This is a post from my horseforum.com thread that I started when I got Max. I’m so lucky the forum is still around and I was able to go back and add it to Lipizzan Life.
I had a realization today; my lifelong philosophy has been to seek and follow the natural rhythm of things, yet I have been so blindly driven in my equestrianism that I have shut myself off from rhythm in the one area I should be seeking it out the most. I have even been receiving blatant reminders from the universe during my horse experience. My teacher is constantly saying “rhythm is balance”, “find the rhythm”.
Following the natural rhythm of my life is what brought me to this amazing stable, and led me to this amazing horse. Once I had the two, I rushed ahead and tried to force everything. I got so caught up in trying to be worthy of my situation that I overextended my part of the deal, trying to take everything, and missing the stuff that is actually important.
My teacher has told me that I am too slow to respond. I think I tried to overcompensate for this by trying to catch and absorb everything. I know, instinctively, that the reason I’m “slow to respond” is that I don’t know everything I should respond to, or how I should respond to everything. There’s no way I can compensate for that, other than experience.
For instance, my horse stumbled during my last lesson, and I responded by stopping the horse and frantically drilling my instructor “is she ok? what happened? should I get off and check her?” My teacher said she was fine and to keep going. Okay, so the giant creature that I am atop of, stumbles, lurching us both downward, and I should respond by “just keep going”.
On the other hand, my horse could be meandering around while I am talking to my instructor, and my instructor will tell me to stop the horse, or shorten the reins. I don’t do it right away, or I just can’t get the horse to stop by hauling back on its head(which I am noticing rarely makes the horse stop anyway), and I’m not responding fast enough; one, two, three, four, five — I’ve told you five times, you need to respond faster. No, you’ve counted to five, so my five seconds of “AHH SHE IS COUNTING, I’M IN TROUBLE?!??!??!” just ended up paralyzing me during your counting! The horse was walking, there wasn’t a life or death situation that I failed, there was just a moment of complete chaos that was borne of nothing other than me not responding within a second’s notice.
Or the times when the horse just decides that her Mommy is talking, and we are walking around anyway, so she is going to walk up to Mommy and give her a nuzzle, and I’m “letting the horse run her over” by not steering it away. No, the horse is slowly shuffling up to you while we aren’t working on something. If it was going somewhere on the other side of you, I would do everything I could to change direction out of common sense.
I’ve let these miscommunications foster self doubt in myself. I need to respond to them by vocalizing my own reasoning, and telling her that I am responding to the situation by using my own judgement and deciding that the current course of events is just fine by me. I need to communicate this to my teacher so she understands me, and what is going on in my head, so she can teach me based on what is actually happening in my perception and not just what is happening in her perception. I need to communicate better. I am taking lessons in communication with a horse. Maybe, in the grand scheme of things, this is happening to teach me to effectively communicate in the moment and not just on paper.
Somewhere along this equestrian path, I’ve let it convince me that I need to change. I do not need to change; I can not change. I can develop, but I can not change. I am me, and I am a seeker of rhythm. I often find my own rhythm, baffling everyone else in the process, but it is my drum and not theirs.
I need to go back to trusting myself as far as finding rhythm. When I am open to rhythm, I have patience in myself and the time it takes to do something. I have enough to work on, what with developing myself physically, and absorbing the knowledge that presents itself to me. Over analyzing and getting caught up in a frantic prey type mindset is only going to prevent me from grasping the rhythm, riding it, getting comfortable with it, and becoming one with what is happening.
When I ride on Friday, I am going to be open to the rhythm; The beat of the horse, the balance of my seat, the softness of my hands and how they work in rhythm with the horse. When my teacher teaches me, I will translate her corrections into my rhythm. I will communicate what I feel, because I am learning the rhythm of this new world, and rhythm is one of those delicate intangibles that must constantly be felt and shared and molded to as well as molded in order to develop and become beautiful.