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On The Buckle

I love being able to ride again

I've enjoyed getting the horses fitter whilst rekindling our friendships

Returning to "normal life" has made me acutely aware of the drop in my strength

I suppose removing an organ does that to a person

Despite being given the all clear, I am constantly being told to be careful, don't overdo it, you don't want a set back...

Ronnie is a playful youngster with an elastic back and a rangy stride. I love these traits in him but I know that if i cannot balance myself, I can't very well expect him to catch me

So I've subconsciously kept the handbrake well and truly on

This was fine when we weren't really doing enough to get going anyway. but as the workload has stepped up, I haven't exactly let him

This came to a head the other day. His back was up the whole ride. I don't think either of us took a complete breath and we got back to the yard not really talking to each other

All the usual worries raced through my mind. Is he uncomfortable, is the equipment wrong, maybe he's too much horse for me, maybe I won't ever ride well again

I was thinking all these things whilst hacking Finn. Peacefully. On the buckle. As I cantered Finn on a soft rein across the same field that an hour before I'd been holding onto poor Ronnie for dear life, I realised what was going wrong

So this morning I tacked Ronnie up, doubled up on neck straps and headed out. I told him we aren't coming back until we are friends again

We arrived at a long hill where I know the ground. And we cantered. And we kept cantering until I softened my hand and could hear nothing but the synchronisation of breathing and hoof beats

And do you know what happened?

Absolutely nothing

I didn't get bucked off. Or galloped off with. Or even have to struggle pulling up

By the time we got back to the yard, a good few canters and hours after we had left, we were both safely, happily on the buckle

Whilst I definitely do not want a set back, I've been a bit in danger of not taking a step forwards either

I'm still a long way from full fitness but I've come a long way from surgery too

Ronnie reminded me today that holding on is actually just holding back

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