Jackie went up to her third Dennis Reis “No Dust” tour stop in Albany, Oregon in July 2008. Mystic and Jackie have attended Dennis’ last two tour stops in Albany and already had received 11 out of 16 endorsements in Dennis’ program for doing round pen, ground school, mounted and mounted refined tasks. The one that stumped us last year was trotting a figure eight on the correct diagonal with vertical flexion. Sounds easy? Yes, but remember that Mystic is a gaited horse. I could get vertical flexion and collection, but it came with gaiting, not the trotting.
After a year’s work, Mystic and I trotted a figure eight on the correct diagonal and earned our 12th endorsement from Dennis Reis on Friday. I also got feedback from Dennis on the Horsemen Course tasks and Dennis showed me how to lay Mystic down. Interestingly, while Mystic was concerned about being laid down, once down, he relaxed completely and wiggled his upper lip when I scratched his itchy spots.
During the Saturday show, Dennis had me demo Mystic for the audience doing collected walk, trot, gait and canter and disengagements, backing and moving the shoulders in each direction, leg yielding, etc. – all riding bareback and with just the neck string. He invited me to become one of his endorsed instructors.
Dennis also selected my three year old gelding Prince for his colt starting and had me and Mystic help him work with Prince during the show – on the ground on line and at liberty and getting Prince into his first canter with the western saddle on his back by me driving him on Mystic around the arena. Once Prince was used to the western saddle, Dennis rode him with just the string around his neck. The whole focus was on forward and having Prince recognize Dennis’ energy to speed up, slow down or just stop riding and have him stop. Dennis even had Prince do a flying lead change with just the string around his neck.
On Sunday, Dennis had me round pen the two boys and then saddle Prince in the middle of the round pen where he stood like a complete gentleman, parallel park him next to the fence, mount him from the rail and ride Prince in the round pen at a walk, trot and canter with just a string around his neck, while Dennis was riding Mystic with a string around his neck bareback. What a blast!
Mystic and Prince were fabulous! Dennis said that Prince was one of the nicest minded colts he had ever worked with and that I had done a great job with him. What could I say to that? I had to give the credit to the colt for his sweet temperament. I was so proud of my boys. I lost count of the number of people who came up to say that Mystic was the most beautiful horse they had ever seen and that they loved our relationship together. I also had a number of people inquire about when I would be giving Reis clinics and if they could send their horses to me for starting. Wow, what a weekend!