pagosa Springs, Fed-Ex, and North Lawrence!) I am really looking forward to getting through level 3 (now to find the time to do it).

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Riding, Kids, Umbrellas, and Treats! Just a little fun with horses.

This week my sister and her family came to visit. They live about 5 hours away and what I find so interesting is that my sister and I, now that we are adults, love to spend time together and miss each other. We are very different people but seem to have finally found out that we could be friends so unlike when we were kids and couldn't stand each other - maybe that is too strong, we just didn't see eye to eye I guess, I don't really know what was up with it - I do think we do much better with our parents out of the picture (they are not dead, just not wiht us during the visit).

Does this mean under different circumstances we communicate differently? Is it possible that when we are with our horses say at a show versus at home that we also change? It is an interesting thought and something to ponder, does our location dictate our communication style and thus our relationships are affected? Are you a different person when on vacation with your significant other than when you are at home? Just something to think about. In any event, we had a great deal of fun this week including but not limited to horse time! Yep, I finally got in some time with my equine partners.

One of my nephews (he is 6 or 7 years old) has been obsessed with the horses even since the time he needed to be pushed in a stroller (my other nephew is fearful of them). Fosse, my Arabian gelding has always loved visiting with him. (My dogs particularly love this kid too...he is an animal magnet!) This week, I decided that Fosse and my nephew may be ready to be together. I played on the ground first, testing Fosse's focus, seeing if he was ready to be a partner with me. He was rusty to say the least, totally my fault as we've not been playing much. However, he was okay and we were connecting on some level. I then tacked him up with the bareback pad and hackamore and started pushing his buttons while mounted. He really was still okay, he put up with everything I thre at him. He was a bit pushy, a bit overly alert, but not spooky per se (despite the wood splitter running, a dump trailer clanging, and all kinds of other distractions we had at the time). Fosse has really become a nice horse which is intersting because his left-brained extroverted personality makes many people fearful of him.

I decided that my nephew could ride. I put him up on Fosse and taught him how to sit in the passenger position. I showed him a one-rein stop, made sure he understood that he could get dumped (but that the sand was deep and soft) and that the helmet on his head (that he didn't like) was part of horsemanship and he had to wear it. He is not ready to learn much with the horses as far as handling them, he is never here and does not have the same opportunity at home, and so a "pony ride" of sorts was appropriate and the only thins I was willing to do (except to let him feed the horses under supervision). He's never been on any horse except those poor little ponies at the fair. So, I lead Fosse around the round pen from here to there, played the games, used a few cones as obstacles, and everything went well. I explained eath time what we were going to do and my nephew seemed to have fun. Fosse is not a lesson horse so, this was interesting but I was very keenly focused to keep things safe. At one point, Fosse was about done with us I think, he trotted a few steps (and was not asked to), and my nephew asked to get off. He was told in the beginning that at anytime he felt uncomfortable that all he had to say was "off please" and he could dismount. That it was okay to be safe, etc. Everything ended on a good note.

One day my sister expressed interest in hoof trimming and so, Whiskey, needing a trim, became the example. Well, oh my, his feet are rock hard right now! We've not had any sustained rain in weeks and I'd have liked to soak his feet for a few hours before trying to trim him! (I am happy to report that finally raining today, all day). Whiskey was a bit obnoxious about being trimmed and kept trying to remove his foot from the hoof jack so I took about one minute or less to reestablish (or reinforce) the leadership roles in our relationship by using some of the games. After that, he was a perfect gentleman. :)

Our last horse time fun this week happened this morning. My sister wanted to walk to the barn as our last sister time (with no kids our significant others around) for this trip. We walked there with a large umbrell and as we approached the horses, they decided to run off. I identified this as a great opportunity to play with the horses. So, having only a few minutes, we decided to retrieve some mints and hang out at the gate with the umbrella. Lola approached first, she checked things out, looked at me, and they decided to stick her head under the umbrella. She received a mint. Fosse and Whiskey watched and Whiskey eagerly jammed his head towards us receiving a mint. Fosse was next and did the same. We played with the position of the umbrella (up high, down low, approach, retreat, etc.) and each time, they became more and more brave. When we'd retreat, they'd try to catch up! The umbrella in a matter of minutes went from a threat to a toy! It was hilarious and very fun.

In closing, this trip and the horse time both make me ponder relationships, communication, and the roles they play with people and our horses. An encounter always presents itself, how we interact in that time is what counts. There is nothing that can truly be categorized as a "real" visit, "real horse time," etc. Each moment is special. Life is short, find time to have fun, be creative, and enjoy every moment as if it were your last.

