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

Monday, May 30, 2011

Patterns, Horsenalities, Humanalities, and a Plan

Thanks to a wonderful discussion with Parelli Professional Geneviève Benoit, I have a plan to move ahead. I spoke with her about my recent play sessions with the horses. It is not to say that I am not having fun, I have been playing and making progress to some extent but, if I am going to push through some of my own thresholds and get a bit more serious about my assessment, I need a plan and a push. She suggested that I revisit and go through the patterns with the horses. This will give us some needed structure and a plan. I love the idea and actually had been thinking about doing it recently. Having a Parelli Pro tell me to do something I'd already been thinking about is a great way to remind me that I am on the right track and can move forward.

Another thought is about the rain and it making me feel like I've been stuck (much like the winter weather). Well. sitting in pouring rain yesterday for half of the Parelli event, watching people play and ride despite it, made me feel guilty for using it as an excuse. Well. no more, rain of shine, I am going to play!

Just a brief Lola update. We've been playing online and working through emotional thresholds. She seems to get very emotional and defiant when I ask her to play circling game or do the figure eight pattern around something like the barrels. I almost believe at some point in her life, these tasks were done with some kind of undue pressure but I have no way to know and frankly it is irrelevant. In any event, I've been careful to remain in neutral, allow her to have her meltdown and then ask again for the task in a calm but clear manner. This tactic has worked very well and we are making huge leaps of progress. She has been able to work through her issues and I have been able to help her do so without taking her outbursts personally...progress on both our parts! :)

This brings me to the horsenality/humanality part. I have reports for all three horses and myself. Well, this all makes for very interesting reading. I am pleased to report that what I thought to be true is and now, I have even more information to assist me in partnering with my horses! If you have not purchases these reports, what are you waiting for? More to come on this in future posts!

So, in brief the plan is to read the horsenality and humanility reports again, review the patterns, and play!!! I will use these resources, checklists, and gear up for level 3 assessment, this summer (or by fall at the latest). I am also going to try to fit in more Parelli events, even if just to audit. Well, that is the plan and I am sticking to it! :)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Parelli Demo and Games!

Today, I attended a Parelli Demo and Games Foundation Fundraiser at Friendly Acres in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The event took a little effort to get to, 2 hours travel and a border crossing but, it was well worth it. The fundraiser was well attended (about 100 auditors and 20 participants) and hosted by 7 Parelli Professionals, Geneviève Benoit, Kari Bowser, Sandy Ruiter, Fawn Anderson, Ron Pyne, Judy Griffiths, and Jeanette Schevers.

I truly enjoyed this opportunity...savvy and support shown by all, no predators, just partners. It was a great opportunity to talk with other like minded horse people and professionals, to get ideas and motivation to go home and play horsey! Not your typical horse event. I stopped attending shows, trail rides, and other venues with horse people because of the lack of compassion and savvy, and because people cared more about ribbons and racing down the trail to beat others to the end than about their horses. I put principles before goals and so did the people at this event. It reminded me once again why I practice PNH and why I am a SCG member. When I got home, my horses all galloped up to me from the playground when they saw me in the driveway (I didn't even have a chance to call them), leaving their green grass behind, they wanted to say hello, get a scratch, and check in...oh what a great feeling that is, to have horses that are partners.

By the way, this is the first of many events of this type planned for Canada. If you are on the fence, consider attending the next one, you won't be sorry!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Weekly Task Challenge: Mounting 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!)

When you mount your horse, do you ask for permission...you should! Remember, you are a predator asking a prey animal to allow you to sit on him! So, this week, work on asking for permission to mount (and dismount), be connected with your partner, you'll see that this task will help your relationship improve! (If you already do this, encourage your horse friends to do the same).

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Weekly Task Challenge: Backing in Zone 5

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!)

