Thursday, May 3, 2007; 3:24 AM
Midnight and Me
There's something about the way we break, from a composed trot to a smooth canter, and then from that canter we both itch to break even more, and then your strides lengthen as I let you go and suddenly our canter is huge and fast, so fast I gasp as the cold night wind lashes my face. I glance down to see your glossy, muscled shoulders moving beneath me, your dark hooves striking out like pistons, your black mane a waterfall of liquid ink in the dark of the night, flowing along behind you, whipping my fingers and catching my heartbeat. I chance a look at our shadow illuminated strongly onto the ground of the arena, and it is beautiful.

There's nothing else but us, there's nothing else but us and the moon shining in the sky above and a dozen stars twinkling in a hazy halo of light. Far off in the distance, over the countryside, round balls of lights shine like ornaments on a Christmas tree. It's an exhilirating sense of freedom, and I threw my head back and whooped for joy. And it was right to let you go, no, to let us go. We flew with the night - we became the night, a perfectly invisible black horse and his rider with her perfectly invisible black hair streaming out behind us.

Alex set us off over a couple of jumps - they were big, and we took them fast. I've lost my confidence slightly since my three month stint, but Midnight always looks after me and I feel terrible on his behalf for my lack of horsemanship skills. We moved on to more advanced moves, like leg yielding and between the yells from Alex and grunts from me, somehow I felt your hindquarters shift underneath me, and it was that short, finite moment that secured everything into place, and it was lovely. You came into my hands and I embraced you, and then we were light and responsive and it was horse-gasm, multiple times.

I love riding at night, underneath the floodlights. It's quiet and you enjoy it, and it's how I get to tack you up beforehand in the beautiful sunset, and we stand together in silence before the ride, me leaning against the post of your stall, and you leaning your head on my shoulder. We stand there and we watch the sunset, it is a bonding moment that only we have at that moment in time. It's a feeling of contentment and peace, only you can make me feel that way. A girl really only needs two things in life; a horse and its heart.

But jumping will always be our sport, because when we jump, we turn into the wind, and it's a tornado of flying manes and earth, and the thumping beat of blood rushing to the head. Three strides, two, one - and we sprout wings for that short second as muscles ripple and nerves brace, your muscles fighting to jump, and my muscles fighting to make sure we jump. It is ballet, it is art - it is the way we fold as we rise, how important it is that we rise at the exact same second, and land at the exact same rhythm. It is choreography, and it is athletic, and we are athletes. You see this massive wall looming up before you, and every cell in your brain screams, "We're gonna crash!!" but the trick is to firmly yell, "No we are NOT!" and make sure the horse believes so too.

"Throw your heart over the jump," says an old saying, "and let your body follow."

Why do people even bother to have sex? Clearly horse riding is so much better.

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