Introducing Eli!

Eli is going to have a very dramatic introduction, because he tried to give me a heart attack Monday. I was still in bleary-eyed mode when I got the nightmare call while at work: Eli doesn’t feel good, he got some banamine, want to call the vet? YES CALL THE VET I’M ON MY WAY HOLY CRAP. Seriouly, that is the most unpleasantly invigorating call you can get. Woke me right the f up. Vet came, Eli got oil around 10am, and seemed pretty comfortable, very bored, and definitely hungry. All good signs. 11am, no poop…. 12pm, no poop… 1pm, no poop, owner panic attacks, horse yawns and tries to eat owner’s belt…. 2:30, POOP! YAY! Moist, nice apples, good-sized. Horse still bored and hungry. Horse owners have to be some of the only people on the planet that get super excited about poop. So far, so good, and if all goes well, vet gave the go ahead to gradually increase feed back to normal starting Tuesday night & exercise under saddle Wednesday.

Quite the introduction. Oh wait, there’s more! The actual introduction…


This is Eli. He is, as you can see, a little special. Quite the contortionist …


And maker of faces …


And grass enthusiast. Connoisseur, even. Or, as our coach says, a cow about trying to graze.

Eli is an 11-yr-old OTTB. He raced as Carlisle’s Elysium. A few years ago, he came to the farm where I ride as a sales horse named Eli. Between racing and being a sales horse, I don’t really have any information as to what he was doing. And the first few times I rode him, he presented me with quite a few interesting challenges, such as not liking to be groomed, side-stepping, kicking, and biting while cross-tied, not steering very well under saddle, and bolting just a bit after jumps. Fascinating, to say the least. Even after all that melodrama, under saddle I liked the horse. He couldn’t (and still can’t) do a proper lead change, but after riding him a few weeks, I went from liking him to adoring him to being downright obsessed with the horse. After a while, I leased him. And then I bought him.

I have spent a lot of time calming him down in the cross-ties and straightening him out under saddle. I bribe him with cookies and peppermints. He has gone from anxious to confident. Today, he stands quietly, likes to be groomed (although don’t spray him with anything–just trust me), has three solid, forward, lovely(ish) gaits, jumps around big and slow at home, and continues to improve daily. It takes a lot of flatwork exercises, a lot of cavaletti exercises, and limiting trips over fences (mainly because over the jumps themselves, he’s pretty damn good & I don’t want him to go back to hating it), and ignoring (for now) what lead he’s on, or isn’t on, or whether he’s (cringe) cross-cantering while on course.

Every day I spend time with him, he does something to make me laugh. We’re both a little grumpy, so we get along–he’s my partner in crime. Cross-cantering to an oxer is a felony, didn’t you know?

P.S. I’m making a list of all that tack I need to sell or trade. I’ll post it soon! And a very happy birthday to Henry’s mom over on the $900 Facebook pony, intrepid tack swap coordinator!!!

11 thoughts on “Introducing Eli!

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