The other night I played with Fosse and rode him in the arena. The barn was quiet, our time, heavenly. I missed him, it had been months.
I equally had a really nice time with the horses tonight. I am thankful
for Rick calling today to see if the arena needed to be watered. It did and he had everything all set before I arrived home from work. This year has been tough at the farm (a story for another day) and horse time not often like the normal routine. I am working to change that. I played with each horse tonight after my student left. It is amazing how different they are in horsenalities and play drives. Primarily we worked on maintaining gait and direction using obstacles and puzzles like figure eights, sideways, circling game, the big green ball, and more. I found that Lola is less emotionally reactive if I use a puzzle with obstacle versus just a game. Whiskey had one meltdown but I was able to get him to refocus. He was amazing. Fosse was really pushing boundaries tonight but fun too. I thanked Rick for the time and preparing the space. 🙂
I organized my YL essential oils and supplements today. I am cleaning the empty bottles for future use (my own recipes, samples, and other uses). Let’s just say that my house smells like a potpourri of scents and I’ve probably been helped for every ailment and concern on the planet. 😂🤪😄
Here are some of the must-have essential oils for your horse farm! Let me know if you have any questions.
In all seriousness, I am super happy to have gotten back into Young Living. My animals are benefiting from it too. Some of my favorite things to use are Purification for flea and tick control, Thieves for hooves, and several of the uplifting oils like Grounding or Joy for myself.
Become a Young Living member and start living naturally today!
As you know, I am not good at self care but great at taking care of everyone else, animals and people alike. This weekend, my stupid, horrible bed threw my back and the nerves in my legs into a tizzy! Very painful and difficult. Instead of doing what I would recommend or do for my clients, I tried Aleve, Ibuprofen, and rest. It did not work. Duh, no surprise.
Then, I got smart and used my inversion table (Teeter), and essential oils (Young Living). It helped. Still suffering to some extent, I used more oils, my Photonic Red Light Pro and Reiki. Within 10 minutes I was considerably better. When did I notice? While feeding the horses.
Why did I wait? Stupidity.
Do what you know and take care of yourself! (I will be treating myself with this modality again before bed.)
Need help? Please let me know. firstname.lastname@example.org
Today, I did a few things that were self-care (something I struggle with).
1. I took the day off from work and disconnected from email and other technology by about 20%. For me, this is pretty good considering I am a workaholic. So yes, I was off but still working remotely.
2. I made a campfire and chilled out by the pond. I enjoyed a few Saranac beers too.
3. I have been thinking about this for several months and finally decided to rededicate attention to Young Living. This is part of our farm’s holistic focus. [I've reactivated my distributor account. If you are interested in learning more, please let me know. They offer way more than in years past (essential oils, at home, healthy living, pets, and more). https://www.myyl.com/naturalhorseloverfarm ]
4. I did a guided meditation using my Gaia account. During the meditation, I saw all of my past animals. They stood on logs and floated by as if they were saying hello and showing solidarity, that there were with me, that they loved me and were there to support me. It was wonderful and made me tear up big time. It was just what I needed. [This is a service I offer at the farm. It was great to enjoy it for myself. http://www.naturalhorseloverfarm.com/holistic-healing.html ]
5. I enjoyed time with the dogs. I love them.
6. I started blogging again. My version of journaling. http://www.naturalhorseloverfarm.com/blog
7. This week I kicked butt and got to exercising above and beyond farm stuff. YEAH!
I had a really good day that ended in chaos. Without going into extreme detail, let's just say that an elderly family member now lives on our property and she has issues, major ones. Life can go from pretty good to extremely horrible in a moment. Tonight was one of those times.
Rather than engage in the situation, I did what the counselors recommended and removed myself from the situation. It was not a safety issue and I was told it was okay to just leave and walk away, that is what I did. She is my husband's kin and his responsibility.
I also took a few moments and did a mindful, guided meditation.
During the meditation, I saw all of my past animals. They stood on logs and floated by as if they were saying hello and showing solidarity, that there were with me, that they loved me and were there to support me. It was wonderful and made me tear up big time. It was just what I needed.
If you've not done a meditation, let me know. Guided meditation in particular is amazing. Wow., wow, wow.
