It was one of those ideas I’d been toying with for a while. You know, one that slips through the mind every so often, making its presence felt but not lingering long enough to become a nuisance. But then, it keeps coming back, again and again and again, until you’re having trouble keeping it quiet.
I used to ride religiously as a child (literally. There was much gripping onto the pommel for dear life, screaming “OH GOD, OH GOD, PLEASE STOP, YOU BLOODY CREATURE”), but gave up ponies in favour of boys when I hit about 16 (an error, if ever there was one). I’ve rarely ridden since, other than Best Mate’s previous horse, and we use the word “ride” there rather loosely. It was nothing that Charlotte Dujardin would recognize as such.
|Best Mate's previous, Roneo. Good natured enough to put up with even inadequates like me when really he deserved much better.|
But the thought of taking it up again is one that’s been floating around for a while. I’d managed to put it off for all kinds of reasons – cost, time, that I’ve not done it in years and I remember just how much it hurts in places you don’t realise you have places after lots of time off, that I didn’t have a location near me.
But it’s kept nagging, and then the Olympics happened and our equestrians won pots of medals (not that you’d know from some coverage in the media), and The Equestrienne and I started to have our regular lunches, and The Domestic Slut took it up after many years off and started raving about her riding lessons at a school not very far from the flat – all of which was nudging me towards thinking that, just maybe, it would be fun to get back in the saddle (again, literally). And then I spent a weekend with Best Mate, and met her new horse, and got a few more enthusiastic text messages from DS.
|Best Mate's current, Mr Brown. A thoroughly handsome chap.|
And suddenly, I found myself on the phone to a local riding school, telling them that I hadn’t ridden in about 15 years, and could I please book myself a private lesson with the owner of the school, and something bombproof would be lovely, thank you.
I’m thoroughly excited about the whole thing, if a little concerned that I’m a) now so inflexible I won’t be able to get on the damned thing; b) going to come straight out the side door at so much as a sniff of anything faster than a walk; and c) that I’ll end up loving it so much that I decide I need one of my own, because I’m not entirely sure horse-ownership is allowed in the terms of our tenancy agreement.
The Writer is less excited, on account of the facts that a) he was planning on buying me riding lessons for my imminent birthday, a plan which I have now gone and scuppered; b) he is convinced I’m going to fall off horribly and break my back in several places. That one, to be fair, isn’t inconceivable. Hunting and cross-country-type activities aren’t going to be on the cards for a long while – and it’s going to take me at least that to be able to re-master a half-decent rising trot – but I imagine accident-prone ol’ me could do myself a nasty from sitting still, so you never know.
And so a trip home is in the offing, to dig out the riding hat. And hopefully a little horse sense.