I was so delighted [and relieved] to have Delilah again on Saturday. The ride is coalescing— we are closed to n00bs, now, and that helps— and even though we’ve had different instructors for the last bunch of weeks, things are going well.

I was told that Delilah was cranky, but she seemed to be going pretty fine, and was very much up for the jumps. Which reminds me…

IS IT BULLSHIT? PART 3: JULY, 2007 We’re going on a ride out.

It’s been two or three weeks since the fall at the log.

It’s been a true Irish ‘summer’ and I’ve been praying for more rain.

But it’s dry, and we’re going out.

‘Delilah.’ We’re waiting for me to grab a block and get up. ‘We’re going out. I’m nervous. Easy does it, yeah?’

She looks at me. She hasn’t tried to bite me in weeks— it’s never all that hard, but she’s nippy, the alpha mare, setting the boundaries. I try not to bug her, and hold her correctly, and we’ve worked it all out between us.

She looks at me, and blinks, nudges me a bit.

Okay.

We go down the lane, down the road, trot back up. This is okay. I practice my seat when we walk, and when we trot it feels nice and light.

We turn into the upper west field, and I breathe and breathe. ‘Delilah. Remember? Easy.’ She’s fine, stepping delicately as is her wont.

We go through the gate into the lower west field.

‘Alright?’ asks Val. She was there.

‘Uh, yup.’ Here we go, girl, I think— Delilah thinks?— and the ride ambles down to the bottom.

We halt, in a loose queue.

Nikki turns to me. ‘Want to jump?’

‘Yeah.’ I nod.

And this is what I love so much about this whole world, and it’s what I’ve read in the books, that some say explicitly, some implicitly. This is the perfect union of masculine and feminine, right here, this exchange. None of this oversolicitous, ‘Oh, Sue, I know you fell at that jump, and if you don’t want to jump, that’s okay, you don’t have to, it’s okay.’

Nope. You want to jump? Yeah? Okay. You don’t? Okay, too.

No fuss. Yes or no. Masculine intent wedded with the bedrock of feminine acceptance. This is the whole thing about this, for me. We are all both— it’s just seems easier to integrate when on horseback.

Delilah and I go first. There’s that moment, always that moment, out in the field, when Delilah trots for like, one beat, and then bursts into the canter, I struggle to straighten her up, and we go, we go over the tires, and I am free, again I’m free, and I tap her up and we’re over the plank, and then—

There are horses turned out in the field, and there’s one in our line to the log, not by much, we could cut around him, but it might be too close, and I can’t decide what to do, Delilah’s not telling me, she’s not telling me, and then I decide, feck it, can’t risk it, I don’t know the horse that’s in the way, and we gently canter away from the log, the infamous log, and head back.

It is an entirely acceptable non-decision turned decision, on both our parts.

We go again: tires, plank, and the log, and I feel her slow down— she doesn’t like the log!— but we’re there, committed, and I tap her up, gently, a small reminder, and I let her jump it at her own pace, and I’m over it— I’m over it.

Yes, it’s true, it’s true, we communicated, we listened, to each other, and we jumped that poxy log and everything I’ve read in the books is true.

I know there’s more, this was a glimpse of that ‘more’— and I want it.

I shop for a horse on the internet.

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