BUT NOT ROY ROGERS’ HORSES It was a day. One of those days. Busy enough at work, managing demands, steadily producing. Underneath it though, was a feeling of being triggered the whole live long. In the main, it was an anniversary that is, let us say, without active currency, but one that exists nevertheless. Hopefully, one that will not have even the smallest lever in the future. One that still has a wee bit of hook, so I was dealing with it.

And then on my trek to the tram to the taxi to the yard, I felt a feeling that I’ve only felt twice in the last twenty months.

Maybe I won’t go tonight. Maybe I’ll give it a miss…

Happily my body knows better than that tired little voice in my head. I got out to the school, and as always, the sights and sounds and smells lifted my spirits.

To a degree. Rebel was chowing down in the tub that’s hanging on his wall. I called his name, he chewed for a while, and just as I was going to leave him to it, he came over.

I found myself whispering to him about my day. It’s called ‘horse whispering’, I expect, because no one wants to be caught nattering away to an equine— particularly when it’s the personal kind of nattering. He stood with his head over the half door, and I— I ended up calling him an endearment which was, of course, attached to all the stuff that was coming up that day.

I expel a breath now, thinking of it. It slipped out, and better out than in, I reckon, maybe it’s hit the air for the last time, but given the emotional surges I’d felt throughout the day— not as bad as last year, no where near as bad as the year before that, it shook me up.

I leaned my head on the arm I had resting on the top of Reb’s door. I wouldn’t want any of the polocrosse girls catching me all teared up.

Rebel shook his head. He nudged me, gently, for him, with his nose. Then he shifted, one step, another step, and leaned his head in until his cheek was resting against my shoulder.

I breathed again. I had my hat on, and angled my head so my chin rested against that warm, redolent, horsey face. I was going to say it didn’t help— I was seriously worried about being caught having feelings in the barn— but of course it did help. He stood there. He let me breathe in his stillness. He expected nothing. He let me lean on him.

I whispered some more, not much, it wasn’t… necessary. Standing there, allowing this rapscallious, curmudgeon of a horse give me comfort snapped me straight back into the life I live now. A life I couldn’t have had if I was in fact ‘celebrating’, and the inverted commas are not used archly, the very thing that I was, I hope, finishing having any connection to. I wouldn’t have had room in my life for the horses, and that’s no life I ever want to live.

Nevertheless, it was back to business in the lesson, and as payback for jumping a fence before he did, and additionally failing to fall off after it— the legs were on, baby!— he refused the foot-high first jump of a bounce, and I took a slow slide down to the ground. Reins still in my hand.

So, back to normal. On all fronts. And that’s just fine with me.

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