Our first ride of the week was both fun and tricky all rolled into one
Our first ride of the week was both fun and tricky all rolled into one. Riley and I had another lesson with Sophie and Onyx, and as we walked to the manege chatting away I thought ‘oh goody another pole lesson’. Emma our instructor had other ideas and once Sophie and I were on board, she instructed us to take away our stirrups.
I regretted thinking and not just doing
We spent most of the lesson trotting without stirrups which all went rather swimmingly until Emma asked me to canter. My immediate response was to panic. I was so nervous that I told her I couldn’t do it. She suggested I try just a few steps although I knew that I had thought about it too much and couldn’t do it. I regretted thinking and not just doing.
Sophie who is much braver than I, cantered happily without stirrups and told me she always finds it simpler without them. Emma let me take back my stirrups for a canter and given that I always lose them anyway I wondered why I was so attached to the idea of having them.
Riley on the other hand is more reluctant
Afterwards Sophie and I went for a hack and took the horses to the pond. It is always a reward for Onyx as she loves splashing about rather like a child. Riley on the other hand is more reluctant and never walks into the water without raising objections. I live in hope that if we go often enough, he will overcome his reticence and become keener.
I gave a shocked scream
Emma schooled Riley on Thursday although bringing him in from the field beforehand was eventful and somewhat painful. As I attempted to put Riley’s headcollar on, he spotted a delicious looking cluster of grass and put his head down to eat. As I wrestled to put his headcollar on, my hand touched the electric fence; ‘OUCH’ and I gave out a shocked scream. I am not sure if the current went through Riley or if it was just my reaction but either way, he ran off scared although luckily, not too far. As I retrieved him and walked him towards the gate, he danced around in a high level of alertness wondering if all was safe in the world.
After Emma had finished schooling, Riley and I went for a hack which was thankfully more relaxed even when a tractor and a trailer inched past us. Typically, some scary hay bales that weren’t there the last time we hacked proved a different matter. Riley held his head high, he danced around on his toes as if preparing to run away. I held his reins a little tighter and firmly encouraged him forward.
Back up the slope he walked, as naughty as you like
With the idea of getting Riley used to the pond still firmly on my mind, I decided another trip there after our Sunday hack would be helpful. I must admit that whilst I love it once I am in the pond, the slope on the entrance to the water gives me the jitters as I have a hill phobia. Still, it must be negotiated however and as we headed to the pond, Riley began to show his reticence and once we were at the top of the slope, he tried to turn around as if to say, “no thank you”. I kept pressing him on although when we reached half-way down, he spun around and back up the slope he walked, as naughty as you like.
After a tussle at the top, we headed back down again. It was difficult to keep pushing him onward whilst not enjoying the situation myself, however I knew it had to be done although once again Riley imposed his will again and back to the top of the slope we went.
I resolved to get his feet wet
Knowing that I mustn’t lose this battle, I resolved to get his feet wet, so I dismounted and took him on foot. Once we reached the edge of the water, I attempted to remount. I say attempted as once I had lowered the stirrup to get back on board, he spun around which meant that a real struggle for me to get on ensued. I managed to remount although just in time for him to trot back up the slope with me feeling very uneasy with odd length stirrups.
It all felt much more amusing in the retelling of the story.
I dismounted and again led him to the waters’ edge. Having learned my lesson, I kept a firmer grip on Riley’s reins to ensure that he remained still whilst I remounted. This time I had more success and even managed to reinstate my stirrup leather back to the correct hole although in order to avoid giving Riley any time to think again, I decided against putting the buckle back to where it should sit. Then we waded triumphantly through the water with me telling him what a good boy he is.
We took a gentle stroll back to the stables and afterwards, whilst returning his tack to the tack room, I saw Sophie and recounted our morning pond adventure. Strangely, it all felt much more amusing in the retelling of the story.
If you enjoyed reading this, you can catch up on all of the earlier instalments of the life of Riley here