Monday morning 16th March 2020 and the sun was shining. I gave Riley a groom in the sun and then tacked up and went in the outside manege. We put out cones and poles for a varied schooling session. We walked and trotted, although when I was trotting, he ran off with me and it felt as though he was going to canter. Rather than just let him go and control the situation, I panicked and halted him. I was nervous afterwards and didn’t really enjoy the rest of the session.
Tuesday morning was my usual riding lesson and now that I had a saddle it was a joy to be able to have my lesson with Riley. Heather my instructor helped me with trying to slow his trot down, she explained that he rushing in trot as he was now feeling freer to move than he had been previously with his old saddle. She suggested that I think about having one of the yard staff ride him so that I could see how he behaved and they could get a feel for where he was up to . After my lesson I turned him out for a couple of hours. The vet was due at 1.30pm for his booster injections and I wanted him to have spent some time outdoors before their arrival. I bought him back in at 1.15pm and he spent the rest of the day in his stable, although happily munching, so I don’t think he minded.
He started to kick out whilst his girth strap was being tightened
As Riley had been rushing in his trot and it was unnerving me, and after Heather’s suggestion, I spoke to the yard owner about having one of the staff school Riley for me. So, it was agreed that Jenny would ride him on Wednesday morning. He wasn’t particularly agreeable when being tacked up and he started to kick out whilst his girth strap was being tightened. Once that part was out the way Jenny started to school him and I had the opportunity to watch and she talked me through how he was going. Afterwards we made the decision that she should school him every week alongside myself and my lessons.
I turned Riley out. He was so calm and chilled, and this carried through when I brought him in that evening.
A small step for most. A giant leap for me
On Thursday morning, I decided to school Riley, although I found my nerves getting the better of me and after attempting to trot and him rushing, I didn’t feel able to cope with it, so wondered if I needed some extra lessons to get me over this hurdle. I decided to hack up the lane instead and this time I went without a lead rope, so although it may seem a small step, for me it was a huge one.
I didn’t ride on Friday and Saturday. I groomed, turned out, then mucked out, and returned later in the day to bring him in. I was made aware that there was to be a Covid-19 meeting on Sunday to discuss the yard plans moving forward.
Yard meeting to discuss Covid-19
On Sunday I didn’t ride again and just turned him out. I returned later that afternoon to bring him back in and attend the meeting which was held outdoors at the yard. Whilst keeping an appropriate distance apart from each other, all owners and riders were informed of the yard owner’s plans for dealing with the crisis. Basically, we were informed that the yard would be guided by the any decisions the Government were making and that an announcement on lockdown was anticipated the following day
I obviously wanted to follow any guidelines, and was potentially aware of what we were all likely to be facing, however the thought of not being able to go to the yard and see Riley was upsetting and I hoped it wouldn’t come to that.