I WROTE THIS AT THE AIRPORT LAST YEAR AND APPARENTLY IT FLEW AWAY WITH ME In my last lesson before heading to the States for the holiday, I was looking forward to having Connell.

I can’t remember the last time I looked forward this much to riding a horse. He’s not perfect, and I love that he’s not. I was looking forward to learning more about his behaviour, seeing what I could learn from him, how I could advance my own independent thinking as we went along. I was a little nervous of jumping him, as I always am with a new horse, but I thought I’d like to, tonight [maybe.]

But first, I really needed a long stick… and I thought I knew where I could get one.

I had hidden my long stick in the public tack area about six months previously. This was a bold and silly move. Nothing stays hidden at a yard. You think you’ve found a fool-proof site for stowing something, and the only fool is you, in the end.

Me, I was feeling like a fool, carting the long stick around on the bus. It was awkward, and I was tired of awkward, and I’d gotten spoiled being able to leave it in a friend’s stable with her stuff. I didn’t even feel like bringing it home. So I hid it, cursorily, basically thinking I was donating it to whoever would find it.

Well, what the hell; I decided to give it a shot. I looked around furtively, which was a waste of time, because I had hidden the stick behind the big metal cabinet in which the hats-for-lend reposed, and it made a racket as I tugged it away from the wall, hats rattling, metal scraping on the stone floor. I shifted it back and forth, wiggling it forward, and yeah, damn, couldn’t see the stick. You had to admire the liberator’s ingenuity, going to that much trouble to pinch the stupid thing. I was bummed, nevertheless, and gave the cabinet a bad natured, last shove —

And there it was! Covered in six months worth of dust, as gray and beardy as The Ghost of Christmas Past, and yet one hundred percent corporeal. Full of cheer, I grabbed some loo roll and scraped off the grime, and satisfied, went to show off my very own Christmas Miracle. Which was greeted with dubious, slightly appalled looks until I produced the long stick from behind my back, and told its story. The amazement was then properly boundless, and we marvelled.

Connell, perhaps, was less ecstatic, but he got the best part of the Christmas Carrots that evening, so all was well.

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