Friday, 18 June 2010

Everything has so many details and then some more!

Pic. left: The high street in Rochester on Tuesday morning.

Trying to fit in a few lives into one is a tiring affair and I'm looking forward to a proper rest at some hopefully not too distant future. The week just gone was very productive and thankfully there is a lot of things that have been pushed on. However, there is still plenty to be done for the Academy's website to go live. It's almost as if when one aspect is completed another ten pops up!
I will be relieved when everything is online in a more or less correct order. One of the things I still have outstanding is a short video on Academy's services. Due to the complexity of the offer I thought it would be good to give the riders a visual overview of what the Academy is about but I do have to question my sanity - there is just so much to it and it seems like it's so easy to make it look totally rubbish!
Even more so, the devil is in the details. I thought everything was looking and reading OK only to re-read the content already on the site and finding a multitude of annoying issues/wording/placement that needs correcting. On top of that there are the images that have to vaguely illustrate or complement the text and making sure nothing sounds too complicated...dare I continue...

As I seem to be adding some movie making basics into my skills tool box I thought it would be wise to acquire a good video camera. Getting someone else to film would just be too costly so it seemed like a good option to go for. I didn't realise, however, that the camcorder had no memory card included (well, the sales person insisted it did!) so now have to add that to the shopping list too.
All these details you see.

The tactical-logistical steps are thankfully going forwards too. On Tuesday I travelled to Kent to meet Anna Trinder, an instructor whom I've involved with Academy. I always prefer to sit with people and discuss everything over a cup of coffee than to bounce multiple emails to and fro but it's difficult to fit such meetings into my very busy week schedule. I had to cancel some of my teaching to be able to see Anna but it was definitely worth it!
We caught up on all the issues connected with the launch of the Academy, the possible pluses and minuses of different running options as well as trying to price the services!
It's all great having an idea but for it to move from a volatile state to any kind of tangible stature is a damn hard work and many hours of fiddling about with things you wouldn't think existed in the first place.

Fot.: Anna and Finn pressure-posing in a Cafe in Rochester


On Wednesday I rode Casper in the morning and we went for a long hack. He was on his toes and and tense for good half of the time but relaxed towards the end. He can now do at least an hour of walk out hacking and is getting fitter. I schooled him on Monday focusing mainly on long and low work and getting him to relax his back and more importantly, his mind. I had a short lesson with Craig so I knew how to ride Casper to keep him calm. I am very much new to this ex-race horse training and it's fascinating how much different riding one is to simply schooling a young warmblood. There is just so much sensitivity and tension in Casper, his mind has hundreds of wave lengths and if you are either with him 100% or you're not at all. No compromise. I think I know what feel I need to get now and how to get there but to make it consistent I need to learn to totally relax and not allow myself to pick up any of the tension I feel in him. Wednesday afternoon and evening I ran my Intensive Training Day for one of my new riders from Surrey. The rider has only had 11 lessons so far so is very much a beginner but we had a great time. It proves to me time and time again that the level of the rider doesn't really matter, it's the attitude and desire to learn that makes the teaching of riding to like minded people such a superb job.

On Thursday, among some other regular lessons, I taught one of the riders I am Case Studying for the Academy and who also is a member of the Academy's team :) Susanna Malkakorpi does Equine Body Work (http://www.susannashorsetherapy.com/) and will look after the muscles of all the horses on Academy's Training Programmes as and when required by the owners. Susanna is a very inquisitive rider herself and a pleasure to teach. She is having lunge lessons with me to re-train her seat and get rid of some bad habits like back stiffness and hip locking that crept into her riding due to years of hacking on a buckle :)
She is doing a great job and is discovering some more tools in her seat to improve the horse she rides and schools on regular basis.

Fot: Susanna having lunge lesson with me on April at Hall-Place Equestrian Centre. She keeps her heels up a little here as her "natural" preferred way or riding is to push the heels down, lock the ankle and knee joint and settle in a "chair seat". Keeping her ankles relaxed and mobile as well as experimenting with the foot position allow her to think more about absorbing the movement of the horse through her pelvis. It's all work in progress and once she can keep mobile in the hip joints she will be able to keep her heels consistently lower too. Another habit of hers is the locking of the elbows and arms but we are taking it one step at the time :)

Today I spent the morning with Jen of http://www.jennyrudallhorseriding.com/, another instructor involved with the Academy and we tried to put together some promotional plan as well as catch up on the overall progress. Very productive meeting with some good ideas generated, some just operational boring stuff but also some very exciting ones so I hope we will manage to go ahead with them!
Then onto a 12pm train to work at Cane End. I rode Casper first thing and although agitated at the start he settled much quicker in the arena. I schooled him in walk and a little trot, again just long and low and if not the flies that irritated him immensely I think he would have gone well. Then off we went for a 40min walk in the woods and he was so much more chilled than last time. I'm getting used to him now and let him stride out on a long rein. He spooks at some most peculiar things like sticks on the ground or a leaf and the likes but is otherwise very easy. My plan is to ride Casper 4 times a week and so far I managed to coordinate everything to suit this schedule :) Happy me.
Cane End is my slow-down-time with no mad rushing around which makes a nice change to other days of the week. I do the more boring yard jobs listening to Horse Radio Network's podcasts which has proven to be a miracle cure of my tedious commute too!

As I've spent the last several weeks working so much I am close to burn out, today is my down time, so a long bubble bath and a book and no 'work thinking and planning' at all!!

Riding Casper in the morning tomorrow then doing Assessment Day for another Case Study rider for the rest of the day.



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