The day in the life hop got me thinking about what a typical riding week is for me and Eli. As the weather has been good, last week is a good week to record for posterity.
February 9: Rode Eli early in the evening. W/T/C both ways, canter figure 8s over flower boxes, trot jump w/spacious ground lines & trot poles on either side. Eli got a little expressive about cantering the flower boxes as I asked for lead changes, but he did almost all of them. To settle his nerves, I went over a trot jump 3 or 4 times. By the last jump, he was relaxed, slow off the ground, and I could feel him using himself very well in the jumping effort.
February 10: Worked late. No barn. Sad face.
February 11: Eli was brilliant. Doing his best fancy hunter hack impersonation. Big, floaty trot; easy, forward canter. Staying focused and ignoring the group lesson going on in the other ring. I also did the following simple flat work exercise, and Eli handled it really, really well:
Trying to put all that in one diagram looked horrendous. At any rate, Eli was on the aids, did lovely upward transitions, and decent downward transitions. The first diagonal stretch at the canter, I could feel him anticipating a lead change thereby getting nervous, but I stayed quiet and tried to keep him steady, and then just asked for a trot before the corner. He relaxed right away and the next canter diagonal was easier. As for the “extended” trot, we didn’t get to true extension until the last five or six trot steps, because it’s something I rarely ask for and I think it just took him a minute to put 2 and 2 together. Overall, his work ethic shone through.
February 12: Twenty degrees cooler than the previous evening. Jumping lesson in one arena; spooky, bolt-y horse longeing in the other arena; Eli not handling it at all. I was sitting on a keg of black powder. He lept in the air a few times after I decided to get off and walk back down to the barn and wait out the chaos. We went back up to the ring about ten minutes later. Unfortunately, once something sets him off like that, the only thing for it is damage control. There were the dogs that live on the property barking a lot, too, and that always makes him a little edgy. In this instance, he was absolutely anti-posting-trot, so I rode in a half-seat or a two-point the entire time (unless we were walking) and he began to relax a little and get some of his adjustability came back, and his canter was actually quite lovely. I think had it been the temperature change only, or the jumping lesson only, or the longeing horse only, Eli would have been manageable. But all three combined? He couldn’t really process it. Gotta ride the horse you’re on.
February 13: Friday the 13th! Eh, so what? I rode Eli after work–the weather was better, and other clients were finishing up, so I had the arena to myself, and then the whole barn to myself when I got done riding! Eli felt great, and ready for our lesson on Saturday. We just got a light, forward workout and called it a day.
Our lesson Saturday was fantastic–it gets its own post. Luckily, one of the juniors had her camera with her and asked if I minded if she took pictures of our lesson. Hell no, I don’t mind! Take as many as you can! I asked her if it was alright for me to post her pictures on my blog, and she said yep. She has since posted all the photos on facebook. She took so many pictures of everyone who rode in the morning on Saturday, and her pictures are just lovely. Between her and one of the barn moms who takes pictures all the time, KBF is going to be one well-documented barn.