my year of letting go, part the umpteenth

First let me say that Mum is in Sydney responding well to treatment and feeling much better, and that I will see her on Wednesday.

Still, though. One of the other great narrative arcs of 2013 is Jackson The Horse And Me: A Love Story. When I rode him on Sunday he was okay on the flat but so clearly uncomfortable over fences that we put him over a crossrail and let it go at that. Today when I turned up to ride, he was in his stall. Toni said he has a contusion injury on his suspensory ligament.

“They let us know when it’s time,” she said. “If he was in full work and this happened, you’d say, oh well. But he pretty much only works with you, so if he’s banging himself up under so little work…”

“I know,” I said, and I do: this whole past year I have been acutely aware that he’s a none-too-sound nineteen-year-old Thoroughbred. They’re going to see how he looks after a week of stall rest and hand walking, but he’s not going to be around forever.

Worse, much worse, is this news out of Ariad Pharmaceuticals. Beth, who is the reason I am at McIntosh Stables and whose horse Austin is the best horse who ever lived, was on the first human trial of Iclusig. The drug is keeping her alive. God forbid that the FDA withdraw it.

“The last four years have been a gift,” she said this morning. Damn straight. Every minute, every second of it.

I rode Olive, a dead ringer for the horse of my dreams. She is amazing.

“You have natural feel,” said my instructor, Avi, and I laughed my head off.

“Does it still count as natural if I’ve been working on it for years and years and years?”

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