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We performed the best leg yields that we have ever managed

Riley was on his best behaviour for most of the week although let himself down when he napped as we were about to leave the yard to go for a cool down hack along the lane
The week started off with another lesson with our new instructor Emma Stant, and what a brilliant lesson we had.  Riley and I performed various exercises in walk and trot and spent time practicing leg yields.  We performed the best leg yields that we have ever managed, and not only did it feel wonderful, the sense of achievement was immense.

It’s funny how happy a lovely comment like that can make you feel

On Tuesday morning I schooled Riley and put him out in the field for the rest of the day.  Little did he know he was going to be ridden again later that day as I had signed us up for the evening group class.  It was a while since we had attended that particular class and as always, he behaved brilliantly.  There were a couple of new riders taking part in the class and I felt so proud when one of them said how beautiful Riley was. It’s funny how happy a lovely comment like that can make you feel isn’t it?

A magnificent rainbow appeared

On Wednesday and Thursday, we had our usual schooling sessions which went quite well and then followed these up with a cool-own hack along the lane behind the riding school. Wednesday’s hack was straightforward, and Riley behaved impeccably, although on the Thursday, Riley napped as we were leaving the yard.  I must have been feeling brave as not only did I kick on and ignore his objections we also had a little trot down the lane which was a real moment of progress as prior to this, I had only ever felt confident enough to walk him outside of the school.
After some prompting, Riley behaved impeccably. It’s funny how a pony who was so opinionated when we first met has come so far in such a short period…
Friday morning arrived and we had a schooling session in the manege.  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to ride as I had received some bad news that morning although I sensed that riding Riley would help.  Whilst I didn’t manage to ride to the best of my ability, time spent with my boy is always wonderful and as I was riding, a magnificent rainbow appeared next to the manege which somehow felt meaningful and added a special touch to the morning. After his busy week, I gave Riley a day off on Saturday so just groomed him and then turned him out to relax for the day.

A local farmer was using his shotgun

On Sunday morning I arrived at the yard early to ensure that I would have sole access to the manege and enjoyed a fruitful schooling session with Riley. During the schooling, a local farmer was using his shotgun a couple of fields away and I was pleased that Riley worked well and seemed unperturbed. After schooling I led him back to his stable and tied him up outside ready to be untacked. By this time, the horses in the field next to the manege had got themselves into a bit of a state with the gunshots and some wind noise and were having a mad moment galloping around wildly.  This unsettled Riley even though he couldn’t see what was happening from where he was tied up. Whilst he normally stands quietly outside his stable, he began anxiously dancing around and pulling back on his lead rope. As it was proving difficult to calm him,  I decided that the best course of action was to put him inside his stable with a hay net to munch on which I hoped would settle him, particularly as we would have to walk through that particular field to get to our field.
Riley and I feeling pleased with ourselves after a fruitful schooling session. He is such a star
It took a while for him to calm down and for me to feel confident that he was going to be relaxed enough to be turned out. Even then he wasn’t his usual chilled self, and whilst I have seen Riley be fine with the sound of gunshots, his heightened state of anxiety heightened a little more when the farmer was still out shooting whilst we were walking back to his field.

A star pony

Later, on Sunday evening we had family dinner planned however our timings didn’t run smoothly so when I returned to the yard to bring Riley in, it was pitch black.  It’s the first time he has been brought in from the field in complete darkness and on my way to the field I wondered if it was going to be difficult to spot him by torch light. I needn’t have worried however as when I approached the field he whinnied and walked towards the gate.  He really is a star pony.
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Sharon Howe

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