Goals are Attainable Even When Life Gets In The Way

At the beginning of the New Year we tend to reflect on the past and vow to do better this coming year and set our Resolutions.  I saw on a news program recently that only 8% of people actually follow through and reach the goals that have set for the new year.  I think that is a terrible number but we all know why we don’t meet those goals – our everyday life and responsibilities get in the way.  How can I get to the gym today when after work I have to take my son to the orthodontist and pick up groceries, and fix dinner, and then I am too tired.  The list goes on and on and it is a valid list.  There is a lot of “stuff” that needs to get done everyday.

However, I am one of the 8% and know it can be done by following two simple rules.

I wrote and published Talk To Me – Round Pen Work From the Horse’s Point of View while working as a full time high school Biology teacher, being a Mom, running my farm/business Palomino Acres, and caring for my Mother who recently passed away from stomach cancer.  I know if I can do it so can everybody else.  Really – I only followed two rules.

Rule number one: Stay positive.  I know this can be the hardest part especially when life events are not happy and you see little progress towards your goal, but it is essential.  When you are positive about other areas of your life the attitude will transfer into all areas of your life including your goals.  The better state of mind you are in the more able you are to tackle and deal with tasks whether they be physical or emotional.

Think back to a special moment in your life.  Spend a few minutes re-living that moment, what things looked like, who was there, what was said, how you felt.  After spending a few minutes lost in those thoughts – how do you feel now? At the end of each day as I am waiting for sleep to come, I pick out the best moment of the day and re-live it.  I always go to bed feeling happy and generally wake up happy. Occasionally I have a moment I call a “Keeper”.  A moment so precious to me that I never want to forget it.  These are the ones I journal about so I will have a permanent record but they are also the ones I go back to when I am having a bad day.  You don’t have to journal, those special moments stay with you, I do because I like to write and I enjoy going back and reading about those events.

I shared several of those “Keepers” in Talk To Me but my favorite one was when I was working with Hugsy in the round pen (p31) and Hugsy finally gave me an inside turn.  Every time I think of that moment I am filled with joy – sometimes to the point a few tears of joy escape my eyes.  This past summer we went on vacation and it was the first year Ian was big enough to ride the adult rollercoaster.  We waited a long time in line and when it was our turn to get in the car Ian didn’t want to because he was scared.  I talked him into going on the ride.  As they were buckling us in he turns to me and says, “Mom, if I need you to, will you hold me.” That moment is burned into my heart and mind and fills me with love whenever I think about it.  By the way – he laughed the whole ride – he didn’t need me.  For Christmas this year I bought my husband Larry his first saddle, a Classic Billy Cook, a major milestone for Larry.  The gentleman who sold the saddle brought it to the barn so we could make sure it fit Larry’s horse.  I have a physical picture but I don’t need it – the look on Larry’s face when the saddle he had hunted for, for months fit his horse is priceless.  Again, that memory fills me with love.

These thoughts and the other “Keepers” are there for me when I need a boost of positivity.  Even though they may not be related to my goal, or anything going on in my life at that moment, they put me in the right frame of mind to not only deal with life but to continue with whatever goal I have set, which leads to rule number two.

Rule number two: Do at least one small thing each day towards your goal.  You have heard the saying that each journey starts with the first step.  That is true and often it takes a lot of courage to take that first step.  But, the journey ends if you don’t take another step and another.  Some days those steps might be small baby steps, some days you will cover a mile towards your goal.  The point is each step, no matter how big or small gets you closer to where you want to be. If you don’t take one small step each day you lose momentum and the next days step feels harder.

So how am I doing so far on my 2015 goals? I cleaned my basement!!! (And this wasn’t a baby step or even a mile – it was a marathon!) If you go back and read my last blog post – that isn’t even one of my goals! However, the basement is our main entrance into the house and it has also become a catch-all for everything we don’t want upstairs.  It was a mess.  I saw this mess every time I left and entered the house.  The mess made me feel grumpy – which breaks rule number 1.  So, I went through everything and made three piles, keep, sell, trash.  I organized the keep and the basement looks great and every time I enter or leave the house I feel a sense of accomplishment.  The stuff in the trash pile is gone.  The stuff in the sell pile is going to be sold on-line and the money used to buy a custom made saddle for Neil.  Conditioning Neil for Endurance Trail riding is one of my goals.

