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Riley and I have a plan

Although Riley doesn't know it yet, we have plans
Although Riley doesn’t know it yet, we have plans
  Riley and I have a plan and have set goals for this month which are exciting, challenging and perhaps a little bit scary. The week began with my instructor, Emma, hosting a goal-setting evening for everyone on our yard. We all have different challenges and directions. Some of my fellow liveries want to jump, whereas Riley and I are honing our skills for dressage. Emma asked us to pick a goal or two for the month ahead. My goals were to compete at Intro at a local competition venue called Foxes, and also to canter Riley around the whole school, on both reins.

I arrived home full of rekindled motivation

Having carefully selected my goals, the next stage was to write down a plan of action including the steps required to reach this goal. I found myself wildly scribbling away, making a myriad of notes, such as learn my test, improve our flatwork, practice our intro test, have some lunge lessons to work on my position, and also to commit to an exercise regimen in order to improve my core and all round strength. Despite knowing for some time that I really need to work on strength and fitness, I had not as yet, managed to take any steps towards this end. After the goal planning meeting had ended, the first thing I did when I arrived home full of rekindled motivation, was to book Riley and I in for our first intro test on the 26th of February 2022. Riley remains blissfully unaware of this new development.

Helpful and daunting

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We are working on the individual parts of our test in order to ride each segment to the best of our ability. There is a long way to go for Riley and I so every little step forward counts
Later in the week, I had a lesson with Emma who broke the test down into its component parts and I practiced them to see which areas we needed to work on. I also rode the test in full, and so did Emma as she wanted to demonstrate what I should be doing. This was both helpful and daunting since whenever I watch Emma riding Riley, she always makes it look so easy and very elegant. I knew that if we were both to perform the same test on Riley, we would receive vastly different scores. I had to remind myself that dressage is about the bond between the horse and rider and whatever score Riley and I achieve will be based on our experience together. That said of course, I naturally want to put in my very best effort.

The plan was to end the week with a lunge lesson however as the weather wasn’t being kind to us, I was grateful to receive a message from Emma asking me to meet her in the indoor school. Despite being a little disappointed that we wouldn’t be lungeing indoors, we did enjoy a great lesson and I ended up feeling rather pleased with the turn of events. Emma had Riley and I working on changing the rein with precision, focussing on me using my legs rather than my reins. It will be interesting to look back at the end of the month and see whether our plans worked out,

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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