Easy flat work session, except for working on counter canter a little bit at the end. Hey, guess what helps at the counter canter? Using your seat correctly instead of perching. Ugh, so basic I can’t believe I only just remembered to do that. Magically, Eli could hold a counter canter much better once I figured that out. Also, neat-o that I CAN sit (lightly) on him without him freaking out.
Another flat work session, but with more of a marching walk at the beginning and a few pony kicks with my right leg to get Eli moving off it. Cantered after walking, then the trot work, changing direction frequently and working on circles.
Eli gets a massage! We went on a leisurely walk around the fields afterward. More on the massage therapy below.
Light hack mostly on the buckle, no bending today per massage therapist. Wow, he felt absolutely fantastic, actually–freer shoulder movement, crisply on the aids.
Back to regular work. Plan to jump a few jumps.
On Wednesday, Eli got his first massage therapy session. I had reservations about ever doing this with him because of his general attitude toward people, but luckily a good friend of mine who has also been my horse trainer and barn manager in the past recently got her certification as an equine massage therapist. She actually WANTED to work on Eli. I scheduled her right away. Her reasoning was that if she can work on Eli, she can work on anybody.
Eli knows her mostly as the cookie lady who doesn’t ride him, so he already likes her. Eli dislikes grooming sometimes and communicates his malcontent by kicking out and biting. I worried that he would try that with the massage therapist, but as it turns out, cookie lady who doesn’t ride him is apparently allowed to mush on him anywhere without much of an issue. He LOVED his session and he’ll be having plenty more in his future. The massage therapist found more tightness, soreness, and tension on his right side, particularly in the right hind, but this isn’t news (I know he has a right stifle issue that we are already addressing and his sinus surgeries were on the right side of his face. He also has an old scar and knottiness on the right side of his neck. Now I feel bad about the pony kicks on Tuesday.). His left side didn’t really have any issues, and his back didn’t have any soreness anywhere.
By the end of the session, Eli had basically melted like butter. If you are in the Austin, TX area and interested in equine massage therapy, I highly recommend Kelly G., The 3 6 Equestrian. You can email her at The36equestrian@yahoo.com for more information.