Image from: http://carolinepratt.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Weekly Task Challenge: Goal Setting

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!)

If you are a regular reader, you know that I've said that I want to get through Level 3 by the end of the year. Well, the time is quickly approaching and I am not really doing much of anything. I really should be carving out horse time but somehow, with a busy career and lots of company, have lost my way. This week's task is to evaluate your goals and make a plan to find success. Then, follow-through! I plan to evaluate my plans for official assessment and schedule in more horse time not only because I want to spend time with the horses but, because I want to be a level 3 graduate this year! There are many ways to set and achieve your goals. Below are some resources to help you!

Goal Setting, Create the Life of Your Dreams

Personal Goal Setting. Find Direction. Live Your Life Your Way.

SMART Goal Setting: A Surefire Way To Achieve Your Goals

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

August 2010 Savvy Times - We are in it!

Check out the August 2010 Savvy Times and you'll see a horse and lady that you'll recognize! :)Unfortunately, they didn't list us as L2 grads in the back and I have yet to get my Level 2 certificate and string despite several inquiries and promises to send them..hmmm (and we graduated back in May). :(

Despite still waiting for my official recognition, I feel great and excited. I guess I'd better reevaluate my schedule and find more sustained horse time again...remember I planned on getting through most of level 3 this year? It is mid-August and the snow flies early here, lol.

Anyhow, back to the article. Regina Perciado of California wrote a lovely article called, The Last Lonely Barn. It is all about how students feel and what they do when asked about PNH. I was interviewed via email back in June by Regina. Now that the article has come out, I decided to share my complete Q&A...enjoy.

Question: How do we encourage newbies and get them started without stepping over the line into instruction?

Answer: I believe that how you define instruction certainly is key. What I do is to lead by example. This is not only when I an interacting with horses (whether mine or someone else's) but, when I talk about horsemanship, when I write about it, and so forth. As an academic librarian (and director), I have a tendency to always back up what I am saying and doing with citations to resources. I try to point people in the direction of the learning materials and tools (Levels packs, Savvy Club Website, Parelli's Website, etc.) that will help them better understand Parelli Natural Horsemanship. This is not something that could be taught overnight and to me is a life-long journey of learning and discovery. If a newbie asks for a demonstration with my horses, I am willing to show people how I play with my horses and will describe what I am doing, if asked. I point them to the resources as noted before to learn more, and encourage them to join the Savvy Club. Ive been asked by many, many people to train their horses and to train them. I don't do it because I believe it is a learning process that they must be willing to dedicate themselves to (mentally, emotionally, physically, and financially) and me doing to for them wastes my horse time and helps no one (including the horse). That said, I'll play with someone else's horse and talk about my experience with them but, I don't believe this is instruction.

Question: When you had a Parelli study group, did you find that people in higher levels tried to coach the lower levels? How well did people follow Linda's request that students not teach students?

Answer: The Parelli groups that I ran primarily had pre-level 1, level 1, and level 2 people (as well as some just interested in natural horsemanship but not necessarily Parelli---although the groups' missions were Parelli-centric). I tended to be the person with the most experience, dedication, and resources as well as the creator of the group and leader. I did set up play dates and the like to encourage us to play and study together. However, I stuck to my principle that they must learn and do for themselves as this is not a passive sport. I believe that people need to be engaged and invested in their own educations. Overall, students would try to help each other but more often than not, they were doing this through group study and exploration using Pat and Linda's instructional materials and tools as the primary aids.

Question: At what level are we ready to give a basic lesson to someone brand-new to natural horsemanship or new to Parelli? What about a demo at a local horse event or a normal barn?

Answer: This is a difficult question to answer. First, I have to say that not everyone is a good teacher, no matter what they know (or think they know). And to me, a good teacher needs to also be a good leader (another trait not innate to all). I think that we can share what we are studying to anyone should we choose but, if it is for the purpose of a demo, instruction, or other formal program, a student should be able to show those things that are one level below them with the clear and announced caveat that they are students and that if the spectators want to know more and really learn, they need to invest the time and energy to actually go out and learn, join the Savvy Club, purchase the appropriate tools and educational materials, and make a commitment.

Question: Is it okay for a PNH student to show a newbie how you play the 7 games with your own horse and describe each game? Why or why not?

Answer: If a PNH student has passed level 1, the should be able to show and talk about the 7 games but I am not convinced that all could properly do so. Once again, everyone is not a good teacher and despite good intentions, may not be the best ambassador to spread the PNH message. That said, most people cannot afford to travel to attend sessions on how to teach (myself included, I have a full-time career and many financial obligations that preclude me from many PNH events despite my level of interest and Savvy Club Gold member perks). I think that there should be a home-study course and test that people could take to enable them to teach at certain levels of the program. This would help make things more consistent (because we all know people are doing it anyway).

