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, December 29, 2010

Weekly Task Challenge: Reflection Time

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!)

As we close out the year, it is time to reflect on how our year went. This week's task is to think about your horse journey. Did you accomplish everything you had hoped? If not, what obstacles did you face and hos might you meet these challenges in the new year? Make a list, check it twice, and plan for a successful and productive 2011!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

New Years Resolutions - Should Be VERY Important to Make Them Actually Happen!

It is that time of year, the time we make resolutions to behave better, to save money, to spend more time with family, friends, and our horses. This year, I challenge you to make a resolution that will actually mean something to you, something you know why it should be done, and something that you will actually follow-through on.

Last year, my resolution was to become healthy again and I am well on the way! So this year, it is to get to my weight loss goal and complete my level Parelli 3 studies!

For those of you new to the blog, I decided to post my long story about my health, my horsemanship, and why I decided to do something. The big two whys are because it was necessary if I wanted to live and the second was if I wanted to live and enjoy my horses in such a way that I felt proud of my accomplishments and not guilty that I could be hurting or annoying them because I was too heavy (a constant thing that weighed heavily on my mind). My horsemanship goals are to get through all of the Parelli levels and someday, if I can find the funds, to become a Parelli Professional (in addition to my career as an Academic Director of Libraries--not giving up my career, no way).

I was never heavy, not as a kid, as a teen, or even in my early twenties. I was the intelligent, blond-haired, blue-eyed, girl with a 4.0 gpa, horses, her own car, boyfriends, etc. But, college, marriage, working, and eating on the run, living more sedentary than ever before, not realizing that I had to work at staying active, I just kept packing on the pounds but, was in total denial (and at the time, didn't realize it). It took several years to happen but, about 10 or 11 years ago, a colleague asked me to go to Weight Watchers (and wanted to pay my way) and I found myself insulted and then horrified that "my secret" was out, that my clothes were not hiding anything (crazy, I know). So, I did go to WW with her (and was thankful) and needed to lose at least 100 pounds to get to 150lbs (in my weight range at the higher end--I'm 5'6"--I was devastated but, motivated to do it--and at a loss for why I ever let it happen in the first place--the guilt haunts me to this day--when did I get fat--why did I let it happen?

So, I lost 50 pounds, looked good but plateaued at around 200 lbs and became frustrated and was not sure hot to handle it. I went to a work conference out of town and out to dinner with colleagues to a place where healthy anything was not on the menu. I ate, enjoyed, and started sliding off track ever since. My colleague stopped attending WW, then I did...long story short, fast forward to early 2009 and I was well over 250 reaching an all time high of 262.6lbs (ouch, that still hurts to admit but is important to acknowledge--the truth will set you free).

In 2009, I had two incidences that I attributed to major food poisoning but, they ended up being very serious gall bladder attacks (when they happened, I thought I was going to die, I could not breath and the later of the two, I thought I was having a heart attack--yet I never called 911--didn't want to bother anyone you know, lol). It took my husband's insistence to get me to the doctor's for a check-up (he saved my life). I'd find out later, these were indeed life threatening attacks due to a huge, 3.3cm stone rolling about inside me. In any event, that May, I had to have surgery to remove the stone and gall bladder. Prior to it, I was eating nothing but animal crackers out of fear of another attack that my doctor said, could kill me. (I did lose about 20 pounds through this.) I bargained, I was in denial, I felt guilt, and I was scared, no, terrified (thank goodness I have Rick in my life). At the hospital, I sobbed and was frightened to death, I wanted to run, flee, hide, anything...and when I went under anesthesia, I thought they (the health care professionals) were trying to kill me--I've never felt fear like this.

As I was waiting for the operation date to arrive, it occurred to me that I'd been showing symptoms for years but just attributed them to over indulgence, rich foods, and the like--and thought it was all normal. After the operation, I was unable to ride my horses or do much for months as I had to heal. I was devastated. Not only was I fat, my abdomen sagged from the operation and looked worse than ever. I missed my horse time, I wanted to play and ride! I also had to watch everything I ate to the extreme (post surgery), as just about anything, especially with a drop of fat, would set me off and make me very, very ill. Eating healthy was not difficult because not doing it made me want to die but again, it was scary. Everytime I put something in my mouth I worried about what would happen.

