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, January 25, 2012

The Universe and Asking the Right Questions

I have been getting some good doses of reality this week on my ability to build an indoor arena. I have been talking about this forever and with the winter weather here, it always builds momentum. It is very icy here, very icy. Lola and Whiskey don't even want to leave the barn this morning and according to Rick, Fosse was almost on his butt trying to get back to the barn when he was feeding. We have been using Sure-Foot and manure to help with the pathways outside but, everything is ice, ice, ice. So, riding at my place or even play time....yeah right, not happening! Well, we do mini-play time in the barn where they run in but, that is a space of 20'x24' (or so). Each time I engage with my horses, I use my natural horsemanship skills of course but, darn it, I want to run, play, and ride!

The biggest barrier is funds. These buildings are very costly, period. Materials and labor makes the project completely unattainable at this time. I have been looking at all kinds of buildings, fabric structures, wood, metal, Quonset, etc. I have even thought about a small structure but for the money, the space is just too small and not worth the investment. Many kinds of structures and designs won't work with our snow load while others are just too much for me to justify the expense. We are not a horse business nor do we want to be. Nothing is simple nor affordable. GRRR.

My other quest, if you recall, was looking at new horse trailers with living quarters. Well, those too, very costly, well above what I can spend and justify to spend. We've decided to stick with our current trailer (with the idea to maybe upgrade our bumper pull someday) and get a camper for our truck (someday) - I'd like a new truck but alas, that is not happening either. Anyhow, with a truck camper (with a slide-out), we can have the living quarters option whether we are pulling the horse trailer or our boat, or nothing at all. Which would make our set-up more versatile.

It may seem like my pie-in-the-sky dreams about our horse farm are all a bust. I suppose they are...I've always been guilty of wander lust and having a champagne taste with a beer budget. However, this just makes me think, okay, what can I do and how can I make things a bit nicer. We have a great deal to be grateful for and I cannot forget that. We have a nice place, much more than most. I have healthy, happy horses. What I don't have is the dreamy equestrian center that millionaires have and in reality, I never will. I have to come to terms with this sooner rather than later. :)

I have some strong (sometimes perceived as strange) ideas. I believe that we send energy to the Universe and that our attitudes, thoughts, and actions directly affect our lives. If you ask the Universe for it, be clear on what you want and if you aren't, don't be surprised at what you get. I believe if we are negative, we get to back, and sometimes 10-fold. So, I guess what I am saying (to myself as much as to you and anyone reading this), be positive, strive for betterment, and reflect on why you feel not so happy, not so awake, or whatever else is bothersome and fix it. I believe that we make our own destiny and that we shape our lives, we are responsible for who we are, and what we get out of it. Life is too short to sell ourselves and our lives short. We all will have bumps in the road, I am not Polly-Anna about it, but we are responsible to stop our negative actions and feelings in their tracks.

I am not negative about my obstacles but I trying really hard to now be more realistic. (Not always an easy task.) A proactive thought will be to put in a nicer outdoor arena (much like I had in Virginia), something a bit more official than what I have now, and get my permanent round pen (a plan I have had for the last two years). I think these two things will make me feel happier about my already nice farm. Perhaps we can find a way to make the arena usable on winter days as well---not sure how but it seems that research on an all-weather arena is in order!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


This is going to be my new, horsemanship journey theme song...WOW, I love it. I've always been a U2 fan but add Mary J, Blige and you've got one heck of a duo! Take time to listen and watch this video, it is worth it...turn it up people! (My first U2 concert was in Florida, I believe it was in the mid to late 80's, and my parents were nice enough to let me go there with a distant cousin (all the way from NY). If I recall, I rode a bus to Syracuse from Canandaigua, then we flew (my first flight) to Florida. It was awesome, we were there a week, I still have the photos. Thanks mom and dad.)

If you've ever seen Pat and Linda Parelli play with their horses in videos or if luck would have it, in person, songs just make the interactions even better. They instill feelings and emotions, they make people reflect, and are simply amazing and enjoyable. Can me sappy but, oftne. songs mixed with experiences make me bry for joy, for pain, and probably for no good reason! I try to be very close with the Universe (at least my little piece of it) and as I age, my emotions and feelings seem way more intense - maybe it's just good old fashioned hormones, lol. What ever it is, music has always been part of my life (my family is full of musicians) and therefore, I appreciate it, all kinds.

Next time you go play with your horse, take your iPod! (I need to get one...next on the list. I could use my cell phone but then, I'd be interrupted as usual.)

“Music washes away from the soul, the dust of everyday life.” –B. Auerbach

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My Journey to Better Health and Horsemanship

Image captured from a Facebook post.

