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It’s wonderful to have a sense of purpose again.

Monday lessons with my instructor Emma Stant, are now a regular feature in mine and Riley’s week.  Riley has no idea what a Monday involves until I tack him up and make him work hard, although I on the other hand, look forward to the lessons immensely.  After feeling as though I had reached stalemate and wondering what to do next, I am so glad that I found Emma and its wonderful to have a sense of purpose again.

He jumped or kicked out

It’s getting colder and wetter again and the rugs are getting more use again
  This week we worked on leg yields and perfecting our twenty-metre circles.  Emma put out markers to help define my circles and it was tough keeping Riley where he needed to be at times. I’m sure we will improve over time. On Tuesday we had a schooling session followed by a hack down the lane at the back of the livery yard.  Riley normally takes everything in his stride when we go out on the lane, but something surprised him, and it felt as though he jumped or kicked out and his backend went up.  It all happened so quickly and even now I have no clue as to what he had taken offence to.

A loose dog appeared

When we were almost back at the yard, a loose dog which lives in one of the properties on the lane suddenly appeared and although it was barking at Riley, it didn’t approach and happily Riley didn’t take any notice.

Long Reining

We had another lesson with Emma on Wednesday, and this time Emma lunged him. Well she attempted to as he was embarrassingly naughty. and I found myself wanting to apologise on his behalf and explaining that he wasn’t always that bad.  Emma concluded that lungeing wasn’t helping him anyway and that long reining would be better for him, so switched to that instead.  I was surprised at just how quickly he went from naughty pony to perfect pony.  Emma informed me that she was going to teach me how to long reign myself in a future lesson.  She reassured me that I could do it as she clearly saw the look of horror of my face.  I am still all fingers and thumbs when it comes to lungeing which only involves one lunge-line, so must admit I was concerned about two. I turned Riley out on Thursday morning and rode him in the evening instead which is rare.  The manege was busy and so we had lots of company which meant that it was difficult to do what I wanted although I enjoyed the time spent riding.
Riley is a real star and is taking most things completely in his stride which is really good for my confidence. Funny though how something simple like a roadside grid cover can cause him anxiety though. That’s horses for you….
On Friday and Saturday, we didn’t ride at all. I just turned him out and then mucked out Riley’s stable.  Isn’t amazing how much one can enjoy simply mucking out.

Riley meets the Grid Monster

During Saturday evening I received a message from Sophie who loans one of the school horses, to ask if I wanted to hack out with her on Sunday.  We had spoken about hacking out together and it was something that I really wanted to do but I knew it meant hacking on the roads which I have only done once and hated. A big part of me didn’t want to go but then there is another part of me that really wants to be able to hack out and completely enjoy it. The positive side of me won, so Sophie and I headed out and although I did feel scared when on the roads, I really loved the off-road parts.  Riley on the other hand was a star and didn’t bat an eyelid when cars, cyclists and even a bus passed. I found it amusing to see how Riley could be so brave under these circumstances and then let himself down slightly by spooking at a kerbside grid!  
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Sharon Howe

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