I had her groomed and tacked at 10:30. K rode over to meet us. We would ride together off the property, deep into a nearby trail system. Not that nearby. There would be some road riding first. I wanted to do this ride, wanted to be bold, but only because I could depend on K to help us.
Saxony: absolutely unafraid of traffic, unfazed by roads.
Me: worried by roads, absolutely frightened of traffic. (I grew up at a time when cars slowed to an utter crawl if coming upon riders; now it seems drivers don't fathom that horses are animals, not ATVs.)
I could feel the tension enclosing me as we rode away from the barn. I ran through my tricks. Look up at the sky, settle deep in the saddle, lengthen my body. Stretch. Breathe. But it was hard not to be fixated on what lay ahead. Saxony suddenly began calling in her girlish, seemingly undeveloped voice.
Me: knowing exactly where we were, comfortable that there would be a beginning, middle and end to this ride.
Saxony: not knowing where we were going, worried she might not see home again.
This bridge became a fulcrum for the ride. We couldn't go on without going over. I was afraid of it. There's no place to escape the traffic. Saxony stopped. I knew her previous owner dismounted and then led her across, remounting from the guardrail on the other side, a choice I completely respect. I know I could have turned that into an out for myself, but I really didn't want to give up on us like that. I have a horse now that I can ride. She doesn't know anything about my fear. She isn't my fear.
Saxony: Maybe I would respond to the aids and move forward, if you ask.
Me: Maybe, if I trust myself enough, I can apply the aids and ask you to move forward.
And we did. We crossed that bridge.
I learned other things today, during four hours of riding, but maybe nothing more important than that the two of us are interlocked in good ways. What's she worried by doesn't bother me; what I'm worried by doesn't bother her. One day maybe we will be solid as an old oak chest, held together by mortise and tenon jointwork, built by hand over time, with care, patience and love.