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

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year's Eve! -- 2012

Happy New Year's Eve! Any resolutions? Mine are to be a healthier me, to get back at my Parelli studies and pursue my horse dreams, and to have even more fun enjoying my great life with Rick and the critters! oxox

To pursue these goals shouldn't be difficult as long as I plan using long and short-term goals. I know how to do it so here's to a new year full of plans and realized dreams!

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now” ~Alan Lakein

I went back to Weight Watchers December 1st (I may have told you all this already) and I am ready to get serious and down to business. I know what to do and spent the last month slowly getting my head back in the game (a good thing). I am setting reasonable goals and am looking forward to finally hitting my lifetime weight goal this year (and staying there). I am actually more motivated now than back in 2010 when it all started. 2011 was very difficult on many levels in the health area for both Rick and I but, that is all behind us now.

This weekend, I am going to pull out my Parelli materials and make a study plan. The winters can be harsh here so realistically, indoor activities are going to be easier than hands-on play time. Over the spring and summer, Rick and I have several plans for continual improvement of horse facilities. I also will make a play-time plan for hands on horse time and plan to get to at least one clinic this year (even if just auditing).

Finally, enjoying my life with Rick and the critters...not difficult. But, I do plan to spend more time with them and incorporate them into more of the things I am doing. We only have one chance to enjoy life on this Earth I they are my focus.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays from Hidden Meadows!

Good morning friends. It has been a long time since I've posted because I've not had anything to say (can you believe it?)! Work has been really busy and horse time non-existent. I feel more like a waitress and frankly even with that, Rick has done more for them than I have lately.

I started back at Weight Watchers on December 1st and am doing well. To keep my horse journey moving forward, I must be healthy and fit and am working at it again. My back is totally healed and I am feeling great. The program changed just slightly to be a bit more flexible. I switched meeting days and have a new leader. I did this because of my busy schedule. Fortunately, she is excellent, and I am finding that my motivation is at an all time high again.

I did order several new Parelli resources and look forward to reporting about them. I'm off for an extended break from work and look forward to spending time at home with Rick and the critters, catching up on my Parelli studies and playing with my horses.

So, don't give up on me, please keep reading, and keep in touch!

May you all have a fabulous holiday season and prosperous New Year! The photo above is of Morgan and Daisy (my youngest and oldest respectively--Morgan is 3 1/2 years old and Daisy just turned 14 years old at the beginning of the month).

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Being Thankful - Happy Thanksgiving

Good morning friends. Today is Thanksgiving, a time for family, friends, and feasts. A time to remember how fortunate we are, a time to rejoice. I am thankful for my beloved husband Rick, my wonderfully crazy family, good friends all so far (and too far) away, my beautiful horses, dogs, kitty, and farm flock, and I am thankful for my my life in general. I wish you all a wonderful day and a thankful existence. I am off to ride and play with my three horses, Fosse, Whiskey, and Lola, and get some much-needed fresh air! Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.

An evening update. My horse time this morning was fabulous. I was able to ride all three horses and spend some very nice time with them for two hours! I also learned something about Lola. She makes ugly faces and gestures but, I don't think they are at me but at the boys....another lesson in not taking things personally....but I think a red ribbon in her tail should we ride with others may be a good idea...luv ya Lola, you gorgeous mare! :) Fosse was just excited to be trucking around and has come a long way. We had to keep the ride at a walk because it is icy, mucky, and snowy but still, slow and right beats fast and wrong. He sunk pretty deep as we walked through one area and didn't spook even though we dropped a foot, fast...he's a great horse. Whiskey was funny, willing to walk but I was careful to give him time to think about why he should do it...my LBI needs a patient partner, he's lucky that he lives with me, lol. At one point I went to hand him a treat with my right hand, he reached over to my left, I leaned over with the treat in my right to his left and the two of us got really unbalanced and almost tipped over! It was like slow motion but, we remained standing, hilarious really, very comical, and my faux pas of course, I should have flexed him to the other side or put the treat in my left hand, no worries. I love them all so much....YES, VERY THANKFUL.

Oh, and I just placed a Black Friday order with Parelli online....now that is my kind of shopping trip...Colt Starting Educational DVD Set, The Horseman's Apprentice Series CD Boxed Set, and a few other goodies....much more I'd like but will have to pace myself and my budget...their new catalog is exciting!

I am also [still] in the market for a new saddle. I've been for sometime but I think this spring, I'll finally get a new saddle for Lola--I hope, lol. I am planning to buy the new Wintec Wide (apparently they recently redesigned their saddles). I'd love a Parelli saddle but there is just no way I can afford one. Another Parelli friend (equuswolf--Jen) told me to get the flocked version of the Wintec instead of the CAIR panels, especially because I use a Theraflex pad, when I use a saddle that is, which is not all that often. I tend to just use my bareback pad or nothing at all but, I believe that I should change that sometimes and my current saddles don't fit her. My friend also shared all kinds of other information about her own saddle experiences that were very informative (thanks Jen).

Well, that's it for this evening! Credit card has been put away...for now. Happy days. :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

My little escape artist...and my Parelli-thinking Hubby

I am very thankful today. It is so obvious to me that Rick has paid attention to all things Parelli over the years even though he isn't necessarily playing with the horses like I do (or should be doing). He was easily able to get my horse Lola back in the paddock (at liberty) after he found her hanging out eating grass this morning---she apparently is an escape artist when the fence if off---it's on now! :)

This morning, he drove to the front of the property to feed the animals and there she was, Sweet n' Friendly Lola (her registered name), loose. When she first saw him in the Blazer, she trotted about. His first gut feeling was nervousness and he went and got her halter and lead. But then, he decided that since she wasn't near the road and that was the biggest safety issue, he'd first make sure that this remained to be the case. So, rather than approaching her and/or chasing after her, he set the lead and halter down and put the electric fence gate in place, and fed the boys some hay in the upper paddock. He figured if those two were distracted, he could deal with her more easily and I agree. He then opened up the fenced in area so that she'd have normal access back into the paddock (she had gone under the temporary fence to escape because it was off and she is smart enough to know that--lol). Then, Lola came up to him and started following him around. They mosied at liberty and she put herself away. Everyone was safe, calm, and both walked away with their dignity and spirits in tack. I am so pleased that he knew that chasing a horse was not the answer but partnering with her was...I'm so proud.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Linda Parelli's Horse West Point Dies in Freak Accident

I just learned that Linda Parelli's horse West Point died suddenly from a freak accident. I have no specific details but wanted to post a quick message to tell you all. I encourage that you connect on Parelli Connect or Facebook to send her your thoughts of sympathy and regard (I did). RIP West Point.

