Yesterday, for the first time in nearly a year and a half, I rode Minnie. When the vet recently gave me the excellent news that Minnie’s tendon injury had healed, he told me she was ready to be brought back into work. “Regular, slow and steady road-work is what she needs now to help strengthen the tendon”. That was in January, when it was already getting dark when I got home from work. Not much point in starting her when I could only exercise her once a week at best, so we had to wait. Now the clocks have gone forward and the long evenings await me when I come home. It feels like a gift. Suddenly, I have time, time to spend outside in the fresh air and be with my horses when it is still light. Time to be active.
It was a beautiful day yesterday. The sun was shining in a blue sky, the air was full of fresh green smells and even the chilly wind tasted like spring. Birds were singing, busy marking off territory and starting their nests. The first bumblebees have come out of hibernation and were buzzing in the hedgerows. It was a wonderful day to be out and suddenly I felt it was the right day to start with Minnie.
I brought Minnie and Cassie into the yard and spent a long time grooming them at liberty. Then I got Minnie’s tack out. She was still standing where I had left her after I finished grooming her. I walked up, put her bridle on and then got the saddle. I eased the saddle on her back, gently, but very matter-of-factly. As if we had done this only yesterday. I walked Minnie around the yard, did the girth up and then I got on. I sat still and stroked Minnie’s neck. She felt fine, relaxed, with not a trace of tension in her body. I walked her on a loose rein in a large circle around the yard and she moved calmly and confidently. I rode her for about 10 minutes, in both directions, and decided that was enough. Any longer and I would probably have burst out in either song or tears. I hadn’t realised how much I actually missed going out with Minnie. Until now.