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I never know if I am going to be greeted by his head or his bum

Another week dawned in ‘The Life of Riley’.  I headed to the yard and arrived at the stable.  I never know if I am going to be greeted by his head or his bum and I must admit one is preferable to the other.  He often stands in his stable with his bum to the door and if I arrive when he is stood in this position he only ever turns around when he is good and ready. I try not to take this personally even when I see others in the barn turning immediately to greet their owners and content myself (or convince myself) that he is just waking up and coming round.

Riley makes my day

On Monday morning, I groomed and turned out and let him have a day in the field and didn’t ride at all. We however did make up for that on our double lesson Tuesday, starting with my private lesson with Becky my instructor. Before the lesson I had told myself that I was looking forward to cantering.  I wasn’t, although I have read that the feeling for nerves are the same as excitement so I thought I would give it a try.  In the end we didn’t attempt canter as Becky my instructor knows that I haven’t been asking with conviction and I have started to lean forward so she decided we should leave canter for a while and go back to basics.
Going back to basics working on my seat in walk and trot
I came away from my lesson initially feeling deflated and disheartened but after some reflection I knew she was right, and it was important to have the basics in place and even more so with Riley. After my lesson I turned him out to enjoy the day in the field before the afternoon class lesson.  I was delighted when I returned to the field later that day and he came to me.   He is normally far too busy eating and I always have to walk towards him so this little thing really made my day. We had an enjoyable class lesson during which we did some pole work.  Becky put poles out and we all had to come up with an exercise. It’s amazing how slowly the brain works when you are riding, and someone asks you to choose a pole exercise for the whole class to try.

He stopped walking and rooted himself to the spot

On Wednesday morning, the indoor school and the outdoor manege were busy so we started with a quick hack along the lane which was enjoyable although Riley wasn’t too keen on the person mowing their lawn and although he didn’t actually spook, he stopped walking and rooted himself to the spot. It took some convincing to get him to walk past.  We did have a good schooling session afterwards and another great schooling session on Thursday.
Enjoying a hack along the lane after the lawnmower incident

Riley ran rings around me in the figurative sense

Friday’s plan was for another one of the instructors to ride Riley, however there was a change of plan and it was cancelled.  As the slot was booked out it was suggested that I could have a lesson but instead of riding I decided a lunge lesson would be useful as it is something that I have been putting off and yet needs to be done.
Me feeling happy and Riley feeling relieved after the lungeing lesson was over
Riley isn’t the easiest horse to lunge and I am all fingers and thumbs so some practice with Becky was helpful for us both. After some initial amusing moments including Riley running rings around me in the figurative sense, I managed to hold it all together and Riley improved quickly. I came away feeling happy, proud of myself, and a little more confident. Saturday dawned and I arrived at the stables early so that I could ride before the riding school lessons began. Riley and I had a good schooling session and a hack down the lane. On Sunday, I had big plans for the garden and so gave Riley a day off.  It was just a shame that the lawnmower had to come out.  I am sure Riley would have loved the opportunity to cut it for us.
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Sharon Howe

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