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

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:


1 comment:

Melissa said...

I absolutely love this! I have gotten some pretty strange looks because I let my horse smell each grooming tool I use before I use it on her. I also did this for groom and clean competitions in 4H, always first offering a horseman's handshake before barging in to compete with a horse I had never met before. So grateful to have these savvy arrows in my quiver!