The Missouri Fox Trotter is a very versatile breed.  While many owners use them for trails, other Missouri Fox Trotter owners perform in arena events and also versatility, which is why Foxtrot Urbane member Susan Engle and her horse Fancy are working on conquering the Flying Lead Changes.

Mandatory Conditions Demanded by Fancy

I thought that once my Missouri Fox Trotter Fancy could do flying lead changes under Erin Patterson’s development, she would be able to do them with me as the rider. That statement is true. However, Fancy has formulated conditions for my success. Fancy loves to do flying changes, but there are rules.

“Rules?”, I mumble when Erin translates the rules from Fancy speak into Susan’s brain. When I formulated Plan A, I didn’t know there would be conditions. I thought only that getting my body balanced, leg cues given and focus would be all I had to do. Now I am starting to realize there is a Plan B. Plan B is me obeying Fancy’s conditions translated by Erin.

Firstly, let me explain what a flying change feels like. I’m at the stage of the game where I can tell which lead my horse is going to pick up in a transition from anything to a canter. I can tell with a quick downward glance, which lead I am on. I have FEEL! I do have feel, but not near as much as I have thought and bragged about! Ha! Here is my statement and I find it incredulous. When Fancy does a smooth flying change, I can’t feel it! What! That is just crazy. I have to sneak a look at her legs to find out which lead she is on. It is so smooth, I don’t believe she has switched leads. This is crazy. This is not at all what I imagined.

Now I have learned Fancy’s flying change conditions. It helps to write them down too.

  1. My body must be enthusiastic. Fancy does not give a flying lead change to a mummy, even though the mummy might be balanced. My core muscles must be enthusiastic. No, I can’t explain it.
  2. I can’t lean back for the switch cue. I have to be enthusiastically leaning slightly forward..sort of like how Roy Rogers and those old time cowboys rode the gallop.
  3. Faster is better at this stage of Plan B. Lead changes are easier for her, the faster she goes.
  4. Lifting the reins up in rhythm helps her.

This stage of Plan B doesn’t seem real. Next phases for Plan B is to discuss conditions 1 through 4 with myself, especially before I start asking and not to stop after the first flying change. I now need to keep riding or ask for more flying changes, not stop and reward her for one change. Fancy’s Lead Changes get better as she does them. Per Erin, they become magical after the first one. I can’t imagine what that will be like!

Thank you magical Erin Patterson for Plan A success! Good luck on Plan B! From a grateful and amazed client!

See all the accomplishments of this beautiful Missouri Fox Trotter She’s Something Fancy O.

Now for a bottle of wine Celebration!

– Susan Engle

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