The more Eli moved around, the more sound he got. Whatever he tweaked, he walked it off. I rode him lightly on Friday and again on Saturday. He still felt sound, so back to regularly scheduled shenanigans. I thought I had better jump him a little on Sunday.
He felt a bit tense on Sunday, and we walked A LOT in between gaits and taking jumps. I am not sure what caused the tension, but the air stuck to us like wet sand. Just being outside meant sweating, and the pollens thickened the air with irritants. Eli had a pretty itchy face on Sunday, and we couldn’t quite string together a few decent jumps. Nothing unacceptable, just nothing terribly competent, either. I could tell he was pissed, and I was miserable in the damp, gritty heat. Fortunately, I filmed, reviewed the film, and realized shortening my stirrups a hole might actually make a huge difference. I had been feeling stuck in the tack, with Eli getting hurried in front of fences and landing dead on the other side. Reason enough to be pissed! And the seat of my saddle is pretty flat, so I should not feel behind the motion …
However, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to test this idea any time soon. I worked at the desk job on Sunday, and left work at near dark, during a break between lines of severe weather. I figured the arenas would be lakes again. I worked on Monday, too, but we got to leave early. Luckily, I brought riding clothes with me just in case, thinking maybe a squishy walk would be possible. Turns out, the arenas were dry, if a bit crunchy, but soft underneath a thin crusty layer. I rode with the shorter stirrups, and it felt so much better. I took a few low jumps at the trot and canter, and what a difference! Eli appreciated my better balance and more stable leg. Things felt easy again. Riding is an endless string of adjustments.
So today, if it’s rideable, we will work solely on the flat. Wednesday brings high rain chances so I don’t know if we’ll be showing this weekend or on the rain date. At least I figured out the right stirrup length before the show!