I’ve been looking forward to this moment for nearly six months, and inching closer to it in the last couple of weeks. My broken leg is feeling stronger and I’m walking well enough to be confident leading the horses. I’ve slipped my leg over Pom’s back and sat on him briefly in the little corral where he is normally fed, groomed and tacked up and so, yesterday, when the morning was a little cooler and there were fewer horseflies, I thought the timing was right.
I dusted off my saddle and added a new numnah and Pom came when called (the Pie too, always on the lookout for a titbit, though Aly stayed in the shade of the woods). I picked out and oiled Pom’s hooves, brushed him off and gave his back a rub, whilst his saddle was in sight so he wasn’t in for a big surprise.
The months of moving him around and getting him far more sensitive to my requests while I was unable to do very much at all do seem to have paid off. After his bridle slipped on easily, Pom stood quite quietly to be saddled up and have his girth attached. My husband, Eric, brought out my new sturdy PVC mounting block and stood at Pom’s head and in a twinkling I was in the saddle. Pom seemed fairly relaxed so I rode him out of the corral, round the barn and into the courtyard, where I Eric took the pics. I’ve included here.
Any other rider who has had an accident or illness and finally gets back in the saddle must know just how good this moment feels! I’m not ashamed to say I had a lump in the throat and was close to tears and so proud of Pom, being a little excited and joggy at first, but still listening and doing as I asked.
Pom’s rounded belly in this shot – and it looks worse as the exposure has bleached out his dapples and made him look lighter and fatter than he is – shows just how out of condition we both are!
Photo session over and Pom feeling settled, Eric grabbed his mountain bike and we set off up the lane past our fields and through the woods, past the neighbouring farm then on past the newer houses, with all sorts of scary things around that would have sent Aly skittering in his youth (though that was long before the houses were built). Pom never turned a hair; that is the big difference between the two characters. Aly is a bigger Cheval de Selle Français with lots of Anglo Arab in his make-up including their sensitivity and a tendency to spookiness. Pom, a true PRE, is unperturbed by almost every hazard he passes, which makes him a much safer ride, though ironically, given his ancestors’ bullfighting lineage, the only things that have given him pause for thought since living here were cows and sheep: I suspect that though he was born in Tarragona, it must have been in the suburbs!
At the top of the lane we turned off onto a track through oak and sweet chestnut woods, which drops down to the valley bottom, through a tunnel under the road then back up the track beside our big field to take us back home. As we came to a clear run uphill, Eric agreed to see me back home and I let Pom have his head and canter for a stretch. Getting nearer home Mr. Speed realised just how unfit he was and was glad to walk beyond home a little then back into the courtyard.
Eric finally made it up the hill, relieved to see us home and dry!
So that was it and I’ve been on Cloud 9 since, whilst a certain Pom has practically eaten his own weight in apples – Aly and Pie managing to bask in his glory and my euphoria and scoop their fair share too!
That was yesterday and neither Pom nor I have had any ill effects, though Eric had the worst time by far, as he had hardly ever ridden the bike before and wasn’t sure how to operate the gears; that’s a truly loyal husband….