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, September 29, 2010

Weekly Task Challenge: Read A Book

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 is to read a book, a horse book! So put aside work, TV, and other distractions and take the time to read a book about horses! If you don't know what to read, contact me and I'll come up with something!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

FEAR


A friend of mine recently posted an email about realizing that she now has a fear of riding even her easiest horse. I am not going to say that that particular horse is easy, just that for her, this was a serious and saddening realization. I thought about it and responded to her divulging my own fear story, something at the time I felt ashamed of, but now realize it was just part of something I had to manage. Where I find myself now is being back to my old self, I often feel like a teenager with my horses, especially as the weight melts off and I become stronger and more agile. That said, every once in awhile, that little fear monster tries to creep in. I review the fear materials in the Level 2 pack (the blue one--I love this version) anytime I start to have doubts and think consciously about my comfort zone, my relationship with my horses, and my principles (always before my goals). In any event, I thought I'd share my response to her with you all. (She is not a PNHr but is a true horse lover.)

I am sorry to read about your troubles but can identify. I too was a been there, done that rider (started horses, rode endurance Arabs and TBs on the track, etc.) and through a series of a bad accident, weight gain, and no horses in my life for an extended period of time, at one point, I too lost my confidence. I think that there are many reasons why this happened, physical fitness it certainly a valid reason, but there are mental things like having to support your family and "what if you get hurt," etc. In any event, as my fitness gets better, so do my interactions with my horses and I no longer harbor those feelings. It was many years ago that this fear thing was in my life but, I remember the fear vividly and the shock and embarrassment I had realizing that it was there. I remember the first horse I sat on a few years post-accident, I was terrified and this was a older QH trail horse. I could barely breathe and wanted to flee! Amazing as I used to hop on anything with 4 hooves and ride like the wind...tack, what tack!? So, you are not alone.

I read a book years ago by Dr. Stephanie Burns called Move Closer, Stay Longer and it is about fear. I liked the book and suggest it as a read...here is a post where I put out a few books that I think people should consider (there are so many more to add--these are not all fear-based titles). http://naturalhorselover.blogspot.com/2009/11/must-read-book-list.html

Take care and be kind to yourself. If you have fear while mounted, get back on the ground with your horses and build your relationship there first. If you are riding and feel unsafe, get off! There is no shame in that. As you become more fit and take this time, the relationship growth and your confidence will translate back in the saddle, truly it will. Any horse time is good horse time and horsemanship is way more than riding. Even if you cannot do much because of your schedule, do what you can and keep going to the barn, keep at it.

I post weekly tasks on my blog, Natural Horse Lover http://naturalhorselover.blogspot.com (although at the moment, I owe two postings). Anyhow, here is the link to a post of 10 minute tasks by Parelli. Even if you are not "into PNH," I think these, or some of them, you'll find useful and fun. http://naturalhorselover.blogspot.com/2009/10/weekly-task-challenge-parelli-10-minute.html

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Weekly Task Challenge: Winter...Are you ready?

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!)

Okay, I realize that it is only September but, winter is around the corner and it is time to get prepared! How does the barn look, what condition is your equipment in, do you have enough hay ordered? This week is a good opportunity to get started. Depending on how you run your barn and how you care for your horses will depend on your needs.

Here are some ideas:

  • Clean, repair, and put away your horse's fly sheets, masks, and leg protection.
  • Pull out the winter blankets, hoods, and other gear, examine them for rips and tears, clean and fix them or send them off to be taken care of!
  • Clean out the tack room and sell or discard those items you no longer need.
  • Create a winter budget for hay and grain needs.
  • Check and count the hay you have left, if you haven't done so already, contact your hay dealer and place an order to get you through the winter. make whatever arrangements you need to ensure easy access.
  • Examine your water tank heater and make sure it is okay to plug in, then test it!
  • Are your water tank and hay feeder in good repair and ready for winter--find out.
  • Do you have a snow shovel, pet-friendly deicer, and a plow ready to be put to work? If you wait until you need them it will be too late. Check your equipment, make a list, and be prepared.

