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Naughty nip followed by a huge grin.

Feeling happy after a perfect Sunday hack
Monday 20th April and the start of another week in the life of Riley.  I love heading to the stables in the morning and as I arrive, I can’t wait to see his face.  I never know if I am going to be greeted with the quiet Riley who will stand with his head over the door for a nice cuddle or the more cheeky one that won’t stand still and will nudge me with his head and perhaps even have a naughty nip followed by a huge grin. Today he was the quiet one and was as good as gold when I led him outside for his morning groom.  Somehow, he manages to get half of his bed in his tail, so every morning I need to brush out the wood shavings before I either ride or turn him out. At least I know it’s a sign that he is relaxing and having a lie down in his stable. You would imagine during lockdown there would be more time to ride, alas for me it has meant less.  The business has been unexpectedly busy during lockdown and since I cannot yet ride Riley without help at the mounting block, he had an extremely easy week spent grazing in the field.

Happy birthday Riley

So, from Tuesday through until Saturday were all the same for Riley.  He would be turned out, his stable mucked out and then be bought back in later in the day to a fresh bed and a full haynet. Wednesday however was an extra special day as it was his Birthday, so he probably wondered why he was getting extra carrots and cuddles.
Riley and I hacking along the new bridle path
One complaint I did not have this week was any problems in catching him. As you know, in previous weeks he had been walking away when I went towards him.  It is never going to be easy when haylage has been put out in the field and there are piles of it on the ground.  He was happily walking to each one and would move on to the next as I approached him often chasing off another horse.  Happily, this has stopped. Probably because I started to reward him after he had his head collar put on. This reward method seems to be working so I will stick with it for the moment.

The impeccable Riley

On Sunday, I woke up to be greeted by a gloriously sunshine and I headed off to the stables with the intention of riding.  I gave Riley a good groom and then tacked him up.  As I had not ridden for over a week, I warmed up in the outside manege for about ten minutes and decided to hack him along the private lane at the back of the riding school.  One of the other owners at the yard asked if she could join us, so Riley and I set off for our first hack with another horse leading the way.  As the lane comes to a dead you have to turn around and come back the way that you came.
So unfair. Riley grazing whilst I get to poo pick
The other livery wanted to extend their hack by going down a new bridle path that leads to a country lane.  I had planned to take Riley down the new path at some point, so it seemed a perfect time.  When we reached the of the new path, our companion headed off to the road whilst I turned back. A couple of minutes later the intrepid adventurers re-joined us as her horse hadn’t wanted to leave Riley.  This gave me an opportunity to see how Riley would fare as the front horse and he behaved impeccably. Whilst it had been a quiet week on the riding front, the perfect Sunday hack really made my week end on a high, although I did think it a little unfair that after the hack Riley and I headed off to spend time in the same field, however he got to spend the afternoon grazing whilst I spent it poo picking.
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Sharon Howe

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