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

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Seven Games Are Important!




Here is a great example of why playing the seven games (about million different ways) is important for your horse. (These are traveling via airplane.) Now, I've never flown a horse before and I'm told there are many different configurations for such a journey.  The image above it to press a point that the seven games and horsemanship is way more than riding. These are close and potentially frightening quarters, could your horse handle it?  Could you?

When we moved from Virginia to New York, my horses were shipped ahead of me.  The hauler was Parelli Level 1 at least but still, his goals were put in front of his principles and rather than allow me to take the time it takes with the last horse to load (we were sending three), he shoved me out of the way and made a good situation horrific.  I am only thankful that when I was able to take the situation back over, that my horse and I had the language foundation *the seven games) to work together and resolve the conflict. The trailer was nice but not exactly a pent house in size.  My horse knew how to load but did not trust the leadership of the hauler. Anyhow....

Remember, the seven games are not seven tasks or boring tortures, be provocative, creative, and explore the thousands of ways to play with your horse....change the order, experiment, the only limitation is you! :)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Winter Storm Euclid -- WOW!



Winter Storm Euclid is here and we've got about two feet of snow already! The horses are seen here watching Morgan (my Great Dane) and I trudge our way to the barn (I used my snowshoes). We have not seen snow like this since living up here and wow!!! Looks like there will be a lot of shoveling, snow blowing, and plowing in the coming days.  I will certainly take advantage through and ski or snowshoe every day. Stay warm folks!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!


Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. May your horses be fat and happy, your skills savvy, and your partnerships full of harmony! We have many projects and plans and look forward to sharing with you in 2013! Yours forever naturally, Michelle and Rick

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Bucking - wahoo!


The image is the work of Jean Abernethy http://www.jeanabernethy.com/

Does your horse buck out of fear or defiance? What are a few things you could do if your horse starts to buck? I'm thinking emergency dismount or get in the passenger position! Check out what Pat Parelli has to say about it! Be safe, be savvy! http://www.parellinaturalhorsetraining.com/video/horse-bucking/



Friday, December 21, 2012

And Then We Were One


Today, was the day, the first time since Rick installed the masonry sand in the indoor arena that I could actually use it.  We don't have the electricity installed yet which means no lights.  But, I didn't have to work today and was able to go out and play.  The arena was a bit dim because the sky lights were covered in snow and it was very gray out but, the sky-band allowed enough in to make it doable.

I went out with a plan which was to play with Lola in the arena.  Sure, in my dreams I would go out there, ride like the wind, and all would be glorious. In reality, I went out with no major expectations for a few reasons. The first, I have not been playing with her regularly, second, there was certain to be herd-bound issues taking her from the boys, third, I didn't want to set myself up (or Lola) for disappointment.

Getting into the arena was going to be a puzzle in itself.  Since I haven't finished the horse barn yet, we are using it to store those items that should be in the Quonset Hut where the horses are still residing (boat, kayaks, lawn tractor, etc., you get the idea). This made going through that area not an option.  I could take her through the huge sliding doors on the arena but, that is a bit of a hassle.  So, I opted to enter through the third stall, the one closest to the arena.  What this meant was squeezing past the four wheeler and other various items in the Quonset hut, walking across the slushy, icy driveway to the new barn/arena. entering through the stall from the dutch door, and then exiting out the stall door, past the rear of my pontoon boat, and into the arena.....all unfamiliar territory for Lola. (And, not to forget Whiskey and Fosse were certain to call out, run like maniacs, and cause a scene!) Can you already envision why the seven games, puzzles, and patterns are so important?! They were going to be used just to get to the arena let alone used when we got there!

Before taking Lola, I took a wheel barrow and wheeled some cones, a 22 ft line, and a few cookies over. I unlocked the dutch door and made sure everything looked passable and safe. Then I returned to the Quonset Hut.  At first, Fosse acted interested and I almost took him instead.  Whiskey was curious.  Lola came in from outside and pushed past the two boys, practically threw her head into the halter and was basically asking to go do something, anything....I am sure she has been bored silly!

So, off we went.  Just like I told you, we had a great deal of challenges just to get to our location.  I believe we were both a little tense, checking each other out, being cautious to get there in one piece, but made it, as a team. She walked like an angel and paid attention to me.  I was patient once we got to the barn and thought to myself, "nose, neck, maybe feet" when we got to the dutch door and stall.  Not until I had my horse with me did I realize how dark it looked from outside to inside but she took one look, looked at me questioning her next move, I asked her to come in and she did.  Then to the next challenge, out of the stall, past the rear of the boat, and into the arena.  She willing went although was a bit anxious once in the arena but, not too terribly much. (The boys were, as expected carrying on a bit.) I slide the large diving door that is between the arena and horse barn and there we were, horse and human in unfamiliar territory, together.

