Forging meaning progress, not the gait abnormality! I have been able to ride Eli a little bit more — Tuesday and Wednesday and then again on both Saturday and Sunday. The laceration that required stitches seems to be completely healed and a non-issue, so I see no reason not to ask Eli for more work each ride. We will still have to build up to where we were back in September but he’s smart and somewhat fit so I think it will progress quickly.
So that’s where we are. Perhaps the weather will cooperate over the holidays and we can even get some course work in, too? The forecast looks too good to be true, considering all of the nasty, ridiculous weather we have had in Texas the past few months.
So, Tuesday. That was mainly a walking day because the arenas were still a bit too soft and the field option was out as I was riding after work with no daylight.
On Wednesday Eli and I were able to pick our way through a few lessons going on in the small ring, as the big ring was still out for riding. Nobody ran into anybody and Eli seemed weirdly unflappable, so whatever, I’ll take it!
Thursday and Friday evenings, high winds made riding unpleasant at best — I didn’t even make it out to the barn on Thursday because the wind gusts did not give me much confidence about driving up the highway surrounded by high-profile rigs. I took neighborhood roads home. Friday was less windy but still miserable and the barn was deserted that evening so riding seemed like too much of a risk.
On Saturday I squeezed in a hack in the small ring in between lessons and even cantered Eli over some poles. Eli’s canter is improving more quickly than his trot right now, but I think that means it’s time to ask for a little work in collected trot again.
Sunday, I rode nearly at sunset and the light was fairly low due to cloud cover, but Eli didn’t even offer to spook once. Perhaps he is finally convinced there are no lions in the area? I asked for a little bit of collection work and while he was quite obedient about it in the canter, he was maybe a little too rangey at the trot to get very many steps in a row of an upward push type of trot that is quite easy to sit on once we get it. The trot I was getting wasn’t quite there. I think Eli was trying, but also expecting 3 or 4 steps in a row to warrant a reward … no, dude, can we get, like, a half-20-meter circle? Like … 15-20 steps, even? This seems to be mentally challenging for Eli, so we are trying to build up concentration in addition to back and hind strength.
And just as a side note, I finally ordered Eli’s winner’s circle picture. It’s an interesting little memento from his past life. The guy with his hand on Eli’s haunches is a very, very brave man.
Fingers crossed jumping is in the cards for us this week!