I talk a lot about the brain in MBF (as I like to call it), as well as the body. For me, horseback riding has been a union of the two, which came as a surprise because I hadn’t been aware how separate they were, for me. The paradox is that I have become united enough that I can forget about both and the horse when I have to apply myself to solving problem in a lesson… but that’s a whole ‘nother post.
If the brain is a repository of bad outcomes, it stands to reason that it also contains good ones. Those bad outcomes eventually become information with no emotional charge, information you can use to create a different outcome, a better one, if you keep applying yourself with help and patience.
For some reason, for an entire term, none of us in the Tuesday lesson could look where we were going when approaching an obstacle. It was comical because where were we looking if not where we were going? Yet our instructor’s patience never faltered.
Then it all clicked; she had us jump fences that had funky approaches so we would have to look where we were going or else end up in a mess. The simplicity of the movement was powerful: the act of the rider turning her head turns her spine, which shifts her seat, so the horse gets the message, Go that way. We learned we would get to the fence, even though it looked like there was no way we were going to have the space or the time. Looking where you are going? Duh. Listening to instructions? Bigger duh. Once we got it, once it became clear that it worked, we had rewired our brains and created muscle memory—and then we moved on to the next thing we needed to correct.