About Me

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North Lawrence, New York, United States
I can be described as lover of life, an animal lover, and lover of education. I am constantly striving for knowledge and learning opportunities. I've been around horses my entire life. I enjoy working with horses and their human partners through natural horsemanship philosophies, natural balance bare foot hoof care, reiki, red-light therapy, essential oils, aromatherapy, crystal healing, chromotherapy, flower essences, and more. I am a Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki Master Teacher who offers treatments for people, horses, dogs, cats, and other creatures great and small. I also teach Reiki classes for those interested in learning how to treat themselves, their loved ones, and even their animals! Natural Horse Lover Farm is located in Northern New York between the St. Lawrence River and Adirondack Mountains. Heaven on Earth. naturalhorseloverfarm.com

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Non-Scale Victories

Well, as strange as it may seem, sometimes a victory comes in the form of something other than what the scale is telling you! I've had two this weekend despite a rough week last week full of bad decisions made for a variety of reasons.

The first victory is the fact that my barn coat and pants, the ones for the really cold days, are so huge that I had to buy a new coat! I also acquired a new regular winter coat for the same reason.(See photo above.) It was important to buy the new clothing not only for looks but, safety. It is not safe to be in baggy clothing with your horses, especially when riding.

The second was the realization that despite the ups and downs of the scale, I am doing okay and will get to my lifetime goal, this year. It is a journey, a life-long proposition, not a diet! :) And so far, it is going well. I am truly taking the time it takes to do it right.

I posted the following on my Weight Watchers Facebook groups page and wanted to share it with the rest of you, and especially those of you working on similar goals (whether they be horse,health, or other goals). It is easy to fall into the trap of negative self-talk, not matter how hard we are trying and that can be detrimental. In any event, here is what I discovered today:

In natural horsemanship, the ideal partnership is where both horse and human have mental, physical, and emotional fitness. When I started WW last January, this is what I had in mind, and that it was important that I found this balance in my life as I was expecting my horses to have it. Darcy is right, negativity towards oneself is not productive and I am the first to typically violate this principle. How interesting that I think of it as a principle now because another tenant in my life (and especially with my relationship with my horses) is to always put my principles before my goals. That is precisely what I need to do for my WW journey which is also, and most truly, a balance of mental, physical, and emotional fitness. Epiphany!

This post had meaning not only for me but, my WW friends. Isn't it remarkable how Parelli is in all aspects of our lives (even in the loves of non-horse people? Awesome. By the way, the horses are doing great. We have had some impromptu play time out in the snow on the warmer days and lots of goodies, scratches, and non-demanding time. That said, I really cannot wait for SPRING!! :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Weekly Task Challenge: Ride a Buck!

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!)

Do you remember, "Ride a Buck" when you were a kid? If this is not familiar, it is often done at horse shows for kids. The idea is to ride bareback with a dollar bill under your leg. The task is to ride and not drop the dollar!

This week's challenge is to get together with a fellow horse buddy and play ride a buck in the snow! play with $10 minimum to make it mean something. Try the game at all gaits and in all depths of snow! If you dare, use obstacles and jumps too (being mindful of ice). Each time you lose, you give your friend the buck! If you are in the lonely barn (like me), put the buck in a jar and your horse gets it each time you lose, towards some yummy treats! Have fun, be safe, and as always, be savvy!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Weekly Task Challenge: Winter Clothing

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!)

Since it is so darned cold out, and many of us are reluctant to go outside and play with our horses, it occurred to me that perhaps we needed to review our own winter apparel! This week's task is to review what you have, what you are wearing, and search for some new, warmer duds! Share on here using the comments, what great, warm finds you've made. Then, make a plan to go out and play, the new, warmer you. :)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

We are FREEZING not playing :(

The horses are blanketed and I am in the house, again. It is freezing here and going down to -15 degrees Fahrenheit tonight. I know, I am originally from the north but perhaps living down south for several years did something to me as I am less and less inclined to venture outside. BRRRR. The horses are not shivering but also not overly amused with my absence...I miss them too.

So, what better to do but spend my time planning on projects for the impending spring. Rick (I mean Santa) purchased a 14' x 36' high-wall building which means all of the tools, equipment, and anything non-horsey will be leaving the barn and I will get to expand into the entire barn space (25.5' x 44')!!! Can you tell I am happy? Well so is he really. We are both simply thrilled.
I still really want to build an indoor arena but, now, I have even bigger (probably unrealistic) desires. If I could do anything, I'd build an indoor arena that also included a heated lounge, kitchen, bathroom, gym, and dance room. My idea is that I could offer fitness and fun for both horse and rider in a natural, welcoming environment. What do you think? Anyone interested in sponsoring this adventure? *wink wink* (I actually know of someone who somehow got a benefactor and is building a wonderful facility, a friend of my aunt's, how lucky is that?!)
In a more realistic move, Rick and I are thinking that putting in a proper outdoor, all-weather arena is possible and, getting the round pen panels this year are doable. We also have some fencing to install on the property line near our closest neighbors...that will be "fun." One step at a time!
Stay warm and always be savvy!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Weekly Task Challenge: Winter Patterns

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!)

Since horses love patterns and it is snowy out, this week, bundle up and try something new and different! I challenge you to play with your horse (while riding or on the ground) creating patterns that are shapes of wintertime objects and other fun things you can think of! Why not walk or trot a snowman pattern, star, tree, or any other shape...a heart perhaps-Valentine's Day is coming! Have fun and think outside the box...or draw one in the snow with your horse! :)

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Impromptu Horse Play - The Best!