You horse will back for you but what about when you are in zone 5? This week's challenge is to play in zone 5 and get your horse to back by the slightest suggestion of touching the tail hair or even at liberty! This is a zone that your horse must ultimately trust you in for this to work. And, remember, be safe and savvy (you don't want to be kicked). Go on, you can do it, can't you?

Check out http://www.parelli.com for educational information.

When someone reaches out...

When someone reaches out to another person, the consequence is something amazing, at least this is my experience. If you read my blog, I've had the ups and downs in life just like the rest of you. I just choose to share it all in hopes to help others.

Last night, one of my readers (a friend thanks to Facebook) reached out to me because of my post on my weight loss journey road bump. She understands how I am feeling and felt compelled o reach out. The fact that she took the time to connect, to offer to come to my place and spend time together, the fact that she cared about me means more that I can ever express. Her trip to my place will consist of a two hour car ride and a border crossing yet, she is not deterred. She is the kind of human being we all should strive to be, kind, caring, beautiful, and one in a million. I look forward to getting together. We plan to exercise, talk, watch Parelli videos, and of course play with horses. :) I've had others reach out to me as well but this was particularily timely for me and being a fellow Parelli horse lover was the icing on the cake!

If you ever have the chance to reach out to someone, don't hesitate. Any connection you make with another human being is well worth it. Sometimes the smallest gesture means all the difference in the world.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Parelli Colt Starting Naturally - WOW

So I've been watching the web cast of the Parelli Colt Starting Naturally Event that took place last weekend. Not only am I pleased to be able to enjoy this event, but the affordability couldn't be beat! For $29.95, I have been able to learn so much and never leave the comfort of my living room. I hooked my laptop to to surround sound stereo system and 52" flat screen TV and am enjoying the show! I will continue to watch the segments throughout the week.

If you haven't watched this yet, it is a must see. An awesome display of putting the relationship and the horse first. I am truly enjoying seeing Pat Parelli teaching students rather than just showing off his own skills. His horsemanship truly shines in this program. His kindness and knowledge are demonstrated and I can only image how helpful that is to his students and the horses they are working with. Everyone is doing well, learning a lot, and being respectful. No rules, no time limits, it is not a contest, just a place to learn, grown, and develop young horses. Thank you Pat!

If you were wondering, I've started a few horses in my day and certainly restarted many. I know from watching that I've been on the right track but need to really progress further in a more diligent manner (no more hesitation to move forward)....I am truly learning a great deal.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Keeping it Real...My journey hit a speed bump

We falter and we fall, but we do not have to fail. We bounce back and resume our journey with renewed energy. That is the power of resilience.
—Edward Grinnan, author of The Promise of Hope
I truly need to believe the quote above because at the moment, I am fighting the feeling that I am a complete failure. Logically I know this is untrue but emotionally can be an entirely different story. My weight has crept up over the last 6 weeks to no one's fault but my own (well maybe Hershey's for making Reese's Peanut Butter Cups so delicious and addictive). I've allowed work-related stress be my excuse and have been making unwise choices. It is amazing how fast I can regain weight when I eat foods that are truly toxic and allergenic, when I over eat sugar and salt, and when I don't exercise (enough--I have to workout like a lunatic to keep things in check). Okay so all that said and out of the way, I am still smiling and moving forward, I have a great attitude, I really do....I will be thin, healthy, happy, and at goal this year, "come hell or high water", "Lord willing and the creek don't rise", and any other way you say it, I am doing it!....but the creeks are rising here really bad lately--another story all together.

