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Lockdown has been a holiday for Riley

Riley has had quite an easy life since lockdown

The week beginning Monday 30th March 2020 has almost been a holiday for Riley.  With being in lockdown I didn’t know whether to ride or not.  Everyone was making their own decisions around riding and had their own opinions. We were still allowed to ride, and the other livery owners were indeed riding, however there was to be no jumping although that wouldn’t affect Riley and me. So, Riley had most of the week off and most of the days were the same and involved mucking out, turning out and bringing him back in.  I’m sure he was enjoying the days spent grazing in the field and for him a reminder of his previous life.

Catch Me if You Can

Even though I wasn’t riding Monday morning I spent time in the manege doing some groundwork such as stopping and backing up.  After this short session I turned him out into the field.  As most of the horses and ponies are now living out haylage was put out in the field morning and evening so when I went to bring Riley in he was happily munching, in fact too happily so that when he saw me with the headcollar he decided he wasn’t going to be caught and so kept running from one haylage pile to another and each time he did he chased one of the horses or ponies off and as I had to have one eye on the other horses it was difficult to catch him and I needed help.

Stand Still Please

Tuesday morning, I groomed him which is something that I really enjoy and spend more time brushing his mane and tail than I do my own hair.  He does fidget when I am grooming and moves around which isn’t particularly helpful when I am by his legs so as well as grooming, I am working on keeping him still. Later that day when I returned to the yard to bring him in from the field there was a repeat performance of evading capture and I started to worry that was a pattern forming, and indeed we had a repeat of this on Wednesday afternoon.

Poor Little Rabbit

Thursday morning, I groomed and turned out and was relieved when later that day he came in without any issues. This was short lived as Friday he walked off when he saw me and marched off towards one of the lovely little ponies called Rabbit.  Poor rabbit was moved off the haylage pile he was munching although not quickly enough as Riley spun round and kicked out his back legs as a more than subtle hint. So after following him round for a while I finally managed to catch him, and with that butter wouldn’t melt look I walked him to his stable, put his stable rug on and then left him in his stable munching once again.

My Confidence Was Being Eroded

Finally started riding again just in walk initially to build up my confidence
Saturday, I mucked out and turned out, and luckily, he wasn’t too bad when being caught later in the day. I was becoming aware that Riley was now not doing anything, and I think the longer I was leaving the riding the easier it was becoming to put it off which wasn’t doing either of us any favours.  He has spent far too much of his life being overweight in a field and has suffered laminitis in the past and just spending days in the field were not helpful.  The confidence that I had been building was also slowly being eroded.  So, Sunday I took the decision to start riding although under the circumstances I would only do what was comfortable.
Trying to get Riley to stand still at the block is taking some patience
After grooming and tacking up I took Riley into the manege and after some mounting block practice I mounted and spent a schooling session in walk and familiarising both of us in ridden work once again.

I Love Poo Picking

As most of the riding school horses and ponies were now living out and there was reduced staff capacity at the school the yard needed help in poo picking the field.  Armed with a scoop and wheelbarrow I set off to the field for the task in hand.  Seems strange to say but it’s not a job I mind doing and it was a beautiful sunny day so it was enjoyable.
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Sharon Howe

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