Right as I was starting to feel like Eli was becoming an upstanding citizen on the ground, he kicked me basically because I was brushing him and I have multiple bruises on my left thigh. At least he didn’t get my knee. I backed him into a corner and terrorized him for about a minute, so hopefully he won’t forget how well kicking worked out for him any time soon.
Rides, at least, have generally gone better. On Tuesday and Wednesday last week, first rides after getting back from a trip, he performed foot perfect. So I got it into my head that perhaps Eli’s psycho days were behind him. I gave him Thursday off because of the heat. Friday … ughhhh …. haha …. well, he tried to kill me kind of? This is the same day that he kicked me. The weather changed pretty quickly from 105 and blazing sun to 79 and blustery cloudy trees-become-monsters right as I was trying to ride. We walked around a lot. I tried to keep his mind on me at the walk with bending and asking him to move off my leg, but every few steps, a gust blew through the trees, making them sound like flying snakes or something, I guess. Eli scooted and spooked a lot, and then stood up on me and hopped up off his hind legs at the same time. Fortunately he landed on all fours. Self-preservation kicked in and I gave up. The whole day went wrong for us, but sometimes that is just how it goes.
Saturday, he returned to normal, thankfully, and we had a pretty good lesson, save one major stupid mistake on my part that Eli took serious issue with and I blame him not at all. I corrected and we jumped around a few courses. I did notice, however, that he felt a little stronger & more on the forehand than normal in the turns, and a little less keen to move up off my leg coming to a jump, and then falling out behind once or twice in downward transitions. Hmmmm. Mild signs, if signs at all, but I have scheduled his vet to come visit next week and re-evaluate where we’re at with Eli’s maintenance program.
The weather turned up more rain on Sunday, but I caught a break between showers and walked Eli around the property, even took a few trot steps in the least squishy area in the fields, both ways to see how he felt. He always feels good in the trot and didn’t take a bad step even in the less than ideal footing. He seemed no longer impressed with the weather, either. He got lots of praise for every transition in a walk – trot – walk – halt – walk – trot pattern. Even for simple things, I like reminding him how right he is most of the time–I think it keeps him motivated and interested in work. The rain continues today, so I don’t think riding in the fields is even a possibility, but I can still walk him around by hand. And maybe work on the “don’t kick the cookie lady” stuff.
One last thing–I took advantage of a good exchange rate and decided finally to try a pair of Aztec Diamond breeches. I have nothing but praise for the styling and quality of these breeches, and they look well-made enough to be durable. Unfortunately, the fit is downright weird. Not so weird that I won’t keep them for schooling, but weird enough that I won’t get another pair from this season. If I sized up, it would solve one problem but create another, same with sizing down. However, I also picked up a few tops–a t-shirt and a base layer–now those I love and can’t wait to ride in them!