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, 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/


PeterC said...

"An encounter always presents itself, how we interact in that time is what counts."

Ooooh, I would have stolen that as my "goal" quote if you had said it sooner. Working with Sunrise's sore leg has shown me that I've been growing. Each little task in something to be done patiently, and preferable with some fun thrown in.

I need to figure out what might make Sunrise have some fun getting doctored.


Michelle AKA arabhorselover1 said...

Year ago, Fosse ripped a huge chunck of flesh from his leg. He needed hydrotherapy twice a day and was terrified of the hose! Needless to say, the play started, we conquered his fear (note I didn't say conquered the horse). Anyhow, he had his therapy for weeks and weeks, and healed remarkably well with no incidents (and at one point I had to travel for work and left my hubby to do the doctoring). So, an opportunity/issue presdented itself and we stepped up, kept our principles in tact, and achieved our goal. Having a strong foundation was the key to our success.

PeterC said...

What did you end up doing for the play aspect?


Michelle AKA arabhorselover1 said...

Since he was afraid of the hose but was a mouthy horse, I decided rather than starting at the feet (as people always say to do with the horse), I started at his mouth. I stood about 10-15 feet away and made the hose water arch up, aiming for his lips. Once he felt it, he liked it and played with the water and his mouth! Once I knew he was more comfortable, I moved to his feet, then his leg, alwyas remaining far away from him. Once he was better about that, I asked him to come closer to me and then played the same game, mouth, feet, leg. THis continue to the point where we could sit in a chair next to him to do the therapy which was like 20 minutes long each time if I recall correctly. I had to get creative, be safe, and get the job done...I was fortunate to have a great relationship, patience, and this, success! :)

inchwormwv said...

Interesting coincidence - my granddaughters were here and got rides on Augie this weekend, some similarities - the instruction that a request to get off would be honored, for example. Glad you had fun!

Michelle AKA arabhorselover1 said...

You know, Tenley, it must be a Parelli thing because never when I was a kid or adult (pre-Parelli) was I ever told it was okay to get off, In fact, it was frowned upon. It seems to me that my nephew had plenty of fun and never felt unsafe because he had options. I like that. :)