Good afternoon everyone. I've been busy working away today and almost forgot to have my lunch. I've reheated my Arbonne Detox Tea so many times, I cannot remember how many now...in fact, here goes nothing (turning the microwave on, again). By the time I realized how hungry I had gotten, I was at a tipping point of almost starving. Thankfully, I had my lunch all ready and available in my office. (I am thoroughly enjoying an Arbonne Vanilla Protein Shake with raspberries, unsweetened almond milk, and coconut, YUM.)

Being prepared is so important on a journey to better health, for me anyway. I am too busy to think through my own personal WW journey decisions sometimes (because I am too busy making many other decisions that seem more important) and so, having made choices and having prepared a plan ahead of time helps me when I am running a million miles a minute. I menu plan, such a saving grace (I know, I've told you this already), I write it before I bite it (again, nothing new), I stock my home and office with healthy choices (yes, both locations need the same care taken to be prepared), and I usually stick to my plan (yes, usually I am fallible as we all are). It is much easier to follow-through (and pass the test) when you've done your homework in advance, don't you think?

It seems to me that in my horsemanship journey, I've lost the planning, the forethought, and thus things are stalled (sort of). I can make a million excuses but facts are facts. Much like a journey to better health, a horsemanship journey is a life-long investment, WOW, today's epiphany. I did reorganize my home library over the winter break and particularly the horse section---it needed work--and I have a lot of catching up to do! It is amazing to me how I've gotten so behind in my studies. I have been seeing the horses on a regular basis and doing small things (Lola is acting great by the way). But the weather up here is such a factor unlike when I lived in the milder climate in Virginia. There, I was out with the horses for hours everyday, year-round. Here, not even close! I have no regrets for moving but probably better decide if I am staying for the long haul and if so, suck it up and build my darned indoor arena! (Any suggestions on the smallest I could get away with? Remember, it is just me and mine, no boarders, no horse business.)

I hope you all have a lovely afternoon and evening. Rick and I will be watching Star Wars movies tonight and dining (before 7pm - my new rule) on beautiful garden salads topped with warm, grilled chicken breast and drinking San Pelligrino with freshly squeezed lemon. Doesn't that sound lovely? My other trick/tip to staying on track and healthy - make your food look, taste, and sound beautiful, it is worth the effort. I use fancy measuring devices, pretty plates, I present my food like they would on TV with proper plating technique - usually. Dining should be an experience to be enjoyed (rather than gulping down our food in a few fast minutes). Sit at the table, enjoy your company (or your solitude), experience the meal, savor the flavors, colors, smells.

So if dining should be an experience? So should our engagements with our horses. Take a little time to wear your favorite Parelli shirt or hat to the barn (or whatever makes you feel happy and special), groom your horse (slowly and with meaning, not just a rush to get the dirt off job), enjoy the sites, smells, and sounds of the barn even before you play. And, when you do engage with your horse to play or ride (although I believe riding is also playtime), try to look deeper into what is going on and enjoy the experience in its entirety, reflect and respond, don't just react. Life is simply too short not to love our horses and everything connected with them!

Do any of you have any thoughts or insights about planning and preparation? What do you do? What works, what doesn't? (I'm asking with regards to healthy living and horses!) Remember, this blog is where I talk about horsemanship, healthier living, and just about anything else that passes through my mind.! LOL :)

Below is a quote I naturally identify with on my natural horsemanship journey but, I think it is appropriate in just about any instance. It helps keep my universe in balance, reduces stress and the risks of feeling guilt, and a way to remember that this is not an all or nothing proposition. (Thanks, Pat.)

"Never say never, don't always say always; usually say usually." ... --Pat Parelli

Interview with Cathy Sirett, a Confidence Coach for Horses and Humans at Effective Horsemanship

As a fellow Parelli person and Facebook friend, I connected with Cathy and wanted to share with you all, information about her and an interview she did with Horsemanship Magazine. As you recall, I've written all kinds of things about confidence and this is another great addition to the blog, thanks Cathy! Enjoy folks and be sure to connect with her if you have any questions!

Hi Cathy, first of all congratulations – I understand Horsemanship Magazine is publishing a series of your articles this year, called “Self Coaching for Confidence”?

Yes, it is very exciting -- I was planning a big confidence text book, but then I realised through the coaching I do every day that a few straightforward exercises are just as effective as a whole book – and a lot easier to work through.

This series contains the 5 key exercises for you to work through and apply. When you do these exercises, and practice applying them in your life, you develop your ability to create and build your own confidence. So you literally become your OWN confidence coach.
The first issue is out Feb 2012!