Despite sliding backwards on my journey to better health and fitness (darn it), I am being honest and accountable, I am not giving up, and I am moving ahead. This is simply a speed bump. I've decided to continue my WW journey but online only for the summer (rather than meetings 20 miles away). I need horse time and with the weather we are having, I need all the time Ican get and want my Saturdays back. (Can you say commuting in a canoe is a possibility these days---RAIN!) Zumba classes are over at the University, the class at my gym got cancelled, and I won't be attending the Saturday class in order to save Saturdays for horse time. That said, I have plenty to do regarding activity (horses, go to the gym, exercise videos and Zumba at home, running and walking with the dogs, and so much more). I am resuming my journey with renewed energy, energy that my beloved husband, my horses horses, that my dogs and cat give me, an energy to know I am worth it and that I can move forward and find success, reaching my goal, by the end of the year.
For those of you on a similar journey, never give up, it takes a long time, dedication, a few falls, but, in the end, you'll be better for it. I'll keep posting here, keeping it real and honest...I hope that this sharing helps someone else other there because I totally understand how difficult it can be. (Most of us would pay millions for a do-over, lol.)
Just so I don't forget, these are the targets I did reach (even if I am not at all of them at the moment). Targets Reached: Journey Started 1/9/10; 5% Target 2/6/10; 10% Target 3/27/10; 15% Target 5/15/10; 20% Target 7/24/10, Onderland 12/11/10, 25% Target 12/18/10.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Weekly Task Challenge: First Aid for Horses

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!)

Have you ever gone out to the barn and found your horse injured? Well, of course. What about on Sunday and the veterinarian is no where to be found? This week's challenge it to study first aid for you horse. This is not to be a replacement for proper medical attention but, you need to be able to give triage until your veterinarian can help you.




Horses Teach People---If you are willing to listen

It is easy to just push a horse through thresholds, get frustrated, and become a predator to accomplish your goals. It is something altogether different to become a partner, listen, and work together to achieve success--as in putting principles before goals. I strive for the latter but am guilty of the former from time to time (as are most people). I am proud to say that falling into the predator trap is a thing of the past.

The weather has finally become agreeable and now I am able to get outside and enjoy the horses. The other day, I rode each of my horses and experiences different responses to the same activity (bareback riding with a natural hackamore, at the walk, exploring).

Lola did well until I asked her to actually do things for example, walking over a log. She was willing to side pass to the mounting block (or tree stump--that is what it is), walk between tires, walk from here to there, around barrels, but, walking over a log became an issue. I would ask her to walk over it and she would have a temper tantrum. Ringing her head, moving her body in a contorted manner to oppose the request, and even offered a potential buck. After riding her and working on other obstacles,I attempted the log again, a few times, but no success (keep in mind, we've ridden over this log before with great success). I decided to think to myself that this was interesting and dismounted, working on the issue on the ground and reconnecting with her. She initially balked but did walk over the log before the session ended, and without another tantrum. I believe that she truly was interested in walking and eating some grass (I do allow this) but if I wanted to be the leader and guide her, she would question it, not with everything but with some tasks...this is nothing new. LOL

The day before yesterday, I set up the playground with all of the obstacles and decided it was time to play Parelli patterns on the 22' line with Lola. Initially I played the seven games, just the basics to get a foundation, all went well. I then asked her to do a figure-8 around barrels and she had a temper tantrum. She was squealing, balking, and wanted to drag me away. Rather than get frustrated, I stood in a power position as to not get knocked over or dragged, I waited for her to stop, and when she did, I lifted the rope, pointed, and waited. She tried and was successful. We played with this pattern and the barrels and she was fine. It was like a leadership challenge in my mind. We then played touch it, slalom, and other patterns all over the play ground and it was fun. I did ask for a circle at one point and although she started to show signs of another tantrum, it was nothing like before. There was a point where she could not look at me and so, I waited and allowed her time to collect herself and be successful. Overall, I believe it was a fun and a good experience for both of us. Lola teaches me to not be frustrated, to pause, to say "how interesting" and to remember that leadership is not about power but empowering and partnering.

Fosse and I rode out in the big field, same equipment as Lola (just a natural hackamore). We've never done this before and he was fabulous (a wonderful horse he is). We walked around the field on the rail, across it, and in and out of a sand pit. We encountered a deer (it was in the woods near us), birds, and other little critters scooting around and he didn't spook at all. Whiskey and Lola would gallop up to us, trying to initiate play time, ran around us, and then would disappear. Fosse was a perfect partner never offering to spook, doing exactly what was asked of him, and it was fabulous...I love this horse. Fosse teaches me that trust and time truly make a great partnership.

