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In the five and a half months that I have owned him he is already a different horse

One day you feel as though you are soaring and the next that you are heading quickly towards the ground for a crash landing, this probably sums up the week.
Riley is beginning to stand patiently for grooming and tacking up. Apart from the bridle that is…..
Riley is such a sweetheart he has come on leaps and bounds and often in the moment it is too easy to forget his progress. In the five and a half months that I have owned him he is already a different horse both in looks and temperament.  When I open the stable door in the morning he stands quietly at the entrance, lowers his head and lets me put his headcollar on.  Then lets me lead him quietly out of the stable although in true Riley fashion I do have to be on guard when we walk past the hay on our way to the grooming area.

Life gets in the way

On Monday morning with a busy schedule for the day I decided to turn him out and not to ride until later that day.  As often happens life got in the way, and he got away without doing any work.

The bridle incident

On Tuesday morning we had our usual private lesson.  I arrived at the stables full of nerves knowing I would be cantering.  I try to add an element of logical reasoning to this as I have cantered before and only ever once fallen off in canter but alas it doesn’t work.  The frustrating thing is it affects my riding and all the worry was for nothing as we didn’t attempt to canter. Tuesday afternoon was “take two” as we had a class lesson booked at 4pm.  This was only our second one and I was looking forward to it, although by the time I had tacked up I just wanted a large Gin and Tonic instead. Tacking up was a saga and if it had been filmed the footage could have used as a demonstration on ‘how not to’ or ‘all the things that can go wrong’. Riley putting it kindly is a work in progress when it comes to putting the bridle on.  He has learnt that if he puts his head in the air, I struggle to reach .  If I don’t get the bridle on quickly and first time it doesn’t always end well.  The first attempt wasn’t successful, and he walked off to the haylage outside the barn door with the reins over his head and me trying to stop him.  He was munching happily whilst I stood there not looking at all happy and he put his foot over the reins which I knew could turn into a disaster so I had to undo them and try to get him back to the barn. With order restored Riley was once again by his stable with his headcollar on and I tried again.  With difficulty I managed to get the bridle on, and I made the foolish error of thinking he was going to stand there whilst I put my gloves on.  This was optimistic on my part as he knew there was a bowl of food outside the opposite stable.  So of course, he decided to aim for it and all I saw was his leg in the air resting on the reins.  He panicked although I did more so much so that a few people ran over to help and luckily, they were calm and dealt with it swiftly. Fortunately, we had a brilliant and fun group lesson and he was well behaved.
Riley and I enjoying a hack down the lane

Does anyone else have to do things in a certain order

Wednesday morning, we did a schooling session which was a challenge that left me feeling deflated.  Both the indoor and outdoor schools were busy, so we started off with a quick hack.  Whilst I enjoy hacking him along the lane at the back of the riding school it is usually after I have schooled him, so I feel more relaxed and hence so does he.  Hacking prior to schooling in the arena leaves me feeling more nervous and so he only has to prick his ears up and I worry. Does anyone else have to do things in a certain order to avoid feeling internal conflict or is it just me? On our return we managed a schooling session although not without much argument and I was back to feeling as though I didn’t know how to ride and certainly not him.  He wouldn’t even walk round the school without veering inwards.  I felt as though I was going backwards and ended up in tears.

We had a discussion

Ending the week with a decent schooling session
Thursday, we had another schooling session and he didn’t want to do as he was told. He has recently begun to try and shy away from the track and it is becoming a bit of a battle although with enough perseverance I did manage to win that particular discussion by the end of the session. Friday came not a moment too soon as we had a lesson with my instructor Becky, and we had a great ride. This sense of positivity helped to dispel some of my earlier frustration at Riley’s stubborn refusal to accept his bridle when tacking up prior to the lesson.

Riley ends the week on a high

On Saturday, Riley and I had another schooling session. He was much less argumentative, and I felt as though we had regained some composure so could end the week on a high note.
Turning Riley out. I have to be aware of all potential snacking opportunities…
As I want to give Riley a day off each week, I groomed and turned him out .  Although note to myself; check the diary in future as I had completely forgotten that I hadn’t ridden on Monday either.
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Sharon Howe

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