This is the first in ‘The Life of Riley’ series of 2022 and we also enjoyed a mini-celebration as Thursday 6th January 2022 marked the one year anniversary of arriving on our current yard.
And what a year it was. There were countless highs, lows, tears, tantrums (from me and also from Riley!) and we enjoyed many magic moments of pure joy.
We celebrated the anniversary with a few extra carrots in Riley’s dinner, and whilst looking back over an incredible year it was wonderful to see how far we had both come. Whilst I sometimes berate myself, for still not being able to canter Riley properly, I must also give us credit for what we are achieving together and what a partnership we have become.
The week began with a schooling session. This was originally intended to be a hack, however since we were hosting a belated New Year’s Day dinner, time wasn’t on our side so I decided that schooling would fit in with the day’s schedule more easily. It worked out perfectly as we had a really great session and a super day overall.
Later in the, week Riley and I had a lesson with Emma, our instructor. The session began with me hanging my head in shame when Emma asked what Riley and I had been working on that week. I had to admit I had only ridden him once. Despite this, the lesson went really well, if we ignore the fact that I almost had a ‘man overboard’ episode during one of our canters. Emma remarked that she could see many improvements since our last lesson, particularly in our canter transitions, which left me feeling both motivated and inspired.
Riley and the hailstorm
The following day we had another lesson planned. After grooming Riley and tacking up, I headed to the manege to warm up prior to the lesson. I was very aware of some rather menacing dark clouds which looked like they were heading in our direction. Five minutes into the warm-up, the heavens opened and we were pounded by a hailstorm. Riley, who clearly hadn’t endured many hailstorms in his life, didn’t like it one bit and started to spin. I struggled to get him to move forward at and it was clear that he was most unhappy about the situation. I decided that the best course of action would be to head to the indoor school and ride under cover. At this point I hadn’t seen or spoken to Emma but Riley definitely didn’t want to be outside and it wasn’t hard to agree with him.
When we arrived at the indoor school, Emma was already teaching inside, so we entered and warmed up and enjoyed another fantastic lesson. We focussed on lateral work with leg-yields and shoulder-in. I was very pleased with our shoulder-in as we hadn’t done much previously, however it came together very well and Emma made some pleasant remarks which was most encouraging so after tucking him up for the night, I drove home feeling really happy.
I can’t wait to see how we progress this year
I always enjoy our lessons and the continual learning and development of our partnership; however, this was one of those weeks where improvements were visible and I felt really happy. It made me feel as though Riley and I are heading in the right direction and I’m enjoying every moment. Riley has begun the New Year in style and I can’t wait to see how we progress this year.
If you enjoyed reading this, you can catch up on all of the earlier instalments of the life of Riley here