Another of my goals it to promote Talk To Me to an Amazon best seller.  Everyday I am on some form of social media promoting it as will setting up book signings.  I have a goal to write another book – Talk To Me Too – Neil’s story.  I have not yet started writing the actual chapters but I do have a notebook that I keep with me and write down sentences or ideas that pop into my head.  In addition to cleaning the basement and selling items so I can buy a custom saddle for Neil I have purchased a CD that will help me through the process.  I am waiting until Spring to set dates for the Talk To Me Too clinics – the round pen is outside and the weather isn’t cooperating, plus I will schedule these around Ian’s Lacrosse games.  In cleaning the basement I also reclaimed my Reiki room so I can add humans to my list of Reiki clients. I have also started creating a flyer to advertise Reiki sessions.  I have built up a lot of momentum in the first week of January.  As long as I do one small thing a day – that momentum will continue and in December I can look back on 2015 and say, “Wow – look what I accomplished this year.”

Comment on one of your “Keeper” moments or what your first step will be towards your goal, or what you will do to get the momentum going.  Sharing with others is also a motivator.

Remember you can follow us on twitter: Tammy Marsh @AuthorTammy and FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/TalkToMeBookDiscussion

The pictures below are of my son Ian and husband Larry and our new horse Neil.

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Riding into the New Year

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I probably would not physically die if I didn’t have my horses but they certainly are a big reason why I am sane.  I will always have horses in my life.  I joke with my husband that he needs to start designing me a mounting block and hoist system because old age will not keep me from riding.  I hope deep down he knows I am not joking!  My horses have taught me many lessons and accompanied me on many journeys.  My horses are always a part of my New Years plans and goals.  I have many more journeys planned this year and I hope you join me as well as sharing your own journeys this year.

I plan on taking Talk To Me – Round Pen Work From the Horse’s Point of View all the way to an Amazon Best Seller status and then to the New York Times Best Seller List.  I need your help with this one.  If you have read the book please leave a review! Currently we have 5 reviews and they are all 5 star!

I am working on a new book potentially titled Talk To Me Too – Neil’s Story.  Neil is the Standardbred rescue that was assigned to me in The Equine Comeback Challenge.  Neil’s story can be a book all in itself but I will also include more case studies, but with a twist.  Shari and I will get the horse’s input on what the owner needs to learn and work on as well as having the horses critique my work so I can continue to learn and grow. In this book we will also be asking the horses point of view on a wide variety of topics from their perspective on horse-human relationships to the roles horses have played in history to some controversial political issues involving horses.

Neil and I will be starting a new adventure, we will be training for Competitive (Endurance) Trail Rides.  Neil needs to be in shape but so do I so I will be working on my conditioning as well.

Neil and my husband Larry will be having their own journey.  If you have read Talk To Me you know Larry is not a horse person but is very supportive of my horse activities.  Well, Neil has turned him into one.  I am going to love watching and recording their journey.

Of course Hugsy, Abby, and Candy will continue to be part of our family and share our journey too.  Even though they already have a book dedicated to them their journey is far from over.

I plan on continuing my Reiki practice and helping more horses and people with their healing.

Shari Koval, my co-author has her own book planned.  She will be communicating with service animals.  The questions she plans on asking will provide some valuable insights into our furry friends.  Shari plans on donating a portion of the proceeds to the ASPCA and Best Friends Animal Society.  Shari also plans to increase the Natural Healing for Pets part of her business. She also has a motorcycle tour of Europe with her UK friends – that sounds like fun! I am hoping I can convince her to be a guest blogger.

Shari and I are planning on doing Talk To Me Too Clinics:

  • I will work with the horse in the round pen and Shari will do animal communication in the same format as Talk To Me – Round Pen Work From the Horse’s Point of View.
  • I will also work with the horse owner and horse in the round pen and during this time Shari will get specific feedback from the horse for the owner.
  • The owner can identify an issue they would like to work on and I will provide strategies to use at home, with or without the round pen.
  • At the conclusion of the work session Shari will communicate with the horse and ask any questions the owner has for the horse.
  • I will type up the session in the same format as Talk To Me for the owner to keep. The chapter may be published in Talk To Me Too.

