It has been wonderful to ride on my own this week. Just Riley and I doing whatever we want: well hopefully Riley doing what I want rather than what he wants as I am sure at times he would rather be munching hay back in his stable.
To be fair to him he does seem to be enjoying his work at the moment. Riley and I have been cantering more this week and my confidence is growing. When schooling, I do ask for the canter as soon as possible for fear of putting it off completely, and he is usually more forward after a canter so these schooling sessions are proving to be quite productive.
We are still struggling to have a long canter as he breaks from it after a few strides, however I am now able to put focus into keeping him going and ask again much sooner. I even found myself contemplating cantering a 20-metre circle, although once in canter I realised that I was perhaps being a little too ambitious for now. I am pleased that I had felt confident to even think about it though.
Performed with more gusto
Part way through the week, Emma schooled Riley and once he was in canter he didn’t need any reminders to keep going. I was pleasantly surprised. It was a good session indeed if you ignore the fact that he did attempt to buck Emma off at one point. I missed it, although Emma informed me that he had very nearly had her off, and thought she was going to land on her head. Given the number of times I have witnessed how well Emma has sat to all of Riley’s bucks, I did think this one must have been performed with more gusto.
As so often with worry, I needn’t have
On Friday, Riley and I had a lesson with Emma. I was feeling anxious about Emma seeing me canter which may seem odd given the number of times I have done this during lessons with her, however she hadn’t seen me canter since I had decided to come of schooling livery and I was worried she may have felt that it wasn’t a wise decision. As so often with worry, I needn’t have. Emma actually said my position was better.
A jubilant statement
For our final ride of the week, we hacked around the farm ride. Now although it is a route we have done countless times before, we hadn’t been on it for about two weeks and so it felt like a nice change rather than an old familiar route. Oddly, I also felt more confident which seemed strange as I am always fine with the farm ride. Perhaps more time in the saddle was helping. We did more trotting than usual. In part, due to the looming darkness now that the clocks have gone back, however it all seemed so natural and as I focussed on not using my reins for balance, I found myself going so far as putting them in one hand and dangling the other by my side. It was a jubilant statement of how far Riley and I have come together.
If you enjoyed reading this, you can catch up on all of the earlier instalments of the life of Riley here