I decided that just getting there was really good. So, rather than just push her into a session, I took her halter off, asking for flexion of course, and let her do whatever she wanted to while I mosied around the arena setting up barrels and cones. I wanted to remain in neutral and observe her so that is precisely what I did.  I was thinking about how Pat Parelli gives the horses time to compose themselves while offering leadership when needed. She tore off like a lunatic after I signaled her that it was okay to leave.  She bucked, squealed, galloped, and really enjoyed herself.  She was playful and hilarious.  I tried to take a few photos but they were nothing but a blur. She exhibited a bit of herd-bound anxiety too as she kept looking at the walls, probably from hearing the other horses. She also called but, hey were calling far more than what she as. I ignored her but kept a watchful eye, and just went about my business.  She looked fabulous and the footing worked out great.  Not dusty, plenty of traction.

I know she liked it, her tail was held high (like the Arabian she isn't, lol) and her posture was far more beautiful than I had seen in months.  I am telling you, this Quarter Horse does have similarities to my Arabians, partially what made me fall in love with her. She was floating on air! Wow, what a gorgeous and amazing horse I have was what went through my mind. At this point, I felt good and like it was a good day with Lola.  I know, many of you reading this are probably thinking we hadn't done anything yet but to me we had. I decided that if this was all we did today, it was a good set-up for tomorrow.  Then, as I finished setting up the cones, she approached me. checking me out. This session so far was much like an undemanding time-type interaction and she needed that.  I pet her head and neck only after she touched me, then off I went.  She ran around a bit more and then with much more frequency kept checking in, kept asking to engage.  I eventually knew it was time for the next step because being with me was her idea. Much like a marriage, you want your horse, your partner, to want to be with you, you don't want to force the interaction.

I haltered Lola and used my 22 foot line.  She was ready to come together and play.  We did friendly game (of course), sideways on the rail, squeeze with the wall, barrels, and other obstacles.  She even offered to walk over smaller barrels and through off-set larger ones...a first for her as she tends to avoid having to pick up her feet! LOL She really was working through games and puzzles, asking questions.  We did the figure-8 pattern, circling, and even used the ride the rail pattern (but I was on the ground in zone three).  The more I listened and remembered principles before goals, the more I took the time to remember my horse's horsenality, the more I became particular but not critical, my horse responded.  Once I felt like we'd accomplished a great deal (and remember we were losing light every minute), I took her halter off again.  This time, she was not running around like a lunatic looking for the other horses, this time, she was totally into me.  I started to walk and she stuck to me.  I knew I could take advantage of this connection and have a liberty session.  The liberty session was much like the online session and she stayed with me.  I also worked on mirroring her foot falls, it was really neat, we were no longer a horse and a human in an arena, we were one. I have never seen her lick and chew as much as she did tonight.  It was incredible, she was really awesome and really being a partner. I think I was doing a great deal of it too, being very aware of everything Pat and Linda have taught me, being aware of everything I had been reviewing, particularly the psychology of it all.

She was never spooky, not when working through the obstacle to get there, not when we played together and worked right up in the corners and in and around obstacles, not when Rick showed up unexpectedly and slid the huge dividing door, not when the snow flying off the roof and making noise, and not even when she was acting a bit herd bound. she was not spooked! She is a real gem.

Almost out of light at this point, it was time to head back.  I haltered her, gave her a few cookies and off we went. Past the boat, through the stall, locking up, and then over to the Quonset Hut, past the 4-wheeler and back into the horse area.  The boys were just outside and once they knew we were inside, they ran in and right up to her.  I gave everyone a few peppermint candies, fed them some hay, and went back to the house.

I know, to many, this does not seem like a huge deal but to me, it was and to Lola too I believe.  One really great step in the right direction and back on track.  I am so grateful for the Parelli program and so happy to be restarting my journey with a vision, with a great facility, and with great horses...and my partner, Lola. I am off for several days due to the holiday which means I will have more horse time...I cannot wait until tomorrow!

About a week ago I printed off the level three audition checklists and an making a plan to tape.  Lola and I are finally going to start auditioning again.I am excited that I have been and am so pleased to be taking my horse time back!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Level Three Here I Come!




Level three Parelli audition checklists are now printed...I am off to make a plan, start playing, and get taping! I am excited and more than ready to get back at it...auditions here we come...everything else is just going to have to wait because I am taking my horsey time back in 2013!

Monday, December 10, 2012

The to-do list!


