Things are going great at NRS! Viva is settling in nicely, and has become fast friends with Falah and even Matilda is starting to like her a bit more.
A few days ago I took Falah on a mini trail ride to a little field across from the sand ring. After kicking the ball around while I was on Falah (he got into the game quickly and trotted after the ball!) I rode him to the sunny field and just let him graze. This reinforces the idea that not every time I get on Falah or tack him up does he get worked hard like in my lessons on him. Here’s a few quick pictures my Mom took from that day!
Can you find Falah?
Falah was amazing for me today! I haven’t ridden him in a few days because we need to start switching from a hard lesson to and easy, no-pressure lesson to give him a break from the fast and furious training we have been doing. Yesterday he was really grumpy so instead of riding him I had an on-ground lesson where we did the Traveling Circle, Friendly Game with kicking the ball, and lots of Sideways. This morning Falah was in a much better mood after we did different versions of all the Games. Instead of the usual stick and string or rope for the Friendly Game, I did a hula hoop around Falah’s legs and neck and then jumped around in the kiddie pool to desensitize to the crinkling sound. Instead of our usual Yoyo (I back him using “finger, wrist, elbow, arm stages) I marched in place to back him up. Then we did the Falling Leaf Pattern which is when I send Falah to one side of me and disengage and send him the other way, all the while walking forward so I walk in a straight line while Falah makes a continueing fan-shaped pattern in front of me.
By the time I hopped on, Falah was in a much better mental state than the past few days when I have been doing the same things with him not realizing that he was becoming bored with the routine. Changing it up made the basic Seven Games much more interesting for both of us, and the result was a beautiful Cloverleaf at the trot, and the great canter circle in this following video!
Today it was horse show day! I groomed for Jenifer while she rode her mom’s adorable pony Mr. Noodle in his first show ever! After coming home thoroughly sun-burnt I am still excited for tomorrow because a new horse is coming to NRS! Viva is a gorgeous 7 year old thoroughbred mare and will be joining the NRS herd tomorrow in the morning. I am showing up at 9:30 in hopes of squeezing in a lesson with Falah before she arrives and if needed we will do something after Viva is settled in.
Another horse’s arrival makes the need of another shed at NRS even more apparent. Because of my arrangement, Falah stays at NRS for the summer, but the goal of NRS is to accept a new thoroughbred rescue every year, another shed would be very helpful to give shelter to more rescues. Jen already has 3 horses of her own as well as Falah at her house and one shed, so a new shed will give the many rescues to come shelter from the sun, wind, rain, and snow of all seasons if needed. This addition would cost around $10,000 so I am going to fundraise like crazy for the winter to try and get a shed as well as other useful additions to NRS to ensure the future NRS Thoroughbreds will be comfy and happy in their temporary home!! If you could find it in your heart to make a donation (even the smallest amount can help!) Falah and the future NRS horses would be ever grateful. I am looking in to adding a paypal/donation account to the blog so I will update the status of that later but in the mean time, all donations can be made out to “Lucky Horse Equine Rescue” and specified “Aileen & Falah” in the cause. Thank you!!
Before I sign off and collapse in bed, here’s a short video of Falah and I doing the cloverleaf at the trot. We were both pretty consistent in this video; I had to use some leg when it came time to turn away from the barn and where his friends were grazing, but over all the pace was consistent and we didn’t break gait once!
Instead of our usual lesson today, Jenifer taught me on the line. This means she was controlling my movements as far as where Falah went and was there to support my commands if needed (sending Falah combined with my energy.) We did a lot of canter-trot transitions which is what Falah and I need to work on.
Being on the line meant I could concentrate more on my riding position and balance. It’s different balance-wise riding without the use of my arms which were placed on my hips most of the time than having them out in front of me. I had to keep my legs back, heels down and maintain a bend around the circle which means I pointed my belly button slightly in and made sure my shoulders were even (for me that means pulling the inside one back because I have a tendency of counter bending while trying to bend Falah I’m not sure why) and putting my inside leg on when needed. Falah did really well and tomorrow I am just going to do ground work to give him a break from all his hard effort this past week.
This is the video from today and I have another one saved for tomorrow!
Quick post today, but I have a video here of Falah and I cantering around in the sand ring. In the beginning you can see me using my mecate (while I’m using a traditional bridle I use the string from my stick tied around my wrist) and he picks up the wrong lead at first so that’s why we trot and canter again.
It’s hard re-learning how to ride! I see in the video when my legs are too far forward, or my heels come up or I’m hunched, but it’s much different when I’m actually riding and worrying about changing gait and keeping it and not falling off at the same time as my equitation! I think I need an equitation sleep tape “eyes up, heels down, hands together, shoulders back!” Good thing I have Jen calling out or I’d forget to do anything! Anyway here’s the video;
I don’t have much worth writing about today as Saturday I worked Dancer in class and today I have a day off. Dancer was a lot of fun in class. I kept thinking he knew more than he did because I’m so used to working with Falah. All of the horses I am working with besides Dancer have an idea about Natural Horsemanship but Dancer was trained in the traditional way so in class I discovered if I asked him to disengage his hind quarters he immediately thought “gas” because pressure was out on his hindquarters which traditionally means go. So working with Dancer is a little but different. I think it will be difficult to reorganize my brain between horses!
Tomorrow I work Falah and we will do the Question Box again. Once we get in the hang of it, the Box can be really fun because it’s almost like a competition because you have to get the transition right or else start all over! We’ll see how we do!
Today was hot, hot , hot!! As I guessed, we worked on the Question Box again, but what i didn’t anticipate was me riding Falah in his saddle and a bridle. We’ve been using a hackamore for since as long as I’ve been riding him, so the bridle was something new. He took the bit right out of my hand when I first put it on with no complaint.
We did walk, trot and canter transitions all in the box as well as extended trot, “western” trot, and extended and slow canters. I have to work on my leg position!! No more sitting like I’m in a chair I’ve decided! If only it was that easy, but I’m sure with some practice I’ll get it!
At the end of the lesson, despite the heat (both Falah and I were soaked!) I was happy with our work and can’t wait to work on our transitions by myself.
Here’s a video as promised, it might take a while to load because of the length. And if you’re in a rush, the canter transitions and better trots are towards the end