Valentine’s Lesson

I hadn’t had a lesson in so long. Hadn’t jumped a course in so long. Definitely had moments of shaking off the rust. But oh my god it was so much fun to jump around again! Eli’s steering went out a few times but otherwise he ate up the ground and cantered right over everything so easily. And there is photographic evidence! All photography credits to Brianna Mason.


Annie’s Equestrienne knee patch breeches in green tea. As comfortable as my Patagonia yoga pants.

Whenever I have a jumping lesson on Eli, I tend to keep the warm up very easy and very simple. If I’ve done my homework during the week, I don’t need to drill him on flat work beforehand–I like to let him stretch and relax.

I hope I'm just sitting the trot here and not on the wrong diagonal

I hope I’m just sitting the trot here and not on the wrong diagonal

You’ll notice a theme in these pictures pretty quickly: I have absolutely no control over whatever the hell my left hand/elbow/arm is doing. I really need to work on that!

canterAt least my right hand looks kind of normal. And Eli is on cruise control. I warmed up over a small vertical back and forth a couple of times at the trot and then at the canter. My trainer started us over the inside lines.


Do you see what I mean about my left elbow???

The first time I cantered up to the first vertical, I had too much step, we flew over the vertical, and Eli was like, “wheeeeeee!” and I was like “whoa,” so I turned him out of the line (makes me cringe to write it) and cantered back around to it with a little less energy. He still flew out of the line over the oxer, and my trainer asked if I wanted to longe him, but I said no, I’ll just go with it and cantered through the next inside line. I think Eli was really just rusty and excited to be jumping because we hadn’t cantered a course in who knows how long.


When your game face looks like Napoleon Dynamite

He settled in enough after a couple times through the inside lines. I honestly can’t remember the order of jumps in the first course we did, but I do remember we had to jump an x-oxer on the outside, and through a triple with 2 super short strides in between each element on the other outside. I remember this vividly because …


Remain calm! All is well!

… Eli peeked at the x-oxer just a little. So much scope he’s minty fresh? X-oxers eat ponies? Well, we landed and I kind of started snickering and couldn’t stop, but I had to collect Eli for the triple, which fortunately I had enough time to do, and we made it through that just fine. My trainer and I had a good laugh about the x-oxer and Brianna did indeed get the shot.

courseThe next course, Eli brought his A-game so all I had to do was steer and try to keep up. And get him collected for the triple.


Turning in the air


Looking where I am going!


Less impressed, more confident

After the course, I could hear my trainer yelling, “that looked like so much fun!” We had a little love fest fawning over Eli and how he got every lead and jumped everything great and how I love my horse so so much, happy Valentine’s Day to me.

But seriously, my left elbow.

effortHow do I fix it??? I’m thinking about jumping one-handed over a cross-rail and touching my left elbow to my left hip every time. At least Eli puts up with it and doesn’t seem to notice, but I am sure he’s having to compensate somewhere for it and that is not fair to him.


Seriously gorgeous head shot! Thank you, Brianna!!

partners tailEli got Sunday off, and I got to eat lunch and dinner at two really great restaurants in two different cities. Family lunch at Paesano’s in San Antonio, and dinner with good friends at 2nd Bar & Kitchen in Austin. We even ate outside for dinner, it was so pleasant out. Eli gets Monday off, too, but I groomed him at least. The weather is just gross again now.



38 thoughts on “Valentine’s Lesson

  1. looks like a great lesson (and the pics are fab!!) – Eli looks wonderful over the fences and seems like he was enjoying himself. people frequently tell my my mare looks ‘fun’ to ride and i can never quite tell if they’re being sarcastic haha, but sounds like your trainer genuinely meant it after that last course!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That X-oxer pic is adorable!!

    On your left elbow: it looks like you are maybe leaning just a touch to the left, which is accentuating your left elbow’s distance from your body. You can see it in the picture of you turning in the air and the one below it — you’re just a touch more left than I think you need to be. Possibly trying to stay really centered will help? Also, in the pictures where your hands moved up Eli’s neck, your elbow looks fine. However, I have big chicken wing elbows that remain unfixed, so who am I to talk really…

    Liked by 2 people

    • No, I totally agree! My body kind of collapses on the left side. Maybe the problem is actually in my shoulder and it just shows up like it’s my elbow …. hmmm, you gave me good ideas! Thanks!


  3. What a great lesson! Looks like you and Eli are really syncing up and making it look easy πŸ™‚ LOVE all of these pictures too!

    I always wanted to go to 2nd while I lived in Austin, but I never made it there. #sadface

    Liked by 1 person

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