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, 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!