Without the skills to know when you walk away, meditation, and other self care modalities, I think I'd die or have to move away. Life is hard right now but livable if I concentrate on self-care.
Talk care of yourselves, it is necessary and important - something I often forget. I am great at caring for others, just not myself.
The image is my yoga frog, a treasure on the farm. :)
Learn more about guided meditation offered at Natural Horse Lover Farm!
I have been thinking about this for several months and finally decided to rededicate attention to Young Living. I've reactivated my distributor account. If you are interested in learning more, please let me know. They offer way more than in years past (essential oils, at home, healthy living, pets, and more).
I have been working on myself, my health, and that of my animals and household, this just felt right. I cannot explain it except to say that the universe was speaking to me and I am listening.Lots of changes are going on, not just this but it is part of the puzzle!
Natural Horse Lover Farm, LLC
Here is the link to my website (which will also be linked on the farm page).
This post is a very open look at my life. I think transparency like this may help others. I hope so! A snapshot of my normal life - I am an academic library director and associate professor at Clarkson University. Additionally, I am a business owner of Natural Horse Lover Farm, LLC. I am a long time Parelli Savvy Club Gold member (and was part of the Savvy Club from the beginning) and am taking Linda Parelli's Pegasus Personal Growth Program for both professional development as well as personal development. I have Rick, my husband of 28 years, 2 dogs (Morgan the Great Dane and Annie (aka Fannie) the Min Pin), our house cat Madeline, 7 farm cats (who just showed up 2 weeks ago), three horses (Fosse & Whiskey, Arabians and Lola our Quarter Horse) and about 40 chickens.
For those of you who don't know, things on the farm have been very stressful for many months. My husband's father died and we allowed his mom to build a house on our property so that he could care for her as she cannot live by herself (but cannot live in our house). The Universe has been really testing us. Now, please keep in mind, I have been pretty quiet because I have been feeling super low. This is not the usual optimistic, happy Michelle. I have had feelings this week like my soul is slowing dying and that my happy life is dissolving. I know, my woes seem pretty serious (or maybe stupid to some) but, they resonate with my week. Yes, the MIL and the consequences of her being here is really taking a toll. I rarely smile anymore. I can’t.
I realized that when I am beyond my coping capability, I disconnect, I stop taking my vitamins, I stop thinking about WW and all related tasks, I don't enjoy my horses or take the time to do so, I don't workout, I fall apart but in a quiet, crawl in a hole and die kind of way so as to not interfere with the world. I stop smiling which for me is a natural facial expression. This is not my normal self but lately, it is. I feel lost. I just have extreme feelings of sadness and loss, like I am grieving. Grieving my happy life while knowing we did the right thing and trying to live a happy life during this storm is hard. I know there must be a lesson in this but damn, the Universe is brutal!
This morning, for the first time is so long I cannot remember, I woke up early (no alarm) and headed to the barn for a morning workout. I have a beautiful finished lounge/classroom/library/zen space to enjoy - the ultimate woman cave! Before working on myself, I took time to clean and reset stalls, love on the horses, and feed them. I fed our new farm kitties and chickens too. The dogs were back at the house sleeping with my husband. It felt so nice to be in the barn, alone, everyone else asleep and not bothering me. Afterwards, I headed to the lounge for a workout. In the past, I would have done a 30-60 minute cardio workout with weights ending the session. For the longest time, I felt like if I didn't do this recipe, I was a failure. The cardio component would be something like using the incline trainer, Zumba, or Leslie Sansone videos and the like. I used to also walk or run with the dogs. Today, I finally opened my Body Groove DVDs (a cardio workout set), something I bought a few months ago. I looked through the descriptions and picked a dance workout. I started it and after about 1 minute I realized, this was not what my mind and body needed. My mind has been so stressed out and the joy of dancing was not something I was ready for. However, on the DVD, there was also a self care segment. I decided to check it out.
Self care is not something I am good at. I am great at coaching others to do self care. I am good at caring for others whether it be the family, animals or clients. I give awesome Reiki and holistic healing sessions to everyone else! This morning, I pulled out my yoga mat, blankets, and bolsters. I did the self care segment of the video which prompted me to finish with a self Reiki session and quiet meditation. I have not taken time to do this in such a long time. I finally felt good, at ease, not stressed, not worried, not sad. I felt whole. I felt like me, if only for that moment. Taking the time to listen to my mind and body was so important today. I believe this will have long lasting implications. I believe this realization may be what saves me.
