I am pretty happy with the result. Eli felt amazing on Tuesday when I rode him after work. Very forward and … I don’t quite know the right word … “sproingy”? Perhaps I should say his suspension was excellent. Either way, he felt great, and I wanted to take advantage of the forwardness and work on circles, saving the pole exercises for Wednesday. I basically just cruised around the arena, circling all the jumps, essentially working on circles somewhere between 20m and 10m. Eli stayed forward and balanced. Mission accomplished!
Exercise set, I went back in to groom Eli. Jumper butt alert. Eli has gotten much better with grooming while I’ve been working with him, but here is an example of what it’s like to groom him, in this instance with a Cetaphil face cloth:
He basically plays a game of, “Yeah, right there. Nope! Nevermind! Oh, okay, yeah that’s good. Kind of nice. Actually, NO. I don’t like it.” He does this with everything–brushing, currying, finger combing his tail, picking up his feet . . . Even so, this is a major improvement over the horse that would not stand still and kicked out and crow hopped if I came near him with a brush.
Every ride, Eli wears bell boots and either Eskadron track bandages or polo wraps. If we plan to jump, I use polo wraps on his hind legs, too. He seems more comfortable and less apt to do the kicky, high-step derpy walk in polos than with hind boots.
Wednesday, the forward trend continued, and I worked on trot-canter-trot-canter transitions. He can be a little lackadaisical about the aids, which is on me. My aids need to be much clearer if I expect him to respond to them sharply. Transition work helps me to see where I am failing, because he won’t do what I think I have asked. He’ll do something, it just isn’t always what I think I’ve asked. He’s teaching me to make my aids better! It’s a work in progress.
We cantered through the pole-crossrail-pole exercise about 4 times, twice both ways. We then cantered over a tiny vertical, while I practiced asking for him to land on a particular lead after the jump. If I asked him to stay on the same lead, no problem. If I asked him to land on the opposite lead, we ran into trouble. And by trouble I only mean we didn’t always land on the lead I wanted. Again, I see this as a failing of my aids. Otherwise, Eli was slow, easy, and relaxed the whole time.
After a ride in the heat, Eli gets a rinse and dries in front of a few fans. I put liniment on his legs, too. That, at least, he seems to enjoy. Today, I’ll probably just stick with flatwork and work on the transitions more, and tomorrow I’d like to just take him on a walk around the property. Then it’s time for Saturday schooling again!
And any day in the life about Eli and about me would not be complete without throwing in something about my desire for new clothes and bags and shoes that basically never turns off ever. Who else is dying over this Tory Burch equestrian collection??