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Lack of enthusiasm

life of Riley equestrian blog Sharon Howe Earlier this week, I noticed that Blackjack was displaying a lack of enthusiasm as I approached his stable to tack him up prior to a morning lesson. He was lying down, looking happily relaxed and I felt incredibly guilty asking him to get him up from his very comfortable looking bed.

A large thunderstorm

There had been a large thunderstorm accompanied by torrential rain during the night so half of the manege resembled a water feature,  nonetheless, I tacked him up, led him to the mounting block, jumped onboard and off we went to warm up.  We walked on until we encountered a section of the manege where walking through a large pool of water was inevitable. Blackjack clearly didn’t fancy getting his feet wet and in an effort to avoid it he brushed up tight to the fence dragging my leg against it as we went, and sped through. We came round a few more times with Blackjack making it crystal clear that he was very much a dressage pony and didn’t want to get his feet wet. On one of those occasions I experienced my first water jump with Blackjack when he unexpectedly leapt over one of the large puddles.

Some reluctance

Blackjack and I continued our session and practiced a few halts, which is very much a work in progress as he doesn’t particularly like to stop and we often need to have a discussion. Towards the end of our lesson we picked up trot again although with some reluctance on Blackjack’s part. I had to ask him couple of times and by this time I did feel some apprehension as to how he might react. I needn’t have worried, he was fine.

Partial to a cheeky snack

Life with Riley is generally much more carefree and a complete contrast to dealing with Blackjack. After Blackjack’s lesson I took Riley for an in-hand walk in a head collar feeling completely relaxed.  The only thing I need to be concerned about when taking him for a walk is that he is partial to a cheeky snack if the opportunity arises and  I always need to keep one eye on him.   He knows that I watch him and is smart enough to reach for the grass or a tasty looking leaf if he spots that my focus is elsewhere.

Complete faith

During a walk, Riley likes to stop to look around and view his surroundings. Often with his head stretched high into the air.  This used to trouble me as my mind would enter panic mode wondering if he was about to spook. It took a long time for me to have complete faith in him but now that I have, life is much easier. I’m not there yet with Blackjack but the more time we spend together, the better it’s getting. For now though, I am still at the stage where I worry about things he might do and what might happen although through experience, I do understand that the imagined potential problems are mainly in my head. I can often forget the process that Riley and I went through for us to trust each other as we now do. If I cast my mind back there were numerous times where I was too scared to lead Riley, pick out his feet and needed help, yet it is all so natural now. Thanks to my experiences with Riley, I know that one day that is how it will be with Blackjack too.  

Sharon Howe

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Hi! I am Sharon Howe

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Hello My name is Sharon Howe and I am horse mad. This site is my place to scribble away my…


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