Voting with his Feet

I was excited yesterday because Joshua’s Riding for the Disabled sessions began last night, truly confirming that summer had arrived. It ends every October as it is an outdoor area where they ride and so the dark nights and cold weather prevent it from running through the Winter months. He really enjoyed the last sessions last year, laughing, waving and showing off, so I was optimistic for RDA’s return. My only reservation was that he was not kicking last Autumn, and so I was not sure how that might work when riding a horse.

I had asked Yorkshire Grandma to make sure that he was fed and wrapped up warm ready to leave the house at 6 pm. I was home from work at 5.40, so had time for a quick cup of tea then get on our way as the stables are 20 minutes away. Unfortunately when I got home, Joshua was fast asleep on the settee and even the dog commotion of my arrival home had not disturbed him, so we knew he was in deep sleep. Ordinarily I never wake him . if I can avoid it, as it can lead to seizures. But it was too short notice to cancel and I left him as near 6 pm as I dared, before I roused him and put his boots on. He gave me a smile on waking but he was pretty cross when immediately I began to put his splints and boots on. He still tried to sleep on the car journey to the stables, but could not get comfortable.  I think I would have been pretty cross too if my sleep had been disturbed and I had been bundled into a car when all I wanted to do was sleep.

We stayed in the car once we arrived ,while the class before us finished off as it had turned wintry cold. But Joshua began to get restless and started to kick at the car to get out. Once outside he was stir crazy and wanted to get onto his horse, Digby. so he was leading me a dance while the previous class dismounted and then two smaller children got onto their horses first. At one point he was twisting and pulling against me that, I am not really sure how, but  I lost my balance and we both fell flat onto our backs on the ground. I landed on my elbows which are now sore and grazed, but Joshua lay on his back waiting for me to pull him up again, with a surprised look on his face. I jumped up, dusted myself down, then helped to heave him up too, when thankfully his Dad arrived and then it was time to get onto Digby.

Joshua was keen enough to walk up the ramp and to get into the saddle, but as with cars and supermarket trolleys, he now cannot bear to be still – which was not a problem last Autumn. So he was impatient while they were adjusting his stirrup length but luckily they set off and he looked happier to be moving. He went round the yard a couple of times and gave us a big wave when he passed us, although he was not smiling, he looked rather agitated. When he passed the mounting block, he made an effort to get off the horse and as his session wore on, he became more determined. In the end we intervened before the end of his lesson, and asked to get him off before he hurt himself or one of his patient assistants. He was frozen when he got off the horse and he gladly headed for the warm car.

I was disappointed as I had been looking forward to the only after-school, physical activity that he does, but I should have, with hindsight, left him asleep. He really did everything within his power to tell me that he did not want to go riding last night, but as it was the first one, I ignored his communication and ploughed on, then regretted it later. I plan to take him one more time at the end of the month, and then will see if it was simply because he was tired and cold that he objected. If he still makes a fuss then we will pull out, as they have a long waiting list of potential riders and so we should allow someone else have our place if it does not make him happy any more. He has been riding for several years now, maybe 7 or 8, so it would be the end of an era, but perhaps this is not an activity that adult Joshua wishes to partake in and he certainly voted very effectively with his feet last night and I have bruises to prove it.

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