My lack of flat work last week caught up with me, and I have the video to prove it! The video also proves Eli is going to jump, anyway. Commencing play-by-play …
Jumps 1 through 4, pretty unremarkable. Mostly I didn’t have enough pace so we wound up doing an awkward 5 strides in what is set as an easy four. Right after jump 4, I stopped paying attention, I guess? I need to keep from dropping my inside shoulder and hand, and close my outside leg. I need to keep from collapsing the right side of my core. I didn’t do those things, so Eli did weird things with leads. If I am not balanced, he is definitely not balanced. If I don’t make a decision, he makes one for me, and to be honest he is not the best decision-maker just yet (although he frequently decides to save my butt when it counts). Jump 5 … I need to keep the f up with my horse, y’all. That was a normal distance and I totally got left behind. Sorry, Eli. So I deliberately whoa-ed big to add a fifth stride before jump 6. The approach to jump 7 and the jump itself, I was completely happy with it.
Are you ready for more cross- and counter-cantering? Eli is not what you would describe as a horse that can take a joke. Me getting left behind was completely not funny to him, so now he’s going to share his opinions with me freely from this point forward. But hey, we got a little more pace! Oh, and also, Eli stumbling is not very funny to him either. We were to mainly focus on getting through the lines for this course, and we did, so the blue single oxer at the end wasn’t part of this course. My trainer even said at this point that Eli didn’t seem to be in the right frame of mind to work on turning and rollbacks and handiness, so let’s just stick with the straight-forward stuff. Haha.
Taking a different route for this one. Once again, Eli tripping is not something he laughs off. So I decided to push the reset button before fence 2. Love the jump, but then I stop riding after. So Eli swaps in front and not in back. The leads are still a work in progress, but I can see where I need to help him out–don’t wait until it’s too late to ask for something you could have had before, but now you can’t. That seems like good life advice, too. Loved the yellow line (the swap in front of the yellow vertical could have been avoided back at the pink single oxer–not really Eli’s fault), love the blue single oxer. Didn’t ask for the lead I wanted, so I resigned myself to at least trying to hold a kind of balanced counter-canter–better than cross-cantering, better than picking a stupid fight. Happy with the green line. Mr. Sassypants settled in better this course, so my trainer was okay with stopping there for the day.
Overall, what I can I say but that we are a work in progress? I have complete confidence in Eli’s ability to jump now. His confidence is getting better, too. He’s not running at the fences, he’s not bolting and bucking after the fences in anticipation of a nasty argument about what lead he’s on, and even with all of his, let’s call it “expression” between the jumps, we can get to every jump and jump it. This horse came with a lot of kinks, and slowly but surely we are getting them ironed out. Eli inspires me to be a better rider, and I can’t ask for more than that from any horse.