Got a return visit from a virus or whatever it was that I had felt impinging on my wellbeing the week of the shoot. Didn’t want it then, and didn’t want it now. I decided to take the best cure I know — other than hot whiskey — and head out to my lesson anyway. Nothing like a good sweat to get rid of the megrims. Or whatever it was.

There’s nothing worse than standing around in sunshine and feeling poorly. We were going on another ride out as well, and I kept my jacket on, as it seemed like I’d need the extra layer against the breeze, a lovely cool breeze that I would, of course, enjoy under fitter circumstances.

Delilah was feeling like going, and I wasn’t too sure about that. Happily, we went down to the lower arena and cantered around for a bit, all of us at once, and shook out some of the flutters — both hers and mine.

There’s nothing like being on the back of a horse to remove the focus from a dozy head. We trotted down the lanes, and Delilah and I were in accord, unlike last week when it felt like everything was wrong. I was still nervous, last week, nervous about the Big Hill.

I was very straightforwardly asked if I’d go up it this time.

I decided it was time. It was time to shake off that mad dash on Rebel [whom I missed terribly, tonight] and go for it. Jack was not in the ride, so Delilah had no one to compete with… yet I was still making the decision even as we got to the gate.

Things got a bit hairy as we waited for Ruby to go: Delilah started jigging to the left, all the way left, banging into Nikki and the horse she was holding, I was trying to hold Delilah without giving her something to fight against, which was a tricky position to be in, but Ruby took to the field and off we went —

And it wasn’t as steep as I thought it was. Delilah didn’t go as fast as I thought she might. I kept her head up and my heels down, and we galloped away, and we made it to the top.

So that’s over. That’s officially out of my head. It’s done. I can do it again. I am delighted with myself.

Don’t think my bug is gone, though. I ‘ve got a crashing headache, and my vision was a little bit sparkly around the edges, like I imagine one gets before one faints, a little lightheaded despite the tightness in my skull. Off to the scratcher and another dose of Uniflu and sleep sleep sleep.

And before I dream, I’ll relive that gallop up the Big Hill and enjoy the feeling of confidence re-won.

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