Things are moving right along here at Natural Horse Lover Farm.  We had a couple month hiatus on projects because of visitors, work, and weather but we are now getting back at it! The weather has been pretty mild here so Rick and I decided we could start getting things done on the farm that are not dictated by weather and temperatures (not too much anyway).

So, we are in the process of planning a big event with a Parelli Professional in the Fall of 2013 (more info on that as I know it). What this means for us is that we have some major projects to complete! Not everything on the list will have to be done by then but wouldn't that be nice?! 

On Friday, we had masonry sand delivered for the indoor riding arena.  Rick is working on leveling the current stone-dust foundation and will then put in the sand. We've found a contact for mineral oil to use in the arena and just need to have it shipped. Next up, if the weather holds out, will be installing gutters on the horse barn, getting the water and electric connections to the barn, and then over the spring, installing lighting, varnish the wood in the barn and arena, and level the stalls and install mats (or stall skins--not sure yet). 

We also need to build out the wash rack, classroom/lounge space, and tack area. The wash rack will be walled with white/bathroom board and I'd like to install some kind of storage system in this space. The classroom plans are technology, a floating wooden floor, comfort and practical working space. I have ideas but am not completely set on what to do in this space.  Without heat, amazing light comes but with heat, I'd have to put in a ceiling and that would block the gorgeous peaked roof and skylights so....I just don't know! The tack area will in all likelihood be in the first space when you enter the barn through the man-door. Another project will be installing some sort of pavers in the aisle (but the aisle is certainly usable the way it is right now (gravel). We opted to not install concrete floors in the building. Our Quonset Hut Barn has a concrete floor and drainage is an issue.

We also are in the process of creating and recreating outdoor spaces.  The fencing was removed to build the arena and horse barn so, that has to go back up, we have a fence to put in the front end of the property, and other areas. We will be re-purposing the front paddock for a precision-patterns pen, are interested in putting up a panel round corral instead of out temporary fenced round corral, and plan to install a small dressage arena up in the big field.  Jumps in the big field may be a nice addition and of course, we have to put the outdoor playground back together---which will mean clearing more areas as the new buildings consumed some of the playground!

A farm sign is another thing on my list.  I've looked at several different kinds and the pricing varies just as much as the types! I'll be sure to take a photo when we get the sign up.

(Oh, and then there is the to-do list of horse time, assessment, and progress! LOL)

What I didn't mention was all the other work on the other buildings on the property and house.  trust me, we will never run out of things to do! But, that is how we like it.  Never-ending self-improvement in so many aspects of our lives! :)

In any event, our to-do list is huge!  For more on us and what is going on, go to our website naturalhorseloverfarm.com 

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Studying Like Crazy and Loving It!

I've been catching up and studying like crazy lately and it feels great.  On the way to and from work I am listening to the Parelli audio CDs.  If you haven't listened to yours lately, please do.  For me, they are inspirational and seem to speak to me at every turn.  It is like Pat, Linda, and their guests are all in my head sharing my journey and identifying with me all the way.  I've also been watching Savvy Club DVDs and as with the audio, I feel so very connected to the program and to my journey. In addition to these two key study habits, I am rereading the Savvy Times, Mastery Manuals, and other materials.  next up is to revisit the Horsenality/Humanality reports, redo my horses' horsenality charts, and look at the levels and pattern products again.  There are also several books I want to read again. I am reframing my journey, taking responsibility for it, and preparing for major progress ad movement forward! I feel like my plan to take my horse-life back in 2013 is well on its way! YEAH! I plan to get through level 4 this year....or bust! HAHA

So, what have you done lately in your study of natural horsemanship?  Anything I'm missing that I should be looking at?  Let me know! Want to study together? Let me know! What to hold a clinic at my farm--please, contact me!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

INPUT NEEDED - WE ARE PLANNING AN EVENT!!!


Are you interested in learning and growing in your horsemanship? Do you want to partner with your horse and make your dreams come true? Then why not attend an event at Natural Horse Lover Farm?! - No Parelli experience necessary!

We are in the planning phases of bringing ★★★ Three-Star Parelli Professional Mollie Vacco ★★★ to Natural Horse Lover Farm in 2013!!! http://www.parelliinstructornewyork.com/ If you are interested or know someone that may be, please let me know! THIS IS A CALL FOR INTEREST! I need to know what you'd be looking for (2-Day Clinic, 3-Hour workshop, Private Lessons, Auditing), what topics of interest, and if you prefer spring, fall, or both! If you have any other ideas, please let me know! Thank you! EMAIL me at: michelle@naturalhorseloverfarm.com