I have to say that the most fun I had today was the impromptu liberty session, in the blowing snow, with my three horses, initiated by Fosse, and ending with horse kisses and peppermint candies for all! ♥ It is amazing how a simple gesture or look is easily understood now. The opportunities that can happen if we just pay attention, if we just give up a few moments in our busy lives, the things we miss if we don't.

My business at the barn today was to haul water, clean the barn, and feed. The horses hung out with me throughout the time I was working when they certainly could have been elsewhere. When I was finished, I walked outside to retrieve feed pans. I tossed them over the fence and there was Fosse. Not looking for a handout but, for me to play. He and I do some intense playtime that includes running and rearing, backing, approach and retreat,basically the works (and no food incentives). He also initiates kisses and over to lock my face. I just adore him! And, of course, Lola and Whiskey were with us, they'd play a bit and they'd respond but overall I think they were looking for handouts (for which I had none). Fosse's play drive is different form theirs--which is fine. He and I just happen to share the same, high level of energy! The four of us played and had fun together despite the snow blowing and the temperature in the twenties.

I recall the old days, before Parelli, and I cannot imagine ever knowing that a horse could play or be so engaged with me. I truly believe that in the old days of "normal" horsemanship, I just looked at the horses as cute creatures that I could ride around. Now, I see so much more and understand how important the relationship I have with my horses is. I understand why and how they are way more than riding and am thankful for this knowledge. The time spent is so rewarding and the value of our interactions, priceless. Thanks Pat and Linda!

Saturday, January 08, 2011

It's about never giving up...

Whether is is learning a new language (I am learning French by the way), assessing with your horse, running a marathon, trying to lose weight, or doing something else that is important to you, as Winston Churchill said, "Never, Never, Never Give Up!" No matter what, I implore you to keep at it even if you have feelings of failure, sorrow, and guilt. This post is about me not giving up my goal to be healthy and fit not only for myself, but more importantly, for my horses. I share my ups and downs, my intimate and personal triumphs and failures, in the hopes that it will help someone else out there.

I was very happy to be at a Weight Watchers meeting this morning, to see you all of my WW friends, and hear the day's lesson. It is not that the content is new particularily or that there will be an epifanie or anything, it is just that being with like-minded people in a supportive environment helps me (sounds liek the Parelli environment doesn't it?).

I need weekly meetings, for life, to stay on track and we have not had a meeting for weeks, through the holidays (probably the most difficult time of year). Next year, I plan to check in with the Canadian WW Center in Cornwall, Ontario to see if they hold meetings without a break and go there rather than no meetings. Although I am an online member, for whatever reason, I need the additional accountability of an on-person meeting.

So, anyway, despite a SIGNIFICANT holiday gain, I am back at it today, 100% on plan (eating well and exercising like a maniac) and feeling great. In the past, I'd have given up, out of shame avoided the meeting, and well, gained all the weight back. But today, I was brave and determined to take control back! I did well for most of the holiday break but then had a few bad days, and ended with a horrible week that started with indiscriminate eating on New Year's Eve - rookie mistake--and I knew better. I've eaten way too many carbs (mainly refined sugar and wheat stuff both of which make me feel horrible and retain water). I know bad, bad, bad but, all well, it is over! Before going to the meeting, I mentally prepared to cope with the visit to the scale. I didn't cry or get upset, but, laughed--strange reaction. (You can see the stats, look to your left.)

I am not giving up. I will be at my lifetime goal this year. I have a huge bunch of people who say I've inspired them and I cannot let them or myself down. But, I also have to recognize that this is part of the journey just not the fun part! Perhaps this experience can be viewed as a test as to whether I would totally give up (like in the past) or move on. I'm dusting myself off from my fall and tumble down a huge, rocky, mountain, and climbing back up, one step at a time. I am fighting feelings of failure and gearing up for living the lifestyle I love so much...WW. By the way, I never stopped exercising so at least I was still doing something right.

Based on a blog post Petra Christensen made recently at Parelli Central about New Year's resolutions and worksheets by Kathy Pike, a Skills Coach and horsewoman, I did the following exercise as a way to push through this difficult time. (Thanks, Petra and Kathy!)

I release myself from feelings of guilty, self-hatred, loathing, and disappointment. I release myself from thinking about past mistakes, over and over again. I release myself from the prison of perfectionism.

I renew my commitment to myself to eat healthy foods. I renew my vision of hope and reaching lifetime goal this year. I renew my belief that I am worth it and that I can achieve success. I renew my power to exercise and have fun doing it.

I am reclaiming my health and my life. I am reclaiming my power over my choices. I am reclaiming love for myself. I reclaim victory!

So, here's to lifetime butterflies in 2011! ƸӜƷ (Lifetime members get butterfly stickers at WW.) Oh, and for my WW buddies who read my blog, I plan to be the biggest loser this coming week (instead of the biggest pathetic loser like I was this morning, lol) - catch me if you can WW friends! :) HUGS.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Weekly Task Challenge: Grooming (or should we say Friendly Game?)

If you don't know what to do, have little time, or just feeling stuck, try the weekly task as a way to at least do something with your horse! (It just may motivate you to do more!)

When you groom your horse, do you ask permission first? Often times, we grab our grooming tools, halter the horse, and get the job done. This week's task is to groom the savvy way! The rules of the game are to ask your horse's permission to approach (whether in a stall or outside), halter politely and with savvy allowing the horse to halter himself by placing his nose in the halter (don't forget flexion), then, before grooming, show your horse each tool, let him sniff, bite, lick, or do whatever he wants to it, then use approach and retreat to groom. Pay attention to your horse's reaction, are there tricky areas? This awareness and polite behavior on your part will endear your horse to you. grooming should be about friendly and love, not just a simple task (or job).