Later this evening, I am going to take more time for self care. This time, I plan to do a mediation session with the horses. That is an amazing experience that I miss very much. I also think that yoga, Reiki, and meditaiton will be my morning goal for awhile.
Take the time it takes to do self care - you are worthy and worth it! If you need help figuring this out, please let me know.
As many of you know, I am a long time Parelli Savvy Club Gold Member (and was part of the Savvy Club from the beginning). I am also an academic library director and associate professor at Clarkson University - have been in the field of librarianship for over 18 years. Additionally, I am a business owner of Natural Horse Lover Farm, LLC. I have a lot of things going on in my life and my personal and professional life intermingle and feed one another.
Having started my new position and current farm about a decade ago (I cannot believe it has been that long), my career has flourished. I am holding high level elected positions, participating in all kind of teams and boards, really making a name for myself and the University. It is awesome - but I know there must be more. I don't mean to infer that I plan to go elsewhere, but that there must be more I can do as a professional. I plan to retire here. I have an amazing staff, lots of great things are going on at the University - and I am part of it - my work matters to them and they to me.
The farm I have been building with my husband is amazing, state of the art in some respects, and definitely different for our region. I don't have local Parelli people here to connect with - I have tried time and time again. I have made a few horse friends though, and they are great, we just don't speak the same language or can study together.
With the time commitment to work, my horse time has seriously dimished, I have stopped blogging on a regular basis like I used to (my old blog space is http://naturalhorselover.blogspot.com/). My goal is to blog here and with regularity again. http://www.naturalhorseloverfarm.com/blog
I won't get into the crazy, really hard personal stuff going on at the moment but suffice it to say caring for family is not easy. In fact, it is really hard and a game changer.
One other personal note, I am working on getting back in shape and living healthy again. For those who know me, that means I rejoined Weight Watchers - because it works for me. (I have a page for that if you want to join as well - you can get a free month, why not?!) Anyhow, more on this in future posts.
With all of it, despite my many amazing successes, I have been feeling stuck, sad, bored, and worried. Therefore, I decided the next step in my life was to take action - and now - it was super important to not wait and get started.
I just started Linda Parelli's Pegasus Personal Growth Program, taking it for both professional development as well as personal development. I wanted to take it for a few years and recently, realized that it could help me in my professional life as well as personal life - then wondered why I waited so long! Although geared towards horse lovers, it is really a plan for everyone and for me, I was able to make the connection to how it would help me in my professional world while being accessible and connected to my interests. If it is not fun and interesting I check out. As I say at most of my professional presentations, I always work horses into everything I do! (This usually gets a nod and hearty laugh - they know me.) Once I had to explain the amount of materials we removed from our shelves (due to the procurement of e-access items) and said it was longer than the Kentucky Derby. People could relate and my message was heard - and thus, again, horses and my librarianship connected!
In the program, I am working on the following: Goals (understanding them, prioritizing, creating, and following through), Attitude, Confidence, Motivation, Taking Action, Problem Solving, Time Management, Creating Good Habits, Being Persistent, and so much more!
Despite just starting and having taken what seems to be hundreds of professional development courses, this one is hitting home. Linda is getting to me (in a good way - and she always has been able to reach me somehow). I already see ways to incorporate these strategies at work for sure but also at home too. It is a good fit - Mission Accomplished.
If any of you are doing the same, let's connect. If you are local - let's get together!
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Funny Hugh Laurie & Stephen Fry comedy sketch! 'Your name, sir?' - BBC comedy
Video downloaded from YouTube
So what did you think about the video? I think it is funny but then again, I've always enjoyed humor from across the pond. The point is, these two characters were talking in the same language but not really communicating, not well anyway.
Are you speaking the same language as your horse? Does he seem to understand you? Do you understand him? Are you in sync or just occupying each other's time with little communication? Are you hearing or actually listening to each other?
As Parelli students and practitioners (not we all know that our common language with our horse is the 7 games. If you've been studying, you know that the games are ways horses communicate with each other and that games 1-3 are principle games (a foundation of your language) whereas games 4-7 are purpose games (the language expanded for higher levels of communication). You also know that these games can be played using thousands of variations, while on the ground or mounted, and that your creativity is the only limitation (which is in-part why Pat released Parelli Patterns.)
