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Keep Calm

Riley looks like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth doesn’t he?
Little did I know on Monday morning of the 27th April that this week would bring various challenges in simply turning Riley out in the morning and bringing him in in the evening. To be fair Monday was trouble free and after his morning groom he walked perfectly to the field and back from it later in the day. Tuesday however was not so successful.  When I arrived at the yard most of the horses where whinnying much more than usual.  I groomed Riley and he wasn’t at all still.  Afterwards I started the journey to the field to turn him out.  We caught up to a horse in front and then another caught up to us which Riley didn’t particularly like and part way he started dancing around and wasn’t easy to manage.  I decided to take him to one side and let the horse behind pass and then carry on, however this did not work, and he was still on his toes just as much as before.  Fortunately, one of the yard helpers was returning from the field so it was time to call in the reinforcements and ask that they help lead Riley to the field. When I returned to the yard another member of staff told me all the horses were ‘fresh’ and on their toes.  I must admit I left the stables feeling deflated as I hadn’t dealt with the situation myself and I was back to questioning my decision to buy a green horse and doubting myself.  I also beat myself up as I know for Riley to be calm, I need to be calm.

Riley Does a Dance

One of the rare days I got to ride
Wednesday was cold and wet although the weather didn’t dampen our spirits. Deep down though, I worried about how Riley would be walking to the field for his turnout and if there would be a repeat of the day before, happily however he behaved impeccably. Wednesday evening was a different experience altogether.  When I bring Riley in or turn him out, we must pass the area where they fill water buckets and people wash their horses.  Someone was hosing their horse down and the horse wasn’t too keen so kept throwing its head up and moving backwards.  As we walked past, Riley wasn’t happy and unexpectedly started to dance and trot and I had to calm him down.  We made it to his stable as I breathed a sigh of relief. Thursday and Friday were by comparison uneventful, just how I like it and Riley walked to and from the field without a care in the world.

Riley Makes A Splash

When I went to bring Riley in on Saturday I passed the hosing area and the same horse and rider were there and so I started to imagine all the things that could go wrong, all before I had even got Riley from the field. I was hoping that when I did bring Riley in, they would be gone to avoid a repeat of last time.  Fortunately they had, although the large pool of water caused by the hosing down had not.  I knew Riley wouldn’t like it and so had to coax him through.  It did make me think that I needed to be more assertive and positive when walking him through and that I often see potential problems that do not always materialise, and this perspective does not help Riley.

A Scary Bird Bath

So, with my new found assertive demeanour, I headed off to bring Riley in from the field on Sunday.  When I walked past the hosing area there was still a large puddle of water, however I thought to myself when I come back with Riley I’m going to walk through calmly and make Riley think that it isn’t anything he should be troubled by.  That was the theory although what actually happened was as Riley and I turned the corner there were four pigeons happily bathing in the puddle.  I looked at them with disbelief and Riley looked and thought ‘ooh that’s scary’, particularly when they flew off which made him jump back and stand firm.  I coaxed and tugged at his lead rope encouraging him forward and for a moment I did wonder if he was going to move and whether I was going to be stuck there for a while but in the end he did walk through. I am discovering everyday is different and I never know what he is going to spook at or be troubled by next.  Who knew just leading a horse could be so eventful.
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Sharon Howe

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