Monday, 31 May 2010

Organising It All

Pic.: Exercising full liveries today. My lovely animal is trying to eat my leg ;)

Many people struggle with an idea for life thinking everything would be easier if they only knew what they wanted to do; but even if you do have one it's not all plain sailing. In fact, the true challenge barely starts.

I'm pretty much set on having a go at trying to balance it all...The Academy, the teaching, the riding and the training. There just must be a way to do it. There are several major issues on the way to make this option viable which is why it will be realised very much on a step by step basis. Severe multi-tasking is not my favourite way of action but it might need to be called for now and then in the coming months.

The first thing on the agenda for now is to run the Case Studies for each of the Academy's programmes. Several riders are already booked in for their sessions where they will be videos and photographed and the footage will be put on the Academy's website once completed.

So basically - we are officially on the road!

The idea being that the footage will help other riders to picture what the Academy is about and whether and how we can help. The riders come from varied backgrounds and range from regular riding school riders to competition riders so hopefully their experiences will form an interesting and educational resources for all levels.
I do want the Academy to be as mobile as possible but to be able to proceed with my Option 3 Mission Impossible, I will try to focus on local riders for the time being. Hopefully other instructors involved will be able to do a bit of running.
I spent several hours playing with Vista Print's designs and creating promotional brochures. They should arrive in the next few days.

Here is a screen snapshot of how they looked like online when I finished. Not whole document is showing but you should get the idea :)

One lovely lady is also helping me organise the printing of large posters that we will be able to put up in tack shops, livery yards and at participating/potential venues.
Another friend of mine who has own yard very kindly offered for me to use her 20x60 arena with some great new jumps and fillers and all weather, rubber surface. This is definitely a superb addition considering the staying in a relatively local area.

A few words on the horses. In order to work on Kingsley's stubborn streak we got a dually head collar for some intensive ground manners lessons! I had a super old version of this head collar several years ago and I found it invaluable to teach horses to respect the handler's personal space. After playing with Kingsley in it on Saturday, even after just 30 minutes the change in his entire attitude was impressive. Today, I walked him to the field speeding up, slowing down, stopping, backing up and he listened well, stopping when I stopped without me prompting. Immediately with this change in leading behaviour came much more submissive attitude in general so definitely worth the £39 that dually cost.

Kingsley is now field sound so we trotted him up on the hard surface to get the idea of the severity of the lameness. He was much better than a couple of weeks ago and actually used his body more correctly on the circle. The lameness is definitely still there with the left fore being affected the most but is probably 50% reduced from how he was a month ago. We are trying to find a turn -away-grass livery home for him but in the meantime we will attempt to resume his walk hacking. Since lungeing seems to be too strenuous (he tends to have a random energy explosion which makes it impossible to keep him in walk non-stop), hopefully the controlled walking will help to strengthen him without causing unnecessary stress.
From the point of view of cutting the losses we should probably just put him down...If he ever recovers enough to be offered for sale to a hacking home it will be for a rather symbolic price.
I would feel much better if we did manage to get him consistently sound enough for someone to enjoy him. He loves marching around the woods so someone who shares such idea of fun would be a fab rider for him.

Frank surprises me. He is still nervous about many things to do with any sort of work but he nevertheless seems more able to mentally cope with pressure. I don't have any particular time related goal for him and take it very much as an experience which might just be what he needs. For the first time today he walked calmly with my weight on him. So far we had all sorts of movements which feel as if he was walking on hot stones wondering when he could bolt. None of that today.
I'm doing lots of steering play with him too by walking next to him and making him understand my voice commands coupled with rein aids. He was very nervous when we first tried this as he prefers you to lead him than for you to walk beside him but we even managed a little trot in hand today. I want him to be confident moving forwards without a leader at his head. While he is very trusting and relies on you for reassurance he is also extremely insecure when asked to go on his own (which might be part of the reason why he spooks so violently when on the lunge and never in-hand). More of the same in the coming weeks and we shall see where will that take us.

Another issue that needs solving due to going for Option No 3 is my driving licence...and a car. Once the Case Studies are out of the way, this will be the priority. How I'm not sure yet ;)

Pic. below: Kingsley after his bath last Monday


and "enjoying" the said bath:


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