October 2010

How is it possible to accept the limitations age dishes out to you? As I ride Lily homewards, the wind, which had been brooding, whips up. The rooks begin swirling and scattering across the sky and the willows on the far side of the field are bending sideways .Its the sort of weather to excite horses. Dangerous riding weather. The brittle branches of the rigid line of cricket bat poplars near the barns are swaying this way and that as though they are mere marestail ferns . The corrugated iron roofs of the barns rattle. Lily begins to dance and then becomes increasingly headstrong . She prances, twirls round and bucks. The adrenalin rushes of fear sweep over me. I have kept sane through the sheer physical performance of being on a horse and keeping my wits about me, but at this point I am powerless and frightened. I think of my expensive new “Oxford” half knee replacement and wonder if my surgeon ,Mr Dodds, will be able to mend it if I fall onto the concrete yard. I may never be able walk again. For the first time in my life I decide to get off before I am thrown off. Mrs Pope , my westerly neighbour, has heard the dancing of hooves and has emerged through a door in the wall, to witness the shaming incident, the ultimate defeat. “Having a bit of the problem are we?” she asks merrily. I lead Lily back home under the short avenue of chestnuts with a heavy heart and turn into our gateway. I am no longer the imagined heroine on a horse I thought I was. I feel as flat and as low as the fens. The bungalow opposite still lies empty, its gate swinging open – a reminder of the gaping hole our friends have left by moving away to the south coast.

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1 comment to October 2010

  • You did the right thing, dismounting. Riding alone in horse-distressing weather/conditions, and having had reconstructive surgery = quite enough to signal caution IMHO! I know what it’s like to lose one’s nerve. Take heart: it is very rarely permanent, and you have kept on keeping going already! Bonne année & happy hacking.

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