” I can’t really explain it, I haven’t got the words. It’s a feeling that you can’t control.”
With the soft thud of hooves we reach the edge of the field. A green carpet glistens in the morning spring sunshine in front of us, far more important than any red carpet in the world. I pat my bay companion, who swishes his tail in anticipation. His ears flick forwards and back, waiting for my signal. With a squeeze of my calves, he jumps forwards, long neck stretching out. I stand up in my stirrups and crouch forward, feeling his body bunch and stretch as he gallops powerfully out of the shadows.
“I suppose it’s like forgetting, losing who you are. And at the same time, something makes you whole.”
Wind whistles around my ears, whispering promises of summer. I blink back tears as the cool air buffets my face. With a whoop of glee, I crouch lower, urging him to go faster; scrubbing my hands up and down as the long black mane whips up to greet me. A spurt of speed and we start our ascent, the field rolling away neither side. The spring sun warms my back. A grin breaks over my face as my worries leave me, soaring high above me amongst the singing skylarks. I forget about yesterday. About today. Nothing seems to matter now.
“And then I feel a change, like a fire deep inside. Something bursting me wide open, impossible to hide.”
I blink. In front of me are a pair of white delicately fluted ears, curving inwards. The short strong neck of my first pony supports my upper body as I lean forwards. Out of the corner of my eye I see my friend, balanced expertly over her shining, mahogany gelding, opening . Suddenly my snowy white pony gathers himself and I feel the power of my first galloping strides. His neck stretches forwards, I thread my fingers around his long mane, as the ancient, impressive oak looms. I guide my plucky pony around the dust bowl below the heavy branches, neck and neck with our opponents, and look towards the finish line – the top corner of the field, shrouded by high, wild hedges.
“And suddenly I’m flying, flying like a bird. Like electricity, electricity. Sparks inside of me and I’m free. I am free!”
Back in the moment. Two fluffy bay ears, tipped in black, nod in front of me as my best friend gallops on. He snorts loudly, his breathing louder than before. I raise my upper body, steadying him. We’re nearing the end. The woods are in sight. The gallop turns to a canter, I sit back into the comfort of my leather saddle, sitting tall. Like a child flying a kite, I try to bring my spirits back down to the solid green earth. With a shake of his head, we trot. I exhale, trying to keep hold of that elation within me. A squeeze on the reins and we walk, his flanks heaving rapidly. He licks his lips, flicking saliva in the air; he wants to go again. So do I! With a laugh, I pat his shoulder and look over my shoulder. No one’s around. With a swing of his haunches, we set off again into the sun.
“Electricity sparks inside of me and I’m free! I’m free!”