Douwe ~ Clean Flying Change!

Douwe, my 10 year old Friesian gelding, is settling in nicely in Connecticut. The pace is a little slower being at a private barn but it is very relaxing and he is making friends with the other Friesians. I have been focusing on the First level dressage tests, working on different movements including the canter loops to develop the counter canter. My goal is to do a First level freestyle with him and we would need to get a 60% at First level test 3 before we would be allowed to show a freestyle. But I am not in a rush so I may not show a freestyle until next year. I have also been schooling Douwe with lateral work, especially at the walk. We have been doing walk pirouettes, shoulder-in, and halfpass at the walk. I do a lot of counter shoulder-in and leg-yield to loosen up his shoulders and get him more responsive to my inside leg. He has been able to do some trot halfpass on easy lines with me posting. When the angle gets too steep he loses his impulsion so I do a steeper angle at the walk to get him more engaged and comfortable performing the halfpass. His lengthened trot and canter are coming along nicely and he looks great when he has a lot of energy. I tried flying changes the other day and was able to get Douwe's FIRST CLEAN FLYING CHANGE!!! Yay!! I was very excited! I haven't schooled any changes since we were in Florida so I just tried one for the heck of it. He was feeling a little fresh which helped him jump clean in the change. I was able to do three clean changes on the right to left lead change. That is his easier side so I wanted to get it on that side first. We are competing next weekend at a Friesian show so I will not play with the changes again until after the show. Overall he is doing well and I am learning a lot about his personality and how to approach his training in a better way.