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

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!