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Riley kicked out when he went into canter

Riley doesn’t get to wear a rug very often so when the weather turns really ugly and I rug him up. I don’t recognise him so quickly when going into the field to catch him to bring him in for the night
At the moment, I feel as though I am holding Riley back, and at times I know that I am.  We had our usual Tuesday riding lesson which was indoors due to the continual rain. Our lesson this week was with Heather and I must admit, my riding wasn’t the finest as I hadn’t ridden for four days and felt anxious. We did manage a canter, but then the nerves kicked in and I felt as though I couldn’t do it again.  I can’t quite put my finger on what is worrying me, particularly as Riley kicked out when he went into canter and as Heather pointed out that didn’t faze me at all. As it hadn’t stopped raining all morning and the rain was forecast to continue all day, I turned Riley out in his rug which is something I haven’t done in ages.  When I returned to the field that evening to bring him in, I almost forgot that I needed to spot the pony in the navy rug and not the bright bay which is easy to spot from a distance.

He was waiting at the gate to greet me

Although I know I should be riding him, I have become very anxious about canter so Riley has enjoyed a few days off this week. He doesn’t appear to mind at all and really loves being groomed.
On Wednesday, Jenny, one of the instructors, schooled Riley and they had a great session together.  She cantered him and unlike me asks and then lets him go. She then spent time trying to stop him anticipating what is to come as this causes him to rush. I turned him out for the rest of the day and later on, when I went to the field to bring him in, he was waiting at the gate to greet me and had a whinny when he saw me.  It always makes my heart sing when he walks towards me.  It doesn’t happen often but when it does it’s wonderful. I didn’t ride Thursday, Friday or Saturday and instead just groomed him and then turned him out.  I knew deep down that I should be riding him and that he needed the exercise but I also knew that if I rode him I should be trying for canter and it felt easier to avoid the situation, although actually, it only makes it worse.

Riley didn’t seem bothered by his cut leg however the injury caused some swelling and there was some heat in the leg for a few days. Thank goodness we are on a yard where there are some lovely people always willing to help with practical advice and support when needed.

 I noticed blood on his leg

When I brought him in from the field on Saturday evening and went to pick his feet out before putting him into his stable, I noticed blood on his leg.  Naturally, it was a worrying sight and it was his first injury.  Sadie, one of the teenagers on the yard who has horses running through her veins, came to help and wiped away the blood and patched him up. Whilst I didn’t like to see him with an injury, I was relieved that it wasn’t any worse and he seemed happy to stand on his leg and not in any discomfort at all. When I returned to the yard on Sunday morning, I noticed that his leg had swollen and had some heat in it around the swelling however he still seemed perfectly happy to stand, and he could walk normally.  After wiping over the area and putting some more cream on I turned him out and he walked across the field as though he didn’t even have a wound. It isn’t how I expected Riley would end the week but as all horse owners will no doubt attest an injury is inevitable.
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Sharon Howe

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