We are starting the clinics at my facility in Corning, NY but are open to travel.

And then there are the other non-horse related activities: Travel lacrosse and travel soccer for Ian and watching my little man grow into a young adult.

I love sharing my journeys and my insights with you.  Please leave a comment and tell me which of mine and Shari’s journeys you would be most interested in reading about as well as any other topics you would like me to talk about.  We would also like to hear what you have planned for the coming year!

If you leave a comment and tell us one of your New Years goals (horse related or not) and which of my goals you would be most interested in reading about  I will enter you into a drawing for a free e-book.  If you already have the book, the e-book makes a great “just because” gift.  I will draw the winner on Wednesday January 7th, 2015.

Also, if you are a twitter user you can enter again by re-tweeting my contest post and following me.  Tammy Marsh @AuthorTammy.  Wednesday January 7th, 2015 is the drawing date.

If you don’t follow me on FB you might want to check out my page for a chance to enter a third time. https://www.facebook.com/TalkToMeBookDiscussion  Again the drawing will be Wednesday January 7th, 2015.

My blog, twitter account, and my FB page will each have a winner of the e-book.

Shari and I send our best wished for you and your family in the coming year.

Holistic Therapies and Horses

In the book Shari and I briefly mention Tuning Fork Therapy® and Reiki.  We decided our readers would like a little more information on those topics than what we put in the book.

I met Shari because I invited her to present at the Whole Horse Whole Human Holistic Expo we host at Palomino Acres. One of the demonstrations she did was on Arie, who is one of the stars in the book, using Tuning Fork Therapy® and the other was a demonstration of Reiki (pronounced Ray-Key) on Gypsy, another star of the book.  After the demonstrations I knew this was something I wanted to do so I could help horses in another way and started studying with Shari to become a Reiki Master. It was at this time we also started working together to get the horse’s point of view on the training techniques I use.

Reiki is a Japanese healing art that is gaining worldwide popularity. Reiki is a Japanese word representing universal life energy, the energy which is all around us. It is derived from rei, meaning “free passage” or “transcendental spirit” and ki, meaning “vital life force energy” or “universal life energy.”

The Reiki practitioner taps into this energy (sometimes called Chi, Prana, Kei, etc.) and directs it to the recipient to enhance the body’s natural ability to heal itself through the balancing of energy. Reiki utilizes specific techniques for restoring and balancing the natural life force energy within the body. It is a holistic, natural, hands-on energy healing system that touches on all levels: body, mind, and spirit. By balancing the 7 main energy centers of the body (Chakras), we restore equilibrium to the whole body on all levels, emotional, physical, and spiritual.

Reiki energy has several basic effects: it brings about deep relaxation, opens energy blockages, detoxifies the system, provides new vitality in the form of healing energy, and increases the vibrational frequency of the body.

Tuning Fork Therapy® uses specific tuning forks like those used to tune pianos. The whole Universe is made up of energy. Each part of the Universe vibrates at its own frequency. That frequency determines the structural makeup of objects, for example, the frequency of a rock is very slow causing it to be dense and heavy.

Tuning forks vibrate at specific frequencies and are used to tune pianos but also to restore the proper vibrations to all the systems of the body. The body will respond to not only the physical vibration of the fork but also to the sound each fork creates.

When we, or our animal friends, are out of balance we often experience dis-ease. By restoring the balance and proper vibration of the body systems we restore our health. Both Shari and I have found that most animals will present the energy healer with the part of the body that is most bothersome to them as was the case with Arie when he had his first session. All animals relax during the session showing typical mannerisms such as heads drooping, licking and chewing, and often sighing. Shari once had a horse fall fast asleep during a Tuning Fork session.

Using energy healing techniques, such as Reiki and Tuning Fork Therapy® not only helps your horse to become more relaxed and healthier, but also greatly increases the bond and communication with your animal partner. Both Shari and I have many clients that schedule regular Reiki sessions for their horses. We have a lot of anecdotal records given to us from the owners on the improved health and performance of the horses. Using any energy healing techniques with Western medicine and Veterinary care only enhances the benefits of each modality.