There are many other things you may want to do and if you want to, please share them here in the comments section!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Weekly Task Challenge: Frame a Portrait

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!)

When is the last time you took a photo off of your computer and actually put it in a frame? This week, find a horse photo that you love, print it on quality paper, buy a frame, and display it in your house!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Herd-bound...NOT! :)

I had and absolutely fabulous day and interesting encounter with Lola. One thing that I can say about her is that she is NOT herd-bound and that is a good thing.

After I got home from my WW meeting and a 60 minute walk/run with Morgan, I had a healthy lunch and then starting chores. I cleaned out the outdoor dog kennel, cleaned the barn, fed the horses (several times--lots of fresh garden goodies), picked apples (ate two fresh-picked off the tree). I also harvested okra, long beans, poblanos, cubanellas, giant marconi peppers, white fingerling potatoes, red pontiac potatoes, white and red swiss chard, pie pumpkins, shallots, egg plant (black beauty and japanese), and yellow summer squash. (There is much more out there to pick but not today).
When we planted the garden, we put a few seeds out in a hill in the big field and I hadn't checked on them since. I walked out there and did whistle to the horses to get their attention should they want to join me. Not unexpectedly, I heard the thundering hooves heading my way within a few seconds. There they were, acting goofy and spunky,herding one another, spinning, bucking. I checked to see that nothing grew (no wonder, this patch of veggies went ignored).


Anyhow, Fosse and Whiskey let out a whinny and took off at a gallop back to the barn. Lola stood, then squealed, took off a few steps and stopped, turned and looked at me, then in the direction of the boys. She spun around and ran back to me. There she stood checking things out, I played friendly with her. After a few minutes, Lola and I walked back towards the barn, she at my side, completely at liberty, watching my every step and keeping me in her zone 3. Once back, she saw the boys but kept with me until such time that I gave her a treat and told her good-bye as I had to get back to the house.
Then, a quick, 30 minute workout, a shower, then dinner (which was healthy leftovers so that was easy enough). After dinner, a little Rick and Michelle time (black and white movies-- 1951, The Alligator People was the top of the list!) I also received a few new books in the mail to look through.
I am feeling so happy, strong, motivated, and focused in every aspect of my life. Lola's determination and thought to stay with me was really rewarding. I loved that she went to take off with a defiant, playful squeal but then thought better of it, turning to be with me over Fosse and Whiskey---not something I expected. This horse surprises me a every turn.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Earning leadership currency with Lola


"A chain is only as strong as its weakest link." –Author Unknown

Not sure I like the title of this post (I had a really good one in the car when I was thinking about the post but it disappeared). Anyhow, I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about what to me, was a huge step with my relationship with Lola and a few realizations about my horsemanship.


As you all are aware, I have a full-time career and don't always have enough time with the horses despite them living here. Additionally, I've been on the road to physical fitness losing quite a lot of weight since January (and working to lose much more) which certainly has been a positive aspect not only in my life but to my horsemanship. Losing the weight and being more fit due to extreme amounts of regular exercise has made me feel confident and athletic, like in the old days (sometimes I think I'm a kid again, fearless and ready to take on the world).

Anyhow, that all aside, here I have this lovely mare, Lola and I've not quite tackled leadership while mounted (making her believe it and feeling comfortable that I am safe without question). So why is this the case? I think it stems, of course, with me. Her previous owner said to me (and she is a Parelli person like myself) that with Lola, you, "need to get the buck out and then she is fine." Well, language means a lot to me and the term buck was not welcomed. It made me worry I think and this surely translated into my mounted interactions. On the ground, she can be quite a pistol and a defiant, fun critter! The problem is, I think it (the buck notion) has been stunting our progress (even though seeing her buck on the ground was laughable and certainly looks rideable). I was continually making sure I officially played with her before mounting and triple checking at the mounting block and this could mean no Lola horse time if I only had, for instance, 10 minutes available.