Question: What is an effective answer to "can you show me how to do that?" and "how do I do that with my horse?"

Answer: To me, an effective answer is to point them in the direction of the resources. I direct people to the Parelli website and levels packs as I believe those are the best tools for learning. I discuss the need to be engaged with their learning and the time and dedication it would take should the choose to go down this path. I don't show people how to do things because more often than not, they don't have the prerequisites to even begin to understand what I am talking about and most don't have to drive to follow-though. To me, a person is better served when lead to the source of information and knowledge. They don't need to know how to perform one task, they need to learn the philosophy, the psychology, and the techniques, they need a holistic approach which I believe Parelli offers.

Question: What arrows do we as new, excited Parelli students need to have in our quivers for those times at normal barns, shows, trails, etc. when someone asks us to teach them? Especially when we know that person is just asking and isn't necessarily ready to unlearn everything they already do and dedicate their lives to natural horsemanship -- when they are looking for a training technique and not a lifestyle.

Answer: The best answer to this is to not concern yourself with others and only worry about you and your horse. Lead by example, and be prepared to point someone in the direction of educational resources and tools. You cannot fix the world and cannot fix every horse and owner. Give them the path but make them walk it.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Milestone 60 and Perfectionism

I finally made it, I've lost 60 pounds and am only 5 pounds away from my 25% target and even less to onderland! How did I get here? Well, it has not been a perfect journey but one that has been fraught with successes, struggles, focus, lack of focus, losses, and gains. Had I given up each time I hit a bump in the road, where would I be? Probably gaining weight and feeling depressed, ugly, you know the story. Yes, I've had thoughts of, "if I don't lose each week I am a failure, if I don't stay totally on track I am a failure, if I don't lose fast enough I am a failure."

I've not gotten in much horse time because I have been extraordinarily busy at work and at home with waves of visitors. The time I do get seems to be good enough that when the horses just see me, they whinny and run to me (I feel loved). I guess I thought that if I couldn't "officially" play with the horses that somehow that was not perfect either (especially because I have not video taped anything in ages, riding...what is that? lol) and thus, the time I did spend (grooming, feeding, petting) didn't count. I couldn't be more wrong. In fact, they still love and respect me and seem to understand (or not care) that things have been challenging lately.

As you can see, I am still struggling with perfectionism (probably will forever) but recognizing it makes all the difference. Anyhow, the irony is that this week's topic at WW was about perfectionism. Somehow their topics always hit home at the right time and, seem to merge with my PNH and professional life as do the PNH topics, they are always timely and merge with my life (professional and personal). How interesting.

So, remember, perfectionism is an illusion and should you "slip up" in anything in life, a weight gain, a horse not doing what you had hoped, etc. the result is feedback, not failure. Evaluate the feedback, strategize, and move on. Make progress, find balance, learn from the past, stay positive, revisit your "winning outcome" to turn a WW phrase. Kick perfectionism out of your life, and that does not mean that you should not strive to be excellent in everything you do, you should, but recognize your humanity and keep it real, you'll be happier and more successful and better for it.

Lastly, here is the latest log of my weight loss progress: (The next meeting is this Sat!)

