Reb wasn’t tacked when I went into the barn. Funnily enough, he’d damaged his ligament sometime last year, and here I was again, limping — was he himself limping again?

Apparently not… and I tacked him up with no worries, led him to the indoor, mounted, lead the ride down to the outdoor, not a bother on us…

And things were mostly okay until I went to pull him in behind Spuddie, after open order. It was only two strides, maybe three, but he belted for the queue, like, galloped to catch up to Spud, and I thought, Uh oh.

Yeah. Around and around we went, and he’s absolutely focused on running up Spuddie’s arse. I am sitting back, massaging the bit, and the reins are so short that my fingers are practically in his mouth.

It’s our turn to canter. He’s wobbly, and he’s fighting me, and I tap him up — and he bucks like he means it.

Now, Rebel mainly bucks the way that a child might stick out her tongue. It’s cheeky, and annoying, and somewhat disrespectful, but it’s easily corrected, and everybody moves on.

This was different. I was thrown fully forward, and a little to the right, which is not great as you will read/may have already read below, and for a second I saw the arena’s fence and thought, Crap, there I go, over the fence — and hauled myself upright, left stirrup lost. Rebel fulfilled the promise of those earlier gallop-y strides, and took off;  I heard the instructor say, ‘Sit baaaa-aaack’, really gently, like she’d talk to a horse, and I sat baaaaaack and dropped my leg, and leaned back, massaging the bit, and then what happened?

Oh, yeah, then I got the stirrup back, and brought him back to canter for the short end of the arena, and then we stopped. We trotted whilst everyone else in the ride cantered, and just as we were about to change rein and canter on the right —

I pulled him in the centre and sat there. And then I got down.

In that moment, I knew the difference. I knew the difference between what happened here, and what was happening last night. I knew that he was going to take any and every opportunity to explode. I acted on that awareness, and went up and put him away.

I brought Connell down, who was also fairly fizzy, and managed to jump him handily over a couple of fences, and to stay aboard when he refused one of them < which was all down to me anyway, I knew I wasn’t riding the approach properly.

Frankly? That was one of the best lessons I’ve had in while. I’ve only realised that now. I felt like crap all the way home, worse when I was limping to the second bus, but now, I understand that I made independent decisions and was completely aware of how I was affecting my own experience. I got off Rebel. I knew that Connell refused because I hadn’t kept my leg on. I also asked to take the fences again, really quick, just so that in my own head I could know what to do correctly. I was not psyched out, because I could see how my own behaviour had contributed to the result [or non-result], and therefore, I could do it again because I knew what I had to keep in my awareness [everything.]

I am resting and icing and writing — the best way to heal, as far I can tell.

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