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The wrong side of the bed

Warming up with a spot of riding without stirrups
No one wants to begin the week with an argument, well anyone except Riley that is.  I am not sure which side of the bed he got out of, but it wasn’t the I am going to behave and do everything you ask side.  Needless to say we didn’t have the schooling session I would have preferred.

Riley dabbles at leg yield

Tuesday morning was the usual horse-riding lesson Tuesday, so any objections that Riley might have are usual ironed out very quickly through the instructions of Becky my instructor.  On the whole, this was a more successful ride although disappointing that we didn’t manage to get canter. Afterwards, I turned him out into the field knowing that he didn’t have a clue of what lay ahead for later in the day.  I had been asked by my instructor Becky and another livery on the yard if I would like to join the group class.  As I thought it would be fun, and would be useful to Riley to ride with other horses I said ‘yes’. This meant he had to come in earlier than usual.  so when I went to collect him from the field he wasn’t keen to come in.  Well I am guessing that the multiple stops in the field meant that he wasn’t keen on the situation he found himself in. When we finally made it onto the yard, we tacked up and headed to the manege and joined the other horses.  He was apprehensive at first, however settled in quickly and we had a dabble at leg yield and turn on the forehand and I was suitably impressed by his efforts.

It was an extremely hot day, so afterwards we attempted a hose down which he did not like at all, so we finished off with a bucket of water and a sponge. I haven’t yet broken the news to him that we are signed up for next week’s group lesson as one of us really enjoyed it.
Riley has proved difficult to ride sometimes this week although I always enjoy the lessons

The time and effort being made by Riley and I is showing results

On Wednesday, Jenny, another one of the instructors on the yard schooled him.  It was reassuring to see that she was encountering the same difficulties that I had, although her experience showed and I stood there thinking, that’s how I want to ride Riley.  She had ridden him once before, back in early March, and I must admit I was quite chuffed when she told me that she could see the difference in Riley and that the hard work I had put into him was evident. Afterwards I took Riley to his stable to wait for the farrier who was due to see Riley that day.  I had noticed a few cracks in his hooves, so wanted the farrier’s opinion.  Luckily there was nothing to worry about and he gave Riley a trim. I bought Riley in from the field at 9pm that evening which was much later than usual. I did question my timing when it started to pour down on my way to the field as the weather had been perfect up until that point.

I’m scared to canter

Enjoying a cool down hack after a lesson
Thursday came and I schooled Riley in the hope of cantering, unfortunately it didn’t happen nor was I successful in my lesson on Friday morning.  I have found myself in a position of being scared to canter and at the same time wanting Riley to do it, so although I am asking him it isn’t with conviction and I lean forwards instead of staying upright so I am not giving him the clear signals he needs. When I went to bring Riley in from the field on Friday, he ran up to the gate as soon as he saw me.  He never normally does this and I suspect his prime motivation was that there wasn’t any haylage in the field and he knew that he had hay waiting for him in his stable, however it was still a very touching moment for me. I decided to give Riley a day off on Saturday, and so turned him out and then set about mucking out.

A bitter pill

Unfortunately, the week ended the same way it had started, and in our Sunday schooling session he was once again argumentative and did everything he could to evade work and resist his bit.  I know it is unrealistic to expect every schooling session to go well and that we will have good and bad days, but it was a bitter pill to swallow as I had felt as though our riding was becoming better. Oh well there is always next week!
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Sharon Howe

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