50 degrees and spring snow?!

Feb 17, 2024

Video above: "Wynter Snow" Haha πŸ˜‚


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Happy Saturday friends!

It's true, it's mid-February and spring has arrived. Even the goats are blowing their coats. Pregnant Dancer on left and her mom Alaska who is looking like a dirty stuffed animal right now. Goats blow their coats like dogs, in tufts:

The pansies' happy little faces are so precious:

And the moss on the front patio is bright green:

When I was out earlier today I noticed a red haze on the maples! It really is happening!


This week I stumbled across a story I wrote about 6 years ago and thought I'd share it. Guess what it's about?


Ha! Big surprise! Have you ever noticed how often I talk about boundaries? I guess I'll always be learning about them :-)

Here is My MOST FAVORITE Boundary Post!

Horses as Teachers—Rayn and Boundaries

Boundaries in a Family

So, the story. I've not posted it because I felt like such an idiot for being manipulated but, I learned a lot. I'm still learning. And maybe you'll see something of yourself here too.

Many years ago in Colorado, a trainer called and asked me if I would allow her to hold a natural horsemanship class at my farm with my animals. I only knew a little about her but I knew and liked some of the people who were taking her class, so I agreed.

One of my boundaries was to not have her use her natural horsemanship on my horses. I have my own way and I had seen way too many natural horsemanship folks be too harsh and sometimes downright abusive. She basically just needed a place to be with her students and near horses and said she didn’t have to go in with them. Perfect.

At one point I checked in on her to see if she was okay. They were just observing my herd. At the time my herd was my two mini donkeys, my three horses, and several boarded horses. They were learning about herd dynamics.

As I walked up, she asked what kind of training I did with my horses. She had a very forceful personality and my baby boundaries were no match. We had already discussed my style of training on the phone so she knew that I preferred clicker training but I figured she wanted to talk about different ways of training with her students. I didn't realize that she was setting herself up to look like an expert at my expense.

She asked me a couple of questions about clicker training, and then asked me to go out and call the horses in.

I just...agreed.

Oh man, the people pleasing was so strong in me!

The horses were eating that long, lush Colorado grass, and there was no real reason for them to come in other than her request. I had zero interest in them coming in. I half-heartedly went out and half-heartedly called them in, not expecting them to come, and of course they didn’t. I shrugged and turned around. It didn't matter to me, I didn't need them to.

With big smiles but that same forceful personality, she asked if she could try.

Unable to hold my baby boundary in the face of this odd mix, I said okay.

She went out with a long lead rope and huge, angry energy, swinging that lead rope around like a lasso, acting like she was going to smack the horses. The horses were immediately scared and began swirling in confusion and fear. Soon enough, she had them rounded up in the pen with a smug smile.

I was furious at myself for allowing her in, even though I didn’t know what she was going to do. Furious at her for putting my herd into a fear state. My whole goal in life is to be in a calm state and I would like that for my animals as well. She told her people that natural horsemanship was the only way to go, and that positive reinforcement had no place with horses.

It took me a long time to kind of wrap my head around my own thoughts about it and I did a lot of writing about it. My knee-jerk reaction was that I didn’t agree, but as I wrote about it, I realized it wasn’t that it was so black and white, as always it was grey.

I'm such a "why" person. Tell me why it matters, let's discuss! I'm still bummed that a discussion wasn't had with those students. It would have been fun to talk about all the different ways we could bring a herd in and how it depended on the situation.

My biggest go-to is building a relationship with them. That takes time! It involves play, talking to them and listening to them, hanging out with them in the pasture. Creating a relationship with them leads us to trusting each other and leads to really fun stories:

The one where I ran together with Rayn and a herd of 14 horses!

Or the time when my message from a horse was, "Get out of your head and into your heart."

Or this time when part of a big herd came to lie down with me!

Shaking a scoop of grain would get my herd moving toward me in a hurry and for the most part, that was my go to in Colorado. If I needed them to move, that was an easy way to do it.

Clapping my hands and using my special call for Rayn would often bring her and the herd would follow.

Haltering Rayn and walking her in and the herd would follow.

Or go out and tell them I had a client or a retreat coming and would they come in?

There are times where big energy is needed when a horse is being dangerous and you are in danger. There are times where natural horsemanship aka "pressure and release" comes into play. For me, I use a combination of just talking with them and telling them what I want and why, positive reinforcement, and some natural horsemanship when it’s needed and some big energy when it’s needed too.

I rarely found a need to round them up with fear tactics. I had done it in my early days but I didn't like the way it made me feel and I didn't like the fear they displayed. It absolutely works but so do my ways.

Calm and happy is the name of my game :-)

But, that trainer was a lesson I will never forget—even 6 years later.

I learned that when someone gets forceful with me, I will say no first, ask questions later.

I learned, again, that I only let people I trust around my horses.

I learned that people pleasing runs strong in me, more than I ever knew and I really have to fight it!

I learned again, that my animals rely on me to keep them safe.

I learned (for the second time) that Natural Horsemanship, and probably any style of training, can be a tool or a weapon, depending on the person.

It’s hard enough to be taught a hard lesson that just affects you. There can be a lot of guilt when it affects your kids—two or four legged. I have to remind myself that trickier minds than mine won that day. I apologized to the herd and luckily my horses are forgiving :-)

I'm learning to not allow bullies in my life but on the rare occasion they find their way in, I often struggle with being tough enough. I wasn't taught to be harsh, as a matter of fact, I was mostly taught to be a kind, flower child :-) I was born in 1969: Peace Baby ✌🏽

As I grew into an adult, divorced my "practice husband" (as B-Rad's and my couple's therapist years later would call our ex-spouses lol), remarried, took myself to therapy in my late 20s, began my 2 year coaching program in my 40s, I began internally saying, "This is the line in the sand." One of my favorite quotes:

And of course this fabulous little poem that I just adore:

Autobiography in Five Chapters
A Poem by Portia Nelson

1) I walk down the street.
....There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
.... I fall in.
.... I am lost — I am helpless.
.... It isn't my fault.
.... It takes forever to find a way out.

2) I walk down the same street.
....There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
.... I pretend I don't see it.
.... I fall in again.
.... I can't believe I'm in the same place.
.... But it isn't my fault.
.... It still takes a long time to get out.

3) I walk down the same street.
....There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
.... I see it is there.
.... I still fall in — it's a habit
.... My eyes are open
.... I know where I am
.... It is MY fault.
.... I get out immediately.

4) I walk down the same street.
....There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
.... I walk around it.

5) I walk down a DIFFERENT street.

Wanna work on your boundaries? The horses and I can help—call me :-)



We've had a few issues with the girl goat's pasture flooding during a lot of rain so B-Rad worked on the pond outflow this week. We were supposed to have 2.5 inches of rain and ended up with maybe...half an inch. πŸ™„ I'm going to play with that backhoe next time!

Donkeys are goofballs. Jaffee:

I got the cutest video of the donkeys playing that I will upload this week to my YouTube channel, keep an eye here!


I think this is more of a Gen Z anti-theft device isn't it?



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