Friday, March 6, 2015

Back From the Land of No Internet

Dear readers--both of you--I'm back. Sorry for the absence. It's been a slow month in terms of blogging, what with my dearly beloved being hospitalized by a piece of bad fish, and then my spending a week with almost no internet at all. (I say almost because my phone could, sometimes, access the internet. It could also sometimes work as a phone. I used to think my friend Angelica was kidding when she'd say, "Hang on--I've got to go stand in the one spot in the driveway where my cell phone works.) Anyhow, much as I love you, both of you, dear readers, I wasn't going to tap out a blog post on my phone.

If I'd ever actually read Gulliver's Travels I might be telling you I'd been to the land of the Houyhnhnms, where horses ruled society, but I haven't read it and I'm not sure of the implications, so I won't say that. I've been down to Ocala, Florida, to visit with my friends Betty and Angelica, and ride horses, and spend a week different from the rest of my life.

Most of my friends are not horsepeople. They don't really understand why I continue to take riding lessons since I obviously know how to ride. But down in Ocala I can--and did--watch the U.S. national eventing team coach (the Olympic coach in Olympic years) give lessons to some of the best event riders in the world. Every rider can get better, and every rider can use the perspective of someone standing on the ground.

The time I spend in Ocala is the one time I let horses dictate the rhythms of my life. At home I live on a farm, with horses; I ride most days in good weather. At home I've arranged my horses' schedules to suit myself, not the other way around. In Ocala I lived on the farm, too. Morning chores began at 6:45, though since my horse Sarah spent the night in the field, and her stall was left ready for her the evening before, "morning chores" were really just bringing her in and leaving her alone to eat breakfast. Evening chores, at 4, were more complicated. Every time I ride in Florida I clean my tack afterwards, which I should do at home but don't. Every time I ride in Florida I wear a clean polo shirt, and tuck in in, put on a belt, pull my hair back into a hairnet, wipe the dirt from my boots. I take myself seriously, because I'm at a serious barn, in Florida in the winter. When I'm not riding or doing chores I watch other people ride, watch lessons so I can learn from them.

I don't want to live my whole life like this--I've always been glad horses were my hobby, not my business--but I completely love it for small amounts of time. I love getting to go to Ocala.