Faeryn the “overachiever”

I took both horses to Marie’s this weekend. I took Faeryn Saturday and I was especially interested to see what Marie thought of her progress, since it’d been quite a while since she saw her. We worked on some basic stuff warming up and then I showed her our shoulder in, turn on the haunches and leg yields. Right off the bat, Marie pointed out that Faeryn was out the shoulder both directions – and THAT was probably the reason her half halts were not going through. We worked a lot on keeping her shoulders ‘underneath’ her and not letthing the drift to the outside either direction. We did some canter work and then Marie stunned me by saying, “I think you should move her to Second level and try to qualify her for the Championships at Second.”  I knew Faeryn was working well and that her canter has improved immensely, and her shoulder in and her turns on the haunches were getting pretty good – but did not really think she was ready for second level ‘now.’  I was thinking by the fall I would show her in some schooling shows at second level to test the waters.  Marie’s reasoning made sense though – she says her shoulder in and turn on the haunches are good – better than her leg yields. Marie says horses with a bigger stride like Faeryn’s sometimes do have trouble doing the leg yields. I do think it is ‘telling’ that leg yields appear in first level and then disappear, never to be seen again. Whereas shoulder in appears in second level and appears in every single level thereafter. Ditto for turns on the haunches. It really makes you wonder why leg yield appears at all.  I was not convinced, since I had not even tried yet to develop a medium trot/canter, and I had only tested the waters once or twice for the canter/walk and walk/canter transitions.

So, that night, I dug out my test booklet and read through the second level tests. They’ve changed since I last rode them with Fling in 2007. (Not that I would even remember them from 2007 in the first place! LOL!)

I knew she could do the full serpentine at canter already, because I’d ridden her through that a few times. That movement is from Second 1. And I also knew she could do the half 20m  circle counter canter from Second 3 because after working at the HDS show a few weeks ago and seeing people ride that test, I went home and tested it out. The “unknowns” for me were the walk/canter and canter/walk transitions, 10 meter canter circles, and in my mind, the biggie – in Second 3 you now have to ask for a canter depart in counter canter, on the rail. From the walk.

Amazingly enough – once I got her shoulders in ‘control’ and aligned better – she was amazingly adjustable and the half halts were going through! She doesn’t quite have a show-ready canter/walk – there are one or two short trot strides – but she is staying connected and through during the downward – which is the most important thing.The 10m canter circles were no trouble at all.

So, there’s a schooling show June 5. Instead of entering her in 1/1 and 1/3 – I will show her 1/3 and 2/1 and see how it goes!

She is so much fun to ride – she’ gotten very ‘handy’ and ‘maneuverable’ – in fact, she is starting to feel a whole lot like her big sister, Fling, who I always call my ‘little sportscar.’  I guess now I am a two sportscar owner!

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