EVERY THURSDAY IS THE SAME…

10.30 a.m. I march/limp down the road. The sun is fully up, and I take grateful pulls from my echinacea-laced water bottle. It is so good to be here, right here, right now, fully alive and having worked hard. The mountains rise up above me as I walk down the lane, and sheer greenness of it all, rolling up and around me, fills me with the kind of wellbeing I’ve always wanted in my life. I lean back into my stride, and head for the bus.

10.15 a.m. I dry my hair using the hand-dryer in the ladies loo. A preventative against getting a head cold, and it always makes me nostalgic for Desperately Seeking Susan.

10.00 a.m. I give Rebel pedicure, and good rub down. If he’s had enough brekky, and is not scrabbling around for the last scrap of hay, he lets me brush his face, which he loves, loves, loves, but not as much as hay. I love this part, he’s turns into a wee colt, and we gaze at each other with affection.

9.45 a.m. I get my ‘notes’ from Ruth, and ask a question or two. Down I come, reins over Rebel’s head, roll up the stirrups, and lead him back to the barn.

9.30 a.m. An infinitesimal break before we jump. I’d pay someone a hundred euro to breathe for me right about now. Okay, the breath comes back, and we jump, this time I get two ‘Better!’s from Ruth, the kind laced with approbation and, I suspect, relief. Damn: there’s nothing a couple of ‘Better!’s to make my day.

9.20 a.m. I’m awake now.

9.15 a.m. One day, will my face explode from redness? We do another serpentine, I try to remember to actually ride the thing, applying leg into the appropriate rein, rather than assume that he’ll take pity on my slumberous state and just do it.

9.10 a.m. The usual argument with Rebel about what a working trot is. Tap him up with the long stick, he stops dead, bucks, repeat as necessary.

9.00 a.m. Aaaaaaaaah, Gawwwwwwwwd, this is painful. Rebel’s back is cold, and I rise in the saddle to let him walk it off. I almost fall off. Feckin’ balance! Do they have medication for this?!?

8.50 a.m. I start to strip off layers, run to the loo, remove my hat, put it on, fish out the money, stick it in my left glove so I remember to pay before it gets all sweaty. I make sure my phone is on silent, tuck everything into the cabinet thingie, and draw down the sliding door yoke. I never worry about my belongings, never have. It’s the golden rule of the stable, I like to think.

8.35 a.m. Into the taxi, with the usual directions: where I’m going, and how I’d like to get there. Most of the Dundrum taxi men appreciate this, and I hate hate hate getting caught in the dropping-off-at-school traffic that clog the roads if we go right.

8.15 a.m. Am I really sitting on this bus, clutching my kit bag for warmth, listening to my horse playlist? The sun looks like it may deign to join us today.

8.10 a.m. Bus the Second pulls away from the terminus.

7.50 a.m. Disembark from Bus the First, head for the SPAR and get some cash, and some food for later. The thought of food right now makes me want to hurl. I run several lights to get to the stop for Bus the Second.

7.20 a.m. Bus the First arrives, and the daily commuters give my long stick the hairy eyeball. Surely they’re used to me by now?

7.15 a.m. Gah! Am I late? I leave my apartment in a hurry, happily having, finally, learned to pack up the night before. I walk briskly, somehow summoning ‘brisk’ from my sluggish self.

7.00 a.m. Second cup of coffee, which I won’t finish, because I won’t have time…

6.50 a.m. Dress, as one-handedly as possible, coffee the only thing moving my limbs at this stage. I’ve started wearing my half-chaps, for warmth, and for less fuss when I get to the yard.

6.45 a.m. Finally make myself get up. Stumble to kettle, flip the switch, loo, back to the kitchen, ahhhhhhh coffee.

6.05 to 6.30 a.m. Hit the snooze.

6.00 a.m. My alarm goes off. Ohmigod, I think. It’s pitch black outside. It’s windy. Is it raining? Do I really want to do this? Do I really want to leave the warmest bed in the history of beds and go horseriding?!?!?

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