In the interest of keeping with the format of the book, Shari did some communication with Hugsy, Abby, Candy, and Arie regarding the treatments.  We know what our human clients have to say but I wanted to know what the horses have to say so Shari asked each of my horses and Arie (he boards with us) their thoughts on Reiki and Tuning Fork (TF) Therapy .  Neilson is fairly new to our barn and does not appear in Talk To Me but he will be the featured horse in Talk To Me Too.  Arie is the only one that has had a session of TF therapy with Shari. I do Reiki for my horses on a regular basis.

HUGSY:

Reiki: “It has been a gift to all of us. It unites us and helps us communicate better as a herd” (loves when you do the whole barn at once). “Feels like gentle warm hands gently stroking me.”

TF Therapy:” Hugsy’s comment before we tried” I’d like to try it. Arie talks about it. I think it might be nice.” Comments after a quick session, “I like to listen to them, creates the perfect OM but doesn’t like the direct contact”.

Direct contact is not needed to get the benefits.

CANDY:

Reiki: “It makes me fit in my body again – – it connects me to myself.” (She shows me a picture of how her true self hovered over her body before without really bring connected).

TF Therapy: “What’s the big deal?” explained it to her…”I’ll give it a shot” (It feels like she might not warm up to it very quickly – to invasive).

ABBY:

Reiki: “Like a warm blanket or a gentle rain. It is wonderful – we make such a connection during it” (Between you and her)

TF Therapy: Comments before:  “I’ve never tried it but I like the sounds of it…can we try?” Comments after a quick session: “Very interested would like a full session sometime. Likes the sound of the forks”.

ARIE:

Reiki: “It calms me. It helps me.” How? “I sometimes get cranky/crazy or ouchie – it covers me with bright warmth and I feel better. It helps me to trust people more” ( he takes me back to his first session with me).

TF Therapy: “LOVE IT.” “My forks”. “I love the vibration, I can feel it to my very core.” As evident in his photos thoroughly enjoyed his short session.

NEILSON:

Reiki: “I’m not quite sure what it is yet. All I know is that is feels like a warm breeze or a curtain of light. It makes me feel LOVE.”

TF Therapy: Before the short session:“I don’t know…can we try?” After the short session, “Likes the sound but is a bit intimidated by the forks at this point”.

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If you have any questions or want more information please leave a comment.

Horses as our Best Friend

 

The saying is, “Dog is man’s best friend”. I don’t disagree with that, my dog is a part of our family, however, humans are enchanted with horses.

Horses have been a part of our history throughout the ages.  Each culture has it’s own history and own symbolic meanings for the horse.  Among those symbols are: wisdom, power, freedom, nobility, grace, strength, honor, travel, movement, desire.  Horses also play an important role in mythology. I tend to resonate with the Native American view of the horse, which does not surprise me since my family tree has two tribes on my Father’s side.  Native Americans tend to view the horse as embodying the Earth and it’s grounding effects while containing the  wisdom found in Spirit Winds (wind is seen as a living force itself, a God that is capable of communicating with certain members of the tribe such as shamans.  It is no wonder then that the Native Americans view the horse as a Helper, Messenger, and Keeper of Spirit Knowledge.  Native Americans believe that humans and horses can work together but only after a mutual respect and awareness of responsibilities to each other is created.  Talk To Me – Round Pen Work From the Horse’s Point of View incorporates those beliefs and has messages for us from the spirit of Horse as well as how we can improve upon our partnership of mutual trust respect.  The lessons the horses have taught me apply in all areas of life.

