About Me

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

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

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.

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