Sorry girls, but Mom and I epitomize the stereotype that women can’t find their way anywhere. Trying to figure my way from Wingate to Lynn Leath’s North Star Training Center, then from the barn to the hotel, then BACK to the barn..I’m not sure how, but Mom and I must have turned around 12 times. So frustrating. But oh how worth it it was!

We couldn’t have asked for better weather! It was in the low 80’s and had a great breeze going through the covered ring. Although it was a little chilly for the spectators, it was perfect for the riders! At 9AM sharp, Jules Nyssen set the bar EXTREMELY high with his lovely and very well behaved 3 year old. I was interested to watch this ride because of my 3 year old at home, I was curious to see how she measured up…let’s just say, I’ve got a lot of home work to do. Then Cathy Fletcher and her horse Nightie worked on Nightie’s relaxation in her connection in preparation of moving up the levels. Next was Anne Aloi on her very talented 5 yr old Westphalian mare where she worked on balance and exercises within the shoulder-in. After her ride was a break for lunch, where I wolfed down my sandwich and went to tack up!

I have to say, Flelicitas is by far the most fun and easiest clinician I have ever worked with. And I don’t mean easy in the way that she let me plod along and gave me a gold star. I mean easy by the way that she explained things. All of her exercises she described were so clear you could almost visualize how the exercise would work and benefit the horse’s balance/relaxation/flexion etc. She’s very technical and very correct, but not so much that she bombards you with corrections to where you’re so overwhelmed with information that you just shut down…been there, done that. She’s very in-tune with what the horse and rider, together and independently, can handle that day and that ride.

With FDR, he has such a massive neck and shoulders that he uses those to his utmost advantage. When he’s tired, or confused, or spooky, or anything..he goes straight to tightening up his neck and shoulders, and as Felicitas said “let’s his haunches fish tail out.” So we worked a lot on getting his neck down, while keeping the withers up and relaxed, and “looking over the ledge, where he’s looking over, but doesn’t fall over the cliff” ( I could totally visualize that!)

The canter we got at the very end of our lesson was the best canter I have ever felt on him! It was balanced and collected and uphill and completely in-tune with my body. And when I gave my hands, his withers literally rose up to wrists while his neck and pole stayed completely soft. I was so happy with him!

Even with all of the driving chaos, it was a lovely experience with an extremely talented clinician and I’m so grateful to have been chosen to be a demo rider.


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