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Does anyone else experience this sort of anxiety or is it just me?

Monday 6th April 2020 –  I headed off to the stables to see Riley.  My plan for this week was to for Riley and me to start riding again. First job of the day was grooming, and as its something I enjoy, I can easily lose track of time.  Afterwards I tacked up and headed into the indoor school and started with a mounting block training session with Riley who still insists on moving at the block, before finally getting on board.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t an entirely successful event as someone came into the indoor school and as I was only riding in walk, I felt as though I would be in the way, so decided instead to go for a hack.  I wonder if anyone else experiences this sort of anxiety or is it just me? This didn’t turn out well either as I had only been on the lane for about five minutes when a recycling lorry appeared.  I wasn’t sure how Riley would react so with safety in mind I decided to dismount and walk him back to the yard.

Becky to the rescue

Riley is slowly beginning to understand that I just want him to stand still at the mounting block .
On Tuesday morning, I had more success and we walked round the manege, then went for a lovely hack down the lane.  The sun was shining, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, so much so that I wanted to do it all over again.  Afterwards we headed back to the stable to untack and then turned Riley out into the field. The following morning was another beautiful one. Everything always seems better in glorious sunshine doesn’t it.  After grooming and tacking up, we headed reluctantly into the indoor school as the outdoor one was taken. I did some more mounting block practice with Riley which, with the aid of a plastic sloping show-jump stand  to stop him from moving sideways, went quite well.  Once in the saddle, I knew that I needed to be brave and start trotting Riley as I had been putting it off and so today was the day.  We did little bursts of trot across the school until my teacher Becky, who keeps one of her horses at the yard walked past the entrance to the school,  saw me trotting and knowing that Riley was rushing and how I felt about it, she suggested I trot in circles to slow him down. It was just the right piece of advice at the right moment and things improved markedly after that. I came away from the ride feeling very pleased as although the trotting wasn’t pretty, I had made a small step forward. Afterwards as a cooldown, we went for a short hack along the lane and for the first time without any assistance on the lead rope which again was a positive step for me.

I’m not mentally ready for that

I really enjoy hacking out in the sunshine on the private lane behind the stable yard.
Thursday was a repeat of Wednesday and Riley and I did our usual grooming and riding routine followed by another lovely hack.  I have been really enjoying a short hack each day and it has been enhanced by the beautiful weather.  Whilst there is a private lane at the back of the riding school it isn’t very long so to hack any further requires riding on the roads which Riley hasn’t been on so I don’t know he will react. In any event, I’m not mentally ready for that and wouldn’t want to take any risks especially during the current lockdown.

You can do it

Come Friday morning, I decided that a few poles on the ground in the outdoor arena would be a change for Riley, so had them set in a square and we were walking over them when Becky came along and asked if I had trotted over them.  I replied that I was only brave enough to walk.  Becky, who knows me very well and seems to push exactly the right buttons to spur me on said “Go on, you can do it” and then stood there until I had done it a couple of times. After that we trotted happily over the poles on different reins a few times and I must admit I felt pleased with the progress for the week. I only wish we were able to have riding lessons as I realised that I am missing the instruction and I want to progress Riley, so I am looking forward to when they can start again.

A sinking feeling

On Saturday, I turned Riley out as soon as I arrived at the yard as I wanted him to have a day off.  The morning was consumed by mucking out the stable as I dug out the pellets and replaced them. I groomed Riley again on Sunday and must say, he is starting to look much better as a result. I left him tied up and then headed to the car for my saddle.  I normally keep it at the yard, however since COVID-19 lockdown, Phil, the yard owner, suggested we take our saddles home each day as a precautionary measure.  On my way to the car park, I had a sinking feeling as I thought to myself, I don’t remember taking the saddle to the car. Deep down I knew it wouldn’t be there but checked anyway.  Alas no saddle, so no riding so I headed back to tell Riley the good news that he was getting yet another day off.  
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Sharon Howe

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