The Doldrums

Sometimes time and momentum slow down a little too much. The erstwhile stormy equatorial region decelerates into stagnant latency. Maybe an albatross shows up and you are reminded of a vague sense of not accomplishing much. But it’s so hot, how can you?

I am making August sound more literarily mysterious and glamorous than it is. A more succinct assessment would be that not a lot is happening because it’s hot outside.

Last week, Eli had a few days off. This week, we are back to work, but not working very hard. I am still trying to figure out if the Ecovet fly spray is working well enough to keep using (Eli is still getting bites). I am scheduling a “team meeting” for Eli on Thursday to resolve an older issue that a new-ish team member is rightfully concerned about (more details to come after the “meeting”). I am riding him in the mornings on the weekend and the evenings during the week to avoid the hottest weather. I am giving him this evening off from work, so he can get a good grooming and grazing session and we can relax. So, we are doing things, just not very exciting things. September should pick up for us and will hopefully coincide with less hot weather.

Don’t civilized nations take off the whole of August? Why don’t we do that here?

What’s the First Thing You’d Fix?

Anyone that rides, stopping short of, say, McLain Ward, rides with faults. I have piano hands and what I guess must be a mortal fear of holding my outside rein, too much of a lean with my upper body, and a tendency to duck and/or twist in the air over fences. (Just to name a few.) My intention, with every ride, is to work on fixing all of these things. I think the upper body lean will be the last to go because I learned it as a defensive way to ride young, green, or opinionated horses and it’s a bit of a security blanket. The thing I feel most strongly about is the ducking and twisting over fences. That habit has a direct and undesirable affect on my horse, so if I could fix anything magically, that would be it.

Seriously, self, wtf?

If there is something you could change right away about your riding, what would it be?

Inside Rein

I had another one of those light bulb moments that are a little embarrassing because it is something I already know … but just that, for whatever reason (i.e., stupidity and/or old person brain) I had not yet employed said knowledge in a practical manner.

Eli tends to canter a little crooked, especially going to the right.

I tend to hang on my right rein.

Do you see where this is going?

Let go of inside rein, horse goes straight.

Yeah. I know.

Eli goes straight and finds the middle of the fences if I let him. I just have to remember that allowing him to be correct takes a conscious effort on my part.

That would be no right drift there

‘Fess Up

I have an equestrian question for anyone willing to ‘fess up. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve repurposed as a direct result of riding or working with horses?

I am not talking about the Target cashier’s glare inspired by your basket of Desitin, Preparation H, Duct tape, zip ties, and a case of Apricot Lacroix … you’d think the cashier thinks you’re buying ingredients to cook meth in your garage, but whatever. We have all found horse-related uses for things not specifically intended for some horse-related use.

I am talking about the really random stuff. Like washing your lower legs with dog shampoo that has lidocaine in it for itch relief … or stirrup leather rub relief. Either way.

Care to memorialize your oddities online, anyone?

Methodical

Saturday’s lesson went really, really well. We built up each component until we had a whole course strung together and Eli jumped everything so nicely. The lead changes were not there on Saturday but my trainer pointed out that when I ask Eli to jump in the middle by opening my left rein and closing my right leg, he ALWAYS lands on the correct lead. Hello, light bulb, nice to meet you. It’s pretty clear at this point that the right drift is like 95% me, and only about 5% Eli.

I’ll just post a few videos here of the lesson — I started chopping stuff up to review it, so I am not sure about the order, but you can see how we tackled each component. I am especially thrilled that the inside line with the combination did not light Eli up like it did the last time we jumped through it. He still doesn’t require the “kick ride” but he got pretty damn close on Saturday.

blue to outside from patentlybay on Vimeo.

3 to 1 from patentlybay on Vimeo.

blue line from patentlybay on Vimeo.

So obviously my homework is to ride straight …