Today, when the horses were all out in the yard, I fetched saddle, bridle, and an assortment of girths, and walked back to the house, wondering who would come forward for a bit of a saddle-up experience. Bridget didn't hesitate - she came over, nosed the saddle, and was ready for action. I didn't bother with grooming - just put the bitless on (which actually she didn't like too much as it involved fiddling with her ears, but it was ok), and then plonked the saddle on and did it up really tight. Which she didn't object to, especially as there were peppermint treats involved.
Actually the peppermint treats were more of a distraction than a help, I think, as she kept nosing me for more.
Having gotten the tack sorted, we headed off, and Bridget stopped half way down the drive to scrutinize the distance. And there she stayed.
So I thought: Ok, maybe this is a good moment to practice mounting.
As I turned to contemplate the ascent, my old nemesis showed up: nerves. Just a tiny sensation of butterflies, but enough to bring back all those years when nerves were my constant companion when riding. Definitely don't want to go back there.
Deciding that my hesitation stemmed from past worries rather than present reality, I went for it. The stirrup hung invitingly; Bridget stood steady as a rock. And then there I was, laying across her back, scratching her far flank, and no longer feeling nervous. Although I did kick the stirrup off my foot, just in case.
Another try, and then we stood some more, Bridget showing no inclination to either advance or to graze. She gave me her forelegs, which I decided meant I should do some more mounting. So I did. This time, she turned her head back to sniff my legs. After a couple more times, when I went to have another go, Bridget moved out of position. So - ok, that was enough.
Next time, I'll probably put my other leg over and sit, but I didn't want to do that all by myself - I'd feel better if there were someone else standing by her head.