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

Friday, November 30, 2012

WE NEED YOUR VOTE TODAY - PLEASE!



PLEASE VOTE FOR US!!! 

We are trying to win technology resources to support our classroom/library teaching space at Natural Horse Lover Farm http://naturalhorseloverfarm.com

Our wish is to receive funding to purchase technology to enhance the teaching/lecture portion of our horse business. We are developing a classroom/library learning setting and need technological infrastructure for viewing of training materials, lectures, sound system, and more. Our farm is one that encourages natural horsemanship education and practices that can be applied to all disciplines. We pride ourselves on being able to offer a safe, learning/sharing environment.

Here is the link to vote http://on.fb.me/TuPCgA to vote for us. 

There are only two days left, you can vote everyday. They are granting 15 wishes. We have 35 votes right now but popular ones are up to 100+. I just learned about the contest so, am far behind. Thanks in advance for considering - tell your friends!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Savvy Challenge: It's not just about grooming...


I had a lovely grooming session on Thanksgiving with my horses.  Not only did I have a great time being with them, they seemed to love it and looked fantastic afterwards. I even was fortunate enough to have one of our guests join me - and she told me the activity just made her day! It was a nice way to spend a little time on the holiday knowing that I didn't have the entire day for horse time. I primarily groomed Fosse who was a bit aloof at first and she groomed Whiskey and Lola who couldn't get enough of the attention and were laying their heads on one another in pure bliss. I had to play a little approach and retreat with him among other things and I thought, what a great task challenge!  Yes, I could have just caught him, tied him, and got the job done but what fun would that have been?  None in my opinion.

When you groom your horse, what do you do, really, think about it. Do you ask permission first? Do you ask permission to enter the horse's space, to halter (if you do), and to touch them with all of those grooming tools? (I do and for this session in particular, it was just what Fosse needed.) Often times, people grab their grooming tools, halter the horse, and go get the job done - a very direct-line approach and not all too savvy.The job gets done but there is something missing when your partner may not have had a choice or may not be into it. Can you imagine someone trying to rub all over you when you weren't into it? ---yuck! I've seem Linda Parelli use scratches and savvy with Remmer when he wasn't into being with her and his mind was easily swayed with some passive politeness. Grooming could just be that, but, it is also friendly game and can lead into a great online session that can lead into a great riding session too....really, all of this stuff translates if you just think about it and take the time. You can even groom while playing online puzzles not to mention from horseback!  Be creative people!

This week's task is to groom the savvy way! The rules of the game are to ask your horse's permission to approach (whether in a stall or outside), halter politely and with savvy allowing the horse to halter himself by placing his nose in the halter (don't forget flexion), then, before grooming, show your horse each tool, let him sniff, bite, lick, or do whatever he wants to it, then use approach and retreat to groom. Remember to put your heart in your hand and then touch your horse. (Haltering is optional.  I don't typically halter for grooming but, haltering the savvy way is certainly another fantastic dimension to your relationship and there are many things you can do to play this game.) Pay particular attention to your horse's reaction, are there tricky areas? Are you able to touch all zones of the horse without opposition reflex? This awareness and polite behavior on your part will endear your horse to you. grooming should be about friendliness and love, not just a simple task (or job).

Parelli-related materials on this subject can be found everywhere but, it is a basic skill. Go back to Level 1/2 if you have to, it is okay to review basics no matter how far along you are, this is a foundation skill (in my opinion) and has true impact on the relationship.

One tip related to the actual grooming, I've never forgotten is to use your fingers in your horse's mane and should you desire them to be long. To this day, I do this and have three horses with beautiful, natural, long manes and tails.

Here are a few grooming links that may be helpful too:

http://www.horsegroomingsupplies.com/horse_care.htm 
http://www.horsechannel.com/horse-health/grooming-tips-to-transform-your-horse-26311.aspx
http://www.raspberryridge.com/kids-Show%20grooming.htm

Monday, November 19, 2012

RIP James Roberts, 3-Star Parelli Professional


Very sad news today...Please, go hug your horse, hug your loved ones, and live life to its fullest....you just never know how long you have. RIP James Roberts - A very talented 3-Star Parelli Professional. How I found out was reading Facebook this morning and read Pat Parelli's post, "When I woke up this morning Linda sent me a message from Italy, she informed me that on of our 3 star instructors James Roberts from the UK got killed in an auto accident last night. My condolences to his family and close friends. This should remind all of us to live our lives to the fullest and to tell our loved ones how much they mean to us every day." Here is a lovely article that our fallen Parelli Professional, James Roberts wrote a few weeks ago. Although I did not know him, there is a kind of kinship that comes with following the Parelli path and I somehow feel like each and every one of you are part of me and my life. My sadness runs deep today knowing that an individual such as James has been lost, such a shame and tragedy. "My Mentors and Influences" by James Roberts

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Active Engagement & Purposeful Play


Did you get any horse time in today? The weather here in Northern New York is unseasonably warm. Sunny and in the mid-forties - and should be all week. Here's a pic of the horses after a very interesting, revealing, and productive play session this afternoon.  I'd have pictures of that but I have no photographer! Each one has a different horsenality and teaches me something new every time we are together. And, oh boy, we've got a lot of catching up to do together! 2012 was not our year but 2013 look out!!!

