AND I WILL STAND THE HAZARD OF THE DIE When I made up all those lessons I’d missed in late autumn of 2006, it became quite plain that I was going to have to continue to ride twice a week.

Fairly sharpish, it got into my head that three times a week was the way forward. I kept saying it, aloud, over and over, to anyone who would listen – and to anyone who couldn’t care less.

Before my last full time job packed up, I imagined a world in which I was once more a freelancer, with writing as my predominant source of income, a gig that would allow me to have contact with humans occasionally, and Thursdays free for a private lesson.

And so it came to pass. I didn’t really mean for the dude I was working for to go out of business, but opportunity knocked. I threw open the door and made it a nice cup of tea.

Now, it seems, all I’m talking about is getting a horse.

A horse to share. I don’t think I’ve got the time, and I know that I don’t have the transport, to have a horse all to myself, to take on the full responsibility. I told all my instructors that this is the plan I wanted to embark upon, and asked them to keep an ear out. With the schoolies dropping like flies, it’s occurring to me that having someone to myself [mostly] would be… good.

Not that that guarantees anything. I mounted Ruby, and had a chat with a Livery Lassie, who was on Jack. Her own horse is lame. Chatting away, I felt like… a Livery Lady myself, sitting on horseback, talking about horses, relaxed in the saddle, adept, comfortable, at home.

She said: You need to get your own horse. When are you going to get your own horse?

And I mentioned the notion of the share.

And she said that her brother knew someone, at our yard, who had been trying to find someone to share her horse, and that it appeared that the Livery Lady had given up, but that she’d ask, and that she thought it was a mare, biggish, solid.

My imagination flares up, like a brush fire in California: will she be a palomino? Like my dream horse? I haven’t seen any palominos apart from ponies, in the yard. Am I good enough? Her owner is very experienced, I am not. Would I be able to ride her? What about when she needs a vet – it would certainly be halfsies, wouldn’t it? I’d have to draw up some papers, sign things, would it lessen the price of my lessons?

I could get there early — which I mostly do, anyway — I could groom her, and tack her, and walk with her down the lanes, on my own [ish] horse, the lanes, suddenly an appealing jaunt. I could take her into an arena and ride and ride and ride… I could untack her, hose her off, scrape off the wet, groom her, feed her pony nuts, buy her toys.

I need tools! I need my own gear! Halters and lead ropes and numnahs, oh my! I could even, maybe, finally, breach that last bastion of the barn that has thus far gone unbreached: the loft at the end the building, where the cooler that thou polocrosse girls go…

If not this horse, then another. He or she is getting closer. I can feel it.

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