Too busy to blog today. So much work, so few hours. But there is always time to go down to the field and get on the sweet mare. Even a half hour on her dear back acts as a lightning conductor for sanity. We did some thrilling high-energy free-schooling this morning. Whoop, whoop, I cried, as I cantered along with her, running over the green turf with the abandon of a child. Let it rip, I called, and she did, stretching out her strong body, as elemental as her wild ancestors. She was all freedom and power, and yet so responsive and clever that she came to a dead halt from a fast pace the second I stopped moving.
This never ceases to astonish me. It is perhaps the thing about working with thoroughbreds that is the most moving. They hold all the untrammelled wildness of their ancient ancestors, yet their minds are so brilliant that you can teach them to observe the most subtle human invitation. It’s a fascinating conflation of the entirely instinctive and the absolutely artificial. Human commands must be so odd to a horse, and yet they kindly obey them. I come back, time after time, to that willingness, that offering, and it never fails to lift my heart.
However tense and fretful I am, however stretched, however slightly panicked by all the things I must do, there is always the magical time, each day, with this good horse, as she does things I can hardly believe. She makes me laugh and she makes me proud and she makes me feel worth it. She raises me above the mundane, the quotidian, and takes me into a realm of her own, where none of the stupid small things matter. That is her extraordinary gift.
I never, ever take it for granted.
This is not the most beautifully composed picture I ever took, but I wanted to include it because it shows how dozy and relaxed she is after riding, and after that fast free-school. Common wisdom says a thoroughbred should be all hopped up on adrenaline by all that, and yet she stood dreamily for ten whole minutes whilst I trotted about, taking pictures of her. Low head, easy neck, donkey ears, soft eye, wibbly lip. My happy girl: