Monthly Archives: March 2012

Beautiful Life – Live your dreams

Hannah Willis of “Heart Felt Horsemanship” believes there are “two kinds of horse people in this world: those who are living their dream with their horse, and those who are not.” Hannah is living her dream.

Video length: 4 minutes 15 seconds
Music: “Beautiful Life” written and sung by Cari Cole on the album “Circle of Fire”
Uploaded by  on Mar 27, 2010

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Just for Grins – Goat riding horse

Goat riding a horse. Surprisingly the goat goes from a higher point down to the horse.

Bob the Horse & Gertie the Horse-Loving Goat…….These 2 are Best Mates & wont go anywhere without each other!!

Video length: 54 seconds
Uploaded by  on Jun 23, 2010

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Icelandic horses relaxing in herd

The horses paw and prance and neigh,
Fillies and colts like kittens play,
And dance and toss their rippled manes
Shining and soft as silken skeins;…
~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Icelandic horses in Iceland are kept in herds in open pasture to grow up and mature. The herd dynamics develop a naturally socialized horse. They are started under saddle when they are 5 years old.

Pferde in Island: Horses in Iceland relaxing in the pasture

Uploaded by  on Oct 23, 2009
Video length: 2 minutes 36 seconds
Music: “Hills of Calheiros” by Helen O’Hara

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Just for grins – Itchy horse

Zipper, the itchy horse, scratches those hard to reach areas.

Video length: 1 minute 1 second
Uploaded by  on Oct 6, 2010

Twistur had this same idea last summer. He stood over a couple of small bendable volunteer trees and would rub back and forth to scritch his belly.

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Facing the scale – Menopause weight gain

This is a declaration of intent to change.

Gotta face the truth. I’m fat! Definitely time to do something about my weight.

In 2002 I was at a maximum weight and joined on-line Weight Watchers.  In 2 years I slowly lost 40 pounds and learned to make better choices. Eventually I got tired of counting the “points” and having to constantly think about what I should and shouldn’t eat, so quit the program. I did maintain a 30 pound loss for many years, but over time my weight crept back up.

Stepping on my scale recently saw my 2002 year’s max weight PLUS 5 pounds!! ACK!! OK… that’s IT… my breaking point! Enough is enough. Something does need to change, as whatever the factors are that are making it more difficult to keep my weight under control are real. Medications? Stress? Grief? Lower metabolism? Is this menopause weight gain? Weight is easy to put on, while very difficult to take off. It is even more important to make better choices.

If I don’t make a plan, I’m just going to keep gaining and end up a very fat old lady unable to get off the couch. Losing weight is only going to get more difficult with my increasing age. Time to make a plan. I would like to lose enough weight to not be technically “obese”, but merely “overweight”. This means losing at least 25 pounds, which is doable and a good goal. We can revisit the goal after I make this first one, which is a large enough commitment.

I now regret eating so many holiday cookies and treats. Unfortunately my body is very good at converting extra cookie calories into fat stores for a possible future famine. I did enjoy the cookies, but am reminded of the old Weight Watcher’s motto of “Nothing feels as good as skinny feels”. I would have to go all the way back to high school when I was running on the track team to recall feeling “skinny”. Maybe my extra current weight will come in handy if the 2012 Doomsday preppers are right that the ‘End of the World’ is coming or complete economic collapse is at hand.

What’s really infuriating is that it doesn’t seem like we are eating that many bad choices. Well, except we did eat all those holiday cookies, plus my hubby came home with a box of Girl Scout cookies that I munched on. Even given my consumption of extra sugary calories, my weight has been jumping up when I am eating good choices.

Eating too much by just a few calories a day will add up, particularly at this age. That alone is enough. One extra 100 calorie slice of bread a day will be 10 pounds at the end of a year. Unfortunately I really love bread and have a bread machine! Eating 100 calories of whole wheat homemade bread is still 100 extra calories that will add up.

I know that I am not going to be able to exercise off much weight. Takes a lot of exercise to burn off an extra 100 calories. Yesterday I did quite a bit of aerobic exercise by push mowing most of the front yard. Did make me realize that I am out of shape when I was huffing. Sure tired me out.

Definitely time for the 2 humans, 2 horses, and 2 cats in this household to get on a plan to change. We all could stand to lose some weight and add in more exercise. Bottom line is that we need to start working on more calories out than calories in.

In honor of my history with Weight Watchers will make some “Zero Point” vegetable soup in my crock pot.


