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Life of Riley

A completely new outlook

Life of Riley
This week has seen a new outlook from me which is already bearing fruit
  After last week’s confidence crisis, it was wonderful to end this week with a completely new outlook and feeling greatly encouraged. Now this more positive attitude didn’t come to me as a sudden epiphany. There was no lightbulb moment that I can share with you. For the first half of the week, I was stagnating and my canter was still going backwards and my confidence wasn’t improving at all.

As I continued to school Riley and still couldn’t make the canter happen, the frustration once again struck me and I wondered how things were going to change. However, whilst was trotting round the manege in defeat, a wave of determination came over me and in my mind, I set myself the task of having one more canter round the whole school before I finished.  Sure, I didn’t quite make it all the way around, however I was very pleased with the three quarters that I did manage.

Feeling rather apprehensive

Emma, my instructor, schooled Riley midweek and did lots of cantering with him which reminded me how capable he is with a more competent rider and also that Riley knows his job well enough but is smart enough to evade whatever he can get away with.

Towards the end of the week, Riley and I had a lesson with Emma, Beforehand I was feeling rather apprehensive about cantering, although having support on the ground really helped and although I didn’t keep the canter going for very long, I was able to get it and so I felt a renewed enthusiasm for trying again.  It had been a while since I had felt that positive. I had spent a couple of hours before my lesson watching Carl Hester and Charlotte DuJardin on Horse and Country TV. Perhaps they gave me more inspiration than I realised.

Riley’s head went as high as a giraffe’s

Pony and Rider
Riley and I enjoying a hack. He is a special pony and I am trying to improve my riding in order to get the best out of him
Riley and I ended the week with a hack on the estate farm ride.  After the paintball mob incident on our last hack, it was much calmer this time although Riley’s head went as high as a giraffe’s when he saw one of the young staff members strolling up the lane towards us. It took much convincing to assure him all was well in the world.  We trotted for part of the hack which was something different for us as we usually walk, however I decided that this would be a useful way to improve my riding and also Riley’s fitness.

After the hack I returned home.  I am not sure if it was the book I was reading, the podcasts I’ve been listening to or the desire to ride like Charlotte, but I began to think about my riding differently.  Moving forward, I have decided to set myself little goals when I ride, so for example, rather than schooling and thinking that I will have a canter, I will instead aim for a whole lap of the school and build from that.  Now I have a target, something to think about and focus on instead of just cantering.

A special pony

I have also been aware for quite some time that I need to improve my core and riding fitness, although knowing this and doing something about it are two very different things.  Riley and I are a partnership, so if I am asking him to improve, I must do the same, and not let my riding hinder him.  He is a special pony and deserves the very best from me.
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Sharon Howe

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