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Riley and Sharon Howe after 1st lesson

 A New Week Begins

Monday morning dawned and I headed off to the yard for the beginning of week three.  After my usual kisses and cuddles I turned Riley out and headed off home to do some work.  I was happily typing away at my laptop when I noticed that it was pouring down and the realisation that Riley was getting very wet and he needed to be dry for clipping later that day. So, with a mad dash to the stables I brought him in, tucked him up with some haylage and returned home and back to tapping away at the laptop.

A Pang of Guilt

The vet was due at 3pm to give Riley his vaccinations and sedate him for clipping, so I headed back to the stables.  My phone rang. I knew it wasn’t a good sign when I saw the number was the vet’s landline and when I answered was advised that the vet was running about 40 minutes late.  An hour later the vet arrived and gave Riley his injections and sedated him.  It was difficult to see him so drowsy and I must admit to feeling a bit guilty, however I knew it was for his benefit.  David from the yard was already set up and began clipping, whizzing around Riley very quickly before the sedation wore off.  He had done everywhere and asked if I wanted his face trimming, to which I said yes, although it was clear the sedation had just worn off as Riley started protesting, so we quit whilst we were ahead.
Riley after being clipped. Enjoying relaxing in his new PJ’s
I gave Riley a gentle sponge to get rid of any hair left and then put him back in his stable.  He wasn’t allowed to have any haylage until the sedation had worn off, so I put his new stable rug on for the first time and spent some time admiring him in it and then hung his hay net up before leaving.

An Evening With Frankie Dettori

We had tickets for an evening with Frankie Dettori that evening so I raced home to try and make myself look presentable in a very short space of time and ate pizza on the way as I didn’t have the opportunity to eat it at home before I left. Tuesday was a day of rest, well it was for Riley as I had my riding lesson and helped with the Riding for the Disabled although I wasn’t feeling very well. I had really wanted to stay tucked up at home.  Before my lesson I turned Riley out and he had a day in the field. Wednesday morning, I lunged him, and he was absolutely brilliant and listening to me when I asked for walk, trot and halt.  I was so pleased with him.  Afterwards I put on his rug and turned him out.
Horse in a navy blue turnout rug
Riley on his way to the field to be turned out for the day

What a Difference a Day Makes

Thursday morning, I made the decision to ride him after lunging so I lunged him with tack for the first time.  He wasn’t very well behaved at all.   He has always been worse on the right rein and in that sense, he stayed true to form so he was challenging to say the least.  Afterwards I rode him around the manege a few times and he was a star even though he was apprehensive. I took comfort from the kind words of someone at the yard who said “Horses are like us, they have good days and bad days”.

We Stopped for a Bit

Riley just about behaving himself. I felt so nervous
On Friday morning, I decided to ride and lunge again and once more, he misbehaved.  David, one of the yard staff gave me some help on how to lunge and suggested we try a new bit.  So, I only rode him very briefly.  Luckily there is a tack shop next to the yard, so we walked Riley to it and with the help of the knowledgeable Sally from the tack shop, we arranged a new bit, a snaffle with a French link.

Good Days and Bad Days? Hmm!

On Saturday morning, I headed to the stables earlier than usual as the riding school lessons begin at 9am.  I tacked up Riley and led him into the indoor school to be lunged with the intention to ride afterwards, however ran out of time to ride as he wasn’t well behaved on the lunge line so I spent most of my time focussing on that. I was still waiting for him to have a good day.

After a Few Times He Was Much Better.

On Sunday morning I set the alarm earlier than normal to ensure there was enough time to lunge and ride before the lessons started.  I had been giving thought to riding him straight away and not lunging him first, so after tacking up that is what I decided to do.  I rode him for 30 minutes and we used poles on the ground, first in a square then in a line and walked Riley over those.  He was very reticent to go over the poles the first time, so he needed lots of encouragement, however after a few times he was much better. At 8.45am one of the riding instructors advised that they had a lesson and came into the school with a young rider and pony.  Riley seemed nervous of the situation and held his head very high and I felt as though he wanted to speed off, however I gave him a pat and we walked round a few times so that he could settle before ending our session.
Riley and Sharon Howe after 1st lesson
Feeling pleased with Riley after riding. Heading back to the stable

Onwards and Upwards

As every day passes Riley is becoming more settled into the yard and into his new life.  As we have been picking his feet up every day, he is giving them much more freely and stands whilst his rugs are put on and taken off. He is fighting against his bit however he hasn’t had one in his mouth very often, so he is having to adjust. The yard owner commented that already Riley is a different horse, and so onwards and upwards.
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