Finally Solo pulled his elegant finger out and got on with all three phases on the same day!
This past weekend was his Training debut, at Rocking Horse Spring Horse Trials in Florida. He was entered in the Open Training division and his owners, Sean and Geraldine Dennis had driven all the way from Toronto to see him perform. Thank goodness he did a really good job.
Before the dressage Selena lunged him in side reins until he was no longer gawking around or being rude with the contact during his transitions. When she jumped on board, she rode him firmly at trot and canter, making him stay in a working frame throughout. Same thing when she began working around the ring before her test, she kept him very busy and focused. And it worked!!! He did his best dressage test yet. Managed the lengthening and the stretching on a long rein and all those other little extras that first show up in the Training level tests.
After dressage there were three first placers, each with 31.6 penalties, and Solo was 4th equal with a score of 32.1 penalties. He did a flawless cross country which moved him up into second place and there he stayed with a clear stadium round at the end of the day. He finished on his dressage score and we couldn’t be more pleased with his performance.
We hope to do one more Training with him on the return journey from Florida, either The Fork in North Carolina (which he did at the Novice level last year) or Plantation Field in Pennsylvania. We rather hope to do Plantation but we might be a bit late to get in. For the very busy American events, you have to mail your entries on the opening date to be sure of getting a spot.
Solo is looking the part, he is fit and strong and gives an impression of power and speed of movement when you watch him. He is agile and still far too fond of his own opinions, but his desire to ‘get it right’ is slowly overcoming his desire to discuss it. He now likes ‘getting it right’ and getting told he is a good boy and doing a good job. Let’s hope the desire to please continues to flourish in him, as that’s what it’s all about in the end. It doesn’t matter how brilliant and talented the horse is, if it doesn’t want to do the job.
Solo likes winters in Florida and being at shows, he likes going places and doing things. Drilling at home bores him very quickly, and we have to be very careful to vary his day to day work as much as possible, rarely if ever doing the same thing on two consecutive days.