Fast forward to the fall holiday season 2009, and my family visiting. I fell back into many old habits, eating all kinds of junk, and was sick every day they were visiting (they didn't know-I suffered in silence) and gained the twenty pounds back quickly. Once they left and the holiday binges (typical of my family) were over, I told Rick (my husband) that I could not do it any more, that living as a glutton was not working for me, that I hated my appearance, hated feeling sick, and hated feeling embarrassed around horse people because of my physique and that I was going to seek out a Weight Watchers group (or do online) because I knew that my health and well being depended on it. (I also knew that restricting refind sugars, wheat, processed foods, and other triggers would be important.) I knew that I needed to take care of myself not only to live a long life but, if I wanted to enjoy the horses. Here I was, wonderful marriage, beautiful property, building a horse play ground and little farm, awesome career, and I could not enjoy them like I had in my younger years, not really, I had this looming fear of failure becuase of my health and it had to stop. The months of not being able to do much with the horses, and looking at photos of me with them, made me feel horrible. I used to be the girl who'd fling her leg over any horse and ride like the wind, mane in hand (tack, what tack), the photos showed something quite different and quite sad, I was lost in my own body and mind.

So, on January 9th, 2010, I joined Weight Watchers and by March 2010, joined the gym and started exercising regularly again. By May, I learned how to run (jog) on a treadmill and on the road, with my Great Dane, Morgan, I started doing my exercise videos and buying more to keep things interesting, and in September, learned about Zumba and became obsessed with it! And the rest, is history...one where my mind is clear and focused, where I am learning to love myself again, and one where I am feeling healthy again.

The photo above is the new me. A new look for a transforming girl!

I am still attending Weight Watchers and plan on doing so, for life, even when I am at my goal. I exercise about a million different ways, and love it. I eat healthy, cook all kinds of delicious, nutritious foods (with mostly homegrown ingredients), and am feeling like my old self again--perhaps even better really because I am becoming thin again but, a healthy, athletic person, not just a thin shell (there is a huge difference). I am strong and feel alive again! I've lost 67.4lbs to date and would like to lose a great deal more to get down to 130lbs (which is in my healthy weight range at the lower end - healthy range is 124-155lbs). I am in the 100's again, weighing in at 195.2lbs as of Saturday, December 18th, 2010.

My next Weight Watchers meeting isn't until January 8th, 2011. So, as you can imagine, getting through the holidays will take focus and planning, and so far, I am doing well. I am an online WW member do I can keep in touch with the materials that way as well. I also attended the last Thursday night meeting on December 23rd to get an extra boost of motivation and support. Although only a handful of people came, we all felt good for doing so.

In any event, if I can do it, anyone can. It is all about taking the time it takes to focus on "YOU" for a change, understanding that a healthy you means a great deal for those around you, including your horses, and that you are worth it.

A few key tips I think that have helped me thus far, besides knowing it was important to do is: menu planning, exercise every day, journaling everything (food, feelings, plans), support, eating whole-foods and steering clear of processed junk, keeping it fun & creative, and realistic goal setting, and remembering how you got heavy and why you want to be thin and healthy again (think horses--one of the best motivators). I am sure there is more but, at the moment, this is what I am thinking.

Best wishes to a healthier you in the new year my friends! Let me know if there is anything I can do to help! email: arabhorselover1@yahoo.com

Friday, December 24, 2010

Wishing You A Happy Holiday Season!

Happy Holidays from the Young Family
at Hidden Meadows Natural Horsemanship!
May your holidays be full of prosperity, love, joy, and above all, happiness.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Weekly Task Challenge: Healthy Holidays

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!)

With the holiday season upon us, this week's challenge is to have a healthy holiday! Make sure that what you are feeding your horse is the best you can do, watch those carbs, check the fat, supplement if you need to. And, for you, plan on eating healthy this year, there is no reason to over indulge. Try to work in some exercise for both of you, and above all, enjoy each other's company. Take the time you can and be with your horse, the stress relief of being with our equine partners alone is a huge health benefit! Be safe, be merry, be healthy, you can do it!!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

25% Target Reached!

Just a very quick post to let you all know I met my 25% weight loss target today (I actually exceeded it)! I have plans for the next few weeks to stay on track through the holidays by planning, journaling, and exersising. My next WW meeting isn't until Jan 8th so, this will be interesting...Wish me luck!

Next goal: 30% target (78 pounds total loss--or close) by Jan 8th.

P.S. The horses are doing great! I've been super busy at work but, try to do quick, 10 minute exercises with them when I feed...I have time off starting Christmas Eve and hope to get in some sustained horse time...I cannot wait for Spring...it is COLD! :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Exercise Keeps the Universe in Balance

I'll tell ya, if you don't exercise please consider giving it a try. There are so many ways to become active! I find that exercise truly impacts my emotional and mental wellness not to mention my physical wellness. I woke up this morning kind of cranky, tired, and felt fairly out of sorts. Just 15 minutes into my 60 minute Zumba class this morning, I felt so much better, I felt wonderful, happy, and everything was just right in the Universe again. (Which could be why I put in 45 more minutes in on the elliptical and treadmill before leaving the gym). Tonight's exercise plan is to do a Leslie Sansone 5 mile workout and then try her Yoga DVD--I've never done yoga.