Linda---My sincere sympathy in your profound loss. May you find comfort knowing his memory will live on in all whose lives he touched. oxox

Linda wrote on Parelli Connect: "Thank you all for your thoughts and comfort. I feel sad, still in some kind of disbelief. Westy was such a magnificent horse, he taught me so much. Yesterday was the best day ever with him and I'm so glad I have the photos to cherish. I'm glad I got to share him with you all too. :)"

Monday, November 14, 2011

Start Living Life...Enjoy Today

I read the quote that SparkPeople sent out today as a Healthy reflection piece. The challenge was to journal about it but for me, my blog is my journal (that is the point of blogs you know). Here is the quote,"Stop living life for what's around the corner and start enjoying the walk down the street." - Grant L. Miller, motivational guru

This quote truly hits home as I am always thinking about how I can improve myself and my farm, how things will only be better down the road when I get a new this or that, when I lose so many pounds, when I earn more money, etc. Unfortunately, this leaves me forgetting how good I truly have it. Forgetting that makes progress (think horse progress) almost paralyzing...and I just realized it! Wow, am epiphany...first one in awhile I think. LOL I need to work with and enjoy what I have today, plan for the future, and dream big, not just dream big and hope for better...does this make sense?

So today, I challenge you to reflect on the same quote, and cherish all you have now, embrace you ability to change the things you can and accept those things you cannot. Life is too terribly short to not see the forest for the trees.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Getting Back on the Horse

Today, I started using SparkPeople (a site that offers nutrition information, support, groups, and the like - free. I dabbled with better eating throughout the week (which was great) but today is more of an official start day for me (I know, I am crazy). I am starting with the cleanse using the The Refresh Button method (a version of the Master Cleanse). I am truly feeling good and ready. I don't know if I'll last the entire cycle but I will do what I can. The harsh reality of my situation has been blogged on my SparkPeople blog with an entry titled, Getting Back on the Horse. If I can do this, anyone can. So, here's to goal in 2012...I am going to make it this time. (*fingers crossed*)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Window Shopping and Researching Horse Trailers (again)!

Images from:







Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have been reading many, many websites looking at horse trailers (and trucks). I am researching with the goal to purchase a 3-horse gooseneck aluminum trailer with full living quarters (not weekenders) and a new truck. Today, I will talk primarily about the trailer. As it stands, I have a nice horse trailer and truck and both work quite well for me. They are not new and shiny but, totally functional and safe. My plan is to do my homework in preparation for the new, future investment.

My current truck is a 1993 Chevy 2500 2-wheel drive (I wish it was a 4-wheel drive) with heavy duty rear-end differential, heavy duty brakes, heavy duty cooling system, rear suspension air bag support, a big block 454 engine, and much more. Although it is an older vehicle, it works fantastic. It easily pulls my 2002 Moritz 3-horse slant-load bumper-pull horse/stock combo trailer with a tack/dressing room (it can be converted to a 4-horse if I remove the tack). I used to pull it with my 1984 Chevy K-10 4-wheel drive pickup but it is just not up to the task anymore and now is the resident farm truck. So, if I have a truck and trailer, you may wonder why I am looking...especially because I am so busy...who has time to travel!? :)

Well, firstly, I'd like to say that I have no intention of selling my current horse trailer. It is used for much more than hauling horses and is invaluable to us. We also use it to haul lumber, hay and other items, have used it as temporary housing for a variety of critters, and has simply paid for itself years ago. My hope is that my current truck will be okay for a while with a new trailer. My concern is that the one 4-wheel drive truck on the property, although having very low mileage, its body is rotting away (gotta love the north and the salty roads) and I will need a new (used) 4-wheel drive truck sooner rather than later...only time will tell. In any event, I think, new trailer will come first (but reserve the right to change my mind, lol).

The reason I am looking at a new trailer is that we have talked for years about a camper. It occurs to me that since I have a horse lifestyle, having a camper where the horses could come with us would be ideal and about the same cost as a traditional camper. We used to camp with the horses and a tent when we lived in Virginia (if you search you'll find old posts about that). And, should we take the new trailer without horses,the dogs could enjoy the additional space as if we were at home. To me, it all makes sense and Rick seems to be on board (thankfully). I am not sure what we plan to do in the future as the types of horse camping activities are not as nice here as in Virginia (unfortunately) but I do know I want the flexibility to load and go. I have camped with tents for years and I am so busy now, that seems just too overwhelming and like work now (very sad). I never thought I'd feel that way but I do, it isn't fun any longer, I am tired and want an easy escape without too much effort. I also like the idea of having living quarters when we travel to visit family out of town, particularly because we travel with our dogs.

I have looked at new, used, and even dealer repossessed models from a variety of sources. I have discovered companies I never heard of...it can almost be overwhelming but to me, it is a challenge and I love that! Each day I look, I find out about something new as each trailer company has something unique to offer and since there are so many companies out there, I have a lot more work to do.

I am not certain if I will purchase used or new but from what I've seen, many used trailers have not been used all that much and may be a better investment. It seems that every few months I start looking and dreaming again,I cannot help myself but the cost to purchase one is amazing and therefore, I am cautiously investigating all factors, there is no rush necessary. There are many issues including but not limited to weight of the trailer, horse quarters, slide-outs, living quarter layouts and so many other features. Part of this process is understanding what I truly need without allowing the gorgeous pictures and non-essential features to lure me. (Of course, what kind of truck I need to pull it is a factor too.)

As part of this process, I'd like to take a few day (or overnight) trips to larger dealer lots. My thought is that I need to go inside several models to see what things are in real-life, not just on websites. So far, I've visited two places fairly local to my region and I believe that one with a slide-out is highly desired--especially because I travel with the dogs. I also know I want a slant load with mangers. I am up in the air about the mid-tack. I'd of course love one of those mega-models with a fireplace, couch, dinette, etc. but, those are way out of my price range and probably out of what I truly need. I have to weight wants and needs, carefully, which is not always easy.

