It's hard to admit to that kind of frailty but it would be unwise not to at this point. I don't want anyone to think I am saying what I did was wise. I want my readers to understand the motivation and the symptoms so that's why I've gone into such detail in the telling of this first ride. Like teaching a newbie not to walk behind a strange horse, I would hope readers will see this story as a lesson to learn and not an accomplishment to boast, or a behavior to emulate.
Looking back, I know I really struggled with my need to ride and my need to be safe. My brain was definitely telling me I needed to quit but my heart was pushing me forward. Maybe it was the struggle that convinced me I was making a rational decision but "real" reason was not even a part of it.
There's this thing that happens when you've been down for as long as I have that defies logic and it had control of me. There's no doubt about it. The desperation that comes from being dependent takes on a life of its own, like an addiction. Needs become more important than safety. Fears can be easily manipulated. Vulnerability is unavoidable so it only adds to the desperation. All wrapped up together, in the control of the wrong hands, it can be a huge wreck. The only thing that saved me in this situation was my horse.
Of course, I didn't think about that aspect of my condition. For me it was only about how long it had been and how disconnected I felt from the world and my horses. If the doctor had said I could get on a horse, then why was I worried about it?
Even with my own set of fears, I knew I could count on the loyalty of my horse. Legs had already proved that to me by the way he'd handled everything to this point. At least that part was in my favor so I was calm and sure of myself, even if I shouldn't have been.
Poor Dave, didn't even have that. As I moved farther away, his stress level grew. That only fueled my need to distance myself from him and whatever safety his presence ensured.
I told myself I could stay safe as long as I didn't have to listen to Dave's nervous chatter when the real issue was did I have the strength and the mental capacity to be riding this horse in the first place. Believe me I didn't give that one bit of consideration. I was on my horse and I was going to ride. Sheer will and determination were in charge. Thank God somebody was.
My poor husband had no say in it at all. He knew when I'd turned away from him heading towards the back field I would not tolerate him hovering closer.The fact his concerns about my horse had been unjustified led me to totally dismiss any concerns he had. With that I gave up any input that might have been a voice of reason.
I told myself I needed to focus and I needed to relish the feel of the experience. After all, that's why I was riding. I needed healing time in the saddle. All thoughts about risk and jeopardy were squashed like a bug for the sake of something that could end up being more harmful than healing.
The gate going into the back field is only four feet wide. Both gates going into that field were that size when we moved in and we've never changed them. They are a bit narrow for taking horses through and even narrower to ride through. The large, double gates that are constructed of 7 foot chain link are cumbersome and only used for vehicles to enter. I wouldn't have had the strength to move either of them anyway. Riding in the back field meant negotiating that narrow gate.
The internal debate continued as my Arabian stallion carried me across the yard. Nothing stopped me. Even the vision of my toe getting too close and becoming trapped by a rung (a very similar scenario to that bad accident I'd had inside the back pasture those twenty some years ago) that flashed across my mind did not phase me. I pushed on like I had control, all the while thinking maybe I really didn't.
As we got closer to the opening, I realized the gate was coming at us way too fast making all the more likely the possibility I would misjudge the distance and repeat that old wreck. That didn't even stop me. Heck, it didn't even slow me down.
My mind raced with the inconsistencies in my thinking.The gate was upon us. My toe grazed the side and thankfully that was it. I breathed a sigh of relief as we negotiated the opening with nothing more than that bump but I was vividly struck by the fact it was not due to my good judgement AND STILL I kept on riding.
To be continued.................