The Big 9-0

Once again, a threshold crossed with no warning.

The weather has cleared up to the extent that the sun comes out towards the end of the day. The summer is waning — it’s getting that bit darker, again, earlier — and out we go on a ride out to take advantage of the grudging seasonability.

The horses like it. Delilah picks up her feet, and trots briskly down the lane, and despite the swarms of midges and, God help us, flying ants, she’s having a good time. It’s nice for them, to canter/gallop in the fields —

Unless you’re Spike, and you’d rather be dining on the thistles and who knows what. We’d all pelted around one of the smaller fields, only to see he’d dumped his rider in favour of the long grasses. Twice.

That put paid to anything more strenuous, but no one was complaining — we were heading for the upper arena.

I could see how the course would be jumped, left over from Friday night’s horse show, one I couldn’t participate in, as I was working. The polocrossers were back, and we were sharing the field, as it were, and were only going at one fence.

But, what a fence! 90cms, if not a hair more! After a few preliminary jumps at a recognisable height, Nikki put up the jump for Delilah and Jack.

Now, last Saturday, Delilah was not pushed whatsoever to exert herself. It was hot; she’d had a long day. But the invigoration of the fields, and the appeal of the height, had her totally engaged. I’m getting better at convincing her to take a reasonable line in — she’d just as soon take a sharp left and come at the thing sideways. Over and over and over to the side I urged her, and in my newly realised state of complete trust in her, I let her have her head, and damn if we didn’t fly over that fence.

From afar, it looked pretty high, maybe a little higher than that fence I took with Rebel. On the second approach, I really felt it, felt how powerful she was, how powerful she had to be, how tight my legs were on her sides, how, yes, I did manage to keep looking up.

It was awesome, but I know more now. A whole course of those? That’s really be something.

I’m liking reaching these goals without thinking about them for a week. as I’ve said before, I think so much in my head, as a matter of course and profession, that’s it’s great to have to think with my body. And this thinking is thoughtless, without thought, it’s all being, and it’s providing me with a trust in my own self that’s entirely new — and welcome.

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