Jodie Kelly Clinic at Dover Farm

I rode Douwe with Jodie Kelly, Grand Prix trainer and instructor, at Dover Farm in Tallahassee, FL. We did two lessons and I also got to practice our "Wings" routine at their facility too. On Friday we did our first lesson. Douwe was excited in the new arena, it is a beautiful indoor with open sides and mirrors too. I like it when he has a lot of energy but he tends to be more difficult to get supple, he does the typical Friesian thing and get a little strong in the neck/chest when he gets distracted. After about 10 minutes he calmed down and we worked a lot on transitions and getting him better connected in his body. She had me do some collected trot steps back out to a working trot but try not to let him get "passagey". Since I have done piaffe in-hand with him he got some nice collected steps but I felt like he was too high in his frame, not as through the back as he could have been. On Saturday I asked Jodie to ride him first so she could feel him for herself because I wanted to make sure what she saw and what she felt would match. She rode him much rounder and deeper and just did posting trot. So instead of working on sitting at the collected trot  she felt that he needed to be worked in a lower frame. That felt much better to me so I am glad that she could feel that. She did a really nice job working him past some resistance in his left jaw. He had an obsession with the "out" gate in the arena so he would try to take that rein when we started on the 20 meter circle. She put him a little rounder and deeper than I have put him but he felt more supple, light and loose through his neck. I like watching other people ride Douwe because I can really see how he moves and get a better sense at what I am doing really well and what I need to work on. Her timing on the left rein in coordination with her outside aids to balance his shoulders was slightly different than mine so Douwe paid attention and it really helped. I loved the way my horse felt when I got back on him. On Friday afternoon we practiced our "Wings" routine for the clinic audience. I thought Douwe would be tired but he was fresh and ready to go! We did our routine many times because he kept trying to go faster and drift towards the out gate. This arena did not have a way to close the opening so I had to make sure he was respecting my turning aids with my wings. The sound system is amazing and we had the music really loud so it was more dramatic. It was much  louder than Douwe is used to so I think he was a little hyper with that as well. He gave me a much tougher ride but I am happy that I could work through a few things so I know how to handle him when he gets excited or distracted.