I was so exhausted by my press trip to Valencia, I was tempted to grab the taximan I got at Dublin Airport and kiss him on the mouth. But once home, it was with a busy monkey mind that I unlocked my door and sat myself on my couch.

I was meant to go to the yard that evening. I had organised it before I left. I was so shattered, though, and I had so much work to do the next morning. I always feel better for a hour on the horse— but I was wrecked, and it was gorgeous out, sure to mean a ride out, and I hate riding out, and I wasn’t going to get Rebel either way, and I wasn’t in the nick to try Ruby or Bounty, but I never miss and what if this was the thin edge of the wedge, and, and, and—

Thank God I didn’t go. Some part of me— the smart part— had texted my lift to say I wasn’t coming. I did this the second I sat down in the taxi. We’d landed at 16.30, and I knew I could get home in 30 minutes, but then I’d have to hurl myself into my riding clobber, get back out to the road, bus into town, another bus over to the south side, and in rush hour, I couldn’t risk the traffic and I was meant to meet Lorraine at 7. Sure, it was roughly and hour and a half, two hours, and there was plenty of time, but I couldn’t face it, it was too far, the first time ever it was too far, and what if this was just a sign of things to come, I never miss—

Yeah, good thing. I was too knackered to even run myself a bath [maybe I’ll do that now]. And… it got into my head that I was going to fall. And I’ve learned that that is trouble. On this occasion, I had the feeling all day long that I was going to take a tumble— and I had been fully compos mentis that day. It was in there, bouncing around my skull, could fall, gonna fall, time to fall and you know what? That was the smart part again, devious, but smart, and doing what needed to be done.

I’m over it. Mostly. Glad I didn’t go, got a fantastic sleep [out by ten, which was when I would have once more been putting the key in the door] and tomorrow’s Saturday, and off I go. The riding’s only as good as what I bring to it, and I would have brought nothing but nerves last night. Good decision— good for me.

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