(Apologies for the lack of photos this week! It was hot enough that the phone didn't leave my pocket & I didn't get a chance to snap some photos during August's lesson on Friday.) This week, Cricket had a few challenging days where she wanted to get a bit brace-y. This is a natural part of the learning curve, so to speak. I foresee her coming up out of this training "dip" further improved next week. I was happy with what she showed me on Friday while we showed August where she was at during his lesson. We've continued to progress & refine our previous exercises & maneuvers while really focusing on softness. She's made great improvement in her Turnarounds & has begun to respond to the outside rein & leg. We also continued to practice each gait, transitioning, stopping, & backing on the rail. As I mentioned to August during his lesson yesterday, Cricket is a bit different than the horses he's ridden in the past. She's naturally more sensitive & we've been working on her softness & responsiveness as well. She's sensitive in a good way, but that can be daunting for someone who's also learning what that feels like. She's been learning a lot in the last few weeks, so she sometimes gets some of the responses jumbled, on top of being a bit more sensitive in her nature. Cricket's more than welcome to go home next weekend, but I also want you both to know that if August would be more comfortable if she stayed a bit longer to "come out on the other side" of this intense learning period, she's more than welcome to. I want August & Cricket to be comfortable with each other. While part of that will come from August simply spending time in the saddle with her, it would be helpful for Cricket to be a bit more consistent in her responses. August asked what I would work on if she were to spend a bit more time with me. It would be putting more time on her so that she's more sure of what she's being asked while pairing the correct response to the right cue so that she's not offering up two responses at the same time (not uncommon for some horses at this stage so it's not a bad thing, just a normal part of learning). An additional two weeks to a month would be sufficient. I have a 5-Day Ranch Retreat coming up September 20th-24th, where she'd have the chance to be used for clinic demonstration & get a lot of group exposure & riding as I take the participants around the ranch. I 100% understand that finances definitely play a role, so I understand if you'd prefer to take her home next weekend. If so, I would strongly recommend that we set up monthly in-person lessons, if at all possible, so that I can help August & Cricket work through any areas of uncertainty together. This isn't to say that I can pick out any negativity about Cricket; she tries really hard (sometimes too hard) & this just happens to be the stage she's at in her education right now. Next week, we'll spend a bit of time in the arena as we prepare for the show on Saturday, but I also want to get her out & about more during her last week. We'll also get the large training ball back out & push that around. It was just too hot this week to have it out as I was trying to work horses early in the morning & late in the evening. It's a great tool to give the horses a purpose to using Shoulder In/Out, Sidepassing, etc., as we maneuver around the ball while pushing it. - Lexy Nuesch
Next week's update will be posted on Friday.
I do my best to get these updates posted in a timely manner, but it's not uncommon for me to be outside until after dark, depending on the weather, my schedule, & who gets worked when so updates will sometimes be posted quite late in the evening. Don't be alarmed if you don't see your update right away. In rare cases, I may have to push them until the next morning, but I'll reach out & let you know if so.