I had no idea that I could hurt myself doing dressage. Although what I was doing by the end of Monday’s lesson was not strictly dressage. It was more like trying to get the horse to stop skipping out of bounds on a canter circle.

It was bound to be a tricky lesson. Malabar had his bit out, which is common practice at Festina. After last week’s fantastic lesson, after which I began imagining myself clutching that red ribbon, it had occurred to me to wonder if I’d be let ride him with the bit. So, when I saw that it was back to bitless, I was a little concerned.

With good reason. My brain wasn’t so much in my legs, as I had had a rocking time down in Cork at the weekend, and was probably still hungover. My brain was barely in my head. So, feeling a tad rough, we started to work, and it wasn’t happening. Last week, I had been getting the canter from Malabar beautifully [this will be another post I think, about how I’ve been doin’ it rong? The canter aid? After all this time?!?!], and this week, it wasn’t happening. My instructor got me a shorter long stick — will I blame the whip, too? Sheesh — and we basically went from zero to sixty, and I couldn’t get him to turn on the third part of the circle.

We tried it and tried it, and I pulled the muscle trying to guide him round with the outside leg, which happened to be my left one.

Ah, well. I’m going to do this test anyway, and hope for the best. The test itself is simple enough, I’ve got it memorised, but who knows how Malabar and I will be on the day? I’ll be doing my best, I hope, and be back to full strength.

Oh, and also? When I got home I realised that I’d put my sports bra on backwards. I’m sure that had something to do with it too…

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