The reason we are so enchanted with horses is because of their ability to connect with us on a different level.  Capturing that feeling and expressing the benefits can sometimes be hard to do. There are many good books that address that magical connection such as The Tao of Equus by Linda Kohanov and Zen Mind, Zen Horse – The Science and Spirituality of Working with Horses by Allan J. Hamilton M.D. and Robert Miller DVM, among others.  There are many anecdotal studies that show how horses affect and improve our lives.  Therapeutic riding centers have many clients that will attest to the fact that horses do connect with us on a different level and help with our physical and spiritual needs. We had an open house at Palomino Acres recently where we invited the public  to come meet the horses in Talk To Me.  One woman said to me, “I came because the kids wanted to pet the horses.  I see why this is your passion.  I feel very” Zen like” just being around them.”  It is my hope that reader’s of Talk To Me will learn from my journey with Hugsy and the insight all of the horses gave us. It is my hope that people feel, not just understand, but feel the power and magic of the Horse through mine and Shari’s words.

If you have the opportunity, spend a half an hour in the presence of horses at your local stable.  If you get a chance to go, be present in the moment, forget the grocery list, and the mile long to do list.  Pay attention to how you feel before and after.  Enjoy the quiet beauty and strength.  Some of my favorite times are sitting in the field watching my horses eat or sitting in the barn on a rainy night listening to the rain on the roof and the horses munching their hay.  Be mindful of the simplicity they bring to you.  If you are more of a scientific minded person there is a new study you should read http://equusmagazine.com/blog/horsing-childhood-wsu-evidence-cortisol-stress-hormone-16393 A very good summary of the study and it backs up what people have been saying for years,

Following is a short excerpt from the book.  Some background information, at this point in our journey Hugsy was no longer considered an outlaw but we had a long way to go, I was working with GaWaNi Pony Boy, a well known Native American Trainer, at a two day clinic.  Hugsy had all kinds of lessons to teach me that day but I believe this was the break through moment for both of us.

Pony added a new phrase to my vocabulary: “It takes as long as it takes”. It took over an hour.  Everybody else had their horses doing inside turns in both directions in the round pen.  I was frustrated.  Pony kept telling me, “You are doing everything right.  She knows exactly what you want.  She is saying, “You and whose army are going to make me do this?”

And wouldn’t you know it, as soon as Pony had his back turned, she lowered her head, turned into the middle, and looked at me.  I know it was less than a second, but time really seemed to stop. As we stood there looking at each other, the rest of the world ceased to exist.  It was just us.  She told me, “You are worthy.  I will follow”.

I told her, “I love you and I will take care of you”.  I motioned her to complete the turn.  I crashed back into the real world when people from the audience yelled, “Tammy got it! Tammy got it!” They were celebrating my success with me.  I looked at the audience and saw the woman who had approached me at lunch the previous day.  She was beaming.  I remember thinking, I hope she gets to experience this with her Hugsy.

Pony came running from the other end of the arena saying, “No way.  She really got it?” He was smiling as much as I was.

All I could say was, “That was too cool”.  It’s taken me a long time of savoring that moment before I became willing to put the experience on paper and share.  Partly because I didn’t think people would believe me, and partly because I didn’t know how to put the experience into words.  I have done the best I can to explain what happened, but there is still to this day a little bit of magic when I think about that moment, and it brings happy tears to my eyes. (Taken from pages 31-32)

If you are a horse person you understand that bond.  If you are not I hope you get to experience the magic that we call horse at least once.  If you are ever in my neck of the woods I would be happy to share that magic with you.

Pictured below; Tammy and Hugsy enjoying a peaceful ride and her son, Ian, sharing a moment with his horse Candy.

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Writing and Riding Together

When you decide to have a partner in any facet of your life you need to make sure you are compatible.  I am not really sure what advice to give in that respect.  I am sure if I googled it there would be lists of things you look for and things you should do.  One of the most important lessons I have learned in my journey with Hugsy is to listen to my intuition.  If it feels wrong – even a little bit then it probably is, if it feels right it probably is.  When Shari and I decided to work together on Talk To Me we both thought it was a great idea.  We both had a vision for the book.  Both of us are open to constructive criticism and understand that two brains are better than one and another set of eyes is always helpful.

We met for the first time at the first Whole Horse Whole Human Holistic Expo help at my place, Palomino Acres.  I invited Shari to present Reiki, Tuning Fork Therapy, and Animal Communication based on a recommendation from a trusted friend.  It was at that expo that both of us knew we needed to work together.  It was not an accident that we met.