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Horse bath on warm day – Tempo’s first bath

Part of optimizing my life is enjoying life’s happy moments. I get happiness watching horses and listening to music. Today is the first of a new Wednesday post feature including musical videos. Most of the videos will feature horses. I particularly enjoy watching these videos before heading to bed to leave my mind thinking of happiness and joy for sweet dreams. I hope you enjoy them too.

One of my favorite horse music videos is 8 week-old filly, Tempo, discovering the joys of being hosed down on a warm day with his first horse bath. He enjoys rolling and racing around with horsey happiness.

Video length: 4 minutes 45 seconds (of pure joy)
Music: “Suite from Forest Gump” movie by Alan Silvestri
Uploaded by  on May 13, 2007

Kim and Van Sturgeon use clicker training as an extension to working with natural horsemanship methods. Van and his wife own Clarity Canine & Equine, LLC. They live at Panangelium Farm, near Charleston, SC, with their horses Shoki (Arabian gelding), Puck (QH/stock paint dun mare), and Tempo (red dun QH), and their dogs Crab and Sandy. Tempo is Puck’s foal, born March 19, 2007.

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Furbuster – Shedding horse

Furbuster and Furminator are very similar products. They are de-shedding grooming tools that gently pull out hairs that are released from the skin and ready to come off. The tool does a good job of removing loose hair. They work very well in removing a shedding undercoat. How much hair is removed each stroke depends on how many hairs are shed.

The Furminator is the more expensive product version. I found a cat sized Furbuster at a local big box discount store for $13.00. The smaller size requires more strokes to cover my horse’s body, but also works well for areas around the face and legs. I also use the Furbuster on my 2 cats.

Letting my horses shed out more naturally leaves longer hair in case we have a late cold snap, as well as helping keep mosquitoes from biting through to their skin. The mosquitoes can’t get through all their hair on most of their body. I plan to clip them to shorter hair later in the Spring as temperatures increase.

My horses enjoy the scritching effect of the Furbuster on their skin. The grooming provides a good bonding time with my horses. They really love being groomed with it.

This year the plastic broke that holds in the metal part with teeth. It was easily repaired by using some duct tape. None of the metal teeth have broken and tool works just as well as when first used 2 years ago.

If you search for Furminator and Furbuster you will find many example videos of grooming of cats, dogs and horses. These are 2 videos from Spring of 2010 trying out the Furbuster on my horses. I’m not left-handed, btw.

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Just for grins – Attack of the Pretty Ponies

Part of optimizing life is just having a smile. New Sunday post feature will be “Just for grins” and other topics that give a laugh or a smile.

This 40 second video never fails to crack me up. At this campground they aren’t worrying about bears, but they forgot about the adorable ponies. Three ponies create chaos at a campground in the New Forest in England breaking into an open tent and eating cereal.

“Come on ponies. Out, out.”

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Skipping is a fun aerobic exercise

Skipping burns twice as many calories as walking and is easier on the joints than jogging. It is definitely an aerobic activity. Skipping is a good overall body exercise, plus reminds us to be a kid at heart.

Kim Corbin founded the group iSkip in 1999 to encourage the joy of skipping.

This exercise adds in an element of balance to a fun aerobic exercise, as well as adding spring to the step.

Using skipping as a despooking exercise:

If you skip around your horses, then this can also make a despooking practice. The quick somewhat erratic action of skipping will catch a horse’s attention more than just jogging or walking around in their view. Try waving plastic bags or drag a bag of rattling cans while skipping around. Start at a distance and overtime move closer as your horses become less concerned.

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Exercises to improve balance Level 5

These are exercises that I am using to improve my balance. I practice several times a day. The goal of the exercises is to improve my overall body proprioception and balance, as well as strength in my legs. Balancing will also improve core body strength.

The exercises increase in difficulty as balance improves. The levels are my interpretation of progressively difficult exercises based on my research. Hold onto something if necessary to maintain balance. I have used holding onto a chair, touching a wall, holding onto a low hanging tree branch, touching my foot on a step, and holding a broom handle.

I am still working on Level 4. I have tried Level 5A bending as far down as top of my cat’s scratching post. I could use the scratching post as a stability point. As I improve, then I will bend further down and farther out. I am also adding in some hopping, which hopefully will help me with my spring up to mount my horse. Hopping is also aerobic exercise. My hopping is currently rather pathetic.

Level 5A: Stand on both feet with eyes open on even flat surface, then lift one foot up.

– Bend forwards and sideways, eventually working up to bending to pick something up from the floor. Work up to reaching down in various directions as far as possible.

– Next try with your eyes closed.

Level 5B:

– Add tossing a ball or dribbling a basketball to add more dynamic motion while balancing on one leg.

* Please read my disclaimer.

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