I usually take Fling to one or both clinic days, but this time, I decided to focus on Faxx. I know that Debbie really likes him, and he’s had too little riding and training for the past six months. Also, his reluctance to take contact has reared its ugly head again, so to speak, and I needed some professional help to solve it. It is really time to step up his work to get him ready to show second level. We’ve got many of the pieces, but until he can accept steady contact, be connected and stay relatively through, he cannot really advance. He is a wonderful mover, has a great brain, but he is a bit tricky. He seems very laid back to the casual observer, but he can suffer from tension which he internalizes. He also cannot be ‘drilled’ and can’t take a lot of new things thrown at him at once.
The clinic was great. Debbie showed me how many of the things I was interpreting as his unwillingness to do what I asked was often because he just couldn’t because he was not warmed up properly. I tend to go right to lateral work – probably because to me, it’s a lot more fun, but Debbie pointed out that he needs to be bending FIRST to be able to get connected and through, which makes it possible for him to do the other work. Another big thing was controlling his shoulder – which has been a problem in the past, but it has crept up on us again. And the third part of the puzzle is to get him ‘packaged’ better. He is a big boy and a big mover, and it’s easier to let his hind legs get out behind him. They are not super quick to begin with – so part of the warm up is to make sure he is active enough behind. He felt great, and once he was warmed up properly he did very good shoulder-in. Even better, when I showed Debbie (apologetically) what I considered his very ‘iffy’ an crude half pass – she pronounced it much more correct than I was giving us credit for. In fact, she aid half pass was pretty easy for him.
My plan for him was to qualify him for USDF Regionals at First level. I don’t think he is ready to show yet, but we are aiming for the HDS labor Day show.