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A glimmer of hope

Sharon and Riley before their riding lesson
All set for a lesson. Riley doesn’t appear too enthusiastic though.
The week commenced as normal with Emma schooling on Monday.  Riley can sometimes start his schooling sessions without much enthusiasm, and rather argumentatively. This ride was no different, however he settled into it, and I watched them have a great canter and felt very proud of Riley by the end of Emma’s session.

Riley really does have a lovely canter

image of Sharon Howe riding a mechanical horse
This horse has a dreamy canter and made me redouble my efforts to improve
Unusually, I had two riding lessons on Tuesday. One of those was on Riley and we did more canter work. Promisingly, the canter on one rein was more accomplished than I normally achieve, and I started to feel a glimmer of hope that my cantering was slowly starting to come together.   Later that day I rode a different horse. This one had the most beautiful canter and I think both myself and Emma were surprised at how still I managed to sit and keep my hands in position.  It was also much straighter than Riley although that was entirely due to it being a mechanical one.  Emma also used Franklin balls during the session, to work on my seat. It was really useful and highlighted that I have a sideways tilt in rising trot, and because of this, my legs don’t stay where they need to be.

It was a brilliant session and whilst Riley really does have a lovely canter when he is ridden well, the mechanical horse’s canter was dreamy. My friend Sophie, who has her horse at the same yard as Riley also had a lesson on the mechanical horse and we both agreed, it was time and money well invested.

Despite my best intentions, things began to unravel

Sharon and Sophie in horse riding gear
Sophie and I after our respective lessons on the mechanical horse. Such a great lesson. We both agreed it was money well spent.
On Wednesday, I had another lesson and tried to put into practice what had been gleaned from the mechanical horse session. This is, however, always so much harder when you are riding a real live horse who frequently needs encouragement to keep going and requires much steering.  Despite my best intentions, things began to unravel, although it wasn’t for the want of effort. Emma schooled Riley again on Thursday, and as I looked on and saw Riley doing perfect 20 metre circles and keeping straight as required, I became mindful I was witnessing that Riley is capable of all of this. I just need to be able to improve my side of the partnership and am more determined than ever to achieve this.

A small yet inspiring sense of achievement.

Riley the fabulous pony
Riley and I after a lovely weekend hack on a very hot day. The horse flies were annoying although we still had the best time together. Looks like he needs a good rest now though
On Friday afternoon, we had a lesson in the indoor school, and once again, I tried my utmost to keep my hands where are supposed to be. I endeavoured not to tilt forward when asking for the canter transition and also during canter.  I was pleased and surprised to have some success. Emma even commented on my hands being much stiller than previously, which left me with a beaming smile and a small yet inspiring sense of achievement.

Riley was fabulous

We rounded off the week with a hack on Saturday and Sunday which took us around the farm ride on the estate. Just me, Riley, oh! and the pesky horse flies.  Riley was fabulous and only took offence to a small piece of branch which had fallen and had the audacity to be on the ground where it wasn’t normally. Moments like these make me smile nowadays. Such a far cry from our very early days together.

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

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