To be certain I am communicating to you, and if you need a refresher, here are the seven games, listed and briefly explained:
Game #1 The Friendly Game
"This game proves to your horse you will not act like a predator, that you are friendly and can be trusted."
Game #2 The Porcupine Game
"This game is called "porcupine" as a reminder that the horse should not lean against a point of pressure but learn to move away from it."
Game #3 The Driving Game
"This game teaches the horse to respond to implied pressure, where you suggest to the horse to move and he moves without you touching him."
Game #4 The Yo-Yo Game
"The object is to get backward and forward movements equal and light."
Game #5 The Circling Game
"Do not confuse this with mindless lunging! The Circling Game develops a horse mentally, emotionally and physically. It teaches him to stay connected to you and get the tension out of the line between you while maintaining his gait and direction."
Game #6 The Sideways Game
"This is teaching the horse to go sideways equally as well to the right and left, with ease."
Game #7 The Squeeze Game
"Horses, by nature, are claustrophobic. They are afraid of any small or tight space. The Squeeze Game teaches your horse to become braver and calmer, to squeeze through narrow spots without concern."
To learn more, consider reading Pat Parelli's article, "Understanding the Language of Horses by Pat Parelli" (Courtesy of Natural Horse Magazine).
OK, so what language are you using? To know and understand the games and that they are your language does not mean you are "speaking" correctly and actually getting through. Technique is as important as knowledge. The tools are another issue--what are you using anyway? So, do you remember the 7 keys to success? Can you recite them? Here you go if you are having trouble:
Attitude, Knowledge, Tools, Technique, Time, Imagination, and Support
For an explanation of the 7 keys, consider reading this article, "The 7 keys explained," by Parelli Professional, Geneviève Benoit.
How is your technique? I cannot tell you how many times I've seen people doing things to their horses that drove me nuts! (Although to be fair, I've seen much more good than bad.) Anyhow, those doing bad, wrong, inaccurate, or otherwise incompetent things made me want to take their horses away from them and tell their horse that not all humans are this way. Now, I am far from perfect so please don't misunderstand me. I know I have plenty of room for improvement, tons to learn, don't we all? But, keep reading to learn why I have felt this way--I think you will agree.
Examples of human incompetence! (Why people should actually study and learn, then go practice instead of just using their horse as something for their own entertainment.) *Note some of this is Parelli people and other instances are that of others not on a natural path.
Case #1- Talking the Talk
Imagine this, you know that the person you are observing has been studying Parelli for at least a year (or claims they have) but still cannot recite the 7 games nor do they understand what the point of each one is. Are you kidding me? It is not rocket science folks! How can this be? I am baffled and speechless. (Well not speechless.)
Case #2- Walking the Walk
The definition of the Porcupine Game (game #2) is to use applied pressure, using the appropriate phases, to move your horse around, you are teaching them to move off of pressure rather than into pressure. I witnessed, on more than one occasion, a woman using her carrot stick like a stabbing implement in order to get her horse to move. The woman looked like a fool, the horse looked at her like she was nuts, and I was going out of my head about it! I even gave this person several lessons on proper technique (and was asked to do so). When I played with the horse, she moved around as asked, no trouble. This horse person has viewed this game being done on several videos by Pat, Linda, their students, etc., and still, stabbing at the horse! Good grief (to put it politely). I don't even want to discuss the other 6 games oye vey!
Case #3- Horses are Servants to Humans--What?
When I lived in Virginia, my husband and I were camp hosts on Flat-Top mountain for the National Forest. I cannot even count how many walking/gaited horses I saw with riders flopping around on their backs, huge bits for breaks, spurs, yelling and absolutely cruel and ridiculous behavior by their owners. Talk about needing the ASPCA! I mean what the heck is wrong with people, the horse is not a motor vehicle, it is a living creature and these poor horses, in my humble opinion (if it were ever really humble) is that they were being tortured for the enjoyment of their riders (knowingly or not). I have friends with walking/gaited horses and they are natural, one does PNH and the other Clinton Anderson, their horses are happy and willing partners.
