I know I said Solo was too young to last throughout a whole jumping clinic… but…

All last week he did nothing but argue. He argues about leaving the barn, he argues about going up hills in walk, he argues about whether he wants to lunge or not….altogether, as per usual, he has way too much to say for himself. It’s not that we don’t get the job done every day, it’s just that he has ‘opinions’.

On Friday, we decided to go back a step and I lunged Selena on him. This way he had no possibility of evading her aids to go forward whenever and wherever she wanted to use them. We had a couple of ‘discussions’ but he ended by doing what we wanted on both reins….just!

I was driving to the airport to pick up Pat Burgess on Friday night, thinking about Solo’s arguments. I was good and mad at him at this point, and I decided that instead of just having a happy wander over to view the clinic, he could get his act together and go in it! Next afternoon, in he went. He was in a group of 6 horses. The clinic ended up being indoors which was a good thing for Solo as he has done a lot of work in there through the winter, and he is confident about his surroundings.

He had a couple of bolshie moments…no I don’t want to go that way….no I don’t want to go past such and such….but all in all he behaved really well and ended up going through a curving line of five bounces with two strides to a fence. It was a HUGE achievement for him.

The next day he started over some pole exercises which included a fan of poles in the corner. Solo decided that poles in a corner were not for him….two dressage whips later, one in each hand, he was trotting back and forth through the poles. Because there had been an argument and he had submitted, we stopped him there on the second day as Pat very kindly said she would like to do a little more with him the next day (supposedly a rest day for Pat before she flew back to the UK).

The next morning he came into the arena with just one other horse. Pat was giving Selena a last school on Peanuts, her Intermediate horse and Solo had to hang out and wait his turn. After a while he was very bored with this and when the time came for him to do his thing, he was primed and ready. He acted as though he had been doing poles and exercises for years. Straight over the poles in the corner with his ears forward and his stride long and relaxed, straight through his grids, straight over his fences. He ended by doing a three part grid, landing in canter, cantering a 15m circle and progressing to a HUGE (at least 2.6″) oxer. It was by far his biggest jump yet and he was breathtaking. The first time he did it Pat’s comment was “Well, there goes your Olympic horse…” There is no doubt that he likes to ham it up for an audience.

Yippee, he has done his first public outing under saddle and he was a star.