I forgot to be nervous on my first day back in the saddle.

Okay, granted, I was still literally ‘high’ from jet lag {and perhaps figuratively, too: I do believe that I leave part of myself up there, negotiating time zones, until I re-enter my body}. I had a new plan coming back from the States this time round: usually, I dose myself with Tylenol PMs, inflate the neck pillow and apply eyeshades, and pretend that I am sleeping through the flight. This is impossible because there is too much activity in the aisles, and I doze fretfully, and still have to take a nap a few hours after arrival.

This time, I stayed up for the entire flight, watched movies {Cowboys and Aliens — lots of horses} and then stayed up the whole next day until 8pm. Like, I had been awake for twenty eight hours, and I still managed to wake up at 2am! I think I should have taken a nap, directly when I got in the door, maybe even on the threshold. Dammit.

Anyway, that was Monday, and Tuesday was the first day back, and I… I didn’t feel scared. Was it that I was too stupid with lag to be? I don’t think so. I knew that all I wanted was to be there, up at the yard, getting back into it. The first sight of the horse’s heads over their stables filled me with such joy, I forgot to worry whether or not Rebel was going to be car-razeeee after three weeks off. I simply got up there, and voted for going outside for the lesson. Who’s car-razeeee now?

I did sort of think maybe I may not like to jump, but I did anyway, and we had a high enough fence for the last one. High enough to earn a crosspole along the bottom of the straight. I don’t even know what that means. Anyway! It felt great, I didn’t even think of anything, I didn’t waffle with Rebel, and I reckoned that this was gonna knock the lag into little bits and pieces.

Not so much. By Saturday, for the second lesson of 2012, I was still a little dozy. Got a little flutter in the belly… but not so much on that, either. I watched the lesson that runs before mine, watched Connell act up a little, and thought, I know how to handle that. And then I thought: Hey, I just thought that. That is amazing. Wow.

We had a good flat lesson. Con wasn’t really in the humour, but we still managed to get two GOOD SUE WELL DONE’s in a row, until we had to canter in a circle on the right rein and then: ignominy. Did a spot of formation riding which we both love, and then had a meander down the lane after.

If I continue to forget to be nervous, that is great, but it really doesn’t matter if I do feel nervous again, because I know that I can work through it. I suspect I’d feel trepidation riding a new horse, or before a showjumping competition, or a ride out on a new horse, but that’s to be expected. I think it is an ‘essential’ nervousness that I forgot to feel, and that’s a new place for me to be. Excellent.

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