Monday, September 9, 2013

Our New Stable

Elena was making progress becoming an independent pony rider at the end of her time with our Hippotherapy program.  Brenda, our therapist, recommended that we consider another riding place, which she'd be happy to pre-approve for us (that's great, b/c we live in horse country and I don't know a thing about horses or what would best suit Elena's needs).  The reason was that Brenda thought that Elena could take typical riding lessons (I consider them "riding-lite"), and that was not her specialty.  Our last hippotherapy session was July.  

We now go to Fairhunt Farm to ride.  It's a lovely place, and Susan is very patient.  Elena rides Starlight, nicknamed "Teacup" because her hooves are so tiny.  Teacup is an tiny old mare who is well trained and very patient.  Elena loves her. 

Elena is learning horsemanship, so she helps care for Teacup before and after riding.  I didn't see much of a physical gain in it as much as relationship-building with the pony--but I was wrong.  One time, after riding (when Elena typically has "jelly legs") she was brushing Teacup with very straight legs and not leaning on her at all--that almost never happens.  Teacup even moved towards E a little, which would have sent E flying if she was leaning on her--but it was fine b/c Elena was in control, in her own space.  That's pretty huge!

"Painting" Teacup's hooves to prevent cracks

Saddling up

 I am typically a side walker.  I have to confess that when I see E in the saddle, I'm very proud of her--and afraid half the time she's going to fall off.  Not b/c she's going too fast, but because she's expected to do so much more balancing than she's used to, and since our riding time is after school, she is quite tired.  To me, E seems to have a hard time focusing on Susan's instruction right now.  I think that will change--she's still getting used to her school schedule, for one.  Elena also originally arrived at Fairhunt feeling pretty confident of her skills, and I believe is realizing she has a whole lot to learn.  Maybe it's a bit overwhelming, and that contributes to the lack of focus sometimes?  We'll see.


Side View

Trot Action, #1

Trot Action, #2

Elena loves to talk to Susan and enjoys steering and walking.  She leans forward a lot right now when executing movements, but she is getting better at her posture and that awareness is exactly what I want for her.  I think that Elena's riding will improve quickly.  Susan's voice is gentle and she is a different type of instructor--I worry that my presence of being a helper isn't the best fit.  I try to be quiet and defer to Susan as much as possible.  

Vivian and Leonard

Vivian comes to Fairhunt with us, of course.  She really wants to ride a pony, but somewhere in her almost 5-yr old mind she knows this is Elena's lesson.  She is allowed to explore the farm, including goats, barn cats, dogs, and chickens.  She likes to pretend she's a pony and run around the ring.  She occasionally gets to brush and even ride Teacup for a short while--she's so happy to do what her big sister does, it's adorable!  (Hopefully I'll get a good pic of Viv on Teacup soon!)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Maybe because Elena is tired she has to focus on balancing more than what the teacher is saying so she doesn't fall. Stuff like that used to happen to me. I really need to start riding horses again one of these days.