I arrived at the stable this afternoon to learn that Ashley would be my instructor today, overseen, in the background, by Jackie, who I’ve been working with since I started.
As I’ve found with therapists, no matter how good they are, sometimes a change is helpful, and this was certainly the case with Ashley: I learned a bunch of new things from her, sometimes because they were simply stated in a different way, sometimes because, having come to riding more recently, they were things she’s had to learn (or reverse engineer) herself in recent memory. And having Jackie there too reminded me of the larger trajectory, and of the things she’s always helpfully reminding me of.
I’m almost at the stage where I’ll be comfortable fetching Tye from the paddock, leading him back to the stable, grooming and saddling him, and being ready to ride. There are still a few rough edges, but I’m feeling more confident every week (and the every week has been key to this, as a fortnightly cadence was giving me too much time to forget).
Riding itself continues to be a grand adventure in humility, punctuated by small victories. When Tye and I are in sync it feels transcendent; when things go awry, more often than not I realize it’s because I’m being unclear, or I’m looking in the wrong direction, or I’m being too heavy on the reins, or my head is simply elsewhere.
No matter what I’m worried about when I arrive at the stable door, there’s simply not enough spare space in my brain to worry about it while I’m riding, and the halo of that extends for the rest of the day.
I had no idea about any of this when I made my first very tentative visit to Venture Stables in June, a visit I’d assumed would be a one-time thing. Thank goodness they asked me when I wanted to book my next lesson