At this point Shari knew nothing of horses other than they are big.  I knew nothing of animal communication.  One of the best things to come out of this book is how much we taught each other.  I became a Reiki Master and am learning to do Animal Communication.  Shari has come to appreciate horses for the magnificent beings they are and what they can do for us.  She has started riding and she has several Reiki clients that are horses.

We each have our own strengths and we divided the work up to take advantage of those strengths.  We agreed at the beginning that writing a book was a new experience for both of us and we needed to be patient with each other and at the same time open to each others suggestions.  We relied on each other to finish the book.  My name comes first because the story is about my horse Hugsy and the training methods I use and I did the majority of the writing.  But, I could not have done it without Shari.  Shari did her share of the editing, and helping me with the writer’s block.  Numerous times I said there is a hole here – how do you think we should fill it, and we shared ideas.  Usually it was a combination of our ideas that ended up in the final version.  Not a compromise, but working together to make it the best we could.

The only down side we could come up with regarding this project is the waiting.  I would get into a groove and be in a work mode.  I would need Shari to do some animal communication or help with edits.  I hated waiting and it wasn’t because Shari procrastinated it was because I needed to learn patience and be flexible on timing.  Patience is a virtue that I am still working on.  We both agree that the hardest wait was waiting once the publisher had the final copy.

Shari is currently working on her own book and I will provide the support she provided for me.  We are also working on a sequel to Talk To Me.  Our partnership works.  The key to a good partnership is working with someone that compliments you, work with each other’s strengths, be open and honest with each other and be patient – writing is a process and creativity cannot be rushed.

Inspiration for Talk To Me – Round Pen Work From the Horse’s Point of View

So what made me write a book about round pen work? It isn’t like the round pen is new.  People have been using this tool for a long time. Almost everybody in the horse world has had to deal with a “difficult” horse – so what – why is my story worth a whole book?

Let me introduce you to Hugsy.  She is 1,200 pounds of Palomino attitude.  When I first started taking lessons on her she was called Barn Witch (among other names but this is the nicest).  For some reason we made an instant connection.  Soon after I met her I leased and then bought her.  I continued to take lessons and she continued to get worse.  My instructors were what I will call old school.  Harsher bits, tie downs, draw reins were all used to try and gain control and make the T_M-40horse submit to my demands.  I ended up in the hospital twice.  My husband wanted me to sell Hugsy.  I couldn’t.  I was willing to find a farmer that would let me keep her with their cows and buy a different horse – but she was mine.  Just before I did that I happened onto one more trainer, Jon Mallory.  He didn’t see anything wrong with my horse, he was going to fix me and Hugsy would follow suit.  We worked for several years and made big improvements.  I studied under GaWaNi Pony Boy and learned how to correctly use the round pen, we made more progress.

As I learned to work WITH my horse there was a great transformation in both of us.  People started asking me to help them with their horses.  Jon encouraged me to write Hugsy’s story.  He uses us as an example with his other clients.  I have met some of his clients that don’t remember my name but know all about Hugsy and ask if the story is true.  Yes it is.  I wrote Hugsy’s story with the intention of publishing it but then my son came along and priorities changed.  We built our own facility, Palomino Acres Equine Services (named in honor of Hugsy).  Our first event was a Whole Horse Whole Human Holistic Expo.  We had demonstrations by equine dentists, chiropractors, light therapy, Reiki, and an animal communicator among others.  I did round pen demonstrations.  During the round pen demonstration, which directly followed the animal communicator, it hit me.  I have seen dramatic results with my horses and other horses since I changed what I was doing, but am I doing the best I can? What do the horses think about this?  I immediately got out my Hugsy story and finished it.  I pitched the idea of asking the horses I work with their input on training to Shari Koval and the rest of the book wrote itself.  Talk To Me – Round Pen Work From the Horse’s Point of View is mine and Hugsy’s transformational journey together but it also gives insight on the round pen techniques I use from both my point of view and the horse’s.  The book provides a lot to think about.

I wrote this book to encourage other people that there is hope for that nightmare horse that they love but don’t know how to deal with them.  I know that lots of people have their own Hugsy story to tell, some of the stories don’t have happy endings and I want to help change that.