I am interested in hearing your thoughts on the subject. What have you seen? What do you have? What are your likes and dislikes? Are there any trailers or options I should avoid? Any must-haves? I don't know when I'll take the plunge but, I thank you in advance for any ideas and insights.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Not just for me, but for my horses

To decide is to walk facing forward with nary a crick in your neck from looking back at the crossroads. ~Betsy Cañas Garmon

I am still here but have been extraordinarily busy at home and at work. We have all of the hay shavings, and firewood put up for the winter. It takes a lot to live in the country, in the woods, in the north country! Work is also extraordinarily busy and I'm getting a great deal accomplished (thank goodness I love my work otherwise at this point, I'd be going mad). LOL

I have also strayed way off track over that last several months--easy to do when you are focusing on everything but oneself. That said, today is a new day and my first back on track, completely, mentally, emotionally, and physically. I went to the gym and have been enjoying healthy nutrition choices today (yeah for protein shakes laced with veggies and fruits, and of course Arbonne detox tea--I feel really good).

The weekend also looks very promising weather-wise which means horse time! I have hooves to trim (still), more pre-winter clean-up, and hopefully some riding and playtime! I won't be able to haul them anywhere (like the river...boo-hoo) because my horse trailer is full of our final load of hay. There is literally no where to put it! But, we have a great farm and plenty of things to do and an certain boredom is not going to be an issue.

My back has been doing great and yesterday, the chiropractor informed me that I was now on maintenance! YEAH! It has been 5 months seeing him and about two months of agony prior to that. This year has been difficult on so many levels in my life but, Rick and I are both on the mend, things will start to slow down (I think), and it is time to refocus (for more than one day, lol). I remembered the other night, while riding Fosse, that I was expecting him to carry a heavier load...I felt terrible about that...yeah, that is the reality folks, what we weigh and how physically fit we are impacts our horses too (like it or not). This is not just a, "I don't like how I look/feel" kind of thing. This is a "my horse has to cope with my issues too...not fair" kind of thing.

Saying and doing are not the same. So, my strategy to ensure follow-through is to plan healthy meals (including quick fixes for those times when I am out of energy and have the urge to grab and go), journal everything, drink lots of water, eat healthy foods avoiding processed garbage of all varieties, daily exercise, and a great deal of positive self talk (probably the most difficult part of my plan). Planning leads to action! So, here's to getting my weight back down, fitness back up, and to goal...not only for me but, for my horses---who are frankly, most important!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Strong Back = Happy Horse Time

Life has been really busy...what else is new!? We picked up and loaded 4 loads of hay about two weeks ago (320 bales) and have 3 loads to do this weekend (an additional 240). It takes Rick and I two hours per load which includes the drive time, loading, and unloading...yeah, we do all the work and it is tiring! He'll be picking up several loads of shavings next week too (one huge scoop is a cubic yard...we will be probably getting 3 or 4 for now). The new woodshed has worked out great as it holds firewood, we've created a shavings bin, and it holds some hay too...the overflow. In any event, as you can see, we are gearing up for a long, cold, winter.

I have been starting to feel like my old self again. I am happy to report that I have had four days straight with no back pain and I haven't seen my chiropractor in three weeks...this is great news indeed, great news. This evening, I even got in 45 minutes of horse time.

When I got out to the barn, Lola immediately ran into the barn to meet me. She was eager to see me and so, I tacked her up and we headed out in the paddock. It was getting dark and there is some light out there so it seemed to be the best place to hang out. I realized quickly that all of the horses were fairly spunky and I decided to play with her on the ground first. We ended up having a stellar session at liberty. You'd have thought we had been playing on a daily basis when in fact, it has been some time. She and I walked and trotted here and there, she went in all directions I asked her to do, yielded, maintained gait and direction, played with obstacles, and I think had a blast...I know I did! We were truly partnered up (I was even having fleeting thoughts about attending a clinic together--someday)! During the play time, Fosse and Whiskey kept checking in and playing with us too but primarily, this was Lola and Michelle time.

After sitting on a log for a brief break (and feeding the horses some treats), I picked up the natural hackamore and Lola and Whiskey walked off, Fosse however did not and so I put it on him and we rode around, from here to there, having a lovely time together as the night grew dark. My back didn't have any pain as it did the last time I rode so I am feeling more and more confident that I can truly get back into a more proactive exercise and hands-on horse routine again. It is amazing what an injury can do to your spirit let along your physical fitness. I've been so upset about my horsemanship and my fitness, for months now, but tonight felt exciting and was motivational and encouraging, a wonderful shift from my thoughts as I've been dwelling on the fact that I feel like everything has proceeded backwards! Anyhow...

So besides getting hay over the weekend, I've got hooves to trim and hopefully horse play time and riding too! I'd love to haul Lola to the St. Lawrence River for some play time but I doubt we will be able to go, we are simply too busy...someday. For now, we will just keep fitting in what we can and I'll keep things going. I really think a clinic or local a Parelli friend would be helpful to me but, neither seems to be in our near future...I've got to get Rick more involved in the hands-on horse play...hmmm. :)

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Hay, hay, and more hay

I typically get my hay one load at a time. Well this weekend, I was told that I needed to get all of my hay (600 bales), right away. Our hay provider determined that the barn has a leak and I suspect, also just wants all the hay out (all that is not hers anyway). It was a bit alarming and a shock, definitely overwhelming at first, mostly because I needed to quickly gather much more cash than I typically have on hand and find space that I didn't anticipate to have to find, asap. Our plans were to get a load (80 bales), which is how we typically get our hay, a load at a time every month or so. In any event, instead of our regularly scheduled load, we worked all day yesterday and were able to get in 4 loads in 8 or 9 hours (320 of 600 bales). We had to stop as it got dark and frankly, Rick and I were out of energy. Fortunately, we are able to store the balance for the next two weeks until we can come back for the last three loads. We are putting hay as high and as tight as possible in the barn, we've fit in a load in the woodshed, and I hope we will be able to fit the rest in the barn as we've never stored so much at once...I suspect one load will have to stay in the horse trailer and be fed out first (80 bales fit in the trailer). Someday, I hope to have more hay storage space and a supplier that delivers...Rick and I are wiped out but on a happy note, in the next few weeks, all hay hauling and stacking will be done for the season...a first for us which is fairly exciting!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Marketing Assignment and My Dream

I am attending a Library Marketing Institute sponsored by the Ad Counsel and the Rochester Regional Library Network. It is a great opportunity to learn about marketing, branding, grants, and so much more. the content extends well past libraries and will be helpful no only in my profession but in my personal life. It is a six month commitment with monthly meetings 4 hours from home (which means two nights in a hotel with my dog Morgan), homework, a final project, and a truly unique experience.

