Speaking of the Big Picture

It’s so easy to get thrown off, particularly after having been thrown off.

Last Saturday, we were in the outdoor, the sand sucking at the horses hooves, and Rebel knew, before I did— in fact instantaneously— that I was spacey. Oh, I’d been out for a few hours the night before, and I was going out again that night… and frankly, I didn’t even realise how out of it I was until much, much later.

Not Reb, and he took full advantage of my imperfect attention, and did his thing, playing up, and at one stage after a truly rotten canter on the part of yours truly, he almost dumped me. I grabbed mane as I flung forward, and managed to get just enough balance back to stay on. I was not going to fall into a puddle. I was not going down into that mess.

And of course I did go down; I sprung back up, covered in wet sand, annoyed with myself, and annoyed with him. I was off balance, following a jump with the intent to change direction, and he knew, and swerved, and I was on the ground.

Delilah wouldn’t have done that to me. Tango, maybe, but not any of the other horses. He knew I wobbling, and he didn’t give me a dig out. Instead, I was digging sand out of just about every orifice once I got home.

What was illuminating was my reaction to it, the same self-castigation that I always get into. I almost didn’t go out, I was so… annoyed, destroyed, full of self-loathing. Here’s where the gestalt comes in.

On Tuesday, I decided that I needed a break from Rebel. This was a big decision for me, usually so stubborn and so intent on proving something. I wanted a pleasant, productive night, and got on Delilah, and indeed had an excellent hour.

On Thursday I was ready for him again, and felt that a private lesson was the perfect circumstance to get back up there. All went well, and I got another infusion of confidence.

Most important of all, I talked about Saturday’s unhappy tumble with a couple of the instructors. I went further, and admitted that I had been riding poorly that day, something that my pride would never, ever allow under other circumstances.

And what I got in return was shared experience, from two highly experienced riders, that basically, nobody’s perfect.

Nobody’s perfect! Isn’t that amazing! I don’t have to be perfect all the damn time. The degree to which I don’t allow myself off-days is fairly pathological. Not every hour is perfect. What a relief.

So I was ready for Reb today, and the hour wasn’t without its challenges. Cantering him, in half the arena, was a bit of a head wreck. But I didn’t give up, Emma didn’t give up on me, and at the last go, Reb and I produced a fairly impressive cantering circle. And it’s that one moment— thirty seconds? if that?— that lifted the whole lesson.

Perfect circles, perfect hours— it’s all of a moment, and is teaching me more than keeping my leg on. I’m getting the chance to throw out the rubbish of a lifetime, every time I take the reins. I’d rather not journey home on the bus with an arseful of damp sand, but I’ll take my teachings as they come.

3 Replies to “Speaking of the Big Picture”

  1. I hate that picking footing out of my teeth and my ears. Yuck! But stuff happens. That’s just the way it is. It’s good that you could see that you don’t have to be perfect all the time. That is such a weight to carry as well as an unreasonable expectation of ourselves.

  2. Howya?
    Just checking in – hope all is okay & you’re just very busy earning lots of eurobux from nixers to take more lessons & amazing holidays.
    Missing your posts; I start riding lessons next week wahey! [who me, excited? nervous? Neverrrr … ]

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