In any event, this feeling of exercise-induced euphoria (which I get every time I exercise) got me thinking about my horses and how they act and feel when they are regularly played with and exercised. Have you ever noticed how your horse is more able to focus on you and the tasks at hand when you're regularly playing with him? Perhaps it is because he is more mentally engaged because he is moving and exercising, and engaging his body and brain, getting the juices flowing! The body (horse or human) was meant to be in motion!

The issue becomes, especially now during the winter months, what to do when the weather and your facilities don't create the perfect place to have fun with your horse yet, you know you should be moving and shaking! Well, be creative. If you cannot ride your horse (let's say because of the footing), then hand walk with your horse (much like walking the dog), play the games with obstacles, and you can do more than just everything at a walk LOL. You both can get in a good workout with the benefit of a fabulous partner to do it with---now how cool is that?!

The point is, move yourself, move your horse, and just have fun! Before you know it, you'll be feeling great, gaining muscle, and if you are really good, losing those extra pounds. Just remember, to truly make activity in your life have an impact, you must go above and beyond the norm, the same applies to your horse. Simply "being" in not enough, make your time on Earth matter. What you do impacts everything, and to me, exercise keeps the Universe I live in, balanced. :) Be positive and progressive, take action find your creativity and share it with your horse!

♫♫♫ I Like To Move It Move It ♫♫♫
♫♫♫ I Like To Move It Move It ♫♫♫
♫♫♫ I Like To Move It Move It ♫♫♫
♫♫♫ Ya Like To (MOVE IT!) ♫♫♫

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Petra's Picks on Parelli Central

Image is Petra, acquired from:http://central.parellinaturalhorsetraining.com/instructors/

Today, I am honored to report that Petra Christensen chose to highlight my blog on Petra's Picks at Parelli Central! Petra is a regular reader and of course, works for Parelli. She is a two-star Parelli Instructor following her dream to become a Parelli Professional (I am so jealous and proud of her!) Check out her site at http://www.petrachristensen.com/ To read her post click here. Petra writes great blog posts on Parelli Central and regularily makes insightful comments here at Natural Horse Lover. Thanks again, Petra--you make me blush!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Weekly Task Challenge: What if...

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!)

I've heard about so many horses injured lately that it occurred to me that planning in case of an emergency would be a good idea. So, this week's challenge is to plan for the "what ifs" in your horse's life.

What if your horses needed stall rest, could you provide it? What if your horse needed hydrotherapy, could you do it--would he let you? What if your horse needed emergency care, could you get a veterinarian out to your farm in time? What if you needed to provide first-aid, do you know what to do and do you have the tools to do it?

Think long and hard and write a list of what ifs with solutions! If you cannot figure out a solution to a "what if" or wnat to pose one to others, post here using the comments feature!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Celebrating Onderland--I made it!

Just a brief post to let you all know that I finally made it to ONDERLAND! Yes, onderland, another place in Wonderland I suspect.

As you can see, my journey to fitness is going very well, especially with the new WW program and I am feeling awesome. I can only imagine the wonderful pay-back with regards to my horsemanship. I cannot remember when I was here maybe 15 years ago? It's been a long time coming and I am not looking back!

My next mini goal is to hit my 25% weight loss target (which should be this coming week). Then, I'll strive for my 30% weight loss target by the end of January. I can actually see the end on the tunnel on this important but difficult, journey. I know the horses appreciate my efforts. I am more athletic all of the time, I'll live longer, and since physical fitness affects mental and emotional fitness as well, I am more and more in-tune with myself and the horses, and truly, my life in general. I am just SO HAPPY!

If you are struggling with your health, don't wait, please do something now, you and your horsemanship (and your horses) are worth the effort it takes, and you only live once, make it a good, long life! I'll even be your cheerleader, just let me know what I can do to support you!

Remember, as Pat Parelli teaches us: Fitness for Partnership--Both horse and human should have these to achieve true partnership: Mental Fitness, Emotional Fitness, and Physical Fitness.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Weekly Task Challenge: Ice - What are you doing to cope?

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!)

Winter storms abound these days and ice is definitely an issue. This week's task is to share here, on the blog using the comments section of this post to share how you deal with ice and your horses! Tell us about what you do for your other pets too. We need to work as a group and solve this dangerous issue, ICE!

Monday, December 06, 2010

Life Is Simply Too Short...Find Joy

So, the day after Thanksgiving, I found myself responding to a family emergency that took me away from home, away from my husband, away from my horses, dogs, and kitty, away from my normal life, away from work, downstate, to support my family. I won't get into details to maintain privacy but suffice it to say, this was not something that was on my radar and truly made me think long and hard about my own mortality, how I wanted to spend the rest of my life, and so forth. My birthday was over the weekend too which added to these thoughts of life being far too short and making the most of it was truly important. It is all too easy to get caught up in the day-to-day activities of existing and forget about the big picture of truly living.

