Riley is back! The Riley we know and love is back in action! But don’t worry folks, he’s still got the sass.
We had made nothing but progress up until February where we experienced our major setback.
I’m going to start by acknowledging that the sub-arctic temperatures we had been experiencing for the last little while have finally lifted to acceptable winter going on early spring temperatures. I truly believe this was the main reason behind Riley’s issues this month, and I’m so glad it seems to all be behind us now.
For the last week I have finally gotten Riley back into a safer mindset where I am finally able to incorporate a riding crop back into our warm up. Before last week Riley was not capable of being encouraged by riding aids without risking him going up and rearing every time I pushed him too far – during this stage all I could do was lunge him before getting on him, and while mounted nag him into walking forward and stay off of his face for the entire process. This week when I added the riding crop I could tap him behind my leg when necessary to get him moving up into a trot or canter transition without causing a big ordeal.
At this point there is now only a fight to get him going at the beginning of the warm up, and once he has lost the battle he gives up and we can get on with our ride without any more major arguments. I am thrilled with this progress and know if I continue to hold my ground and keep my leg on during the beginning of the ride that the habit will die fast and be gone altogether before I know it.
This week Riley was back into his lesson program and we went right into the warm up exercises and did a few courses both lessons this week. The nice thing about this horse is that he has no issues with the jumps themselves. So long as we work things out in the warm up and he has given up his fight, he is soft and willing to go to the jumps every time.
I’m so glad to be back on track with this horse, and I know this setback will only add to the reward at the end of my first season with him.