It has been a while since I sat down to write ‘The Life of Riley’ blog. So much has happened in the past few months and unless I turn this blog into a book, I’m going to have to cram a lot of weeks into a short space. So, I’m bringing you up to date with two articles. Let’s call them blog one (this one) and blog two (the follow on).
Riley couldn’t canter
Let me begin by taking you back to December 2020. Riley and I were having weekly lessons with Emma (my instructor), and discussions took place about sending Riley to her for schooling. This wasn’t something I had considered before; however, I did start thinking about it as Riley didn’t know how to canter and along the way I had totally lost my confidence to even attempt it.
Due to Emma’s other commitments and the time the manege was available each day it wasn’t possible for Emma to come to our yard more often than once a week .
I must admit I did spend a few weeks thinking about it as I had wanted the journey with Riley to be about him and I, and it was possible to carry on with weekly lessons at our current yard although it would take longer to arrive at the cantering destination.
I had lost my confidence
In the meantime, I had a few canter lessons on riding school horses as this was on the same yard as our livery. I thought that this would help with cantering although this had varying degrees of success. I only felt safe on one horse and as he was popular, he wasn’t always available. I knew things weren’t heading in the right direction when I was put on a very safe cob and just couldn’t bring myself to ask him to canter.
I was left feeling deflated and feeling as though I had nowhere to turn and didn’t know what step to take next.
As I had built a good relationship with Riley I felt as though he should be the horse that gave me my cantering confidence back, once he himself knew how to do it.
Riley catches strangles
Having settled on sending Riley to Emma’s for schooling for a couple of weeks I discovered that a horse at our yard was diagnosed with strangles. As strangles is highly contagious it meant that moving Riley was no longer a simple matter. Even though at that point he didn’t have it he could still have been a carrier.
At this point, we began taking his temperature every day. One evening it was elevated and we feared the worst. The following morning, I was relieved when it had gone down, only to discover he had a runny nose. Subsequently after contacting the vet, she vet confirmed that he had strangles and he was confined to his stable for a month.
Sending him for schooling was put on hold although there was now a permanent stable on Emma’s yard which meant that once he was clear of strangles, he could move there. This seemed a perfect solution as I was keen to improve my riding and had decided to begin competing at low level dressage once Riley and I had improved sufficiently.
Riley’s recovery and immediate yard move
Fortunately, Riley made a fairly quick recovery although being stable bound for a month wasn’t easy on him. I am sure he didn’t appreciate the multiple endoscopies and he did look rather sad sometimes when he was feeling poorly, although he came out the other side with a clean bill of health albeit much fatter than before.
On Thursday 6th January 2021 we were finally able to move him to his new yard. We hired Mustang Equine Transport to move him and a combination of it being icy and Riley not having been out of his stable for a month did make things rather tricky. He was hesitant to get into the lorry however before long we were on our way and it felt like a new beginning.