Written by Joan Tennille
Keats and Susan were always there when you needed them. They were part of the early participants we call pioneers. This team joined the 1st Freestyle class and was one of the first teams to create their own choreography. Keats was definitely ”a born showman”. In an interview for ABC television when the newsperson did not believe the dogs pick the music. Keats proved her wrong by going to the table, put his front legs up, stretched his long back and flipped his CD off the table. Luckily, it was the right one and we even have it on tape, pretty clever.
Then there was the time after training laterals for what seemed forever, with little success, he waited for just the right moment to wow the audience. Both front and back legs were crossing, and I could swear Keats was grinning and saying of course I can do these just like the big dogs. From that day on we called him the big dog in a little body.
However, we had no idea how big he was until the night of the demonstration at the Washington D.C. International Horse Show. Keats and Susan began their choreography in front of 16,000 spectators. They were about 10 seconds into the music when then entire Capitol Center began pointing up, there was a loud murmuring and suddenly there was Keats, way up there on the huge screens. He was larger than life, a giant Corgi, moving laterally and crossing over each time. It was spectacular. He ended his routine and then stood his ground when the tractor approached to prepare the ring for the Dressage horses. He was not going to leave the ring until he held his final shape 4 counts. As he turned to leave the ring, there was loud and appreciative applause. Definitely Keats was a star, “The big dog in the little package”.