That one horse that changes you

3 months ago, when the pain in my hip got too much for me, after a tendon injury, I made the decision to stop riding for a while. For me this is like giving up breathing, and I spent the last three months feeling like, well shit.

I stayed in Portugal for Christmas, and spent the day alone, but it was my decision, because I knew that the trip, (24 hours on a plane), could add months to the recovery.

I watched Batialo during this time, and no-one will believe how different he was. He usually looks at me like I’m a giant carrot angel, excited, and childlike.

The last three months he looks at me for a second, and then looks away, like “yes I know you are here, but you are not wearing riding pants, so bugger off”.

He didn’t eat all of his feed during the day, and when I walked him he stopped paying attention to where I was, and would sort of just walk off like I wasn’t there.

Two very talented male riders have been helping me, and as I watched him with them, I thought “oh man, if he does that with me I’m screwed”.

He leapt and spun, and cantered whenever they wanted trot, and I felt very very worried, and I admit it, scared to start again.

I have ups and downs with my confidence depending on how bad the pain is (chronic injury) and right now I’m at an all time low.

Truth is, if you suffer from chronic pain, or you have a boisterous horse, or you are human, you can lose your confidence, and you have to work hard to get it back. It’s a constant battle, and you have to be determined, and 100% sure that you want to do this, to keep going.

Today I got on Batialo for the first time in 3 months. I’m still in pain, and he couldn’t be lunged and I was bloody nervous, and trying to convince myself I wasn’t. He went into the indoor, which sounded like a space ship about to take off, and trotted off and was quite simply, amazing for me.

A horse reared at the side, and he did jump, which does still hurt, and I just trotted off and he said “oh ok, off we go”.

Some people say that the horse chooses you, and I know I’m going to sound like a soap opera drama queen, but sometimes I truly believe it.

Mum said to me, “he will be good to you, he likes you riding him”, and I know it to be true.

Thank god for horses. They make us better people. They make us understand ourselves. And if you find the right one, they change your life.

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