When Michael Sparling came to town for his most recent clinic at SHS, we asked him to work with Ben for a short session to help us assess him for training. Michael worked with Ben on the ground before getting into the saddle. Ben demonstrated both the anxiety under saddle reported by his previous trainer, and his tendency to try to bolt away when asked to trot on a long rein. Fortunately Michael is very capable of shutting down a bolting Thoroughbred by disengaging the hindquarters. Michael felt that Ben would likely need a bit more professional re-training time than most of our horses do, but he certainly felt that Ben’s issues could be worked through. Michael found clear signs that Ben has been ridden with too much contact in the past, and pointed out that Ben doesn’t break at the poll, but instead his neck breaks over about 6 inches behind the poll. He has developed muscle in the wrong places and needs to relax his neck to get flexion in those top vertebrae. Ben will have a few more bodywork sessions with Dr Finn before we send him out for training. We continue to work with him on the ground at SAFE to help him relax and learn to use his body in a different way. We have already see some amazing changes in his posture, his back, and croup. Can’t wait to post some before and after pictures!