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

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Play time in the arena and some deep introspection....of course. :)

Okay, so I don't have a photo from last night but, I can tell you that I finally played with all three horses. in my indoor arena, finally, and it was great! Last night, I pulled into the parking lot in front of my barn and there was Rick, happy as a clam, smiling, and asking me to come in and play horsey.  I was exhausted from work but once I got there, I didn't want to leave.  Things are truly coming together, each day there is a new change. He had no intention of joining in but wanted me to finally enjoy the arena.  The footing can now be watered, oiled, and raked with ease, the kicker boards (most of them - not the ones behind the extra hay) are varnished, and as long as there is daylight, the space is usable.  I have not had the lights installed yet as I am waiting to hear back on a grant that I applied for that will help address the electrical aspect of the project. Anyhow, when I entered, the stalls had been cleaned, the arena was prepped, and to top it off, he had moved our professional sound system into the barn! This was a total surprise as he always used this in his workshop.  Rick is generous, kind, and so very thoughtful.

I decided to play with Whiskey (RBI) first.  Music was playing but it was more of a Rick-style song (I cannot remember what it was).  Without even asking, he turned on the Dixie Chicks, smiled, and left. The rain outside was coming down in buckets which has a rather loud sound on the metal roof but, Whiskey did not seem to mind.  We played online all around the arena using some barrels and patterns, did a little trotting together, and lots of friendly game.  It was a great introduction to our new space. Fosse and Lola were calling a bit but could see us and Whiskey could have cared less about them.  He was having a fun time. I noticed at one point that he felt a little too pressured and I realized that it was indeed me, I was a bit rambunctious with joy.  So, I backed off a bit and we were fine.  It is so important to listen when your horse is telling you something.  Mine was telling me to chill. LOL

Fosse (LBE) was next and we had an absolute blast.  He is a high-energy horse and full of play drive.   We worked on figure eights, jumping barrels, and other patterns.  He responded perfectly and for him, my energy was returned to high! He wants to play and have fun.  The music and rain made it acoustically interesting and I have to say, I loved it. The night-time was moving in quickly and to allow for Lola time, I had to put him back in his stall.  He was reluctant to go as I believe he wanted more time with me.

Lola was last (but not least) and as you know we've been really struggling with each other and this play time was entered into without any expectation.  Well, maybe not entirely true, I expected her to be a jerk like the other recent encounters and that perhaps our time would be miserable and short.  I would be remiss if I didn't say that I have questioned our compatibility.  That said, I've also not truly set her up for success nor given her the time she needs and in my heart I know this.  The building project over the last two years has had an impact on horse time and so, we are back to square one. Our first step is learning to trust each other again because I think there is trepidation on both parties.

A horse friend (Petra Christensen) posted something the other day that at the time I blew off.  But, last night with Lola, it resonated so loudly with me that it was almost deafening. "Thought for a Sunday from the Doug Jordan clinic at the Parelli Ranch today: " Sometimes it's painful to look at ourselves. If you offer your horse the same deal over and over you can't expect a different result. It's you who has to change. Some people will say: I don't want to change. Those get another horse..."  I realized that I'd offered Lola the same deal and not allowed her to grow let alone improve or truly get to know me.  Life has gotten in the way which in the end is a good thing but, that I truly never gave her the chance she deserved to be my partner.  So, the answer, if you were wondering is, no, I am not getting another horse.  I have a great prospect in my hands (and frankly two other fun boys that have more potential too).  For me, it is time to get to work, no excuses, no more being stuck. :)

Regarding our play time, Lola and I worked hard on communicating with one another.  Body language has a huge impact on this and judgments can be made on these interactions...remember Pat Parelli's saying, "don't teach or make assumptions?"  Well, how we "talk" with our horses using our bodies truly does impact the engagement and experience. I realized that even more strongly last night.  I was reminded with Whiskey thankfully as this horse keeps me honest and in-check more than any others when I am getting unintentionally loud, pushy, and predatory-like.  Fosse reminded me that we can have fun, and Lola reminded me that we are still courting despite living together for quite a long time now....or perhaps we are re-courting?

I also realized that the music impacts my mood and interaction with the horse and I love the addition of it to our space.  I was reminded of how I've cried watching Parelli play time (in person or on the TV) because what I saw was a true , lovely, connection. These images made me want to play with my horses.  There are emotional impacts to the environment as well.  My new play environment felt good last night.  I felt like we had a safe, beautiful space to be together in.  This is a dream come true for me.

As I played with Lola, I realized that our games are broken, my neutral was broken, and that her over-reactions before were due to me making an assumption that she and I were connected and that our games were fine, that she was just being stubborn.  Wow, it's not "you" [the horse], it's me! This was a huge revelation.  I was pushing the communication when we were speaking a totally different language.  Last night, my mind was thinking and reflecting, responding to my horse partner.  Her reaction to me was quite positive even on the broken games as they were getting fixed in mere moments (well almost).  We had quiet time and high energy time but neither reacted negatively towards one another.  It was fair and even play. I believe that we were both working at it, a little bit at a time, a second at a time, one decision at a time, one move, one ask, at a time.

I recently viewed this TED Talk by Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are. It certainly is worth a look and speaks to using body language in your life, which of course for us, includes our horses.  It talks about body language, our presence, effects on it all.  Very interesting. Our bodies change our minds and behaviors...."fake it 'til you become it tiny tweaks can lead to big changes."

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