Who doesn’t want to lesson in squally weather? Well, in spite of wind and rain, Eli and I had our usual Saturday morning lesson, and it did not disappoint. It was a good lesson because I rode really, really badly, and then really, really well. I also got to test out a new digital camcorder for a couple of fences. Or rather, my trainer did, since I can’t film myself on a horse when I’m on a horse.
Eli behaved significantly better than I expected him to, considering the weather. Again, can his improved behavior be attributed to the sinus procedures? Probably so, but so many other factors come into play, I can’t say it definitively, I can only guess that that is most likely the case.
So over most of the fences, he rode fine, although a bit quick through a combination, but we worked on two singles, long approaches to both. I’m not sure if there’s a more difficult question on course than a long approach to a single. Difficult because I have so much time to second guess myself or the horse and completely screw it up. Which is exactly what I did taking the long approach to a blue and white vertical. Overriding and then suddenly deciding to pick up the reins at the base … yeah … I can’t recommended it. In spite of my best effort to crash the jump, Eli scrambled over it and pulled the top rail. I have got to stop relying on his athleticism to save our asses when I ride so poorly.
However, my trainer explained to me what I was doing wrong and what I needed to do to fix it. She had me take just the two singles again.
This is where something clicked into place for me. I am not able to completely articulate it, but part of it had to do with counting strides much further out–like seven, eight, nine strides out on the long approach instead of two or three strides out. Not only did I realize that that was what I needed to do, but I also realized I could do it. There is more to it that simply counting, but the counting keeps the ride more organized, at least for me. So instead of messing with Eli and feeling a bit lost on a long approach, I could get to the jump much more confidently by letting him just take me. I think this is something we were pretty close to getting before he got sick, so I’m glad it fell into place relatively quickly after getting him going under saddle again.
And thanks to the new camera, I have video evidence!
Additionally, I think Eli’s going to keep going in the riding fly mask. He just really seems to like it. Although his face is pretty much healed up, something about wearing the mask seems to help him–it certainly kept the rain from bugging him, it seems, and I think he likes the little bit of shade it grants on sunny days. I rode one night last week without it, and he definitely seemed edgier. This is all possibly just in my head, but whatever works, right?