It was sunny yesterday morning. I began to project.

If it was sunny, then maybe we could jump the course that I didn’t get to jump the Friday night. If we were going to jump the course, then I would take Delilah. If I took Delilah, then I wouldn’t really need the long stick, would I?

Given my general slowness of brain, I also didn’t want to risk another tragic loss. So I lashed the short stick into my kit bag and headed off.

Except that, funnily enough, it started lashing rain. Now, this island is particularly known for its precipitous weather, as in dramatic, and wet. You’d wonder how people can still be surprised by this. I myself have only resided here for ten years — maybe I have an excuse. But no, everybody, born and bred and blown in, is constantly surprised by the state of the sky and what comes down out of it.

And, in fairness, it’s ‘summer’, and every year we hope for the best and grumble indignantly about the worst.

In short, I should have known. So no long stick, and Rebel for an hour, which was nominally okay until we all gathered in the centre of the arena to allow everyone a solitary canter.

I would dearly love to know what goes through his mind. There we are, it’s our turn to go, he starts bucking, and in a new wrinkle, backing up, and generally throwing his head around and carrying on.

With the long stick, I can tap him on the bum, which he will mind. With the short stick, I have to do that thing in which the reins go in one hand, the stick in the other, and then he bucks and I wobble —

Except I wasn’t so wobbly, and managed to get him going without having to juggle the reins. But I would love to know what he thinks is going to happen. That I’ll give up? That he’ll be put back? What?

I also kind of hate the part where everybody’s watching. It’s like he’s never going to go, and there I am, whacking and rapping and basically feeling like someone’s going to ring animal rescue.

We always get going. But I’m not travelling without the long stick again, because it’s just not possible to know what’s going to happen or who I’m going to get.

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