When Fosse and I got back, Whiskey seemed to be standing around despite Fosse and Lola meandering away. I took it as a signal to him wanting to also have a chance to go for a ride. I mounted him bareback after placing the natural hackmore on him. It took some encouragement at first to get him to move out to the field which included me sending Fosse and Lola out there (I was on Whiskey, signaling the other two to move out--they happily did). I walked Whiskey out to the field and we walked on the rail and in across the field. Everything was going well and I thought to myself, wow, my trail horse is present today (you all know Whiskey has multiple horsenalities, right?LOL). In any event, I asked him to walk at the end of the sand pit but around that time, I felt him get very alert. I know this horse and can sense when something is up, I immediately took up mane and rein in my right hand, put myself in the passenger position, and had my left hand ready to do a one-rein emergency stop. Good thing too because he spooked at some deer out in the woods. Whiskey lurched and jumped forward out of the sandpit onto the field and I proceeded to spin him into about 5 strong, fast, tight, circles. The request to flex and circle for me was automatic and not a harsh, scary request. It was a light, phase 1 response on my part and he responded. Whiskey teaches me that things are not always what them seem, that I need to trust my instincts, and that I need to be patient with him, allowing him time to process. Doing all of this allows him to trust me despite him being right-brained.

My closing thought is to always take each moment as it comes, that these moments are all learning opportunities, and that horses teaching humans, to me, is almost more important than humans teaching horses.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Life Is Short--Wear Your Party Breeches!

Okay, so the title of this post is a shameless play on a book titled, "Life is Short-Wear Your Party Pants," by Loretta LaRoche. However, it was also the inspiration of this post so I decided it was fair game. *grins*

A colleague of mine, a fabulous librarian and wonderfully caring human being, passed along this book to me. As I've written before, I am always working towards never ending self-improvement, that I am consistently working on communication and leadership skills, and that this all transcends into my personal and professional lives. I have a huge stack of books and articles to read on a variety of subjects, many passed along by friends and colleagues, many found in other readings, but my personality was really drawn to this book despite it not being first in the pile. I guess the quirky idea of party pants was the magnet (or perhaps the cute illustrations, LOL.It is a book about bringing happiness to your life, about remembering what is truly important, and that embracing stress rather than dwelling on it may actually bring you joy and freedom (among other things--read the book!). I've only just started reading it and already, found myself compelled to share, I want everyone to read this book, it is truly amazing, simplistic, yet powerful and for me, oh so timely.

As luck would have it, a fellow Parelli enthusiast, Shannon, e-mailed me today about her blog, Seeking Savvy. The reason you ask, well because I inspired her to join Weight Watchers and work on her physical fitness, and she posted my name and blog URL on her blog (OMG-how flattering is that?!). What struck me after feeling excited about my name in print somewhere other than on my own online venues was that she listed her goals, short and long term, very concise, very achievable.

I have had many people tell me how inspired they felt from my stories and ramblings, from seeing me and working with me in person, how my life's journey (or journeys) have inspired them to make significant changes in their lives. Changes related to horsemanship, health and wellness, personal growth and leadership (to mention a few).

So what do the book, the blog, and the comments have in common? Why am I bringing them up? I guess the reason is that I've been struggling with my journey to better health for about a month. I've allowed work stress to affect my life, my eating and exercise habits have suffered, and I have been feeling very guilty and down about it (particularly because I've experiences a few false starts when trying to get back at it 100%).