Our first assignment was to write up a proposal for a project that we'd like our instructor to give us a million dollars to do (in theory...no one actually gets the money but she's promised some kind of prize). The projects are rough draft as we were not given tons of time or guidance but a way to get our minds thinking. I think I could have had much more budget detail but truly didn't have enough time to do that. Also, the assignment didn't have to be about libraries so, I decided to plan out my equestrian facility dream...something that is very unlikely to become reality, unfortunately, but I am realistic and so,not depressed about that fact. In any event, I decided to share it here. Why you may ask? I guess because I like to share and maybe, someone out there may want to consider funding it, yeah I know, it will never happen but a girl can dream, right? So, without any further ado, my assignment:

Library Marketing Institute
Assignment #1 Million Dollar Award
Due: October 30, 2011

Dear Ms. Burdine,

I am writing to you about a unique philanthropic opportunity to support women, allowing them an outlet for decompression, relaxation, and something altogether different than their normal routine, a new way to help with women’s work-life balance needs. Women of the 21st century are working even harder in full-time careers, raising families, engaging in relationships, volunteering for a variety of community programs, and often caring for others with little regard to their own needs. I propose that to support these women in their endeavors, women need an outlet that allows them time to engage with themselves and others in a fun, nurturing environment. Natural Horsemanship is a holistic approach to horsemanship where horses and humans come together and develop a relationship using psychology, communication, and partnership as the foundation for a relationship. This is achieved through self-guided and classroom study, hands-on practice, and group events.

I am proposing to develop the Hidden Meadows Natural Horsemanship Equestrian Center for Women in North Lawrence, New York (Easy commuting distance from Potsdam, Massena, Malone, NY, and Southern Canada). The project is estimated at a need of $1,000,000. It has been designed to offer a place for discovery and learning, for relaxation and reflectin, for good health, wellness, and so much more. The Center design is a full-service day facility allowing one to exercise, eat right, study, and so much more. It is a safe, non-judgmental equestrian-minded environment where the focus is on nurturing one’s physical, mental, and emotional fitness, a place to develop one’s leadership and communications skills, a place to learn about topics like (but not limited to) horse husbandry, natural balance trimming, all riding disciplines, farm management, a place where one can engage in regular exercise, have a place to prepare a healthy meal or snack, a place to network, through activities with and about horses using all natural horsemanship guidelines to create partnership, harmony, and finesse. It allows women to enjoy a horse-centric dream otherwise often unattainable because of time, space, finances, and the like. Through our natural, holistic approach, it is a place where dreams can come true and the world is truly a better place for horses and humans alike, where principles are always placed before goals, where one’s dignity is always left in-tact, and where one can leave feeling satisfied with a true sense of accomplishment and joy. The beauty of natural horsemanship is that all skills can be translated into one’s life and thus, these activities will help the person grow in all areas of her life.

Note: This is not an exclusive facility. Men and children are welcome but the facility is structured around the specific equestrian needs of women.


· Purchase 75 additional acres to add to the existing 40 acre farm

· Build Morton Indoor Arena (150’W x 250’L) with amenities

o Full-lighting, windows, mirrors, finished walls & ceiling

o Rubber/sand footing

o Horse Barn attached (60’x 120’) with rubber matted, 12’x12’ stalls, wash rack, heated tack room

o Heated, technology-equipped classroom

o Heated Lounge with viewing window, technology, and library

o Fully-equipped, heated kitchen

o Heated bathroom with shower

o Heated utility/laundry room

o Heated workout room with equipment (20’x20’)

o Heated dance room (20’x20’)

o Heated office (for two)

· Build Morton Hay Barn (36’X36’)

· 6 Morton Run-In Sheds (24’ x 16’)

· Six 5-acre turnout areas

· Outdoor Hunter/Jumper Arena (150’x250’) with wood fencing

· Outdoor Exercise Arena (100’x150’) with wood fencing

· Dressage Arena (66’x197’) with wood barriers and letters

· Round pen Training Area (60’ x 60’) with steel panels

· 5 acre playground/obstacle course fully equipped

· Trails throughout the property

· 2 acre training/recreation pond

· Shared farm garden (80’ x 80’)

· 4WD Kubota Tractor

· 4WD, 1 ton, Chevrolet Pick-up Truck with Plow Unit

· 6-h Exiss Horse trailer with full living quarters for off-site events

· Landscaping

· Signage

· Driveway/road expansion

· 6 lesson/lending horses

· Tack/blankets, etc. for 6 lesson/lending horses


· Horse boarding

· Natural horsemanship horse training , lessons (both in the classroom and hands-on)

· Shows, camping trips, trail rides, and other group activities

· Private use of all facilities for participants

· Fitness classes focusing on the equestrian and her needs

· Farm garden with fresh produce during the summer

· Lending library for Center clientele

· Nutrition and healthy living seminars for horses and humans

· Facility can be rented out for select outside functions to generate revenue

Thank you in advance for your consideration and time. I truly believe that this project will help the women of St. Lawrence County and surrounding regions find a better, much-needed work-life balance and higher level of personal growth. As a long-term supporter and student of natural horsemanship, as a professional working as an Academic Library Director, I can speak to the positive impact this sport has had on my life and the balancing act a professional women has to strike. I look only to share it with others. I look forward to meeting with you to discuss this proposal further. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Sincerely yours,

Michelle L. Young

Owner, Hidden Meadows Natural Horsemanship
North Lawrence, New York, USA
Natural Horse Lover http://naturalhorselover.blogspot.com/

Monday, October 17, 2011

Listening Intently

How intently do you listen to your surroundings? With so much external sound in today's busy, digital world, it is easy to ignore some of the most wonderous sounds. My life is full of technology and its beeps, alarms, and other sounds and activities, I have constant streams of people talking to me all day long, and many other typical stressors. I love it but, it also can consume me in an unhealthy manner, I ride the fine line of technology addiction, a professional hazard.

I've been making a conserted effort to spend time with the horses over the last several days and I am feeling very satisfied. We are not doing much, as you know, because it is raining, cold, and dark when I get home. However, I am still spending time and that is all that matters. Tonight, I got in an hour feeding the horses and cleaning the barn. I enjoyed listening to them, more intently than in a long time, listening to their whinnys and knickers, listening to their hooves hit the ground and shuffle the shavings, their teeth chew and crunch their hay, carrots, alfalfa cubes & pellets. I listened as they sucked up and drooled water on the floor. I listened to them breathe, listened as they moved one another around, I just listened as I cleaned and checked in with Morgan who was hanging out in the barn with me, not making a sound. I listened as the shovel scraped the ground and as it plunged into the clean shavings pile, all of these sounds filling the air, but not polluting it like the other sounds I typically hear day after day. These sounds were soothing and enjoyable. The barn is a place of solice for me and I am glad to be back out there. I realize that I don't have to feel guilty and avoidant just because I cannot do everything I want or feel I should be doing, I realize that every moment is truly special and welcomed by my beautiful and forgiving horses.

