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Utter naivety

Blackjack is a big character. I’m learning so much from him.
We are often reminded to be grateful, and believe me, I do feel grateful for all kinds of little things  every single day. When it comes to gratefulness, there’s no limit to what one can be grateful for. One of the things I recently began to be appreciative of, was my utter naivety when buying Blackjack, my young horse. My complete lack of experience protected me from becoming overly anxious about the highs and lows of owning a youngster and left me happy to make my purchase with absolutely no knowledge of the trials and tribulations that I would face at every stage of our journey together. That is not to say I leapt in without any forethought. I knew I couldn’t do it all alone and so made sure that I had daily expert help with backing, schooling, and general advice on all aspects of welfare, riding, handling, and training along the way. I’m so grateful to my trainer for all of her help and commitment to our cause. Without her expertise, I would have been completely overwhelmed by the experience, which can be very challenging to say the least.

Bold Blackjack

Blackjack is very bold and is cheeky with it. He loves attention
There is such a huge learning curve with a youngster, and you never know what to expect from one day to the next. Riding Blackjack requires the patience of a saint as the poor boy hasn’t previously encountered any of the questions being asked of him, and even when you get a positive response from him and believe he understands what you are asking, he will throw some typically bold Blackjack cheekiness into the mix just to keep me on my toes.

Saw his opportunity to escape

Riley and Blackjack have completely different personalities but they are good friends
Blackjack and Riley have had less time in the field this year and even a day or two spent entirely in the stable because of the sheer volume of rain we have experienced. The weather has brought lots of squelchy mud, wet slippery fields, and endless grooming and has at times tested my sanity. On one such day, I tried to muck out the stable around Blackjack. With my wheelbarrow outside the stable, I battled to open and close the stable door behind me, which was in itself tricky as it was  howling with wind and the door seemed to have a mind of its own. Blackjack noticed the struggle and saw his opportunity to escape. As this had happened previously, I didn’t panic as he usually only visits Riley next door, and so I am normally able to quickly put a headcollar on him and bring him back where he belongs.   So, I watched on with relief as he and Riley were standing calmly, nose to nose at Riley’s stable door.  The calmness was short lived however, and as he saw me approach with a headcollar, he thought it much more fun to run off towards his field, and I followed on at speed.

Cantering around on their beautifully immaculate lawn

Blackjack resting in his stable. He looks like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth doesn’t he?
On the way to his field there is a wooden gate that allows access to the estate owner’s garden which is usually kept closed.  Unfortunately for me, but suitably enticing for Blackjack and his escapades, it was partly open. and I watched on in horror as he went through it and began cantering around on their beautifully immaculate lawn, having fun and clearly enjoying the experience tremendously. I stood there apprehensively, head collar in hand, wondering what to do, knowing that there wasn’t much I could do as there was little point in trying to catch him.

Full speed towards the ha-ha

The yard owners have a an impressive ha-ha at the end of their garden which separates their lawn from a turn out field on the other side.  Blackjack galloped at full speed towards the ha-ha and jumped boldly into the field, cantered round a bit more then put his head down to graze very nonchalantly. By this time, I was stood in the owner’s garden, and as I looked on, I decided that the best course of action was to leave him for a while, take the opportunity to finish mucking out his now empty stable and come back for him when I might have half a chance of catching him. Which is what I did, although I did anticipate that he might be rather lively when bringing him back in, so I asked one of the yard staff for help and prepared myself for a potentially explosive situation only to watch him walk back in as calmly and as chilled as possible, with a no drama, and a very innocent, nothing to see here, look about him. I suppose I had extra reason to be grateful that day as the landowners were very understanding about their now less than immaculate lawn and Blackjack had finally been returned to his stable unhurt and seemingly oblivious to the excitement he had caused.

If you enjoyed reading this, you can catch up on all of the earlier instalments of the life of Riley here

Sharon Howe

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Hi! I am Sharon Howe

Country & Equestrian Blogger

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


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