My intention when going out was to engage with Lola on the ground first and then ride. I brought out the bareback pad, carrot stick, twenty-foot line with halter and the three horses met me in the barn.  I tacked her up and off we went, out to the big field for a change in venue. We first passed through where the chickens hang-out --chickens are a great way to desensitize your horse to birds. Anyhow, we mosied out into the field and I asked her for a sideways squeeze along the brush and fence, a challenge that she was up for.  Then, chaos started....its all good, lol. Fosse and Whiskey ran into the field full steam ahead towards us and they were full of themselves. You could hear the thunder of their hooves as they approached and Lola's demeanor immediately changed.  Needless to say, Lola was a handful now but, I used this as an opportunity to work on my leadership with her.  I used backing yo-yo and a lot of neutral to help calm her. I also used approach and retreat and she did well and although the boys were still feisty, they we less than when they first approached.  All horses had their fair share of blowing and snorting - Lola being no exception.

We moved along (boys in tow) and I asked for a circle.  My intention was only for her to walk but she felt different about it. She gets very defiant if she has other ideas and tests leadership to the extreme. She was running, rearing, bucking, squealing, pulling, and acting like a total psycho brat! Back when I first got her, I was afraid of this behavior but now, I've got her number.  I know she isn't right-brained and fearful, she is left-brained, defiant, and waivers between introvert/extrovert. This behavior of acting out happens particularly when I've not spent time really working with her (can you say most of the year---it has been tough this year, so sad). Anyhow, I know how to manage her when she is like this and she is not for a beginner for sure, not for the faint of heart, but is for me.  She's a tester and I don't mind - keeps things interesting.

I am happy to report that eventually, I was able to get a nice circling game at the walk both near and far, falling leaf pattern, and s-pattern from her, and she was calm and thinking and being a partner. She did a nice sideways, very nice yo-yo, and friendly and porcupine were also there. Slow and right beats fast and wrong and this was especially true today. The seven games were very useful but done with purpose.  We used the landscape, field, sand pit, fence line, and the other horses, taking advantage not only of the games theory but of patterns. I remembered how necessary being in the proper position was and that neutral is highly effective. I also found myself, as I always do, reciting Pat Parelli's saying in my head to keep focused.  I never once felt frustrated or angry, just fascinated, to me, a true judge of how I've grown over the years.

Lola and I even had some liberty time together and she was with me, trotting and walking, and having a good time.  She could have easily left for good and went to the barn but she didn't, not initially. She stayed while I played with the boys and left with them to the barn when we were done.  But, she came back, to me, without them. Then they came back. We played this back and forth for a bit too.....kind of a long distance version of undemanding time and engagement upon the horses' discretion. Our relationship stronger and our partnership stronger than when we started - not to mention the leadership role was 51% - me, 49% - her.

I didn't ride.  I could have but I decided that all the time and effort spent had come to its natural and good conclusion today.  To push the relationship further at that moment would have achieved nothing but allowing me to ride and there is far more to the bigger picture at stake.  Lola really worked through a lot of emotions and feelings and processed a great deal.  I have never seen her lick and chew as much as I did today, not ever, she got her self so worked up before she would engage that she was panting.  And, because I truly believe in principles before goals, I stopped, at the right moment, just shy of my riding goal but with the knowledge that we, as a team, had a very successful afternoon, something to build on the foundation of everything to come.

I had time enough to also play with Fosse and Whiskey.  Pretty much did the same as with her but with different challenges due to their horsenalities and I did not spend nearly the same amount of time. It is interesting but not surprising how they challenge my leadership since I've not engaged with them in more "proper" play. The light was disappearing quickly so I cut things short and headed back to the barn to put the equipment away and feed. I felt satisfied that they too were having fun and that is a great way to end it.  Not to mention, all the liberty  play they got when I had Lola online.  At one point, when Lola was circling nicely, Whiskey would pass through and walk over the line as she circled, that was interesting!  He also would try to get in our way and I'd just work around him giving Lola and I yet another puzzle to ponder. Fun times! I do realize that I need to have one-on-one horse time too and I often don't do that. I just love being with them all I guess!

