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A sting in the tail

rider and pony out for a hack
Riley can’t avoid the gravel path on this part of the hack so treads very carefully and slowly here
This week had a bit of a sting in the tail. Normally on a Monday, Emma school’s Riley, however as she was away, I rode him instead. I decided not to canter so we schooled in walk and trot only and practiced our twenty metre circles and leg yields.

Afterwards we went for a short hack to the chocolate box cottage which is located part way around the farm estate where Riley’s stable yard is housed. Riley always does his best to avoid the gravel pathways and as we were almost back at his stable, he walked on the slim patch of grass at the side of the path as usual. It is often a nightmare for me as I am regularly swiped past trees and bushes, although this came with an ouch and a yelp. Out of nowhere I felt a nasty sting that really hurt and it completely took me by surprise. I halted Riley as I wasn’t sure if the offending stinger was still attached to me but thankfully when I looked it wasn’t.
Schooling with Riley who would rather do anything other than canter this week
I took Riley to his stable. He was blissfully unaware of what had just happened whilst I, still in pain and unsure as to what had happened, untacked him, gave him his dinner and turned him out. Once I reached home, I changed clothes and saw that unsurprisingly, I had a big red sting bite and swelling covering quite a large area.

Riley clearly hadn’t read the memo

Riley being tacked up ready for a schooling session.
  Since Emma was away until Wednesday, and as I was conscious that I hadn’t cantered for a while, I decided another schooling session on Tuesday was perhaps a better plan than a hack. As with all great plans they often turn out not to be. Riley clearly hadn’t read the memo about a great schooling session and was difficult and evasive, particularly when it came to cantering and didn’t want to do it. We disagreed over this and he tried to turn around, rather than do as he was asked, he simply trotted faster and we didn’t canter very much. On one rein I didn’t get very much out of him at all although since I wanted to end the session on a positive note, I put him back on his best side and we managed a few steps in canter.

Riley used more energy trying to buck in canter

Emma schooled him when she returned on Wednesday and he didn’t display his best work ethic for her either. So much so, that she said she would ride him the following day, before I jump on board for my lesson. Cheekily, Riley used more energy trying to buck in canter than simply just cantering. The following day he was still being difficult so instead of me riding for the second part of the session, Emma rode him for the whole duration in a bid to improve his canter difficulties.

Riley did finally acquiesce in his objections

Riley and Sharon out for a hack
Riley can be such a cheeky boy when schooling however I always love hacking out with him
On Friday Emma decided to lunge him as the ridden work hadn’t been a success. Riley was back to his old lungeing bad habits and blocked whenever he saw the opportunity.  I joked with Emma that if he continued, they may no longer be friends. Emma rode again the following day and whilst he wasn’t willing at first, Riley did finally acquiesce in his objections and cantered without further argument so she kept the schooling session short. I walked him back to the stable wholly relieved at the progress made.

Lots of cuddles were the order of the day

I gave Riley an impromptu day off on Sunday and decided that a good grooming session and lots of cuddles were the order of the day. His winter coat is coming through at the moment so he is fluffy which on most animals I would find cute, but with Riley, I find myself constantly brushing and losing the hair battle. Now when it is it time for clipping?

If you enjoyed reading this, you can catch up on all of the earlier instalments of the life of Riley here
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Sharon Howe

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