Casey had this to say about Fancy’s performance in both the Buck Brannaman clinic in October and the November Joel Conner clinic:
Fancy has had a busy and productive couple of months. In October, we rode with Buck Brannaman in Spanaway, which was a great experience. This was really the first time I had ridden Fancy off property. She did get troubled by the life of the other horses moving around the arena, but I learned how to redirect her energy productively by yielding her hind quarters and allowing her to come across in the front when she was offering. As she was letting down and feeling of me better, I would weave in and out of the other horses, slowly introducing her to the life of the other horses and things that were troubling her. By Sunday, I had gotten a big change, and we were able to walk, trot, and lope in and around the other horses without trouble. Her back up also became soft and off my seat, which is something I had been having some difficulty with, and we got some great walk-to-halt and trot-to-halt transitions. This was a great opportunity for me to learn how to support a young horse, and it became even more evident how quality groundwork supports quality riding. If I didn’t have the hindquarters to front quarters exercise down, Fancy and I would have had a much different experience. Fancy and I both benefited from this experience.
Fancy and I also got to ride with Joel Conner at SAFE in November. I know that I got a change at Spanaway, because Fancy was unaffected by the life of the other horses in the arena, even when a couple of horses were quite troubled. This meant that we were able to get straight to work on some other areas like her soft feel, transitions, and lining out. We got some great changes, and she was really feeling back to me for transitions. She continues to be very forward thinking, which is awesome, but I’ve been having some trouble getting trot-to-walk transitions on a loose rein. By Sunday, those transitions were coming without any issue. We also made some progress with her soft feel. She became more responsive and consistent, and her transitions down became softer and more punctual. We also touched on leg yielding for the first time. She was soft and straight each time, which I think can be attributed the groundwork, and foundational skills we have been working on under saddle. I’m really having a blast with this spunky mare.
Photos from the Joel Conner clinic by Kristina Oden: