Winter gripped Central Texas in an icy vise and I completely wussed out on riding much in that crap for over two weeks (first it was too wet, then it was too cold). I maybe rode once or twice in the space of about 3 weeks and getting Eli back into a groove is not without challenges.
But over the last 5 days I have ridden Eli 5 times! The first 3 days back, I didn’t demand much of Eli other than please don’t do anything too edgy. Day 1 we just worked at the walk and trot mostly. Day 2, Eli apparently had a hankering to canter so we worked at the walk and canter. “Canter.” With embellishments.
Saturday rolled around and a lesson might have been a bit much to expect — Eli flatted reasonably well and we trotted over 8,000 cross-rails.
By Sunday Eli had a brain back in his head and I lightly jumped him. He did not disappoint. He played on the backsides but who cares? Not me.
Monday we got back to more meaningful flat work and we worked on simple changes of direction through the walk at the canter (does that read right?) I.e., we cantered a short side and then up through the diagonal, walking a few steps in the corner before cantering again and doing the same thing. Like 12 times or something, I don’t know. We did it until I was satisfied with both Eli’s transitions and his rideability through the diagonal. We then worked on cantering on a generously-sized circle.
Today, Eli gets a day off — just lots of grooming and cleaning up a small cut he suffered in turnout a few days ago. I’d graze him if I think I could manage him and a flashlight at the same time but he gets a little testy in the dark so we might not do that. He’ll get cookies and peppermints either way.
I also want to give a huge shout out of thanks to everyone at the barn who worked their asses off to keep the horses well-cared-for during the subfreezing temperatures. I have been a client there for a long time for a few reasons — and one of those reasons is the consistent and excellent care my horses have had over the years.