When I have been able to ride Eli, he has been tense and reactive. Although to be honest, it’s mostly from not being able to ride him very much due to, you guessed it, weather and work. This is typical Winter Eli.
Yesterday evening, Winter Eli was in full force. The drizzle wasn’t helping. Started off very fresh but okay. I even said “rideable.” Spoke too soon. Another horse came up the hill into the arena. Which he spooked at. He kept spooking. When I asked for a canter again, I am not sure how to describe the reaction I got, other than hopping and flailing. It wasn’t a canter, either way. Then, from a halt, he did a rear-y, leap-y move. I gave up. He had to still work, but I couldn’t even be a human longe line this time. At least not safely, I don’t think.
I went back down to the barn to get a longe line from my tack trunk, knowing full well Eli is not the best horse to put on a longe line, but he clearly need to let off some of this radioactive steam. As we were walking back up the hill to the arena, he spooked again, almost jumping on top of me. What spooked him? A horse landing off of a jump. He’s not always very bright.
But by some miracle, Eli seems to have absorbed our brief and sporadic ground work in the round pen and was actually listening to my voice, instead of taking off on the line whilst kicking out and squealing. Huge trot, but he was not ignoring me. I was happily shocked. Then I asked for canter — there were many bucks and bursts of energy, but he did come back down to a walk after that. We did some walking and trotting on the line the other direction, and he was extremely polite about it.
Poor guy just had too much extra energy, and no small amount of stiffness, especially in his lumbar region. I got back on and finished with a mostly civilized right lead canter. Eli felt much less tense.
Even though it was, on its face, not the best ride we’ve had, I felt so proud of Eli last night. I thought for sure he’d take off and flatten out so fast that he’d slip and fall, as he has done at least twice before on the longe line. But he was listening to me. Bucking, yes, but he needed to. He wasn’t just panicking. I gave him an apple and many treats after that. He liked the Stud Muffins so much I bought the 90oz bag and have since subscribed to it on Amazon. Is it weird to be proud of a horse not freaking out on a longe line? Yes. I have used that as a tool with many other horses without incident. It’s nice to know maybe Eli can be counted in that group now.
We’ll be much happier in warmer weather, though.
As a completely non sequitur aside, I think I may have found the most comfortable work pants ever. Any of you with desk jobs, I am telling you, it’s like I am wearing pajama pants but they look like work pants. And they have pockets!
Being an Amazon addict, that is where I found them.
The Bamans yoga work pants, under $25, still look professional, and POCKETS. I could sleep in these. For reference, I wear a women’s US size 6 in pants, and based on the brand’s size chart, I got the large for a good fit — not too tight but still fitted. They are very stretchy, so there is definitely room to go down a size, but then I thought they’d look too much like yoga pants to wear to work. They hit right at my ankle bone, and I am 5’6″. I am going to need a grey pair next, I think.