I rode on Friday, for the first time in 2013. And it felt - strange. Not that the riding felt strange. The riding came back rather quickly, to the protestation of my leg and back muscles (they're still very angry with me). The barn, the lesson, the experience felt oddly foreign.
It's not my first time being a newbie at a barn. Nor is it my first time riding. But for some reason, I felt nervous, a little like the new kid at school. 100+ horses in a big metal barn compared to the 30 horses who lived in three separate wooden buildings at my old trainer's farm. Even though I used to have to drive an hour outside of town for a lesson, be attacked and clucked at by guinea fowl and barked at by her 15-something dogs that she sheltered. I would arrive to kind words and funny stories. The lush green arena that we rode in - the only grass hunter / jumper arena I've seen to this day - and jumps, shaped like wine glasses and bottles that read "Chardo" on one side and "Neigh" on the other. I'm just a little homesick. Even for the cacophony of the dogs.
It was strange. No dogs at this new barn.
Maybe this week, it won't feel so odd to ride again. And maybe, some day soon this week, my legs will process that lactic acid and I'll be able to stand up and walk.*
*Exaggeration, folks, I can walk. Barely. And it doesn't feel good.