I think one of the best rides I have had on Eli lately was this past Sunday. He is back to being a joy to ride and the testy rudeness on the ground from colder days past seems to be gone. Maybe for a while? Is it actually Spring yet? Can we forget about freezes for a while?
Eli’s … um … brusqueness (?) in the corners after a fence is still an issue, but I spent a little time working on that on Sunday. I started with halting straight after a jump going into a corner which helped him immensely. There was one big ugly halt that Eli was surprised by, but after that he understood. It also helps to get him to a deeper distance — that’s more of a me problem than an Eli problem and I plan to keep working on it with poles.
Eli’s back and hind end strength seem close to full strength, but he does struggle to maintain a canter if I get at all heavy with my outside hand simultaneous to not using enough outside leg around a turn — that’s when he can easily fall into a trot. The fault is quite obviously not with him but with the timing of my aids, so I want to work on that, too. And if I don’t fix me, he’ll never get back to full strength.
I have also been impressed with Eli’s behavior on the ground. The warmer weather makes such a difference in his personality; I get why people move to south Florida and why WEF is so popular. I have been trying the Epona Tiger’s Tongue and he’s not really a fan of me using it on his body, but he seems to enjoy me using it on his legs. His favorite is still this little round soft rubber curry that’s mint green and I have had it for a ridiculously long time. Like … maybe since the late 90s. I don’t remember not having it. I guess it’s been popular with all of my horses.
Eli on the line is getting pretty good, too. I usually just stick with a little bit of trotting in the evenings on the line, and not every evening. Just enough to get his back looser. Cantering is more of a challenge and I still have a lot of work to do with him before I feel comfortable having him cantering on the line again. The cotton longe line and little converter thingy seem to help a lot. I think the converter gives Eli that sense of pressure on both sides of the bit, which helps him understand a little better what’s going on. The one-sided pressure just didn’t work for him. I wish I had realized that part of it sooner.
I am looking forward to riding him tonight, if I can get away from work early enough to have time! I forgot to bring some reins from home I want to swap out on one of his bridles so that’s on my to-do list for Wednesday instead. I also took home a bunch of stuff I wasn’t using regularly from my locker and trunk, so the tack trunk tetris shouldn’t be so ridiculous now. I feel so much more organized this week than I did last week — another product of better weather, I think.