We’ve been doing things, really
I had some extra time off in December, so Fin and I went down to my Dressage trainer’s for a mini two-day “clinic.”
He got to experience the overnight thing at a strange location, and we got to have a couple lessons with my Dressage instructor, who doesn’t get to see Fin often (it’s a little far to trailer regularly).
Fin was a star both days, and by the end of the second lesson we had some really, really nice moments.
Then he had a couple weeks off, between the holidays and the weather. Temps got down to the upper 30s and it rained, which is practically an emergency situation in Texas. There was frost on my windshield one morning! It was awful!
The Hunter/Jumper trainer at my barn is braver than I am, so she started working him as soon as the temps warmed up out of the 40s. I waited until this past week. when they reached something civilized (50s/60s… even 70s this week. Am I allowed to mention it was 80 today when the East Coast is experiencing Snowmageddon? No? Forget I mentioned it).
She is really doing a fantastic job with him. Even in the few weeks since my mini clinic, I can feel how much he’s progressed. We’re all working on teaching him to stretch down and into the contact and to start using his back (vs. traveling very upright in front, a la the Saddlebred/Dutch Harness Horse side of him). The nice thing about him is that, despite what his breeding might suggest, when he is very straight between the aids he naturally wants to stretch down and start using himself well. Now we’re working on building the strength for him to do that consistently, and he’s really coming along well.
I realize it’s a little unconventional to have two separate trainers, but the nice thing about this situation is how well it all works together. Fin is getting a super, super foundation from the H/J trainer; it has nothing to do with a particular discipline and everything to do with teaching a young horse to move and carry himself well.
We’re signed up for a clinic in March, so our focus for the next few weeks will be to build up strength and endurance for both of us. After that, the schooling shows start ramping up, and we’ll go out and play around at Training at a few shows and see how that goes.
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