Do you really believe people can do that? Be their own confidence coaches? Surely it’s more complicated than that?

Yes I do! And I believe that because of the success of many of the people I have worked with: people are now hacking out alone, in company – going to advanced riding clinics – all the things they didn’t have the confidence to do before they learned the tools to help themselves.

It can get complicated – but really one thing to know about feeling unconfident is it is just our brain’s way of trying to keep us safe; it’s the way your unconscious mind has of telling you “Don’t do this!” or “you’re not safe doing this!”.

This is a very useful mechanism to have. When you sprain an ankle, your brain quickly realises that relying on that foot is not sensible, and makes sure you don’t put weight on it while it is healing up.

Sometimes, however, this wonderful survival mechanism gets in the way. I remember I sprained my ankle and discovered over a YEAR later that I was still favouring my other leg and not putting my full weight on the “injured” one! My brain had developed a habit of protecting my sprained leg, and I had never corrected it. If we can learn how to get our conscious and unconscious minds working TOGETHER to keep us safe – then we can make huge steps with our confidence – and that is what this series of exercises is about.

What led you to become a confidence coach?

The main reason I became a confidence coach was because I’ve been there: there have been many times in my life when I desperately wanted to ride, but was too scared to even touch a horse. I realised that all the lessons in the world weren’t helping me and what I needed were ways to rebuild my OWN confidence. This was the start of my journey – which has led to me now helping others become their own confidence coaches.

What’s your own favourite confidence story?

I used to be scared of riding in wide open spaces. So I used a good friend of mine as a confidence booster and together we went and played on a large open area. It was great fun and by the end of the day I was feeling very confident. I left my horse at her house and came back the next day when she was out and ride out by myself.

The next morning I got up, and couldn’t find the clothes I wanted – but I wasn’t at all nervous. I couldn’t find the car keys – had trouble getting them in the ignition, but I wasn’t at all nervous (do you see where this is going?). When I tacked up my horse it was funny how all the buckles were really stiff and wouldn’t do up properly. But even now I was sure I wasn’t nervous. I led my horse out onto the wide open space and my legs GAVE WAY under me and I collapsed in a heap on the ground.

This was a great example of how when we don’t listen to our unconscious, it has to shout really loud to keep us safe! This event actually led directly to the development of one of the exercises in this series!

What has your greatest success as a coach been?

Every person I coach who grows in confidence is a success but two in particular stand out. One is someone who had decided to give up riding – she is now riding endurance with the same horse she had then! The other is someone who came to me because she felt she and her horse weren’t connecting and is now running her own horse therapy centre – again with that same horse as her partner.

So how do you usually work with people?

It varies, as each person and each horse is so different, but there are five main stages most people go through:

Stage 1: an initial meeting where we explore the principles of confidence, learn how to measure and manage it – and make a plan for rebuilding confidence. This session is usually two hours long and at the end the person had their own plan for moving forward, which in itself increases confidence.

Stage 2: one to one or small group confidence coaching sessions to focus on specific issues that will build confidence effectively – this stage can be as short as one session, or it can be over a longer period, depending on the situation.

Stage 3: a week long intensive hacking with confidence course: most people who approach me want to be able to hack out by themselves or in company without fear – this intensive course allows them to put into practice what they have built up during the one to one sessions.

Stage 4: self managed practice: people usually then take some time to practice by themselves, with phone and email support from me if needed to make sure that everything they have learned works at home and without me – after all, that is my job, to out myself out of work! Some people have some top up coaching – others go on to just enjoy themselves with their new ability to sustain and manage their own confidence.
Some go on to the next stage:

Stage 5: Confidence on the beach: for some of us, riding our horses on a beach is our biggest dream, but it can be a scary thing to do – so this is the ultimate confidence course: a small group of like minded people having fun and playing confidently on the beach – after this, anything is possible!

Sounds great – Are you always confident now?

What a great question – the answer is no – but, and it’s a big but – I know how to listen to that unconfident voice and can always come up with way to BECOME confident – that’s what’s so great about the self coaching approach!

So how can people contact you?

Well I am based in Milton Keynes, but travel all over the country working with individuals and groups in different areas.

If you want to know more about me then take a look at my website, http://www.EffectiveHorsemanship.com and there are a lot of articles on confidence on my facebook page (in the notes section) http://www.facebook.com/pages/Effective-Horsemanship/347680369829 You can also email me on cathy@effectivehorsemanship.com if you have ANY questions about confidence or just want to share your confidence story with me.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Pat Parelli's Dog is Missing in Sarasota, Florida

This was posted on Pat Parelli's Facebook Fan Page:
"Hey Everyone, Last night I lost my dog Sheila at the NRCHA Show at the Triple J Ranch in Sarasota (861 Sinclair Dr.) If anyone has seen her or hears anything please contact us here or on Parelli Connect! She is a 10 month old Mcnab and is wearing a collar with a brass snap on it."

