I made my way, last Monday, to Festina; I passed the entire bus journey querying my calf.

I had spent the entire two weeks off with my mind entirely focused on my leg. I found myself isolating at home in the evenings, devoting all my time to the healing of this wound. Ice, arnica tablets, a compressing bandage, another visit to my amatsu guy which worked out the calcification, and a yielded a lend of his magnets. Magnets! Do you know about magnets? They are spectacular healing devices! The bruise that a week and a half to come up — world’s littlest spot on the inside of my left lower leg, which should have had a colourful life of at least another week, after application of a magnet for 15 minutes twice a day for two days… well, it disappeared. Gone!

I was told when I could jump up and down without pain, I could go back. Not right then! I must have had some look in my eye. So I waited… and when I took that first little hop, later the next day, I felt my entire consciousness release from the wound.I was jumping. I could go back.

Despite several wee leaps over the weekend, I found myself, on that long journey to Bray, going back into the leg, flexing the muscle, stretching it gently, confident enough, but knowing enough to be concerned.

There he was, big Mal, and I lead him into the outdoor arena — site of my missed dressage opportunity — and it took me about four attempts before I felt the ‘ah, feck it’ and got up there. He’s always a bit drifty at the block anyway, but my hesitation wedded with his step forward made it that bit more ornate than it needed to be.

Finally, it had to be done, and it was done because I knew it could be done, and I did it. I can feel the surge of relief and gratification even now, even after three lessons done, back to jumping, and knowing that this is in me now, for real. As I rose in the first trot, I felt my whole body release into the work and thought, Thank God, okay, got it. Whew.

Mal and I did the test, and when we halted at X — on a feckin’ dime, what a halt from him! — I knew that I would have done well. In that horsey way, my instructor gave me a great compliment, and said that she didn’t feel she had all that much to be unhappy about, or something? I beamed as if she’d just handed me that red rosette. In horseperson language, I don’t think I could have asked for better.

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