It’s not something I do anymore. Why would I? Riding in the rain is miserable. Neither Eli nor my tack like it, and I don’t either.
However, due to work obligations last week, I didn’t ride all week. I just figured I’d try to beat the impending weather on Saturday morning and stick with flat work. But then my trainer texted me, asking if I wanted a junior rider to ride Eli for me on Friday. Her own horse is on a break from work until the end of the month, so I answered emphatically in the affirmative. I was sad to miss it, as I have been the only person on Eli for years, but my trainer sent me (very pixellated otherwise I’d share) video and Eli looked fantastic! So that answers that informal blog hop question of who can ride my horse. This junior has made the very short list. I feel like my horse is at least slightly well-trained now.
I still had the intent of beating the weather on Saturday, but now maybe taking a few jumps since Eli worked the day before. Specifically, I wanted to see if I could get him to land on the left lead. His right-to-left lead change is his difficult-to-impossible one. He will land on either lead, but seems to slightly favor landing on the right.
Well, I got to the barn and I as tacked up it started raining. Not too hard, but more than just a drizzle. Enough to make me want to wait out the radar. A brief break came and I rode up to the arena, but shortly after beginning the work it started raining again. I did a quick warm up and my trainer watched me take the outside line all of twice. First, Eli jumped the out jump, a Swedish, with quite a bit of roundness. Second, he landed right. Crap. Except not crap! I tried to stay balanced over him, thinking we’d be counter-cantering through the corner, but he swapped BEFORE the corner, while still straight. I have done that kind of lead change before, on well-schooled horses, but not with Eli. It felt pretty fantastic that he offered that up. The second take through the line, he landed left. All of this while the rain grew stronger and steadier. Perhaps Eli was too shocked at being out in such weather to take much offense to it while working? He jumped so well the few times we jumped (and it helped that I stayed out of his way), my trainer and I were okay throwing in the towel and getting out of the weather. The footing had held up well until this point, but it was starting to get a little too wet to keep going, anyway.
I pulled Eli’s tack off and threw his Irish knit on, and decided everything needed to come home with me to wash. I spent a few hours conditioning all the leather stuff and trying to get the arena dirt out of the sheepskin hind fetlock boots. Good times.
There wasn’t much of a chance to ride on Sunday because rain throughout the day on Saturday left standing water in the arenas and the fields mush, with slick grass on top. I know this because I took Eli for a brief walk around the fields, but with a brisk north wind and unfortunate footing, even that didn’t last long.
The time change means that if traffic isn’t too bad and I tack up on fast forward, I *might* have enough light to ride for a bit in the field today, or take Eli for a turn in the round pen, but riding or working him at dusk doesn’t usually go well. Hopefully the skies will relent and the sun will come back this week.