First off, on Friday when I got to the barn after work, one of the horses in the front row had managed to slide his door open just enough so that he could push it open with his head and let it bang shut. Fun toy, I’m sure, but the doors need to be secured. The thing is, Eli’s stall is well within view of the front row, and the look on his face when he saw me go up to the other horse’s stall was priceless. He also literally screamed at me. MY STALL IS OVER HERE. So maybe he is as obsessed with me as I am with him?
Anyway, I honestly didn’t think anybody would be riding on Saturday because it was pouring rain in patches as I drove out to the barn in the morning. When I got there, it wasn’t raining and the radar had a little alcove of clear skies right over the barn, surrounded by rain. No one was turning out horses in case of the weather turning to the tropical monsoon around us, but we all tacked up in a hurry to get what riding in we could.
Eli warmed up quietly, but once we started jumping he got SUPER tense–especially in his back, I can feel the difference and it’s stark. He hollowed out and tensed his back and started kind of scooting forward in a short, quick step. Not the canter, or even trot, that I want for jumping. And of course his tension makes me a bit tense, at least at home. At shows I am in a different frame of mind, expecting it, but not at home.
I suppose I could have gone down to the barn for his fly mask, bonnet, running martingale, etc., but didn’t even think of that at the time. He still had to work, but I dumbed down the expectations by a lot, and took him over to the smaller ring and made him trot and canter crossrails, with lots of walking around in between. There was a lot going on — mowing, lunging, the weather, and of course the horses in the adjacent field just existing — coupled with no turnout time and Eli didn’t have much of a brain between his ears.
90% of the time now, he’s totally chill. Everyone has a bad day or gets overwhelmed by what is usually routine stuff. Probably because something not routine happened — in this case no turnout. No turnout = no brain. Which I know. My fault for not letting him hang out in the round pen and roll first, but we were trying to beat the rain. I think he wouldn’t have even worried about the other stuff if he had had even just 20 minutes of free time outside.
At least he seemed merely curious about the measuring tape and didn’t mind that part. He got to play outside on Sunday and had the day off. If the rain keeps holding off I might try a “do-over” and jump around in the big ring a little bit this evening.