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We set off with some trepidation.

  Earlier this week, after tacking up Blackjack for our lesson, Emma (my coach) arrived on the yard and announced that we were going on a small hack around the block. This news came as a complete surprise.  In the three years that I have been with Emma she has come to know me well and has learnt that with me it’s better to announce my impending doom immediately prior to the event rather than forewarning me. Blackjack and I have only hacked round the block together a couple of times, although he has walked in hand a few times, so we set off with some trepidation.

Attacked by horse flies

One of us handled the situation more calmly than the other. Blackjack was fine. Fortunately for me, I had Emma on hand to remind me to sit up straight, relax and breath. We completed the same loop twice and other than speeding up towards the end as the poor pony was being attacked by horse flies, I couldn’t have asked any more from him. Once he was safely back in his stable and I could start breathing again, I tacked up Riley for his lesson with Emma.

Chalk and cheese

Since we were going to be schooling, our lesson was going to be in the manege on the larger top yard rather than the one on the small yard where I am based, so I hacked him over, this meant taking the same route that Blackjack and I had just been. Once I arrived at my lesson it struck me just how different the two hacks had been.  They were like chalk and cheese. With Blackjack, I had been nervous and fearful of what he may react to, imagining that he might take off with me and hoping that nothing moved, no galloping horses, no loud unexpected noises knowing that if everything was calm and peaceful, so would he be.   None of these thoughts entered my head when riding Riley, and if any of the above did happen I knew he would take it all in his stride. Even though I know he can be a scaredy cat at times I would have just reassured him and have been confident that all would be fine. That’s the benefit of experience I suppose.

It’s going to be a journey

It hasn’t always been that way though. It has taken many hacks with Riley to get to this sense of ease.  At first there were the ones with someone on the ground with us on a lead rope, progressing through the various stages, little steps at a time until the glorious day when I rode solo and happy to do so. Thus I have to remember that with Blackjack its going to be a journey, one that I am not always going to enjoy, more than likely one that I will dislike, but one that I must endure until the day that he and I can hack contentedly by ourselves.

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


Sharon Howe

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Hi! I am Sharon Howe

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Hello My name is Sharon Howe and I am horse mad. This site is my place to scribble away my…


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