Mission Statement: To share an important health-style in our crazy modern world, build the bridge between the DQ and every horseman, to tie everything together and make it your own.
10/25/2016- Facing the Music #3
Here I am sitting on the precipice of this very weekend bringing me to the halfway point in receiving my bronze medal. I am not nervous at all… LOL. I feel like I swallowed a brick. My last two shows with Rico have been skin of the teeth successes scorewise, but excellent milestones in Rico and my partnership. It has really become a relationship to the point where you are familiar with every inch, every pound of flesh, I have closely inspected daily. In Dressage, their are three ultimate triumphs – first and foremost: to have a good seat. Secondly, the true horseman of this world have an incredible eye. The connecter of this web is impeccable timing. These are complexly loaded concepts. Behind a good seat is a matrix of moving joints, from the sacrum’s juncture with the ilium, to the head of the femur magically placed like a scoop of ice cream in a cone. It must be fluid, it must be strong and flexible. Knees, ankles, toes must be in perfect alignment to not pervert the purity of the seat. Within an elite eye, is decades of knowledge passed down from empirical origins, is the honesty with present reality. The eye is a mystical gift shed upon certain individuals, it holds the magic that happens in every barn like a scene in a glass ornament. Timing is like squeezing a bar of soap, it is a smooth, continuous grasp that is completely lost with one violent anticipation or reaction. It is the endless flow of cues that push and pull the most harmoniously, like the tide. These concepts are universal for all types of training. Sometimes I wish the word Dressage, could just be swapped with the word, “training” or in TCM we have the word “Gong” simply “work.” I cringe at how many times I have heard “I hate Dressage, it’s not for me, my horse hates flatwork.” Since when did teaching yourself and your mount Rhythm, Suppleness, Contact, Straightness/Impulsion and Collection become a despotic group of zealots that keep their horses in tiny prisons, then take their beasts of burden and hang on their mouth like an adventure sled hangs on it’s dog at the Iditorad. We must always practice balanced alignment, when we sleep, stand, travel, exercise… It is not only in the confines of the court the stacking your joints and engaging a supportive musculature is necessary. Timing governs almost every success or failure in our life. Choose a career = timing, choose a partner = timing, pursue your passion = timing. The eye uses intuition combined with precise and delicate observation, it never rests and sharpens over time like a blade.
At our first show, I went off course for some reason or another. At our second show, I turned right when I was supposed to go left at C, despite my test being read to me. My saddle slipped over to the right, so I could not execute my walk canter depart on the right lead. Coming down the long side in the last minute of my test I heard the words, “trot at C and H across the diagonal medium trot” I was so over joyed that my test was coming to an end I cantered right passed C and didn’t cue the transition. I can’t make this stuff up, and there is a video and a record. My half turn on the haunches nailed it and I received 7.5s on both. After all the turns on the middle or “that was nothing” Vicky witnessed while preparing me for this test, she was happy enough to forgive me for all the other mishaps, at least I think she did. I snuck by with a 60.4%, not impressive by any means, but considering the situation I basically felt like I hit the jackpot. Rico felt amazing that whole weekend, I rode him twice a day and he was light, willing and forward. I am already visualizing the same for him this Sunday, come out ride my corners, align my body, plug into my seat and ask him each request in a smooth ribbon of harmony. Or it will be a bust and I will cry and hate myself. Only time will tell…
But is learning the most important goal? Win or lose? Succeed or fail? Should I just be happy that I’m out riding horses instead of being sold in human trafficking, dying from a fatal disease or mourning the loss of my family and home in war torn destruction? My husband loves to watch basketball on TV, so now that I don’t have to do homework anymore (YAY) I can just be entertained by something ! Shaquille O’Neal, (a name even DQs would know) was being inducted into some kind of hall of fame and spoke of a time when he was in a slump performing below his usual capacity. His stepfather called him up, asked him if the pressure of the game was getting to him. “Come see me.” He drove him into a ghetto, and spent time talking with people living on the streets. He made it very clear to him, “That is pressure.” Soon after Shaq want back to being one of the best in the game.
Yet, my brain muscle becomes spastic with fear and my body muscles become one cue behind at times. I heard her say “turn left at C” but inside the void of my mind Left and Right turn into an infinite spiral and the perfect execution escapes me like trying to hold liquid in my hands. So brain has to take the backseat body has to step it up. It is muscle memory, thousands and thousand of miles I’ve been in the saddle. And I have literally just begun.
If I am to support my body and brain I must manage stress, physically, mentally and emotionally. One of my TCM mentors said the crown achievement in health is to feel nothing. In fact, “joy” is considered an imbalance of the heart. Our Western mindset is taken aback thinking of joy as an imbalance. But that is the trap of our egos. It not that happiness is bad thing, it is the notion that “joy” or basically an attached emotional reaction, is the gateway drug to mania, anxiety and hysteria(also insomnia and hot flashes.) If we let the pendulum swing with our delusions of grandiosity, what ending will come of it?