As Good As a Rosette

What’s the big deal, you wonder?

It’s only an auld piece of paper…

Had on to this through the dismount, the putting to bed of the horse, and the commute home.

Well, what happened was: we had a flat lesson in the upper arena. I am well over any fear of William losing what’s left of his sanity up there — famous last words, but ‘from the brain to the rein’. I have decided we’re okay and we’ve been okay.

Plus, we were up at the upper part of the upper arena, where the scary coloured-y jump standards live on the other side of the fence, as well as wandering members of the herd.

Not a bother on us.

Then our instructor told us to take our stirrups away, and lean forward as she tucked a piece of paper under our seats. The exercise: canter, without stirrups, around the arena, throwing in a circle, and don’t lose the paper.*

Hmmm. I’d had the pleasure of cantering William without stirrups or reins, and despite the potential distractions (from the outside world and the inside of me) I reckoned we’d give this a decent go.

We were the only pair in the lesson who managed it. On both reins.

It felt like it deserves a place of honour**, so:


What I learned, apart from the fact that I can sit deep enough to hold on to a piece of paper with my arse, is that the transition down was the trickiest part — I’ll be directing my attention in that direction over the next few lessons, with or without stirrups or paper.

It’s so satisfying because after Cathal, William has the fewest fans, and I love it when we do a thing well.

On the downside, it wasn’t cash money — I understand that fivers are often used instead…


*DISCLAIMER: I did not do as well when we had the paper between our calves and the side of the horse. Nobody’s perfect!


**Eh, I’m not keeping it there, but I am keeping it.


Many Brave Fools: A Story of Addiction, Dysfunction, Codependency… and Horses is AVAILABLE NOW.

Order your copy today:
> In the US, click on over to Trafalgar Square Books’ site.
> In the UK and Europe, visit Quiller Publishing’s page.

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