Today I had a day off. As the in laws are currently staying, Husband took the day off so I took the opportunity and ran. The Little One and I drove around the M25 for me to get back in the saddle.
Ever since I was a medium one, I’ve loved horses. By the time I was about eight, I was usually found mucking out ponies at the local riding school in return for free rides. I rode solidly until my mid to late teens when I took a break until I joined the BBC Riding Club in the mid noughties. The riding bug took another big bite out of my bottom and I ended up as chairman of the club. As I’ve said, I do like a committee. Still frantically itching from the bug’s big bite, I looked for a horse to share but couldn’t find one. I decided to do my exams and I’m very glad I did.
Tina Layton at Contessa Riding Centre took me on as a part-time working pupil and despite holding down a full-time and demanding job at the BBC, I gave up my weekends and one evening a week to go back to mucking out in return for riding and lectures to get me through my British Horse Society exams. I loved my time there. I’ve always called it a boomerang yard because everyone returns. My time at Contessa saw me through bad break ups, losing my lovely Gran and a number of other hard life events and yet I’d describe it as one of my happiest times – second only to marrying Husband and having the smalls. Try as I might, I’ve never found another yard where I feel so comfortable and, in the nicest possible way, pushed. I made strong friends there, one of whom was my bridesmaid and is still one of the first people I turn to for all sorts of things. The horses are great, the staff are great and everything is… Well, great. So great I now drive two hours each way for a 45 minute lesson. I think that says a lot.
But I digress. Being around and in particular on the back of horse is therapy for me. I love the peace of mind I get when I’m riding. My usually flitting mind concentrates solely on what I’m feeling beneath me and what I need to do to make it feel better. Everything else slips away. Being back on board today almost felt like a relief. A chance to get back to being just me. For once, it was me doing the asking rather than three lovely but demanding smalls.
So with a pleasant ache in my muscles (it won’t be so pleasant tomorrow), I’m resolving to ride more. For the third time, the bug has sunk its teeth into me again and it feels fabulous.