As Morgan and I headed back to the barn, we listened to the rain as it fell on our heads and I listened to our feet fall on the gravel driveway as we walked together, through the woods, down the long, curving driveway, in the pitch black dark of night. Have you ever just let your heart and your dog lead the way, lead you back to your home, in the woods, not knowing what may be lurking as you walked past it? For me, it was trust, partnership, and was simply fantastic...Morgan my other "horse." LOL

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The smell of horses, Autumn.

Autumn is in full swing here, colorful leaves are flying and falling,the rain is pouring , and the temperatures have dropped. When I go outside, I need a coat, boots, and almost a hat. The fall smell is in the air, something that has always reminds me of horses, one of my favorite seasons.

The horses are all getting fuzzy and have eaten everything possible in our fields. As the apples drop, the horses snatch them up like sweet morsels, running to the apple tree as soon as they are sent out in the playground, galloping, squealing, and running to be sure they get them before one another, a race to happiness!

As I watch my horses this year, I have noticed new herd dynamics, more confidence in wandering away from one another, and yet, they still each have their own little spark, unique horsenality, and our relationship thrives, something I notice with each interaction. Remembering that horses are way more than riding is my saving grace this year. My back still aches daily some days better than others (thank goodness for my chiropractor), I never remember feeling like this in all the years but since April or so, I have felt OLD. I warned Rick this morning that I am probably gearing up for my mid-life crises, lol.

I turn 40 this December and am not feeling graceful about it! My thoughts wander and I often wonder if I've wasted time, I feel like life is so short, and that I am no where near where I'd hoped to be in my horsemanship journey. The rest of my life is well on track, successful career, beautiful home, great husband and beautiful animals fill my life. But, I feel like there is so much to do and so little time! I should be thankful, I enjoy a comfortable and good life, not fancy, not wealthy, but genuinely good and honest but yet, I always dream about wanting/needing more, about travel, about living in new and exciting places...yeah, I'm a dreamer.

Enjoy the autumn with your horses, it is a great time to connect, a beautiful time of year to enjoy being outside, and what is better than being with horses??? HMMMM, probably nothing.

Friday, October 14, 2011

First time in ages...

For the first time in ages, I spent time in the barn and wanted to be there. A hard reality to admit or realize. I think I've been over whelmed, sad, and just out of sorts---for months. I know this may sound bizarre considering how much I love my horses but, my work life has been so hectic and stressful that it is all I can do to come home and fall over, hopefully landing on the couch and not the floor, lol. My healthy living has gone by the wayside and continues to be a struggle (which makes me feel horrible on so many levels), my horses rarely see me (which makes me feel guilty), but my career is truly thriving (which makes me very pleased). We've had so many projects going on at the farm that my head has been spinning (not to mention Rick's--he's carried the majority of that responsibility). I don't know why or what happened but last night, I felt excited to walk to the barn and hang out, a feeling that has been gone far too long, a great feeling. I was out so late that Rick came looking for me and found me walking down the driveway, through the woods, in the dark (with no flashlight, lol), and yes, I was smiling.

The horses were actually out in the field most of the time but, I enjoyed straightening up, cleaning, and just hanging out, by myself, in one of my favorite places, the barn. My guinea hens, ducks, and chickens all came in and meandered around, calling out, we all had a good time--they are hilarious! Eventually, the horses came in and were treated to a gourmet meal, much-needed grooming, and they seemed to enjoy the time with me as much as I enjoyed it with them, they were nickering like crazy!

On my home to-do list (let's not even talk about my work to-do list) is to start eating healthy again without making excuses (planning will be key), resume my exercise routine (which probably will make me feel 100% better mentally and physically, almost immediately), catch up on my Parelli videos, trim hooves, get hay up for the winter, and so much more. However, rather than looking at a long list, just getting back to the basics of things that make me feel happy again, will be vital...get back on a healthy path and incorporating horse time in my daily routine again. I plan to look at everything like it was the first time all over again and I challenge you all to do the same...it should prove to make everything fresh and fun again. I hope you all are doing well. Check in if you have time!

Friday, September 16, 2011


Decompressing from a long, hard week...rode my horse, played with my dogs, now drinking wine and noshing next to a warm toasty fire (our first for the season thanks to Rick for making it). Horses are amazing and mine have been patient with my absence lately. My Sat-Mon were stellar, everything was great, work was super busy and productive (the way I like it), horse play, Zumba, Weight Watchers, fun with Rick, delicious gourmet meals, life was grand, and had I kept it up (health-wise that is), I'd have had a great weight loss for the week, Tuesday is a total blank, literally so busy I cannot remember it, and Wednesday was horrible on so many levels (and not all WW related--mostly work related), Thursday was tough, today a bit better.

Tonight, I am chilling out at home, doing what I want (including ignoring work stuff for once), and plan to not weigh-in tomorrow at the WW meeting. I know it won't be a loss and I have no reason to torture myself with a number that does not move or moves in the wrong direction. I have plently of other things going on to manage and a self-imposed left down is not my idea of loving oneself. Frankly my friends, by mid- week, my life was a mess and very difficult, I was a mess, I was human and fallible and on some levels, and at this point, I just don't care.

So tonight I am going to drink my bottle of wine and eat cheese and snacks, while sitting on my rocking chair in my riding pants, smelling like my horse, and finally feeling some sense of stress relief and control. I have to thank Fosse for allowing me to be his partner and for having fun riding around the property tonight--it was so much fun. I always feel like I am in another world, like I am free hen with the horses. I thank Rick for helping me finally feel better because he is the world's best husband and supports me through it all. And finally, I thank my colleague and friend Kevin for reminding me of what was truly important in life (my husband, animals, home, and all that I love). I look up to him because he;s mastered things I am still working on.

I'll try again this week, to be better in all aspects of my life, to give my 100% in everything I do, I promise.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Getting Back to Basics

Image from: click here
It has been a long time since I've posted.  I've literally had non-stop company at my house since around the first of August!  I was dealing with that and working, feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and at my breaking point. It is not that I din't enjoy some of the time but every day, people at your house...not for me, sorry but it is not. It is one reason why opening up a horse business would not work, the constant stream of people would get to me, I love my privacy. I have not had a real vacation in years and better do something soon. Horse time?  I cannot remember what that is...well except for the other day when I got to play with Lola who seems to be completely oblivious that we had a relationship and that I was the leader.

