SPRINGTIME COMES EARLY TO IRELAND The crocuses are blooming in Fairview Park. Marks and Spencer’s daffodils are in. As I walked down the long, long road to my bus, the afternoon light was warm: the sun is coming back, and even though it’s cold by Dublin standards, it’s almost here. Spring is almost here.

It may have been my overall sense of wellbeing that warmed the light, from my point of view, anyway. I’m in the swing as regards the private lessons, and after having jotting down yesterday’s to-do list, I had a good grasp on what I need to work on.

I had been questioning my weekly private, considering that it’s a bit slow on the work front, but I’m beginning as I intend to go on. I will take as many as I can this year, establishing a schedule that will have to flex when flexibility is needed, but one that will have these one-on-ones built in somewhere, somehow. I wanted a third ride in the week, I’ve been talking about it for months… but I was also feeling the pressure, which threw up several red flags that I knew to mind.

The biggest red flag being the challenge to complacency. It’s alright to look good and get praise in a big lesson— those upward wandering heels maybe not be continually sussed, that tendency, still, to look down and not ahead more easily overlooked. No aspersions on my superb instructors: it’s just the way it is. After last week’s private, I was starting to go down the road of least resistence… and then on Saturday, as we went round and round, a ride of seven, I found myself thinking, wow, there are so many of us in the lesson, and that maybe it wasn’t so bad to be on my own sometimes.

It went well today, despite Rebel’s bucky mood, but I’m determined to, er, ride it out. I suppose there’s a compliment in there as well— I can become good enough to work with this particularly temperamental dude, else they wouldn’t be putting us together. I do long, sometimes, for the ease of Delilah, but there’s such a feeling of accomplishment when I work through Rebel’s latest bout of irascibility, that I think he and I are going to be an item for a while.

I do have a choice. I am an adult. But the feeling that comes from being pushed, being asked for something more, is so gratifying. I can’t even remember the last time I got pushed to be better, and enjoyed it at the same time. Maybe never. That’s just fantastic.

I don’t know what I expected when I took up horseriding, but I’m sure I didn’t expect to be able to be good at it. Which seems ridiculous, but there you go. I was scratching an itch, investigating a yearning, and pehaps expected to have checked it out and moved on. Why do anything you don’t think you could be good at doing? A question for the ages. But there you go. It feels great. So great that when, musing upon these very things, and breathing in the aroma of warming earth, I didn’t even swear [well, not much] when the bus I was meant to be catching blew right on by. This is truly progress.

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