It was a cold, dark and misty night and whilst this might sound like the beginning of a typical Christmas fairy tale, this was the backdrop for Riley and I during a recent schooling session.
Hidden behind a white wall of fog.
Misty sounds rather magical. In reality it was so foggy that it was impossible to see beyond the manege, which probably explains why Riley had his head in the air as soon as I mounted. As we walked to warm Riley up, I wondered how productive the schooling session would be and whether Riley was going to listen to me, or would the ride be overshadowed by the unexplained noises that probably wouldn’t become apparent as they were hidden behind a white wall of fog.
Good as gold
As we warmed up and began to trot, I noticed a gradual lowering of Riley’s head and some signs of relaxation. I do think that the different riding conditions are useful for Riley’s education and will be most helpful when Riley and I start competing. In this mood of optimism, I concluded that even if we didn’t have the most successful session, it would still have been a useful lesson.
I needn’t have been concerned though as he was as good as gold. He put his work head on and schooled well and we had a great canter on both reins.
A terrible habit
Until recently, I had been very apprehensive of canter and as a result have acquired a terrible habit which I must break. When asking for canter, I brace myself with my stirrups which usually results in me losing them before I have even begun. It’s definitely something I need to address. Particularly since when we have finished canter, Riley usually ends up with a beautiful forward trot and I find that that my leg position isn’t conducive to guiding him where I want him to be and so steering can sometimes be a little hit and miss.
Riley made one or two genuine attempts to unseat Emma
Riley wasn’t quite as keen for his next schooling session which was with Emma. Nonetheless, I walked him to the indoor school in readiness for Emma to ride him with absolutely no idea what was about to come. What followed caused me to feel half surprised and half apologetic. As Emma cantered he threw in a few big bucks. Now this is not something he has done for a while although he will have the occasional little buck in canter as he doesn’t like reminders, however I do think Riley made one or two genuine attempts to unseat Emma.
This week’s sessions were as they say, a game of two halves.
If you enjoyed reading this, you can catch up on all of the earlier instalments of the life of Riley here