I Haven’t Learned My Lesson

I KNOW, I KNOW! Well, what was I supposed to do? The traffic was murder, the bus was late, I had to take a taxi all the way the feck out to the feckin’ yard, and I got in, and he was saddled, and there simply wasn’t time before pony camp to maybe beg for Amigo, so I put on his bridle, and he let me — no head tossing — okay, a minimum, an absolute minimum — and I thought about all my strong words and convictions, and he looked at me and snorted and I said, ‘Smart arse’, and led Rebel out to the indoor.

And he was grand. Absolutely super. I got him moving at a good working trot, after serious consultation — no magic spells or anything, just a convincing marriage of stick and leg — and he immediately gave me the canter on both reins and we jumped really well, a double with two strides of canter in between, and I worked my bum off, and dammit. Dammit. He was grand. I talk about his bad behaviour and I know Ruth believes me, but there’s been no evidence in the private lessons.

So maybe I ride him on Thursdays. The thing is, in the serpentines? Totally listening to my leg, which I put down to the Festina Lente lessons. I feel like I can ride him better because I’m becoming a better rider, not because he’s becoming a better horse. ? Or that I’m not expecting him to be a different horse, but I am becoming a different rider. Is that like a classic excerpt from Hot Horses And The Women Who Ride Them, or is it sense?

I think, first, I’ll give myself a break, applaud myself and himself for a good lesson, and just keep paying attention. I’ll know what to do when I need to do it, keep my safety at the forefront of the equation, and trust that I’ll know when it’s okay when not to ride him, and equally, when to do so. I’m not the same every day, so surely he’s isn’t either. Commonsense, Suze! If it’s to be applied to anything, surely it is the horses.

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