Haflinger Foal, photo by Behringer, Friedrich

I started riding again last week. Today was my second lesson with the RDA at the Drum Estate out of town, where I used to ride when I was a youngster. Starting again after a break of over thirty years, I feel a curious mix of familiarity and strangeness: Strange to feel as I felt back then, a mix of yearning, excitement and trepidation; odd to feel nostalgic about the familiar scents and sights, and to realise how much time has passed.  It is reassuring to know that I am now a grown-up and can meet and greet as I choose, with the freedom to be myself.

Posture is the big thing. I enjoy the discipline, and feel shaken to my core by the pain in my thighs, reminiscent of earlier, uglier agonies. All my nerves jump around as they try to discover a different and straighter equilibrium. I am assured that this will get easier and improve. Now, without the teenage angst and uncertainty pulling me back, I can listen more trustingly, and believe what I am told about how to sit, how to move, and about breathing deeply. If I breathe calmly, my mount will pick up on that, and we can be relaxed together.

I love to be back, and I welcome the new friendship, where I discover, yet again, that I have so much in common with others. They too have frailties and physical issues that they ignore, work with and endeavour to get past. I am not alone in that, or in anything else. The realisation that I am in such excellent company makes me at once tearfully grateful to be reminded, and sorry that I wasted so much time in isolated regret. Thank God, I am waking up. At last, I am getting over myself.

Now – sit up straight. I don’t want to waste this chance I have been given.


Two wild horses, equus ferus


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