I am grudgingly getting to like my Blackberry Storm. It’s not an iPhone [don’t even get me started about trying to buy one of those godforsaken things over here], and an iPhone may very well do this, not that I’d know… anyway, I set the morning alarm, turn off the handset, and it turns itself on, waking both of us up.

I had my clock radio, which runs about five minutes faster every day unless I reset it, as back up, as well. I had my my first lesson of 2009 at 9am, and I didn’t want to sleep through it.

Back from the States-for-Christmas, my jet lag was hanging on stubbornly, and I wasn’t taking any chances. I hadn’t been riding in almost a month.

25 days, to be exact. I expected it to be… rough.

I was so early to the yard, I was in time for breakfast. Not mine of course, I can’t stand to eat first thing in the morning, it takes me about an hour, hour and a half to imagine the ingestion of food — and of course, I’m starving by the time I get to the stable — I was just in time for the horses’ feed, and it was kind of hilarious to watch as they got increasingly impatient for their portions of hay to be tossed over their doors. No wonder Delilah was so happy to see me — until she saw the dude with the wheelbarrow, that is.

I tacked up Rebel myself, and let him know that whilst I was certain this would be an… interesting… morning, I was ready to go, and also, yeah, sorry for taking him away from his grub.

It felt great to gear him up myself, to just do it, to get on with it. I was so excited, waking up [in good time] in the dark, that I was grinning up at the Big Dipper despite the cold. I practically ran to the barn, and it all started falling in to place again. This is the longest I’ve gone without a lesson or a hack in two years and a bit, and I knew I wouldn’t be great, but I hoped I wouldn’t be complete crap.

Well, I was rusty. Had some trouble with the reins today, trying to keep contact without tugging, so there was some flappage that ensued. I was heaving, absolutely dying for breath after three minutes, but then got over it. I knew we wouldn’t jump, but when Ruth told me to halt, I knew we weren’t done, but surely she didn’t mean —

‘Take up your stirrups.’ Crap.

Again, rusty, but not too terrible, even in, God help me, the canter. In fact, two things happened today that haven’t happened before: I was undoubtedly clear with the outside leg aid, something I hadn’t actually felt before. My leg went back with authority, and Rebel cantered. Oh, a bit of messing, but nothing like what he can usually get up to — and he knew the stirrups were gone, too.

Second, in the transition down to trot, I actually used my seat to get the change. I did! I felt it! I did it on purpose! Fantastic!

Only thing was, I immediately tried to rise in the trot, and consequently started bouncing around in the saddle.

The time flew. I wasn’t sure we’d gone the whole time, but indeed, we had. One thing I hadn’t realised though. After twenty five non-riding days, despite the fact that my muscle memory kicked in and I remembered how to do everything… my muscles weren’t exactly as inured to the memory as they usually are. My feet hit the ground on dismount, and I’m surprised my legs didn’t crumble beneath me.

I limped, mewing with discomfort, down to the bus. It has, of course, not gotten better as the day has gone on. But, you know what? I feel great.

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