Today, I sit here typing this entry looking out in the woods from my window, enjoying the flurries of snow falling, Pat Parelli playing with a horse at liberty (level 3) on my big-screen TV, toasty fire in the wood stove, dogs and kitty laying about, and the horses, groomed, fed, blanketed and now leisurely munching hay in the barn (although they could venture outside if they wanted to). I decided after such a crazy week, I needed one day off, all to myself (Rick is off plowing snow).

My journey to better fitness is going well. I am still doing Zumba and was approached about going to instructor training by one of my instructor--quite flattering really (it is coming to my area). Unfortunately, It is too costly for me right now...bummer because I really wanted to do it! All well, someday.

Anyhow, I've mostly maintained my weight over the last several weeks but, and that is okay. However, I want to lose more and am getting antsy! Weight Watchers started a new program called, PointsPlus this week and that is working well for me. They are now taking into consideration many components that make up calories, not just calories. Anyhow, you can visit their website for information. In short, it seems like a more wholesome, holistic approach and I like it. It has forced me to get out of my recent stagnate complacency and back to focusing intently on the materials and the journey.

Consequently, I feel more able to begin focusing more intently on my Parelli journey too (despite any obstacles that I may face). I spent time early this morning (4:30am) out in the barn, grooming, blanketing, and playing with the horses, feeding them, and just being with them. It had been a week since we saw each other and Fosse and Lola wanted to test the herd hierarchy, Whiskey was just happy to be hanging out. I was just happy to be with them, breathing their hot breath, smelling their fur, stroking their manes...you get the idea, yes, a love affair with my horses. :)

A few tools I have on my Christmas wish list are a new saddle (Wintec X-wide for Lola), a proper round corral (metal paneled one that is movable), setting up a proper all-weather arena, developing the trail system at home, and there are a few items I'd love from the Parelli sales flyer too. I also need to get a wood shed built with the wood that is in my horse trailer! The wish list is great but, I'll have to save to get there, and none of it will come for Christmas...life seems to continually get in the way (my good friend says, not enough month for the money--sadly true). We've had a great deal of unexpected expenses lately...depressing but life. LOL

I am not truly certain of the purpose of this post but perhaps it is a mechanism to remind myself that I have important things going on in my life and I need to remember that even though I love to help others, even though I have tons of responsibilities, that I need to find time to pursue my goals and ambitions, that it is okay to save and spend on things I want, that I don't have to always feel guilty about spending time and money on myself--it is a constant issue for me. As a matter of reality, life is too short, in a blink of an eye, it will all be over, and frankly, there is more to do than time we have time to do it on this Earth.

Take care of yourselves, your loved ones, your horses and other critters. Focus on love, language, and leadership in all aspects of your life. Be savvy, be safe, and above all, find joy.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Weekly Task Challenge: Blanketing with Savvy

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!)

With the winter months upon us, some horse owners like myself, use blankets to provide our horses with some extra protection. If you are a blanket user, one thing you should be certain of it that your horse accepts the process of being blanketed, and that you are putting the blanket on your horse with savvy, not just haltering and forcing your horse to stand still and take it. You should be able to blanket your horse without being haltered and, your horse should come running to you when he sees you, even with a blanket in hand!

The act of blanketing is a friendly game much like when you play with a tarp (putting it over your horse) in the arena or saddle your horse! However, sometimes, you'll find that even if you've blanketed your horse for years, the first time or two in the season, they can be leery.

This week's challenge is to properly prepare your horse for blanketing by playing the seven games, in all four savvys, with your horse and the blanket! Use the blanket as the target, have some treats in your pocket,be creative, and have fun with it! Success will mean you can blanket with savvy and your horse will appreciate and even ask to be covered! Have fun, be safe, and of course, as always, be savvy!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Weekly Task Challenge: Riding Without Reins

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, play a game with your horse, asking him to do all kinds of things without your reins. Try to ride the rail not using your reins, back without using your reins, even try riding sideways without reins! You can do it, really, as a PNHr, you are a real horseman (or striving to be), not just a horse lover! For reference, review the Parelli Level Three chapters (in the latest iteration) in your educational resources library...you do have the new levels, right? If not, check into your older Parelli materials, it will be in there. *Note, you should have your horse properly tacked up, this is not a bridle-less challenge.

So, why is this important? First, your horse will realize that you are a true partner, you won't be able to micromanage. hwy, what if you were in a situation where you didn't have reins or use of your hands? What if you got hurt on the trail but still had to communicate to your horse and get home? Hey, you never know so why not be prepared?! These skills transform your horsemanship to an entirely new level, you can put a purpose to the games by being able to play these rein-less games, using your independent seat, etc! Plus, you'll amaze your friends, especially those who have not yet made the transition to being PNHrs!