So today I got to the kind of good high that I was hoping to achieve on this trip. I was planning on writing in the morning until I did a lesson at 11, but while I was eating breakfast a call came in: did I want to go for a trail ride? Since it was much cooler than the last few days, I couldn't resist: I hustled into my riding pants and brushed my teeth while Honey was saddled up.
I spent the morning riding and talking with Suzy, a woman from Scunthorpe who works for CRI (Crime Reduction Initiative), which works with former inmates to reduce recidivism by helping them get off drugs - or showing them how to reduce harm - and teaching life skills. At some point during our ride I realized I'd probably enjoy this work a whole lot more than what I'm doing, and I'm going to look into volunteering with them sometime in the fall. Anyway, based on what she said about the people she works with, I figured I could tell her anything about myself, so I just went for it: every damned thing about the last 8 years I thought she'd find interesting or funny, including some of the tragic stuff like the breakdown over Easter and how much my confidence had taken a hit from this stupid illness.
But her conclusion? "My God, you're a fighter. Look at you go. You just keep going back for another round. And with your background, it's amazing what you've achieved. Don't be so hard on yourself about the last few months. You're already so much better. And you're definitely not broken. Just look at you all by yourself on a horse riding trip! You're going to be fine. And you would be a great counselor, you can really relate to people plus you're a good example of what you can achieve. And God, you're funny. We've got to keep in touch, I want to hear what comes next!"
So what came next right away is that I went and had lunch ... and started writing my play! The words were flowing really easily. I kind of want to work on it some more now (it's 11 PM) but I don't want to be up too too late. It's a start: any start is started and that's better than nothing. And my friend Sophie S advised me to just pick a scene I felt like I knew and start writing it, so that's what I did. Fun!
Then in the evening I was scheduled for "school" (riding lessons), which I shared with the new stablehand (Greta) and the girl from Lancashire (?), Bryony. I was on Chieftain, the horse I'd trail ridden the day before who does the most amazing gait, a pace, which is very comfortable to sit (no need to post!). I wanted to ride him because he's been just dead stopping during the trail ride - VERY irritating - and I'd had no luck getting him to move. So I figured, take him in the arena, there are less distractions, and let's see if we can get him to listen.
Well, it was really a struggle, and he did stop a few times, but I got him going in a very regular pace around the ring, nice enough that I started feeling good about trying a canter on him (he didn't want to do it very much). Then Erica (one of the owners) said, "Hey! Wanna take him over a jump?"
I was kind of surprised because, well, I didn't feel like I was riding that well, and, er, I'd never jumped before. But she had Bryony demonstrate for me the position you assume right before the jump, and assured me that for all Chieftain was generally pokey, he actually liked jumping.
So ... I did it! And then I did it again! And then again! And then we tried another jump!
And WOW it was really cool! Although afterwards, he changed gaits every time he jumped, and I had a hard time readjusting myself to stay in place well. In fact, I thought I was doing a very poor job of cantering (catching too much air), but, well, JUMPING! Cute little jumps! And it was FUN!
Anyway, overall, I am ending the day feeling really good about myself. And tomorrow I'm going to run again, and at 11 we're going for a long trail ride (with lunch), and in the evening I'm doing another trail ride with some horse that needs exercise TBA. So, in general, vacation WIN. Plus I have an interview scheduled for Monday and that is good for my head.