Well, the other day, after doing a major evaluation of my life as a whole and trying to get myself totally on track with all aspects (horses, career, exercise, Weight Watchers, etc.). I recently had a meltdown due to extreme stress, lol and wanted to run away! And, as part of this, I felt like my horses were falling by the wayside. I was probably just on overload but, it was hitting home, hard.

Back to the horses, frankly, I miss them! So, I decided that I needed to trust in our relationship [Lola's and mine] and forget about that "buck" comment and just go spend some time with her. Why was I letting someone else's terminology or ideas influence me and make me feel so worried when I am an excellent horsewoman (not a novice)? Was it an excuse or something real? Remember, only you can let people make you feel a certain way if you let them, you control how you feel, act, and think. (And, this is in all aspects of your life...never let the negativity in, it is poison.)

And, so, this week (and my week starts on a Saturday by nature of my Weight Watchers meeting), I planned everything out, on paper. My work obligations, horse time, meals, exercise, you name it, I planned it and wrote it down to ensure that it would happen. When horse time came, I changed tactics and treated her [Lola] just like the boys [Fosse and Whiskey]. If I had time to officially play first (on the ground) I would and if not, I would politely mount, bareback, just a halter and lead, and practice chilling out on her, sitting, waiting, letting her graze, petting the boys (because you know they were checking us out), then directing her to go around the arena area, over logs, around trees, disengagement of hindquarters, and flexion. Yesterday I decided that we were going to walk between these two huge trees that provide a wonderful squeeze opportunity. Fosse was standing in between them (oh, I guess I should mention, I am riding Lola and Fosse and Whiskey are loose in the area with us). Anyhow, several times, Lola and I went up to him but she was reluctant to move him back as we proceeded forward and he was not moving for her. To solve this puzzle and help Lola, as well as assert my leadership with both horses, I held part of the rope in my right hand (the Lola side) and used my left hand to take the bulk of the rope to drive Fosse backwards. (I love riding with a halter and leadline, one reined...it is fun! He immediately knew his game was up and that his position was about to change, and moved backwards, with impulsion, completely out of our way as requested, at liberty. Lola turned her head, looked at me as if to say wow, we can do that? Then walked forward through the trees (I swear she was smiling). Then, she initiated driving him around a bit more and I agreed, he was not pleased but complied, LOL. I believe that this exercise really bought me a lot of currency with her as the leader. I also believe me letting go and just trusting our relationship has bought me a lot of currency with myself and my confidence in our relationship.

Tonight, I mounted her having only a few minutes so again, no tack. At one point I dropped the rope and was for all intents and purposes, riding without benefit of anything and felt totally secure (I did retrieve the rope though). Anyhow, a few times she tried to test my leadership but, I persisted (I wanted disengagement of hindquarters and pivot turns). She did what I asked and I really felt that although I had to up the phases a little, it was all really good and I was really the leader in our herd of two. We ended on a good note (and everyone got watermelon and apples). (By the way, she offered to go between the trees several times tonight despite Fosse hanging around.)


So, maybe not Earth shattering but, a reminder that everything we do takes time, trust, and creativity. Once I decided to trust in myself and not listen to others, decided to trust my horse, and of course, set us up for success, it all worked. I see only huge success in the future, we truly broke through a barrier.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Weekly Task Challenge: Get your homework out!

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 in session and it is time for you to do your homework! So, how far behind are you in reading your Savvy Times? Hve you viewed all of your Savvy Club DVD's or Mastery Student DVD's? When is the last time you checked out the Parelli Vault? This week's challenge is to do your homework and catch up on your studies. If you are caught up, consider going back and reviewing past material, test yourself, what do you remember, how do you understand that material now? Ofent, looking back, the material becomes more accessible as we've learned so much more! Have fun, share with friends, and then go play with your horse!