Once again, I failed to get video. I even brought my phone up to the arena and it was setting on a standard of one of the jumps I was jumping! But my trainer and I were so focused on fine-tuning Eli through a grid that I didn’t think about anything else.
The exercise involved taking the diagonal line, a one to a three or a three to a one depending on which direction. All three fences were plank verticals. The distances were about three feet short, so while the fences were low I cantered back and forth through it a few times, collecting Eli as much as possible.
Once we knew how it rode, my trainer open up the three a few feet and wanted me to trot in to the one and of course canter out the three stride. Eli and I struggle with keeping his stride together–it can get really big even though he doesn’t get quick. He just covers more ground at the same pace, and consequently gets a bit flat, too. Our aim with the exercise was to get him to rock back a bit, stay soft, and flow lightly out of the line. And also we needed to correct his right drift.
He trotted in quietly and jumped well, but the first few times through he drifted right, I think out of feeling like he was running out of room. My trainer put down a guide pole, and sure enough he moderated his stride and jumped more to the center. We took the height up to 3’6″ (not the trot jump but the other two verticals) and got some really nice efforts from Eli, as well as a few lead changes!
My trainer and I also talked about incorporating 3’9″ into our lessons moving forward, and I am super excited to get back to jumping that height. To be honest, a few years ago, I had no idea I’d wind up with Eli, and that he would be so rideable and so willing. He seems genuinely to enjoy what we’re doing, and I can barely believe it.
But don’t think he’s all sunshine and spa days. He still has a cantankerous streak, and tried to bite my face Friday night while I was rinsing him off. And no, my face was no where near his face. I was stooped at his shoulder spraying his front legs and Eli suddenly whips around and all I could see were teeth. Thankfully the crossties stopped him, and I dropped the hose and punched him on the neck and pinched his shoulder. And then he was all offended and sulky, but he didn’t try to bite me the rest of bath time.
Owning him is kind of like interacting with a hulk-sized, athletic prodigy toddler dictator. We really do get along well, I swear! No, really! Haha, oh well. I still love him anyway.