I took Faeryn to Marie’s on Saturday since it has been more than a month since she’s had a lesson. Think of it as getting a ‘check-up’ with your doctor. To my satisfaction, there was more going right than going wrong, and we continued to chip away at her head tilt issue when going to the left. It is pretty much solved at the trot, but still is an issue at canter. We had really good progress, and also worked on other things she needs to master to be ready to show second level at recognized shows later this year. At the end of our session, Marie pronounced that of my three, Faeryn really does have the best work ethic. As she matures, Faeryn has become more and more like her mother. She is still way ‘hotter’ than Lisa (but not too hot for me) and can have panic attacks on the ground (she has separation issues) but the look in her eye and the twin whorls on her forehead are her mother all over. Her dam, Sonny’s Mona Lisa, would have been 24 years old yesterday – April 8. I lost her in 2008 and she is buried next to my arena.
Sunday I took Fling and we tried to ‘confirm’ the training we started in the Debbie Bowman clinic the previous weekend. Fling’s issues all boil down to straightness. And much of her straightness has involved going crooked to avoid weighting the right hind. She had her right hock injected and she’s getting daily Previcox and monthly Polyglycan injections to address any discomfort issues and we’ve all noticed her more comfortable on the right hind. So what we’re dealing with now is a combination of a bit of a bad habit and perhaps still the idea on Fling’s part that she may experience some discomfort by using her right hind to her full capability.
One of her evasions is to swing her haunches to one side or another. The fix in classical dressage is to move the SHOULDERS to correct this – not the haunches. Easier said than done – and at some points in our lesson I felt like Fling’s nose was going to meet her own tail at some point trying to move her shoulders.
But, as Stephen Clarke famously said in a clinic I audited, “One does not get to Grand Prix with rubs and pats,” or, “You have to break a few eggs to make a cake.”
Fling got a bit offended by my continual requests for her to move her shoulders – especially when I moved my leg forward to do it – and protested a few times with levades – but she began to get the idea. And when she got straighter – wow. Half passes were better, canter was better, SUBMISSION was better. And I started to get the wild idea that we may really get our scores at Fourth level this year toward our USDF Silver Medal!