While it was raining last week I went shopping. My goal was to find objects to use in the scent discrimination game. My first stop was the Canadian Tire Store in Bolton, Ontario. I was cruising down the aisles looking for something that is horse-friendly (can’t be swallowed or destroyed), can be picked up by a horse and portable for humans. I noticed plungers. They were in one bin and their accompanying dowel-like handles were in another. The total price for both parts was under five dollars. I took a very close look. Yep, couldn’t imagine a horse ripping the plunger apart. It even had a substantial knob which would facilitate lifting it. I could easily picture a small treat tucked under it! Only concern? Could the smell of the treat penetrate the thick rubber? I decided to let Bill consider that conundrum. Perhaps he’d drill a hole or two in each of the three that I bought.

Since I hit the jackpot on the first store I entered I decided to continue my shopping spree. I just might be able to find something we could use as a stencil when the horses are painting. At Walmart I found an art project for children. The ten sheets of “paper” can be placed on a vertical surface of glass or wood. Hmmm….I could clean off a section of the kickboards and put the paper there, then see if the horses could paint it. My current easel is the top of the tall pedestal. Its surface has a ridged matting and it’s quite difficult to clean and the wide packaging tape doesn’t work well in holding the paper in place. I have to put my hand on the paper to secure it. The horses think my hand needs a coat of paint…

On to a third store, Canter by Tack. The saleswoman was a tremendous help. Two females with open minds looking for stencils resulted in five purchases. Four of them related to painting. I bought a small horseshoe shaped toy which I hope the boys can paint over and leave an impression on the paper. I also found two wooden bookmarks with a horse’s head. One is about six inches long and the other eight. Once again, perhaps the horses can swipe the brush over them and leave a neat painting. My prize purchase costing one dollar is a six inch long stencil of many things horse-related. Have to figure out a way to hold it without getting my fingers painted! The final object is a puzzle created by “Melissa and Doug”. It’s made out of wood and has three barnyard animals with a large wooden knob to grab on each piece. There’s a horse, a sheep and a cow. Now, this could be FUN!

When I got home I took the puzzle to the barn and showed it to Zelador. He was in his stall. The puzzle and I were safely outside his closed stall door. I picked up the horse piece, said, “This is a horse.” And showed him that when I removed the piece he could see another picture of a horse where the piece had been. Then I replaced the piece into the correct spot saying again, “This is a horse.” I went through the same procedure with the sheep and the cow. He was a picture of “focus”!

I went to Zeloso’s stall. He did look at me. He did glance at the puzzle. However, “focus” wasn’t a priority.

Meanwhile, back at the piano lessons. The two songs I’ve shown the boys have had notes that only go in one direction. Song number one: “Three Blind Mice” has notes that go from right to left. Song number two: “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”, has notes that go from left to right. The third song (which I showed Zelador yesterday) is “Are you sleeping?” has notes going from left to right and back to the first note: C, D, E, C. He loved it!

I was thinking about the other day when Zelador learned to play middle C without a huge hesitation following playing E and D. I remembered an article I read concerning memorizing something. The found it years ago. It said that most people memorize something from the beginning to the end. When the time comes to recite the piece the person is very confident of the first lines of the piece and quite often falters near the end. The advice? Memorize the piece starting at the end and progress to the beginning. That way, when you’re reciting it you are heading towards very familiar territory and will have a strong, confident finish.

Well, that’s what Zelador did when he played “Row…”. He started with something he wasn’t good at (middle C) and progressed to the notes he is confident with (D and E). Then when I asked him to play “Three Blind Mice” he was able to do the familiar notes (E and D) and happily find his new starting note for “Row…”, C. Interesting…!