On this day last May, I signed a sales agreement and handed over a check for Eli.
I have been riding him for about three years now. The first few times I rode him, he was so mentally damaged and also somewhat physically wonky that I couldn’t brush him without him violently attempting to kick and bite me. He wouldn’t even stand still for me long enough to throw some tack on. He didn’t steer, he was a noodle, and he did a LOT of head flipping (not the same as head shaking). The first few rides, I barely touched him, I just perched. Jumping him was not enjoyable, as he would buck, bolt, and careen after each fence. He didn’t do lead changes and melted down if I even asked. I asked for trotting in a straight line, and cantering without drama–even just that was a lot to ask of him at the time. BUT, there was something about him under saddle that kept me in the tack. Fortunately, I had ample opportunity to continue working with him. Almost everyone else that rode him had phenomenally bad rides, so it’s not like anyone was lining up to get on.
I am pretty sure many people realized before I did that I needed to buy this horse. We just clicked. The joke was, we had a rapport. He got better and better, at least with me. He now changes leads most of the time, stands still in the cross-ties, likes to be curried, follows me around obediently (or more likely in the expectation of cookies, apples, and carrots), jumps anything I point him at without bolting after, doesn’t head flip near as much or as recklessly, has a well-developed and fantastic trot, and I can sit on him and pick up the reins a bit, maintain that light contact consistently, and he accepts it. He works hard when he works. No one but me rides him, and it’s going to stay that way. He’s not perfect, but neither am I, and he’s stuck with me now!
After a less then stellar week, yesterday I wanted a completely uneventful drive to the barn, and a quiet ride. I got both! I wasn’t sure I’d get the quiet ride because I hadn’t ridden Eli since Sunday. He walked, trotted, and cantered without incident. Some days, that is a very big deal!