Wendy and I had a wonderful session with the miniature horse, Noel. This was Noel’s second look at the horse piano. Bill and I played with her Sunday.
Noel figured out on Sunday how to make the note farthest to the left, “C”, create a sound. Occasionally she activated the middle note, “D”. However, she rarely pushed down hard enough on the note to the right, “E”. We tried different approaches. Sometimes we placed a treat on the key, hoping that Noel would exert enough pressure when picking it up, but this didn’t work very often. We also tried saying, “Touch”. She happily touched each key, but, once again, she was too soft and gentle.
Today Lindsey, who takes care of the horses at Christi McQuaker’s farm, was in the tack room with us, sitting on a stool, having her lunch.
At one point she got off the stool. I was leading Noel in the mesmerizing circle between her playing sessions at the piano and as we passed the stool Noel put her teeth on it three times, side by side. I noticed this and commented that Noel just did the exact movement we need on the piano. The stool is about 4′ high and the piano was set up at 2′. After a few minutes we raised the piano to the stool’s height and Noel’s playing improved significantly. At the lower height she was so very gentle with the piano and often didn’t press hard enough to create the sound. Bill set up the piano so that each note requires very little pressure, but Noel was super soft. Once the piano was raised it was easier for her to create the sound. Several times she activated the keys with her chin bopping downwards.
Talk about a smart pony! She understood what we wanted, but felt that the height was not exactly right. She demonstrated on the stool what adjustments needed to be made to help her play the piano. Luckily we took note and corrected the height!
Here’s Noel with the Horse Piano created by Bill. This is Noel’s first time in our house. It’s her fifth piano lesson. All her previous lessons were at her home, Gryphon Farm, in the heated tack room. Coming to Winsong Farm and performing in a new place was not a problem for Noel.
This video includes a sing-a-long. Later today Noel will return to our house for more music and, perhaps, sitting on the beanbag.