I had promised to write about how I rode Rinaldo properly.

It was a Thursday morning, and I wandered out of the main building and went looking for Ruth.

Paul walked by and said, ‘Take Rinaldo today.’

Which lead me to assume that Ruth wasn’t around, that Paul was taking my lesson, and that I didn’t have much choice.

I did the thing, the eight-year-old drooping shoulders thing, and whined a little, and then gave up. There’s nothing that you can do really. I mean, if I was afraid of a horse I would kick up a fuss, but I wasn’t afraid of Rinaldo, I was still nursing bruised pride.

So I took my pride, and my long stick, in hand, and I got up there.

The thing is, Sharon had ridden him twice in our Tuesday lesson, and by watching her, I got an idea of how it was done. It’s hard going — the split second you stop telling him what to do with your leg, he stops dead, and flicks you a look like Sorry, but you did take your leg off.

And I noticed that she rolled the leathers once around each stirrup. I did the same. It was like a whole new world.

I suddenly had a seat. He’s somewhat bouncier than Rebel, being leaner and longer, but having my balance, funnily enough, made all the difference. I was able to keep the leg on, and get him to canter without any fuss at all. Round and round we went, and frankly, I couldn’t believe this was the same horse, and the same me.

It was seriously hard work, though. But illuminating: I guess I often let up on the auld legs when on I’m Rebel, and [surprisingly] he stills goes; Rinaldo does not. I was working so hard, I got a stitch in my side. I was about to fall off when Paul finally called a halt to the proceedings.

As I limped down to the bus, I sighed over the wisdom of the instructors, and that it does pay to get back up there, even if you think you can’t do it. I’m not in a terrific hurry to snap Rinaldo up, it has to be said — but at least I won’t whinge [too much] when I get him again.

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