I rode Scout last night. It wasn't planned, but K was there, the weather was easy and kind, and there it was. I tacked her up right outside the grass arena so she didn't have to lose her mind over being separated from the others.
Scout hadn't been ridden since September of 2009. The fracture and removal of her left hind splint bone put her out of commission for months.
It could have been a big deal, this ride, but I didn't let it go there. As soon as I settled into the saddle, my body recognized the feel of my little red mare. I ticked through a checklist of all the things she has done and could do: spook, scream for her herd, tense up, speed up, stiffen her neck. I know all of it, I said to myself. And I do. None of her was a mystery to me.
We had a simple, basic ride, walking only, but working shallow serpentines, following soft circles, bending a little bit. I felt the familiarity of how I sit her. There, under me, I felt her doing the same thing. No matter what else, she knows me as her rider. I felt the easy invitation of her back swinging gently, the softening of her neck into a long stretch.
It was what I needed from her, just a quiet ride on a horse that I, for better or worse, know better than any other person ever has.