It’s official. Consolation and I are back on the conditioning trail.
I confess that I was slightly nervous. As many miles as I post, as many hours as I spend safe in the saddle, I can never quite forget that with riding — particularly on green horses after winter layoffs — comes a set of significant, undeniable perils. It doesn’t help that I can’t escape my temperamental hamstring, a constant reminder of the risk inherent in our sport.
Well. There’s nothing to do but do it anyway. Visualize the best result (which is thereby made more likely), quash the fear, focus on passion, trust your skill. Every ride, it’s easier. As a good friend of mine noted, the worst parts are takeoffs and landings.
Yes, I agreed…in more senses than one! But I needn’t have worried.
Swinging astride felt like exploring my garden in early March. Here, the ghosts of perennials awaiting spring. There, some windblown clutter for sweeping out. Everywhere, the earth sweet and solid and familiar, pliant in my hands, rich with promise.
All the miles Consolation and I have covered together came rushing back, tumbling one over the other in their haste, chattering in our small, secret language hammered out on the anvil of experience. The occasional, impatient dip of her head. The respondent press of my calves against her ribs. A word, a breath, a hint of give. The sorting out of which job belongs to whom, reminders that all belong to both.
We spent half a mile on static, more or less, as together we remembered. And then? The ancient, centaur magic! The reins turned to blood that flowed between us. We talked like old girlfriends clutching hands across the table at an empty bar, grinning, pulled toward one another by conspiratorial murmur.
“Remember the old days?”
“The wild days, you mean? Hell, yeah.”
“Those are the ones. We should do that again.”
And we waved for another round. _________________________________________________________
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