Naturalpaths Riding Academy
The Natural Path Way is one of Non-Toxic Environments; Physically, Emotionally, Mentally and Spiritually. We refrain from Aggressive Attitudes. We Communicate without Conflict. We Heal and Maintain Good Health through Nature.
We use Reiki, Massage, Water Therapy (always beside a tree to use water wisely!) and Acupoints. We use Herbal and Homeopathic De-Wormers for our Animals. We believe in the benefit of contact with the Earth through maintaining barefoot hooves (but are flexible enough - Middle Way - to use any protection needed in emergencies). We have taught our Non-Toxic principles through the local University.
We study and respect multiple traditions; from Tibetan to Native American healing techniques to Energy modalities. Ours is an Herbal Stable Yard based clearly upon a Simple, Local, Natural Foundation.
"The whole idea of struggle brings you to a point of conflict; the antithesis of horsemanship" ~ Katharine
Katharine Lark Chrisley NHC, RMT, Equine Specialist has degrees in Natural Health Counseling, Veterinary Assistance and Reiki Mastership. She is the founder and president of Dharmahorse Inc. a Sanctuary for unwanted horses. She writes a column on horses for the "Health & Wellbeing" section of the Las Cruces Bulletin newspaper. She is a contributing author for Natural Horse Magazine.
Katharine studied under her herbalist, midwife grandmother the ancient traditions of The Wisdom Way and Native American healing. She was the director of a Zen Center and is a life-long vegetarian.
Katharine has owned and operated 3 schools of classical horsemanship since 1973. She ran boarding operations within them and based her horses' rations upon grass hays, herbs and minerals. She passed her Rocky Mountain Horse Show Association judges exams in 1976 and has written for equine publications (Western Horseman, Horse & Rider, Dressage & CT, Horseman of the Southwest, Horseplay, Animal Wellness, Natural Horse Magazine, The Whole Horse Journal, Stable Gossip, Horse Illustrated, The Chronicle of the Horse and The Horseman's Voice) since 1975. She taught courses on horses, dogs and meditation for the DABCC of NMSU.
Through the years, Katharine has received instruction from many masters including Charles deKunffy, Peter Lert, Anne Gere, Brooks Busby, Shane Brasher, Colonel Womack, Maj. Gen. Johnathan R. Burton, Mary Rose FBHS, Frazier Gorel, Art and Aggie Popurt, J P Giacomini, Don Burt, Mrs. Cunliff, Lee Bittel; and she was one of 20 riders selected to ride for a scholarship at Morven Park IEI in Leesburg VA in the '70's.
She worked for an outstanding equine Veterinarian in Roswell, NM and studied equine Chiropractic techniques in Albuquerque, NM. Katharine is also an artist, illustrating articles and books.
The other evening I went out to feed and saw that my gelding couldn't even support himself on his right front leg. It actually dangled as if there were no feeling in it at all. I examined him and saw a faint hoofprint on his shoulder and realized he had been kicked by one of the other horses.
I called Katharine and she made an oil with nettles and comfrey and I started applying it to his shoulder that night. The next morning I was surprised to see him using the right front, although favoring it. I did the warmed oil on his shoulder twice a day until it was gone, about 3 days. Within two days he was trotting and by three he cantered.
She also recommended an off the shelf product to me when my miniature horse had a large lump on his shoulder that he had rubbed into an open wound. Twice a day application and within 2 to 3 weeks the wound had healed and the lump had almost disappeared. I personally think she is the all around most knowledgeable horse person in the area.
Jerry Crenshaw, 10/10/2016
Grateful for what you have taught my little girl, 01/28/2016
I want to just send you a note and tell you how much I appreciate what you have taught my daughter in a very short period of time. This may take a minute to explain but I hope you will read it and know how grateful I am!
This summer we had riding lessons with you that profoundly impacted my little girl. We were only with you for a short period of time so I hope you remember us.
We returned back to Germany and I attempted to find riding lessons for Malie to continue what she was learning with you. We have attempted to go to find a stable in the area. We have located a couple and visited. We chose one based on what we could gather. We arrived and the owners would not allow Malie to touch the horse to get to know him before mounting the horse. The experience we will just say was not positive - in any way. A lot of yelling and hurting the riders and the horses. It ended with them leaving Malie on the horse in the arena by herself without a mounting block. She was in there for a good 10 minutes before she attempted to get off the horse - the way that you taught her to get on and off Grits. She ended up falling off of the horse (a very large horse) on her way down (I couldn’t get to her - I was blocked from the arena). She got up stroked the horse and calmed it and her. Needless to say the loving care Malie was showing toward the horse was not supported by the owner. She cleaned the hoofs and walked the horse back to it’s stall waiting still for help to get the equipment off of him. Finally about 30 minutes later someone came and asked why she hasn’t finished yet. They showed her how to take the saddle and equipment off of the horse and put him in the stall. She wanted to rub him down and they wouldn’t let her just told her to go and he would be fine.