We see each other all of the time and I use my PNH skills in every interaction but active engagement is different. It is purposeful play and that is what we all did today.Principles were in tact and the goal changed but, overall the sessions were very successful and that is all that counts.  Everyone (human and horses) left with a feeling of pride, satisfaction, joy, and love. Leadership was valued and not used as power, and our language and communication with one another, clear.

I have been watching Parelli DVDs every other day and have been really enjoying them very much.  I have a lot of planning and work to do in the coming year as I intend to continue an active pursuit of my horsemanship dreams. I realize that I am in it alone and that is okay, it has to be. Waiting for a Parelli friend to materialize up here to play with and learn with is unrealistic and that is okay, there must be a reason for this challenge, and I am up for it. (Unless Clare, my best friend, wants to leave Virginia for parts north! :)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

It's all fun and games! - Free your mind!


Are you speaking the same language as your horse? I had a fun time this evening with my horse Lola. We played at liberty working on backing, straight, from all zones using several Parelli Games. For those of you that think Parelli is nothing but 7 games you are really missing out...there are thousands of ways to play with your horse on the ground and in the saddle! You must free your mind, be creative and let your horse reveal itself!

Search the blog to learn more and then get the heck off your computer and play with your horse - even if you only have a few minutes.  You'll walk away happy and so will your horse.

P.S. Raise your hand if you'd like me to start posting challenges like I used to! (Do you remember the weekly challenge?) If you don't know what to do, have little time, or are just feeling stuck, my task challenges may be a way to at least do something with your horse! (It just may motivate you to do more.) Anyhow, let me know!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Steps to make progress...in everything!


I am working very hard to incorporate everything I love in my life and achieve success, including work but not only my work.  It makes things busy but I like it.  I started thinking about my goal to learning the French language.  Every day I do some kind of exercise, game, quiz, or reading that focuses on my learning French and it is working. In my attempt to take some of my life back from everyone and everything in my life, I am making sure that I work on all of my goals, every day (particularly, Parelli and healthier living).  

So, for horsemanship tonight, I am watching another Parelli Savvy Club DVD, very motivational for sure. I cleaned the barn, groomed the horses, and fed everyone. Instead of TV reruns, it's Parelli or bust! I have been doing this every day and I am getting a great feeling of motivation back...almost like I have permission to invest time again in my horses and myself again, like I should be, like I used to (this year was really screwed up!).

I love Parelli Natural Horsemanship and practice it all of the time, at feeding time, play time, riding time, etc! No matter the length of time I am with my horses, I put principles before goals and incorporate love, language, and leadership. I use psychology to do things instead of mechanics and/or force. I try to always attain a mental connection with my horse --be provocative and interesting - I try to always have fun and accomplish my desires while maintaining my dignity and my horse's dignity. And now, I am making a conscious effort to get back at active learning! (again)

For my healthy living journey, I started working out again, walking the dog (Morgan my Great Dane), and doing my workout videos, something everyday!  And, if I plan for a higher calorie meal (like tonight--Rick's smoked-BBQ ribs), I eat  low calorie throughout that day to compensate for my dinner - calories in and out. 

And, I finally got back to the gym this morning. I killed it - 90 minutes and worked hard!!!! All before work. I feel so awesome and almost broke into tears when I was there...tears of joy and accomplishment. I walked Morgan in the woods when I got home....we had a blast! 

So all-in-all, I am trying to map our my goals but dedicating time, every day, for everything...steps to make progress.....just a quick check-in post tonight, more later!

Friday, November 09, 2012

You and Your Horse - FITNESS TIME!



I've been having a so-so week. But in the last few days, I've finally taken my control back and I really mean it, I am feeling much better. I cannot believe it but it is true. It has been months and months of struggle - probably longer than that! I am exhausted all of the time, always busy, and fell like I've lost a piece of myself. I have been soul-searching a lot lately about my life in general. And, of course, the weight-loss issue is a serious one and a thorn in my side. it not only affects my health, it impacts my horsemanship.

I have been back at WW meetings for two months and have still been having trouble getting my act together. One obvious question for me was whether WW was still for me - I fear I've become complacent and bored with it. Don't get me wrong, I believe in the program. I also believe that in theory, I typically live the program's good health guidelines, but have struggled recently with always making a wise decision and have been very challenged with getting back into my exercise regimen - primarily, in my opinion, because of my lack of proper sleep - I don't seem to sleep anymore.