I was on a total high, doing great, screaming through March like lightening, hit my all time weight loss low, heading towards my 30% loss, and then April hit, things got crazy, and I let my emotions take over my brain (and Reese's became a staple---not good people)! I am not sure why this obstacle rears its ugly head for me, why I cannot seem to just stay the course all of the time. I do take full responsibility for my actions but I must say, it is beyond frustrating (and embarrassing really).

Remembering I am human is truly difficult, especially because I tend to lean into being a perfectionist (a dangerous place to be--I've written about this before). So here I sit, writing about struggling, revealing my secrets, and thankfully, my close friends and husband remind me that despite my recent difficulties, I still have a great deal to be proud of, and that I still have made huge strides in the journey to better health despite this set-back. The problem is, when I am struggling in this area of my life, I start dwelling on those other things I have not accomplished in my life (yet). I start believing ridiculous falsehoods that I am unsuccessful and never will be. Very contrary to reality of course, but my mind just loves to mess with me! I am successful in so many aspects of my life, I am thankful, really I am (successful career, marriage, great home/farm, wonderful critters, and success with horses in PNH, etc.) and frankly, should be grateful, all of the time and shouldn't dwell in the pity party zone.

So, the book is great and helping me understand how to deal with stress in a better manner, that often times what you see is not what you always get (or what reality is), and that life is too short to sweat the small stuff. The blog post reminded me that goal setting works and particularly for me, this task keeps me focused, and finally, actually listening (and believing) what people tell me, means a great deal and that I need to remember and realize what reality is. I love reminders, I know all of these things but right now, reminders are vital--thank you all!

I suppose this post is nothing more than that of mindless ramblings or perhaps a way for me to simply rationalize and move forward. (My apologies for sure.) I do plan to get to my weight loss goal by the end of the year, I do need to manage my emotions and remember that reality is not always what it seems, that I have control over how I react and behave in all situations, and that I cannot compel others to do what I want...all of the time, LOL. I do know that I can reach my horse goals this year as well, but that I must accept the limitations that the weather and my schedule impose (it's called life). And, finally, I affirm that I have a great life, that I am happy, and that I am worth the effort. :)

Keep it natural friends, be savvy, love yourself, love your horses (and other furry and feathered critters), love your friends, love your family, and remember, life is too short, wear your party breeches! BIG HUGS PEOPLE!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Weekly Task Challenge: Trailer Safety Check 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!)

This week's challenge is all about getting your trailer ready! Can you believe it is May already? Time to get to horsey play dates, shows, trail rides, or whatever your pleasure is.

Recently, I removed everything from my trailer, assessed the floor boards, mats, any rust, and just did a basic spring cleaning. I plan to take it to a body shop for an estimate and in the least, when the weather breaks, give is a nice bath, buffing, and wax job. In addition, I need to evaluate my first-aid kit, put the tack back in it that I believe belongs, emergency road kit, get paperwork in order (registration and inspection), and so much more! Tires, did anyone say tires? Be sure to check yours for cracks, trad wear, and of course, proper inflation (don't forget the spare). Hauling a horse is a great responsibility not to be taken lightly.

I challenge you this week to do much of what I've done and certainly share more tips and ideas here in the comments section!

Monday, May 02, 2011

You know you love Parelli when...

Your darling husband hangs a Parelli Banner/Flag in the house...I love living in a log home...too fun! (Special thanks to Rick who got up on a 28 foot extension ladder to not only vacuum the ceiling, rafters, and ceiling fan but, to hang the flag!! Love you honey! oxox

On an update note, April was a crazy, off-kilter month. Work was nutsy and my eating/exercise habits totally suffered. I am still trying to get totally back on track but find myself struggling a bit. If only the weather would cooperate--I feel much better with some sunshine and outside time playing horsey!

The horses themselves are doing great. I've had a few impromptu rides on them and they are all acting like the wonderful partners that they are! I am rally looking forward to the summer! I still have high hopes for a clinic but reality tells me it probably wont happen, again. So, I guess video assessment will have to be the agenda...yeah, still need to tape level 3 and 4. *Sigh*