Drawing the breath deeply into my lungs, the air heavy with the promise of rain. A warm Summer day in August as I board the train, heading to my secret passion, my chance to get away from all the stress, all the anxiety, all the drama of my day to day existance. I can feel the weight on my shoulders lifting as the train sets off, the music from my headphones isolating me from the rest of the passengers as I focus on the screen in front of me, trying to capture the moment, the feelings, the release that I can already feel building. My days are a blur of jumbled thoughts forming and dissipating over and over, whirling through my overactive mind, images spinning and twisting, my body responding with adrenalin dumps that make my heart race and the breath catch in my throat, the peaks and troughs of fluctuating mental health made worse by the stress of having to perform, of having to wear my masks that allow me to function in a World that was not created for a mind like mine. This is my release, my break, my chance to be myself, to relax and let the tension fall away, the burden slipping from my shoulders.
As the miles flash by, the urban structures giving way to green fields and trees I feel the strain easing, each breath coming easier. The journey isn’t long but the feeling is a million miles away from the things that damage me every day. Leaving the train my footsteps are lighter, easier, my back and hips moving more freely, every step bringing me closer to my joy, my happiness, my true place. Walking up the lane towards the yard I catch my first scent of equus, the unmistakeable smell of horses, a smell that unclenches my jaw. The gate ahead of me, I lift my voice, calling…. the response is immediate, a snort, the wickering of a horse greeting a friend after a period of absence. He stands at the gate, chestnut coat gleaming in the bright sunlight, his four white legs spattered with mud as we slowly touch, my hand outstretched, his muzzle brushing my fingers. I run my hand along his neck, his shoulder, his withers, fingers slipping into his mane, gripping lightly as i spring upwards, my leg slipping over his back, pulling myself up to sit astride my boy.
Clicking my tongue softly, squeezing with my legs he takes a step forward, turning as I turn my head, our thoughts connected as he relaxes with me, the union of horse and rider complete as he responds to my instructions, my wishes. We move through the paces as we cross the grassy field, a brief moment of trot before he accelerates at my urging, into canter, leaning forward over his neck as the speed increases, the wind whipping his mane, my hair as a rebel yell breaches my lips unbidden, shouting my joy to the wind as we take flight, a man and his horse, free, unfettered, unleashed…. I will never be trapped again as our spirits soar one last time, slipping away together….