Anyhow, I have been wearing my Body Media Fit (BMF) armband device but found that tracking WW points and tracking on their site a pain in the neck. Just tracking WW points defeats the purpose of using the BMF but using just their site was not exactly great either. (Can you see the complication already - I've in essence created an additional layer of work and stress! - go figure, lol.) Well, I found out, purely by accident, that the Body Media is now supporting 3rd party applications including My Fitness Pal (MFP). I connected a MFP account with the BMF account a few days ago and now I journal on MFP and my armband keeps track of activity. The programs sync and I can monitor progress from either website taking advantage of each site's benefits. The MFP site also has great message boards and other features that Body Media lacks. And, I can stop counting points.

If you were wondering, I have used WW Online (or e-Tools) several times and it is a nice site too but does not support my armband. I am a data junky (one of the hazards of being an academic library director) and the BMF and MFP really both give me far more, much needed, feedback - graphs, charts, etc.

In thinking a great deal about all of this, I have finally found something to keep my attention which is highly necessary for me. I am not certain that I will continue to attend WW meetings. I would like to continue to touch base on the WW Facebook group I manage but, I finally have found a way to re-frame my goals and focus attention on myself again using the technologies I wrote about.

I am trying to get my life back, I need to take time back, time for me, and time for my horses.  I work constantly, and am always on the run, and I need my sanity, need my health, and need my horses! Saturday meetings take up, at minimum, 2 hours of my day. I understand that is "me time" but I'd rather be in the barn frankly and with the schedule I am running right now, that isn't happening. This is not a decision that I have entered into lightly. I understand that I have to keep at it but I think I can using the tools I have, the new tools I now use, and with you all here.

My next post will be about how I am going to take my horse time back, how I am going to re-energize, my study and assessment plan, about what my horses' fitness plans will be, and so forth - stay tuned and stay savvy! Beware, I'll be posting more regularly again! LOL (If you have anything you'd like me to write about, please don't be shy, let me know!)


A Little Further Reading:

Fitness and Confidence: Is your horse fit enough - are you?

Exercise for the Rider

Exercise Keeps the Universe in Balance

Fitness For You and Your Horse: The Foundation For all Horse Activities

Have You Ever Asked Yourself...Does My Horse Make My Butt Look Big? Physical Fitness for True Partnership - Undeniable Truths

How Much Weight Can a Horse Carry?

An Easy Equine Fitness Plan

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

And then, I heard, SNAP!


My horses always leave my heart totally satisfied. It could be a minute or hours, they always make everything better. Life has been a bit rough lately. I am working constantly not only in the office but when I get home. I have had little time for anything else. I love my career but, I miss my horses. I have been neglecting my healthy living goals, not working out as much I should, some barn projects are on hold until spring, and frankly, I have been sad and very lonely for my Parelli friends....the ones I used to hang out with....Clare and Tenley to name two. It is hard to live in a non-Parelli region.

Tonight, I bundled up and went up to the barn to feed and do a little hoof trimming. I trimmed Lola's front hooves first and as usual, especially because I have spent little time with her lately, she tested my leadership skills with a variety of things. She gave me quite a time but, I just kept thinking, how interesting, Lola is giving me puzzles to work through so, I gave her a few too. The run-in area of the Quonset hut is just large enough to play on the ground and so, we did while also getting the task at hand done. I think she will test me forever which is fabulous.

Anyhow, after I did her fronts hooves, I felt that we both needed a break from one another. Plus, she always gets a little jealous if I divert my attention to another horse! Whiskey and Fosse were hanging around, of course. Whiskey's fronts were done the other day but, flies were biting us and therefore, I never finished. So, I trimmed his rear hooves tonight. As I was doing so, Lola was laying her head on him, staring at me, lol. She is quite a character and I love her - even if at times, she drives me a bit nuts (I.E. her hoof trimming antics tonight.) anyhow, when she tired of staring, she walked around behind me. There I was, bent over, trimming Whiskey who, I might add, was a complete angel (but in his younger years he had his moments too), and anyhow, I feel Lola rubbing my back with her lips. She has done this before so I was not surprised until I heard and felt, SNAP! She snapped my underwear elastic and not just once! I am surprised she didn't try to give me a wedgie! This horse is hilarious and so much fun. Anyhow, I laughed and gave her a big smile and a good scratch. After finishing Whiskey, I completed the job on Lola with few issues. Fosse will in all likelihood be done tomorrow night after work.

So, the next time you see your horse and things don't go exactly to plan, remember to never feel frustrated, just say to yourself, as Linda Parelli says, "how interesting" and find a way to turn the moment into a teaching moment, into a fun moment!

Feel, Think, Act, and Play Like A Horse! --PARELLI!