Monday, January 02, 2012

Honesty and Reaching Out in Horsemanship

So, my blog is written from the vantage point of complete and utter openness and honesty. This puts me in danger of being judged but, I hope that my posts help others otherwise it just wouldn't be worth it. It is very difficult for me to reconcile challenges and failures in my life (my perfectionism makes these things hard) but, today I reached out to Parelli for help (which means I am really needing input). I decided to post here too to get feedback too. I am really upset, feel sad, guilt, anger, and much more. In my emotional state, I fear being judged as a bad person and bad horse person (even though my logicial brain says otherwise). Below is the scenario and questions I posed to Parelli today. I'll be sure to follow-up with their response. I'd love to hear what you all have to say as well. Please be honest.

Dear Pat, Linda, and/or Parelli Pros,

I am writing in ask a question about a horse that bites. She has only bitten during feeding time (maybe once while I was mounted she tried to bite my foot) but it can be quite a nasty bite during the feeding incidents. She also makes ugly faces as you pass by her when she is eating and she is defensive about food towards other horses (but not all of the time). The time I'd say it is worse is if I give them food in their buckets. I don't typically feed grain but will give alfalfa pellets and stuff like that so to her, it may as well be grain. When I first got her (two years ago), she used to also kick during feeding time. Initially, I haltered her during feeding time and every time she would make an ugly face, kick or act nasty, I'd back her, pause, then ask her forward again and allowed to eat. I repeated this exercise many times and eventually stopped as she seemed much better. She no longer kicked, bit, nor did she make an ugly face all of the time.

She is back to biting and I mean she will reach out and grab you (particularly if you have things in your hands/arms). I can walk with grain in my hands and she will follow me and not be nasty (this is when I am walking through with chicken feed). I've been bitten twice in the last several months and it hurt quite badly when I am either feeding her or getting ready to. Although I know I am not to take it personally, it is hard to as I am trying to connect with her and we seem to on many levels but there is still this disrespect thing going on. She has however, accepted my leadership in other areas (usually) but I have to say that this is a constant challenge balancing our leadership where I am on top. She can be a challenge and I like that. The horse I refer to is Lola and you have her horsenality report on file.

I've unfortunately found myself chasing her out of the barn when this happens (our set-up is that the horses can come and go as they please from the rear section of the barn), I've found myself throwing the buckets at her (that were in my arms when she nailed me), and even whacking her on the butt with the carrot stick in retaliation. I know this must be terribly wrong and an emotional response on my part and it makes me very upset and I because I am trying really hard to totally connect with this mare, I love my horses, but it seems to me, a partner wouldn't bite you like this. Just yesterday we had a lovely session and I trimmed her feet with no issues (in the past, she'd be a total jerk). I've looked into her history and all accounts show that her previous owner was a real carrot person and I can see where she'd perhaps be able to walk all over her. I was told by a Parelli instructor and other endorsed person that she was glad to hear I had this mare and that I'd do well with her and for her, that we should be a good match. But right now, I feel like I am failing somehow and that my response is not the sign of a good horsewoman, and I need your help, please. Would you have any other suggestions? Should I just go back to the exercises? Am I missing something?

Before hitting publish this post , I remembered writing a post over the summer, her is that link http://naturalhorselover.blogspot.com/2011/07/my-horse-bit-menow-what-to-do.html, I have reread my thoughts, I guess I should have done that sooner! Ah, the joy of horses.... :)

Just a follow-up. I went to feed tonight. My mare Lola was a perfect, respectful angel, no ugly faces, light responses when asked to move her feet, she wanted to be with me, all was really good. I guess I did something right.

Another update, today (1/3/12), Lola was really sweet during feeding time with Rick this morning and was excellent with me this evening. I think that when time permits, I will be sure to continue to work with her with an open mind, and enjoy what comes of things. I'll also be more careful to watch her cues and not be in the reach of a bite should that be the case (hopefully not of course). BTW, nothing from Parelli yet, no surprise, they probably are really busy after the holidays.

Update: (1/6/12) Parelli got back to me and sent me two articles, one on biting and the other on blocks. I've read it and this was information I already had. Throughout this post and the comments, we pretty much covered things. (Lola and I have been doing very well.)

Update: (5/3/12) Parelli posted this article on biting, "Horse Biting Problems -a Horse Training Article by Pat Parelli."  I thought I'd share it here should you want to read it.