Lola and I worked it all out, it ended well but, I had to dismount almost immediately because she was very ugly towards me when I simply asked her to back up...she rang her neck, tried to bite me, and even offered to bolt and buck should I not get off on my own.  I took it as an opportunity to reconnect and get back to basics.  How rude it was of me to ask for anything when all I'd been doing is mostly just cleaning and feeding her without really spending any quality time.  We played in the playground, round pen, in the yard, driveway, and even with the trailer.  Getting back to basics for us meant reestablishing herd hierarchy, playing the games and patterns, and learning to listen to one another.  Overall, a good session but one that was fraught with a lot of emotion...a good thing as it tested both of us and our relationship which is still on good terms, luckily. I didn't try to ride again by the way, I didn't have a desire and saw no point in it.

I need to get my life back on track and my mind back in the horse game, back in the healthier living game, and so much more.  I am in a true and horrible funk...I owe you all like 6 weekly tasks!  But, I think for now, I'll have to stop the weekly task thing because I am not active enough in the horse game at the moment to even be thinking about it.  So, I'll post things as them come but not on any kind of schedule anymore, I need to take the pressure (and guilt) off for now,  I hope you understand. I need to bet back to the basics in my life, planning, eating right, playing with horses, exercising, and spending time with Rick. (Oh, and working of course, lol.)

My plan...? I am menu planning some easy, light meals and also planning for horse time and physical activity--a fresh start. I've registered for Bangin' Bodies, Zumba I, and Zumba II at the University starting the week of Sept 19th. I am starting back at the gym on Monday come hell or high water! And, starting back on Sat I'll be back at Weight Watchers meetings and Zumba afterwards. I am also pledging 30 minutes a day with the horses doing something other than cleaning or feeding.  It does not sound like much but it is a start and fairly realistic. I have to do something...I feel just horrible lately. I am physically and emotionally drained and need a new start, a complete overhaul, an attitude adjustment. Rick reminded me of how great I felt when I was exercising, playing with the horses, and eating right (I think he feels cruddy too frankly). So, I am going back at it full force because for me, complete immersion is the only thing that works, I cannot just dabble in anything, I have to be totally focused and almost obsessed. (This may mean a few extra visits to the chiropractor but I don't care, I love my adjustments and my doctor!)

So that is the story, it is not a pretty one but an honest one.  Take care everyone, keep in touch, and do come back to the blog, I plan to post more often again! Sigh.
P.S.  I am working on a plan for a vacation or at the least, a weekend excursion with Rick and no one else.  I love my family but enough is enough...I need my personal life back...sorry to offend but it is reality.  I love my private life, my home with husband and critters off in the woods, in our own little world.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Weekly Task Challenge: Asking Permission

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 a play on my post about mutual respect. In thinking about how important giving and receiving respect is, particularily when striving for successful relationships, I thought it was truly a good weekly task.

This week, every time you interact with your horse, ask permission to engage. Ask for permission to enter the stall, to put on the halter and/or tack, permission to mount and dismount, etc. Not sure how? Refer to your Parelli materials, it is all in there!

Here is a link to an article on Horse Channel by Pat Parelli responding to a question about a horse kicking. He talks about respect and asking permission...click here to read.

Wanted: Mutual Respect for Horses and Humans

It has been a horribly stressful, headache-inducing day. So far, I am on track (regarding my journey to better health) minus exercise. I am not sure my heart is in it for exercise today (or much else frankly, including horse time). I suppose I could do my pilates video for the horseback rider (Janice Dulak)...sigh. And, as far as horse time, I did say hello and feed them (and the chicks). I am mentally and physically exhausted, wiped out. When I got home, I was so exhausted I wanted to cry or vomit, not sure which, totally beat down, feeling like giving up on the world and perhaps myself. I really didn't even want to go outside or see Rick (no offense to him of course). Oh my goodness, this all sounds so horrible when written (hearing my feelings in my head when I write--erhaps a good way to work it all out though). For most of the afternoon, all I wanted to do was to do is go home, crawl into bed, and hide under the covers (with the dogs of course) and never come out. Not that this would solve anything but, escape was on my mind. I even toyed with thoughts of living off the grid, in seclusion, and escaping from society, responsibility, and thus, no more stress. This is not the norm for me of course (if you couldn't guess from all of my other posts over the years--I am a perfectionist, over achiever--most of the time) so, the situation was truly serious (to me anyway). I hate feeling attacked, I hate feeling out of control, and I hate feeling like what I say and do
does not matter. UGH.

The reason why I am writing is that today, I was reminded about how important mutual respect was. Not only receiving it but making sure that I always give it to others. I believe I do but, being on the receiving end of reactions, responses, interactions that lacked this respect towards me or any caring about the work I do, my professional experience, etc., was truly disturbing to me. I felt like....well, you get the picture without the gory (and probably boring) details. In hindsight, perhaps I took some things more personally than I should have but, I truly believed, in my heart of hearts, that the work I presented was done with care, diligence, and was what was asked of me. I do not go into anything lightly and always put in 100%. In hindsight, perhaps those who made me feel this way have no idea and therefore, I must forgive the situation and will work harder to breathe and will plan future interactions and responses. (A colleague who witnessed this did reach out in a kind way to me, showing understanding, concern, and helped me see from a different lens.) In the future, I won't let a situation like this get to me but instead, try to remember to think the phrase (thanks to Linda Parelli)..."how interesting." Somehow that phrase helps me breathe but I typically only use it in horse situations.

A regard for the dignity of person isn't much to ask, is it? Good relationships are built on mutual respect. This brings me to horses (I am sure you are thinking, finally, she's going to talk horses). Our relationships, including those with our horses, are truly important and good ones are based on mutual respect. Your horse should respect you and you should respect your horse in all situations...this is why those practicing PNH ask for permission to enter a stall (or other living quarter), ask for permission to mount and dismount, and so much more. We pay attention to responses and reactions, and we always try to improve.

Based on Lisa's comment in another post (she's one of my regular readers--thanks Lisa), I realized that I was not completely respecting Lola (despite my sincerest intentions). I never truly and seriously took into account the fact that she is a mare and will have hormone and physical issues that may interfere with our relationship that my geldings simply do not experience. I mean, I know she is a mare and has cycles but, I never truly gave her the benefit of the doubt because of it. To be proactive and bring my responsibility of respect up to par, I contacted my veterinarian today to get more information and thus gain knowledge on Lola's physiology to allow me to better understand her and react appropriately when she and I are having difficulties.

