Texas is hot in August. Hot at 6 in the morning, hot at noon, blistering at 6 in the evening … No wonder after the two days in a row of epic forwardness Eli came out Thursday slightly less enthused about moving off my leg. At first I worried, is he hurt? Is he uncomfortable somewhere? And then I realized even though it is 7 o’clock in the evening, the air feels like a hair dryer blowing hot mixed with nasty steamy swampiness. Ugh. Eli did eventually perk up, but I decided a Friday off would help the most. Well, the blahs kept up right into Saturday’s lesson. He hacked well enough, and warmed up over a little vertical easily. My coach then instructed me to do the inside line to the outside line, everything set around 3′. Okay, sure. Actually, no. I don’t have pictures or video of this part, but holy crap I could not get to the first vertical of the inside line. Just could not get there. Eli jumped it, but the first three shots I took at it, I missed the distance, and missed the second jump in the line. I just flat out did not want to go to it. One of those times, Eli ignored me and jumped the vertical beautifully from a perfectly reasonable distance, which then scared me. Turned out before the oxer AGAIN. (Oh, sports psychology. Where is the random fear coming from? I don’t even know what the fear is about. There is zero rational basis, and it always sneaks up on me. I basically have a mini panic attack about absolutely nothing. My guess is it has to do with me not living up, ability-wise, to what my horse is capable of, and then disappointing the people who are trying to help me. It doesn’t matter what horse I’m on.) My coach must have seen my eyes pop out of my head, and instructed me to forget the lines, just jump a few of these fences as singles.
That helped. Thank you, coach! Why does my ride change SO MUCH when I’m jumping things as singles instead of lines? I jumped about 4 jumps as singles. Eli jumped easy, but basically after every jump he was landing a little dead, into a heap of bay mush. We were starting to melt in the sun.
On to a course! But just one. It was getting freaking hot.
After the first two jumps of the course, Eli still landed in a equine pile of goose down on the backside of the jumps. But somewhere between 2 & 3, he woke up! His hind end kicked into gear, and I felt I had a horse under me again. Yay! I have you now, inside line! The course felt great, except for trying to munch the Swedish, so I jumped it a second time after fence 9. Second time, no munch.
Good end after a rough start. Eli got Sunday off, and a bath. He’ll get today off, too. The heat is just unbearable. I’m thinking of just simple flatwork this week starting Tuesday. We drilled quite a bit last week on flatwork exercises, I wonder if it was just too much and if that’s what made Eli a little dull in combination with the heat. He’s truly a different horse in cooler weather.