Case #4-Fear, Fear, Fear = Failure
Fear is a genuine thing and I understand it. I had a terrible jumping accident prior to PNH and was told never ride again--and I gave up horses for several years (as per my Orthopedic Surgeon). Well, you can't take the horse out of a born horse nut! So, years later, I bought Fosse (a youngster--probably inappropriate at the time--all well). But, I sought out a better way to be with my horses looking for not only technique but a philosophy that adhered to my personal beliefs (thanks Pat Parelli) and worked through any fear issues (thanks Stephanie Burns and Linda Parelli). It took time and persistence, support, but I did it and so can you!
Please be brave, learn, get support, and enjoy your horses. You can do it and can be successful. You can play on the ground, ride, and even compete if you want to! You don't need to have a pasture ornament (unless that is what you want anyway). Contact me for help with fear!
For more on the comfort zone, see my blog post, "Move Your Comfort Zone Challenge," Monday, June 16, 2008.
Finally, tools--what the heck do you have on your horse and in your hand? Once again, my personal preference but, I prefer the genuine, Parelli items. That said, I wanted to make a natural halter into a costume class halter for a fun show and bought the supplies at a company (now seemingly closed), Natural Horse Supply to make my own fancy halter with beads, tassels, etc while still maintaining communication with my horse. It served the purpose very nicely (we won the blue). People have preferences but I've tried many knock-offs with friend's horses and did not like the stuff--it usually lacks true feel (if that makes sense). So, now, if I am playing with someone else's horse, I bring my genuine equipment, always.
I guess the post rambles quite a bit and I do apologize. My point is, if you are communicating with your horse, please be sure he understands you and that you have taken the time to improve your technique, are using the right tools, that you do your homework and know the language (terminology, purpose, psychology, etc). Be kind to yourself and your horse and you'll be happier for it (and so will they).
I was recently asked advice about feeding hay. There are so many choices and of course, it all also depends on your region. Here are some articles that may be helpful. We only use square bales and free feed feed timothy/orchard grass and use alfalfa as a treat.
The temperatures were in the high 40's Fahrenheit today and the sun was shining. I could not have asked for a nicer day. The snow is melting quickly and the robins were out.
I had a lovely consultation with new clients in the morning and met another new one later in the day. It is fun and rewarding meeting people and matching their needs with our services. With the variety we offer, sometimes an in-person initial consultation is the best path forward.
I then enjoyed undemanding time with all of the horses and worked with my Arabian Whiskey on being mentally aware, calm, and responsive (despite being away from the herd), trimmed his hooves, and groomed him while watching/listening to a Parelli DVD on safety. I really love Whiskey. As an extreme right-brained introvert, I have to use a lot of communication and regulated energy exchange to engage with him in a manner that he can be responsive to rather than catatonic or explosive. He is a very special and unique horse who takes patience and love.
I am now enjoying quiet time on the couch with the dogs. Later, a Beachbody workout and dinner. Rick is making a lovely quiche with our farm fresh eggs, with a side of roasted asparagus and salad.
Life on the farm is magical.
For those of you interested in checking out Beachbody, you can do so for FREE! You can sign up for a free account and I will be your assigned coach, no obligation to buy anything unless you choose to. This free sign-up option is a great way to just look around and assess the site and resources. There is a robust online community, goal tracker, online tips, recipes and more. CLICK HERE FOR A FREE ACCOUNT!
I have news! After years of thinking about it, I finally dove in two feet first and became a Beachbody Coach! My target audience is fellow horsewomen who have found themselves overweight and out of shape. However I am here to help everyone who may be interested! In the past and I have lost significant weight successfully. A few years ago I was at the top of my game but things happened and I fell apart I find myself needing to lose it all over again. It is a quite a frustrating situation but I am ready to take charge, again.I know that others have been in this situation. Therefore, I became a Beachbody Coach with the idea to help others. Weight loss and better health is a work and support is needed to be successful. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE!
Michelle Young is a horse lover, animal advocate, Reiki Master Teacher, holistic healer, Parelli Savvy Club Gold Member and Level 3 Student, academic library director, professor, and more. Contact Michelle.
This blog was created to share my life-long journey with horses and holistic health. I write about horsemanship, healthy, holistic living, and just about anything else that passes through my mind. Enjoy!
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