Eli does not come out the same every day. The weather, for one thing, influences his energy level, as with any horse. Stuff going on outside the ring influences his attention span and apprehensiveness. I avoid picking fights with him about any of it, because honestly that makes it much worse. Negative reinforcement and spookiness do not go together. So I just close my leg and ride through it, and eventually he focuses on working.
Monday was warm and Eli was focused. Tuesday was fifteen degrees cooler with lessons going on and dogs running around (NOT in the ring and I yell at people who let their dogs do that) and Eli was forward but also spooky. Plus chickens. The jumps were set less than a foot high, so I thought, cool, cavaletti time. And then Eli simultaneous spooked and jumped at the same time over the first cavaletti we took and I’m not sure how I even halfway stayed with him. A few spooks later, he finally settled in and trotted nicely over everything.
Wednesday the heat came back, but I still opted to skip the spurs this ride because of how energetic Eli has been this week. Again, the jumps were less than a foot high, so I thought I’d go for a cavaletti re-do. Fortunately, he didn’t exhibit any spookiness, and I got in some good work, both for me and Eli. We had a few bobbles in rhythm when I failed to close my leg and keep my shoulders back (will I ever fix this???) but overall we had a worthwhile ride, working on straightness, getting to the middle of the cavaletti, staying focused, balanced, and organized in the turns, primarily all done at the trot, with some cantering. I did ask for a lead change once, but we really weren’t forward enough so I switched gears and asked for a downward transition instead, opting for balance instead of trying to force anything that’s not there.
Today Eli will have a day off and a good curry session. More flat work on Friday, and then a lesson on Saturday. We finally have a show coming up in September!