On Thursday, I asked Ruth who she thought I ought to be riding next.

‘Ruby,’ she said, ‘Or Bounty.’

Gulp.

Both mares, which I don’t mind. I like mares. I loved Delilah. I also remember what she put me through, the first several lessons with her. I managed, and she was the perfect bridge from Argo to Rebel.

But I felt a flutter in my gut, a short, sharp blast of nerves. I can feel it now, a bit, in my arms, in the tension in my arms.

Ruby is lovely, really supple, and listens to the aids. She turns perfectly on the circle, always giving the inside bend, always perfectly, on rein changes and everything. She tends, however, to land after a fence in flat out canter, and I’ve seen her churn off at a gallop. So, right. Okay.

Bounty. Bounty is young. She was the spooky one, the one who took the fence like it was jumping up with her, miles above the pole, hoo boy. I think she also tried to bite my face once— but I have a hard time telling the grays apart, so it might not have been her. It’s tribute to the automatic reaction of the human nervous system, how fast I pulled back from that equine gob. I can still see all those teeth.

Anyway, I felt a surge of nerves, with a twitter of fear, which alerts me that I’ve gotten complacent.

Complacent! On Rebel! After this? And this? And that?

Yup.

I’ve got it under control, now. My reactions to Rebel’s moods are manageable, if not almost non-existent. I don’t take it personally anymore [and, oh, did I] and even if we have a less than stellar hour, I can generally get some good out of it. And we jumped that really high jump together!

But, yeah, I think it’s time to move on.

I’ve trawled back through my archives [Question for other wordpressers— do posts disappear? I’m not backing these up and I think that’s suddenly unwise…] and on the trawl have discovered that apart from a few goes on Tango, it’s been me and Reb for the last eight months.

It’s taken me roughly 96 lessons to get to this point, with him. Wow. That’s a lot of hours— well, horse hours, which like therapist hours, run for about 40 to 45 minutes. But there’s been the time in between, too, the time thinking and writing and talking about the process.

I know it’s time to move on to the next challenge. After the summer, maybe? Can I have him just a little longer? It won’t really be up to me, and it may be coming sooner than I think. I’m in the Thursday evening lesson this week, off to Valencia for the next three days on a press trip, and someone else gets Reb on Thursdays…

Watch this space.

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