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It’s such a thrill to see Riley progressing

Riley and I enjoying a peaceful hack around the estate where his new stable is.
  I chose the title for this week’s story after reflecting how much we can take our horses and other animals for granted despite them having so much to put up with from our demands of them. I’ll come back to this topic at the end of the story.

As Riley is on schooling livery Monday to Friday, he is ridden by a mixture of both myself and my instructor Emma, depending on the plan she has for the week. Monday is a constant and Emma always schools him as I watch on in awe. She makes it look so easy and I am constantly reminded when I ride him that it isn’t.  It is also such a thrill to see Riley progressing each time.

Sometimes it’s too easy to worry about situations and build them into something they are not.

On Tuesday I had a lesson in the afternoon and was nervous about it all morning as I hadn’t cantered for a week and I knew I would be cantering. I kept asking myself why do I ride, and put myself through it? and wondering why I didn’t take up a different hobby such as knitting?  Deep down I know that horses are in my soul and I love Riley far too much. I also remind myself that I have been here before and conquered it.  At the end of the lesson, Riley had been very patient with my efforts at canter and I commented to Emma that cantering hadn’t been anywhere near as bad as I had anticipated.  Sometimes it’s too easy to worry about situations and build them into something they are not.

A new experience

Riley and his favourite pastime. No scientific test in the world gives such an insight as to his health on any particular day.
I rode again on Wednesday and this time Emma put out poles in a zig zag which is something I hadn’t experienced before.  I always enjoy pole work and for the most part it went well until the moment she asked me to ride straight through the zig zag from one end of the manege to the other. Now that was easier said than done, and not once were we successful.  It highlighted that I rely too much on my reins and don’t ride with my legs enough, which is something we are going to address. The following day, Emma schooled Riley. She commented that he hadn’t been his normal self and didn’t give her the ride he usually does.  I took him back to the stable and thought it best to keep an eye on him.  I was more reassured when he ate all his food and then delved straight into his hay net though.

Everything went awry

Friday arrived, and I had another lesson. Emma once again put poles out, although this time the poles were straight so that I could ride through and practice transitions inside the poles and also use them for circles. This was all fine and dandy until I received multiple instructions all at once and everything went awry.  I was confused on more than one occasion and it reminded me how my brain works which means that I can struggle with certain things and not others.
The view from atop
Emma commented how quickly I can pick up many things although I couldn’t manage the poles despite the pole work being simpler. Happily, we were able to laugh about it and I joked that she may have her work cut out for her.

Riley behaved impeccably

To round the week off, Riley had a rest day on Saturday and I hacked him around the farm ride on Sunday.  It was a very windy day and I expected Riley to spook at some point during the hack.  Luckily for me he didn’t and behaved impeccably.  I had so much admiration for how he had handled himself and was once again reminded how amazing he is and how lucky I am to have him. Isn’t it funny how something very simple like a well behaved horse on a routine hack can truly make a difference to your whole day and make you realise just how special and important that relationship really is?    
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Sharon Howe

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