Kaya M rode Darla in the March Joel Conner clinic, and wrote the following about their time together:

“Darla is really starting to show what she’s capable of and the March clinic proved that she’s much more capable, understanding, and prepared to handle difficult situations than I’d been giving her credit for! My huge personal takeaway from this clinic is that I need to stop settling for “good” and always work for “great.”

Darla has been “good” for a little while now. She’s got a pretty good unified walk, she can move her hindquarters good enough, she lopes out good when I ask her, but all of these things and others being just good enough is holding her back from really breaking through to the feeling horse, the softest dance partner, and the confident, athletic mare she’s really capable of being.

So, over the course of the clinic weekend, everything we did, we strived for “great”. Things always tend to look a little worse before they look better and we definitely had a couple of those moments. Joel helped me realize I’d been releasing her for being really braced in her frontquarters and she wasn’t backing arcs freely at all, so we did a lot of that. We also worked on getting really precise timing and getting more life moving out forward.

I’m excited to keep focusing on “great” instead of “good” and it seems like Darla is happy to learn how to do this along with me. This is such a special mare, she deserves to be ridden like she’s the greatest thing out there (because she really is).”