My summer trip is inching closer, and the people around me have started asking, “Are you ready?” The answer is a comprehensive, “No”. With just over five weeks to go, I’ve barely considered packing – with the exception of winning the battle with my airline and succeeding in my quest to get them to increase my luggage allowance – I still have some personal admin to do, and my groundwork skills around horses are still in a desperate state.
I’ve had a lack of horse time again: it was all going beautifully a few weeks ago, but I had an unforeseen break from it all and I’ve psyched myself out a bit again. I went to see my friend and her horses again yesterday, and found myself feeling a little flat, despite getting what I’d been craving. When I look back now, I actually achieved some things which I’m very proud of: there’s no question that I’ve improved since I began working with her, but something about the way I was today felt a bit… detached.
I think it serves as a reminder that consistency is key to confidence. Once horses are part of my daily routine again, and I’m working with a group of animals who I’ll get to know inside out, things will be more straightforward. It’ll be a strange combination of being back in my comfort zone but at the same time pushing myself far beyond it, and the latter will be the critical part – once you know where you’re at, it’s easy enough to just cruise through; you only really get something out of an experience when you push harder and reach further into the unknown in order to learn.
I still consider myself to be fortunate: the short bridleway loop we take is through a small wood. It’s a quiet and fairly remote area – there are houses with several acres of land around, as well as other horses within hacking distance plus cyclists and walkers, so we’re far from the only ones to ride this route, but we were alone this morning. In the three weeks since I last visited, spring has well and truly sprung, and the woods are completely carpeted by bluebells in full bloom. I wasn’t expecting it, having grown accustomed to the wintry browns and greys with a recent smattering of green pushing through, and I was so struck that I didn’t dig my phone out for a picture – I’ll try to remember next time, as well as reminding myself to enjoy the path as much as the arrival at my destination.