We were on out way to the car and she turned to me and told me “Momma I do not want to come back - I do not like the way that they yell at the horses and treat them”. She said "I want to go back to Katharine and continue my lessons. I like the loving way that Ms. Katharine has with Magic and Grits and myself. I want to learn more of that. I do not ever want to learn what they want to teach me”
I am so proud of her for this. I am so very grateful that she has you as a model for the way that she wants to be with the horses she will ride in the future! I am hopeful she will get to spend more time with you and your lovely sanctuary when we return this summer.
Your friendship, guidance, knowledge, and support, have changed my life. You have helped me help my horses many times, and in return, I have managed to also help my neighbors horses too. If you wouldn't have mentioned Reiki to me, I would have never been able to help my family and friends the way that I have, and continue to do. I will be forever grateful!!! Namaste!!!
I am so glad that I decided to treat myself to a lesson with Katharine at Dharmahorse/Naturalpaths. What a wonderful experience! Not only does Katharine have the knowledge and expertise to teach, but she has this peaceful energy about her that spreads through her horses to the rider which makes the entire experience incredibly relaxing. I was scheduled to go to the chiropractor the next day and after adjusting me he was in awe and said that was the easiest I had EVER been to adjust. I just felt happy and relaxed after just one lesson - my first ride in about 8 years. Okay, so I was a little muscle sore for a couple of days but that just kept reminding me what a great time I had.
I have been participating with Katharine for the past year and it has been a truly rewarding and amazing experience.
When I was a kid, I took horseback riding lessons for a short period of time. I was young and scared and was taking lessons with a group of kids my age. When it came to trotting, I was scared, but I didn’t tell the trainer, and she never asked. When the horse wouldn’t trot (because I didn’t really want to trot) the trainer slapped the horse on its rear end and it started to trot. I was so scared and unprepared that I fell off! They convinced me to get back on the horse right away but I never got back on it again after that day.
I have always loved horses and wanted to reconnect with them. When I was looking for lessons, I specifically wanted to find someone who would teach me to care for the horse, connect with the horse, and to ride with the horse rather than focus on “mastering” the horse. I found Katharine’s company, which is based on compassion and connection. After my first lesson, I knew that this was exactly what I was looking for. Each lesson, I learned more and more about safety around this giant but gentle creature, and how to take into consideration where the horse is coming from when riding.
Probably one of the most important things I have learned is that the horse is a mirror of our self. When I was first riding, my lack of confidence showed when trying to get the horse to something as simple as walk. I learned from Katharine and the horses that you can be firm and confident while still being kind. All my life, I have only ever considered being kind as the most important trait. After practicing this concept with the horses, I have seen it spill out into my personal and professional life, and it has made a huge difference. And it certainly showed the first time I trotted! I trusted the horse knew what to do and I trusted myself as well and it was amazing.
Katharine and her wonderful horses have become a part of my life. I look forward to every weekend when I can ride and learn something new. I also look forward to every other Friday for Stablewomen where we learn more and more about horsemanship and how we can positively affect a horse’s life and share how they positively affect ours.
Katie McGinn, New Mexico
I have been taking lessons with Katharine for over a year and find her approach to horsemanship both enlightening and fundamentally practical. I began as a slightly nervous rider through negative past experiences and Katharine was very understanding and encouraging of me to gain confidence, while never pushing me further than I felt safe with. I have developed strong relationships with her horses, each of which is very much an individual with his or her own quirks and personality. I have learnt how to adapt my riding to the horse to work in partnership, which gives both me and the horse confidence in what we are doing. My lessons are mostly schooling, but we have also been on trail rides through the nearby desert, which is a wonderful experience.
I would recommend Katharine to people of all ages who want to develop riding skills while gaining a more complete understanding of horses.
Pip Lyons, New Mexico
I have been working with Katharine this past year with riding lessons, spiritual guidance, and herbal/natural health education. I feel that all aspects of my life (business, personal, and spiritual) have been greatly improved since connecting with Katharine. I have owned, worked with and ridden horses most of my life. However, after having a couple painful falls, I avoided riding for several years. Not owning a horse at the time, I was reluctant to ride other people's horses. Katharine has helped me regain my confidence and trust in riding by providing a safe, and comfortable environment. She focuses on communicating with the horse so the rider can better understand what and why they are asking of their horse. I have watched Katharine teach lessons to other clients, and she is supremely adept at teaching new concepts from the most novice to the most experienced rider.
Additionally, I have had the opportunity to participate in several of the Stable Women classes. This is a great opportunity to meet other women with similar interests and work on building that bond and communication with horses. The class is a wonderful time to learn and reflect on different horsemanship concepts with out any judgment.
Finally, with my business involving therapeutic massage for horses and dogs, I asked Katharine to teach me about Reiki. She gave me my Reiki I attunement. Since my attunement, I feel more in touch with my patients and able to provide a better healing/comfort effect for them. Katharine has also taught me a lot on natural remedies for a healthier lifestyle. Her knowledge base on herbs and oils are immeasurable, and my own personal health has greatly improved since shifting more to a natural lifestyle.
Vivienne Beauchemin, New Mexico
A response to “The In Between Places”:
I’ve spend a lot of time reading the most recent DharmaHorse newsletter, more than I usually take to do such things. Generally, I read my email, contemplate it a little bit, smile, nod and go on about my day. Even at a young age, I’ve found myself a lover of the In Between, or the Middles, as I call them. I ride a horse that is half and half, in an endurance saddle without a horn. I find myself cherishing the Middle moments in life; the drive to where I am going, the blessed late night moments with my infant son in between awake and asleep, and certainly with horses. My do I love the Middle when I am with my horse, the moment between when he is totally ignoring me to asking “Can we do something together?” It’s where I learn the most. When I was trimming hooves at DharmaHorse, I fell hard for an Appy named Hank, and bless you Katharine for subconsciously understanding my need for middles! Where someone else might have walked away or hit a horse for such actions, I found myself doubled over laughing, every time, while you smiled and didn’t so much as look at me sideways! It was the Middle time with Hank, between where he wanted to see what he could get away with to willingly allowing me to work on his feet that I felt incredulous joy at his actively trying to figure me out, figure out what I wanted, and watch his wheels turning deciding if he wanted to do it or not. Many people get frustrated with Middles, but they are more precious and hold more learning opportunities than most horse people care to admit.
Last year when my mentor came to visit, I was struggling with Middles with my horse, and so sure that I was never going to reach an endpoint. After a very long day I found myself being hand walked around the arena in the dark while I bawled. Oh Middles! I didn’t ride for weeks because I was so scared of middles, then I met a lady named Katharine and a horse named Hank, and I found a love of middles again. The next day I saddled up and rode through the middle to the end, and it was glorious!
Nowadays I embrace Middles with a passion, I don’t lose patience with the In Between places and learn to cherish them for what they are. There is not right and wrong, only gray and opportunities for growth. Thank you DharmaHorse, for teaching me the greatness in between.
Katharine has such a wealth of knowledge and is compassionate with people as well as animals, thank goodness! I have known her for years and can attest to her deep understanding of many subjects and her apparently infinite patience. Please don't let my clumsy praise minimize her talents - talk to her yourself and you will appreciate her as I do.
Cathy McFee Boeker
It Takes a Community!
Jay has improved 100%.
He is eating ALL his food again.
Poop is coming out much easier for him, without straining (poor thing, I hated to see him struggle like that)
One of his melanoma’s around his anus (the largest one) has blistered and is draining, which means the swelling has decreased, allowing for more flexibility around his anus, for his bowel movements
He is feeling like his normal self last night
Still need to keep a close eye on him and his bowel movements and put protocols into place to help him with bowel movements, until that melanoma is gone!
It takes a community to get thru situations like this!
When money is low, time is short, and there is only one set of hands at the barn, I had to reach out to others to do all I could to help Jay.
Thanks to Katharine Lark Chrisley, who offered me a simple, inexpensive, quick home remedy to help soften up that manure! Katherine is a sweetheart, who has been there a time or two when I am in need for solutions for the horses. A wealth of knowledge in Herbs, Katherine has been a contributing author to Natural Horse magazine for a prolonged term. She is also the founder and owner of Dharma Horse Sanctuary. ....."
~ Diana Wanamaker 4/14/2017
Jardin De Los Ninos, homeless and near homeless children: The heart filled welcome you had given the kids and teachers alike was such a positive learning experience for all of us! The work that ya'll do there is so great and I believe could really help a lot of people.
~ Nate Arneson 4/21/2016
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