Tonight, take a moment to reflect on your relationships, what ever and with whom ever they may be, it is truly important. It is just another piece of never ending self-improvement. S-A-V-V-Y!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Life Seems Normal Again

I started attending WW meetings again this morning (something that helps me focus on my health and well-being). Rick is doing well and seems like his happy old self, and the animals are all acting like little angels. Somehow the universe has aligned again for us and life seems more normal. ❤

I have a great deal of work to do to get myself back to my lowest weight and best fitness level, then of course to get to goal once and for all. If you were wondering, I haven't been to a meeting since May 7th. I appreciated the hugs and warm welcomes I received from the group as if I was just on a long vacation, they are all are so sweet. I purchased the 3-month tracker as that is my most favorite method of tracking above online with my PC or smart phone. I believe the act of writing and reading a document has a very different and lasting experience. I've written everything down, planned my week, and feel confident that I can and will be back on track. Funny how a simple meeting adds so much value...must be the structure and accountability piece. (I experienced much the same with my horse group in VA. We would meet, challenge each other, and somehow that pushed the envelope increasing progress.) I am starting back at WW as if this was all new so, I am reviewing my introductory materials and set a 5% goal to be met by August 27th.

Rick has been in the process of adjusting medications, trying to mentally cope with less than good news, and getting himself back in the healthy living game as well. Reminders of mortality have a tendency to make people feel out of control but, together, we plan to live a long time, despite any recent detours we've had to face.

As far as the critters, all is well at Hidden Meadows. Everyone is snoozing with the heat and no one is fighting. Good enough for me! As with WW, I plan to review and play catch-up with my Parelli materials too...are you behind in your studies? Perhaps a little reading or videos is a good plan if it is too hot to do much else.

Thank you again for your friendship and support. If there is anything that I can do for you, please let me know. I wish you all a happy, healthy, and long life full of love, fun, and horses!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Like and Angel O:)

Leadership, communication, partnership, keeping it real and ensuring principles are more important than your goals....Yes, you've heard this over and over, many times, and isn't it interesting that each time, it is in relation to a different scenario? The time I spent with Lola last night (after she bit my arm) was very valuable for our relationship (and worth the mosquito bites).

Today after work, I went home and had some farm time. It has really been a long and hot week so, to me, this was chill-out time doing what I love most, being outside with the critters and my sweet hubby. The chickens and guinea keats were doing great, scratching, fluffing, eating, Rick was splitting wood (and sweating heavily--it is still very hot here), and the horses were eating hay under a tree. Once they (the horses) saw me, they stopped and immediately came over to see me. I was clear with each as to how far into my space they were allowed, and even asked for a few minor things (at liberty). I then decided to check-in with Lola, one-on-one, using the 22 foot line and halter, carrot stick and string, just like last night. She was thoughtful, had a kind eye, never offered to rear, buck, squeal, rear, or bite. She very easily did all that I asked and circling was a breeze. She had a beautiful, collected, slow, trot, an animated but controlled walk, she disengaged easily, and never acted up, she was just an angel. I didn't use a treat to reward her, just a nice scratch and some petting of her face which she seemed to appreciate. She wasn't learning anything new and my friend Clare mentioned using treats only during a learning process so, I thought I'd give that a try (also, I remember something form the Horsenality Report about no treats for her but I cannot remember all the details at the moment--maybe treats only at certain times or something).

After the fun time, I proceeded to clean the barn and feed. Lola insisted on hanging out with me. I moved her around at liberty just using my hands and she was very good. She seemed to just want to be together despite the boys being outside. It was very satisfying and very nice. I do love my girl.

Well, time to make dinner and enjoy the doggies and Rick. I hope to do a little horse reading too. Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My horse bit me...now what to do.

To begin, I have no intentions of ever hanging a sign up like the one I used here but, I got you ateention didn't I? It has been a hot day here on the farm with a heat index of 109 degrees Fahrenheit. Yesterday was really warm too. Everyone is sweating and fairly miserable, man and animal alike. I just went out to the barn to take care of the horses and as I was putting hay in the feeders, Lola came over and bit me, deliberately. Not a nip, she grabbed the top part of my arm with her mouth open wide and CHOMP! It almost seemd like it was in slow motion. Normally I'd have moved the horses out of my space but I was in the process of opening the gate, trying to carry the hay, and before I knew it, a huge bruise and teeth marks were on my arm. I immediately backed her (as soon as I could anyway) and chased her out of the barn. I was, to say the least, upset. I was angry that she'd do that to me as it was nasty not to mention, she hurt my feelings because I thought we've been doing really well together. After this incident, I had to drive Rick back to the house but, I knew, despite the heat and the terrible mosquitoes, I'd have to go back to the barn, retrieve Lola, and work with her to reestablish the herd dynamic, partner, and be her leader. I realize that often times this is a dominance game and I knew that I'd need to win. I see the horses nipping at one another and just yesterday observed her chomping Whiskey pretty similiarly to what I experienced (and he is the lowest horse in the herd).

Upon reentering the barn, the horses were eating hay, the boys calm as usual and Lola, a little on edge. She truly was one big ball of attitude. I blocked her with my arm bend and moving it upwards a few times, keeping her well out of my space until I haltered her and put on the 22 foot line, grabbed my carrot stick and string, and then moved outside with her. In hindsight, I should have sprayed the both of us with bug spray but, there was about 15 minutes of daylight left and I didn't think of it, I was more intersted in fixing our relationship.

The first thing I asked her to do was to walk, me in zone 3, but at a distance (about 5 feet away). I didn't allow her to get ahead and used the stick and string, wiggling it in front of her when she needed a reminder. After getting to the open area in the paddock, I asked her to back up the entire length of the rope, and with some impulsion. She did that well but I could tell she was having a hard time thinking and focusing. Then, the fireworks started. I asked her to circle and she blew her top. All I did initially (phase 1 mind you) was point, then lift the stick, wiggle and pow, freak out! She bucked, reared, squealed, could barely look at me, and couldn't move forward, just up. This happened for several asks and eventually she moved forward but fast, out of control, bucking, squealing, and she kept trying to turn her hind quarters towards me (totally disrespectful) and I could tell she could not look at me. I've seen this behavior before but not this bad (I still don't know why she was so upset). I maintained my emotions and her dignity and continued to ask her politely, as always, and tried to giver her time to respond, rewarding the slightest try. I did this in the other direction as well intermingling backing and pausing, giving her time to lick and chew. Once she had herself more in control of her emotions, I asked for sideways down the fence line in both directions, some squeeze, and eventually, I asked her to back down part of the paddock, around the corners to and into the barn. We ended on a positive note, both calm, both in a good place. I then remembered to spray all of the horses (all at liberty of course) to chase away some of the bugs.

