Archive for May, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Nova’s Notebook – 1st Demonstration!

About two weeks before the big Vaught Family Natural Horsemanship, Jenny asked if I was going to ride in the demonstration. Whoops!  I didn’t know that Nova and I were going to be in the demonstration.  We had an assumption and non verbal communication.

Now, it’s something to be practicing all along for “being in the Spotlight” someday as opposed to actually having a date for a demonstration.

Nova and I started to practice and the holes we had were just a bit glaring.  I had not practiced enough in riding bridleless.  Our first practice session for riding bridleless in a real demonstration was dismal.  I wasn’t really confident.  But over the next two weeks, I managed to practice just a bit more and felt good about Nova stopping and slowing when I wanted.  Nova is not a “see the long rail and accelerate” kind of a horse.  That is what saves me from fear.  She’ll canter down the long rail at the same rate of speed.  She will stop. Stopping is a good feeling when riding bridleless.  You know what you get when you ride bridleless or play at liberty with your horse?  The truth!

We have a few glaring holes in running away from me when playing at liberty on the ground.  This hole showed up in the real demonstration.  I let her loose and she immediately took off.  She looked really pretty as she galloped around the arena a couple of times.  Nova is good at this. She doesn’t get close to other horses.  Finally Nova ran to me. There’s nothing like that…to have your horse run to you during a demonstration in a strange arena! 

Let’s see….we didn’t practice jumping over a barrel, but I got my nerve up during the demonstration and we jumped a few times over barrels.

Nova and I are good at sidepassing over things..like barrels.  We can sidepass over stuff in our sleep. We are sidepass experts!

So, after I got on Nova during the demonstration, we went straight to the barrels, got into sidepass position but whoa howdy, I felt a big concrete wall.  Nova’s body told me front and center that she wasn’t going to sidepass over barrels.  We tried to sidepass the other direction and the concrete block was still there.

Ok, I thought!  We’ll go do something else and come back to sidepass over something.  A little later I asked her to sidepass over a small jump.  The concrete block was still there.  I thought I would fool her.  I asked her to step over the jump with her front legs and then asked her to sidepass.  HA!  I didn’t trick her. Instead she backed up and demolished the jump.  I’m certain we were the center of attention then!

I’ve tried to analyze this later.  During a demonstration, there’s an excitement level from the crowd.  It was a strange arena.  We didn’t set foot in that arena until our demonstration started.  So I bet Nova was telling me that she didn’t want her feet compromised.  Nova wanted her feet unemcumbered by barrels if she decided to take off.  Yep, that is it.

We did some cool stuff while I was riding and finally she did sidepass over the barrels. 

Now, I felt it was time…

I took off the bridle and we rode around the arena looking pretty cool.  There was this tarp on the ground.  Nova and I ride over tarps every now and then.  We think tarps are very harmless.  However, I don’t ever remember picking up a tarp while riding Nova.  Some demon show-off button inside me told me to pick up the tarp.  I picked it up with my carrot stick.  Nova was calm, so I gathered up the tarp and placed it over her withers. Then we sidepassed over a row of cones. That was way cool!  Walking around with that tarp cracking and rustling was the result of prior and proper preparation.

We had a great time.  Our maiden demonstration was a success!!!

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