Week 1: 1/9/10, Started Weight Watchers
Week 2: 1/16/10, Lost 6.2 lbs, Total Lost 6.2 lbs
Week 3: 1/23/10, Lost 1.6 lbs, *Started Exercising Regularly, Total Lost 7.8 lbs
Week 4: 1/30/10, Lost 3.8 lbs, Total Lost 11.6 lbs
Week 5: 2/6/20, Lost 3 lbs *Celebrating 5% Weight-loss Target!, Total Lost 14.6 lbs
Week 6: 2/13/10, Lost 2.4 lbs, Total Lost 17 lbs
Week 7: 2/20/10, Gained .2 lbs, Total Lost 16.8 lbs
Week 8: 2/27/10, Lost 1.6 lbs, Total Lost 18.4 lbs
Week 9: 3/6/10, Lost 5.6 lbs, *Biggest Loser at the Meeting!, Total Lost 24 lbs
Week 10: 3/13/10, Lost .8 lbs, Total Lost 24.8 lbs
Week 11: 3/20/10, Lost .2 lbs *Celebrating 25 lbs Lost Milestone!, Total Lost 25 lbs
Week 12: 3/27/10, Lost 3.4 lbs *Celebrating 10% Weight-loss Target!, Total Lost 28.4 lbs
Week 13: 4/3/10, Lost 2.6 lbs, Total Lost 31 lbs
Week 14: 4/10/10, Lost .8 lbs, Total Lost 31.8 lbs
Week 15: 4/17/10, Gained 1.0 lb, Total Lost 30.8 lbs
Week 16: 4/24/10, Lost 1.6 lbs, *Celebrating 16 Weeks on Program!, Total Lost 32.4 lbs
Week 17: 5/1/10, Lost 5.8 lbs, *Biggest Loser at Meeting, Total Lost 38.2 lbs
Week 18: 5/8/10, Gained 1.6 lbs, Total Lost 36.6 lbs
Week 19: 5/15/10, Lost 2.8 lbs, *Celebrating 15% Weight-loss Target!, Total Lost 39.4 lbs
Week 20: 5/22/10, Missed Meeting
Week 21: 5/29/10, Lost 1.0 lbs, Total Lost 40.4 lbs
Week 22: 6/5/10, Lost 3.2 lbs, Total Lost 43.6 lbs
Week 23: 6/12/10, Lost .6 lbs, Total Lost 44.2 lbs
Week 24: 6/19/10, Gained 1.8 lbs, Total Lost 42.4 lbs
Week 25: 6/26/10, Lost 8.6 lbs, Total Lost 51.0 lbs, *Biggest Loser at Meeting
Week 26: 7/3/10, Gained 3.8 lbs, Total Lost 47.2 lbs
Week 27: 7/10/10, Lost 1.0 lbs, Total Lost 48.2 lbs
Week 28: 7/17/10, Lost 3.4 lbs, Total Lost 51.6 lbs
Week 29: 7/24/10, Lost 8.0 lbs, Total Lost 59.6 lbs, *Celebrating 20% Weight-loss Target!, *Biggest Loser at Meeting
Week 30: 7/31/10, Gained 1.2 lbs, Total Lost 58.4 lbs
Week 31: 8/7/10, Gained 4.0 lbs, Total Lost 54.4 lbs
Week 32: 8/14/10, Lost 5.6 lbs, Total Lost 60.0 lbs, *Biggest Loser at Meeting

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Weekly Task Challenge: Busy? Find Time to do Something!

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!)

It is the end of summer and if you are like me, despite good intentions, you didn't get in all the horse time you had hoped. You have company visiting, have to work, gardening, etc. This week's challenge is to spend at least 10 minutes with each of your horses doing something. The something is up to you. Remember, any time you spend is valuable and your horse will thank you!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Weekly Task Challenge: Emotional FItness

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.)

This week's task is to evaluate and improve your emotional fitness. Sit down and reflect on three instances that you find difficult in your life, then identify three instances where you feel you find ease in. Take each item and evaluate your emotional fitness in the situation. For the difficult times, list two things you can do to improve your emotional fitness, for the easy times, list two things that you believe make you successful. These experiences can be horse focused or not, your choice. Either way, your overall emotional fitness affects your horsemanship as it is just another relationship in your life, an opportunity to communicate, a leadership experience, and so much more!

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Pondering Emotional Fitness

I sit here this evening thinking a lot about emotional fitness, not just in horsemanship but in life. My in-laws have been visiting for 6 days now and it has been difficult to say the least (as it has been for the past 20 years). Without getting into gory details, I've had to endure criticism, disingenuous remarks, hurtful remarks lacking any tact, and more. I have been feeling frustrated, sad, and even a bit depressed. I've had no horse time, find myself cleaning compulsively (and my house is clean and organized to begin with). I've also felt a bit abandoned by my husband (who is my best friend and partner) whose caring nature prohibits him from engaging them. What I did to try to remedy this situation yesterday is to have a heart-to-heart with Rick about my feelings and we discussed the issues. I walked away feeling much better, I believe because I was able to confirm or realize that he truly understands, more than I ever thought. That brings me to today, although there were a few things of concern, overall it was a good day and I attribute that to my own emotional fitness, not worrying about what other people were saying or doing. Instead, I just worried about how I reacted and the fact that I wanted to remain calm, caring, and aware, without over reacting, without allowing it to anger or hurt me, and without it ruining my very soul. When I tie this experience to horsemanship, what I think of is our interaction with other horse people and of course our interactions with our horses. The emotional fitness key is to not let feelings override your emotional fitness, don't get frustrated or angry (with horses or humans), be a good leader (for horses and humans) and the pieces will fall together. You cannot control others but, you can control yourself...just a thought.