I’ve always just kind of failed at the breathing thing. I’ve literally failed with all my respiratory stuff. And I’ve figuratively failed at just about every yoga class I’ve tried. The whole concentrating on your breath… I just never got it. My mind wanders, I can’t connect my breath to the movements… I just didn’t do it right.
So I was skeptical when my trainer told me breathing was something that would help me get to the next level in my riding. It was one of those things that sounds great in theory, but it practice… not quite.
A few months ago, we started working on it in my rides… expanding my breath over a few strides, breathing in rhythm with the horse’s feet… generally, just being aware of it. Then we moved to actually doing something with that breath, with moving the horse forward in a rhythm.
I am not the most rhythmical of people or riders… but somehow, this made sense. I get how to use my breath in this way… and it works! Now that I’m actually using some sort of rhythm, the horse goes “oh, I can do that!”
Since we had that breakthrough, I’ve gotten some really good walk and trot work, collected and really moving through his hind end. Because I’m actually breathing correctly, I’m giving my horse better direction.
Poor guy is probably thinking, “finally!” And so am I. Now the trick is to translate that Zen from riding to other parts of life… easier said than done.
I’ve never done new year’s resolutions, really. Or if I’ve done them they weren’t salient enough in my memory to remember them. Guess that’s close enough to not doing them at all then.
So I’m not doing any this year. But I do have some guiding principles I’m trying to adhere to…
Work hard, play hard. Yeah, super-cliche and slightly stupid. But totally true. Work is hard and rewarding and usually fulfilling and I want to keep it that way! And figure out just where I want to aim my career aspirations and prepare myself for that with professional development and such. And then play: dogs, horses, Hamilton!SHN, NYC… more arts and theatre. And family/friends/etc.
Respect me. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes others (I think) take me for granted. I’m ready to change that. I’m ready to demand that people take a look at what I’m doing, and give me some damn credit for it!
Stretch myself. Comfort zones are awesome, but not entirely productive. Challenge accepted.
Be artsy. Being artistic makes me happy. Need to make actual time for arts (and crafts! Or whatever crazy category dog ornaments fall into…)
There’s probably more, but as I said… I don’t really do resolutions.
Sometimes I question why I had to fall in love with horses, of all things. And really, it doesn’t make sense. I am uncoordinated, sometimes fearful, and a perfectionist… and I choose to sit upon a one thousand pound flight animal and attempt to tell it what to do. Sure.
But then I have a ride like I had today and am reminded why I ride. Pig (the horse) and I started off a bit eh – he wasn’t engaging himself and was throwing his weight on the forehand. And we worked on it.
I activated every muscle I could access to raise hands, sit back, and use my body more effectively. He realized he could in fact bend, collect, and get light on the reins. This approach to riding suits my anal side perfectly. I love piecing it apart and putting it back together to improve. I love messing up but then figuring it out and improving. I love feeling the lightness. I love the intellectual challenge.
This weekend I am going to MedX, a big conference this weekend about tech, social media and health. Super-excited!
They have an espresso bar. Enough said.
Had a great riding lesson today! Big takeaways: horse has four feet (duh), counting one two three four helps so much with getting a good collected walk; sitting trot: lower legs off, seat back, use thigh blocks.
Grateful for the work trainings I’m having, nice that continued education is valued.
12 days until DogFest East Bay!
Sometimes you get to the barn and your horse has a peacock feather left in his forelock from the girl before you and it just makes you happy.
This was really miscellany. Props to anyone who read through this rambling list.
If somethings’s not working, do something different. – Mia
That gem of a quote came from my riding instructor, in the middle of a so-so warm up for my lesson last night. And, of course, I had a great lesson after I took that concept to heart.
Because getting “stuck” – in a physical or emotional state, in a self-destructing pattern… is not good. I know I have the capability of getting myself un-stuck, and things are in the works that will make it so much easier for me to work towards those goals.
It’s okay to feel stuck, but it isn’t okay just to stay and get stagnant in that feeling. Because usually, one little action helps create a chain of reactions that are organic and right.
After getting myself and the horse unstuck, had a great ride complete with a wee bit of unintentional (huge-strides but fun!) canter. I love and respect what horses teach me.