Early night means early rise, and since I’m thriving on four to five hours sleep these days (which would have made me cry in my working days) – I was up at midnight, writing. I did go back to sleep at three a.m. and was up again at five. This sounds disruptive and inconsistent, but I have the luxury now of being able to listen to what my body needs.
It’s a super still morning, not a single breeze, I notice, as I step out on to the deck while waiting for my kettle. It’s not cold, although most other people I know might say so, everyone feels it differently. I love the fresh clean air in the morning, it brightens me. High tide’s at eleven, so I have plenty of time for a good long walk.
I fill up an eight cup cafetiere and stir it before I wash and dress. My laptop pings at me and I examine it while I’m sliding into my trainers. There’s an event on the beach today – horse polo no less. As the beach is so huge, there are many events – sand artists, car advertisements, fireworks, equestrian events. As Winter draws in these are less frequent. I’ll definitely be watching the horses though. I lock up the van and start walking.
Going right today, over to the ‘cave’ and back, and to my delight there are a few horses on the beach. I used to have a pony up ’til I was fifteen, then carried on riding a neighbors horses until eighteen. Gigantic all-black carriage horses they were, ‘Passah’ and ‘Morph’. I needed a step ladder to mount, I smiled to myself.
As I walk I watch the horses. There’s a nervous excitement a rider feels about wide open spaces, and the horses feel it too. To open a throttle on a horse in such a space is one of the most exhilarating experiences you can have. They are ‘side-trotting’ at the moment, which means the horses are itching to ‘go’ and the rider is holding them back. I sit down on a lump of driftwood to watch them.
The riders are talking to each other as if one isn’t quite ready to let the throttle off. The horses feed from each other’s energy and so if one goes, they all go and I’d imagine this is what they are talking about. You can’t ‘not’ be ready to gallop. If there are people on the beach or other horses coming the other way, it’s forbidden to gallop. It’s an unspoken rule. There are neither people or other horses, being so early.
Once the riders confirm it’s safe to ‘go’, the one in the front loosens her rein a bit and faces forward. It’s first stride is full stretch from the back legs, the rider leans forward and in a single pace is at full gallop. The gallop is the only pace where a horse lifts all four feet off the floor and reach speeds of up to thirty miles per hour. To explain it plainly, its like standing on the roof of a car at that speed.
As the front horse was turned, the other three instantly followed and I feel the thundering sand under my feet. I hear it too, there’s not a sound like it.
As they disappear off into the distance, I finish my coffee and resume my gentle morning walk.