As I headed to the barn, I started replaying this in my mind. Why did she bite, what was going on? I remembered her trying to bite me yesterday when I rode her and the day before she nipped me. I need to be more aware of my cues to ensure that I am being polite while mounted. I believe that as we progress, she is challenging my leadership but taking it to another level. She's always challenged and now, perhaps she's upped the ante? I am not sure of course, only Lola knows but, I do have a plan. I wrote a long time ago about biting and decided to dig up that post. I am also going to read her horsenality report again, gaining me more insight to strategies working with her. Some of this behavior is exactly the kinds of things (similar anyway) to what Fosse did as a young horse, testing me. I recall a time when he grabbed my finger and chomped me, my arm too, anyhow, backing certainly helped cure that (he was backed up the mountainside, fast and that made him think twice). I never hurt my horses over this but do establish a leadership role using the techniques from Parelli.

Here are a few things to keep in mind about horses and biting:

  • Disengage the hindquarters (breaking the hindquarters) to break a brace with a horse taking away the power they have, braciness (start on the ground), be sure to give release, horses are bracey—people usually asking too much too fast (rude or abrupt)
  • Backing cures biting—it starts on the ground, horses get into habits, try new things all of the time, sometimes a physical thing--problem usually mental, emotional, or physical
  • On the ground, backing cures biting for two reasons: 1. Horse backs out of your proximity 2. You back a horse psychologically, you are moving up in the leadership ladder (the pecking order of horses)
  • Horses check you every minute and try to challenge when they can, they try new things to see what your response is
  • Punishment does not work with horses because if you watch horses (geldings) two, one bites the other, the other bites back, they will do it all day just for fun, when people smack a horse for biting, you agree to participate in their game so this would not work
  • On the horses back, back him because they cannot bite you, if the horse wants to come around, (the horse can get lower jaw caught on the stirrup if you remove your foot from it--especially in an English saddle), get your horse busy and back the horse up, give them something else to do
  • You could also, move your foot forward into the curl of their neck (say if you are bareback), they cannot curl their nose and neck around to get to you to bite (just make it difficult for them—they cannot reach)
  • Backing cures biting (ask yourself, how do I change their mind about this behavior and make it not fun anymore?)
  • If the horse views you as a leader, they would not do this.
  • Many considerations, not a simple question, really.
  • True leadership with the horse, the behaviors will go away.

Lastly, I love Lola, I love all of my horses, but, I do have to remember that they are horses, not humans, and that I have to be a good leader, a partner, and keep any anthropomorphic ideas in check. It also occurs to me that I need to remember the horse's hierarchy of needs...maybe too many treats during playtime?? HMMM.

Horse's Hierarchy of Needs (IN THIS ORDER)
• Safety = Confidence + Leadership
• Comfort = Release
• Play = Fun + Creativity
• Food = Incentive
So much to think about....I love horses, they keep my mind reeling! I definitely need to pull out some of my Parelli educational materials and get a more official game plan in play. Here's to the horse, always teaching the human (and hopefully we humans are teaching them too).

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Weekly Task Challenge: Heat & Bug Relief - Is it possible?

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 the country is swealtering in the heat, bugs attacking, how is one to go outside let alone, enjoy their horses? This week's challenge is to brainstorm remedies for heat and insects and share with others here, on the blog, using the comments section.

For me, I find myself using all kinds of sprays (herbal and not) that don't seem to work well, screen outfits that keep the bugs away but make the horses sweat, and Benedryl for the hives/welts from insect allergies! As for the heat, I have a huge fan in the wall of the barn, open doors for air circulation, and of course, provide a lot of fresh water. Oye, it is a rough summer. I cannot wait to hear all of your ideas! I bet there are differences across the globe...this should be fascinating.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sisters can be so much fun!

I have to say that my sister can be so much fun! When we were kids, we really didn't get along at all. As adults, although we live completely different lives, we've been able to put our past behind us and enjoy together time when we see each other. This weekend was no exception.

Heather and I had all kinds of time together this weekend, we spent hours in the truck traveling, horse time, boating time, and more. Today, I want to tell you about the horse time. My sister loves my animals and they enjoy her very much as well. On Saturday, we decided to have some horse time. First, I lead her around on Fosse for a pony ride. He was a bit unamused at this but was a good sport. She had a short ride but felt that bareback was not her thing and decided to dismount. Instead, she played at liberty with the horses (and a pocket full of treats), and I rode the horses.
I first rode Fosse, bareback and with the natural hackamore. He was a bit aggravated with the flies but soon concentrated on riding the rail, going thorough obstacles, backing, etc. I asked for a trot and he eventually gave me one, it was nice but, his "go button" was not working all that well. I decided that my sister could help. I asked her to take the lead line attached to the hackamore and trot as I asked him to do the same. He took well to this medley of cues and off we went. We worked on transitions and had a grand time. We gave him a few cookies and that was certainly a welcomed treat. Lola and Whiskey walked and trotted too, at liberty, with the three of us...it must have been a sight to see!
Next, it was Lola's turn. When I mounted up, she stood quietly until she got bit by a nasty fly, she leaned in such a contorted way that I almost slid off! LOL Anyhow, once I regained my seat, off we went. We did much the same with Lola and she was delighted. She had been playing trot to and through obstacles with Heather at liberty when I was riding and so to add Heather to the mix with my riding time was unique and fun. Lola has a particularly lovely, smooth trot...she puts some gaited horses to shame! LOL We rode from here to there, also working on transitions, bending, backing, etc. It was a great time and Lola loved her treats!
Lastly, I gave Whiskey a quick spin working on walk/trot transitions using the rail and obstacles (without Heather as she was amusing Fosse and Lola again). Whiskey did well and I certainly enjoyed my time with him. He is very light when he is willing to partner and floats on air!
What I take away from this experience is great joy at feeling progressive with my horses, joy in knowing that I can have fun with Heather, and the satisfaction in knowing that creativity certainly makes everyone happy and successful! We may have looked strange to many traditional horse people but, we played and engaged, we walked away with all parties' dignity in tact, celebrated accomplishments, and walked away with smiles! Heather remarked that she got more of a workout than at the gym and that it was more fun too!