Ride around, Ride around real slow
I think it would be fair to say that I neither distinguished nor disgraced myself on my first time riding. Undoubtedly it helped that I was wearing the flag of the old republic. I had the reputation of my people to uphold (for general hardiness and stoutness of heart, anyway; Newfoundlanders are not exactly renowned for horsey-ness).
Also, my teacher was exceedingly kind and patient, to say nothing of King and Dollar, who I know were annoyed with my directional handicap (I can't tell left from right very well, and everytime I was instructed to pull the reins one way or the other, I had to stop and figure it out). They contained their criticism to the occasional impatient toss of their manes, as if to say, "Well, which is it, woman?" Thank you boys, for not crushing me under hoof.
This morning, my thighs are sore in a novel way and I am wishing I could go straight back out again. Maybe I could mark L and R on the backs of my hands or the horses' ears or something.
My Mom said my Nana Ferne would have been proud (as long as we kept the whole left/right thing a secret). That made me happy. I lost both my grandmothers and my father within 18 months of each other. Neither branch of the family tree had much in the way of traditional heirlooms to pass down. I have my grandmother Mary's silver ring, her wedding photo, and a picture of her class at school. From my father, the brass chalice from the abandoned church in his ancestral parish, his good flyrod and his first communion portrait. I don't have anything of Ferne's at all, except a snapshot of her in her 80s that I begged from my mother last summer and a copy of a photograph of her as a child with her parents and siblings that must date about 1916.
I have begun to think of myself as the recipient and trustee of other, less tangible, heirlooms. Dad and Nanny's love of flyfishing and writing. Nana's passion for gardening and horseback riding. Those treasures, I can keep up and pass down. I can handle that. Even if I can't tell left from right.