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 Post subject: Quality.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 3:36 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2005 4:10 pm
Posts: 1354

Here is a shortish scribble on qualities.

I did a text on subtle power the other day- and this follows in its wake, so to speak.

There are a few qualities that are universal. These qualities will always be up for discussion- if they weren´t, they would be neither universal nor quality...

Some examples:

- Harmony. Try saying that you are NOT seeking harmony, and see if you can get any followers for your riding- style. But what is it? I believe it is when two (or more) entities are trying to reach the same state of affairs- these being physical, mental, or both.

- Balance. In this text physical balance, as that mental/emotional thing often referred to as inner balance, is included in harmony. Balance here is not meant as simply the ability to stay upright without falling over. Physical balance occurs when the joints are thus aligned, that the stabilizing force needed from the muscles that currently are in the supporting role (we just froze time here, guys), have as easy a job as possible! What happens then, is the maximum output of power, for the minimum input of energy.

There are others. It is important to remember that as long as we are not talking about the universe and everything, there will always be limits that can be challenged in any text or talk- the idea is not to find the outer limits, like the different definitions of words or expressions, but to find the cracks between the lines that you can break through to understand the unity, the wholeness, or the sum total, if you like- of the set of ideas that the textmaker is trying to express.

I often struggle to differ between qualities and quantities when it comes to riding, and maybe even more so when it comes to teaching it all. Sometimes I think of "powerful hipextensions" as a quality- making it a case of black and white- you do it, or you don´t. But the truth might be that there is a shade of grey that I will allow as white, and a fraction deeper will be black in my head. I have a hard time understanding that most people don´t fall in the same trap. :-)

But it is beside the point, really- because most of the conflicts we enter into in discussions, wether it be on riding or not, tend to revolve around different understanding of words or expressions, and then we use those to bash eachother over the head with. My point of view is that it will do us no good to try and pry the meanings apart to gain an understanding- there will always be different experiences and preferences shading our understandings in different colors. I believe that riding, or athletic endeavours such as dance, or gymnastics, can hardly be described with words at all, and to learn it, is not all about fragmenting the knowledge of a master until you can understand the bits- because that means you miss the point. It is when you can manage to put make the pieces perform another function TOO, that you really have understood the purpose, and the qualities of the piece.

I do not presume that we are supposed to meditate our way to understanding, that would be missing the point of riding as well, the point being movement ;-)

But I often find that there are obvious short- circuits in the understanding of riders, and whenever I find these, I sort of rejoice and despair at the same time. These short- circuits often have labels on them, and I fall in the trap/habit of using such loops myself, but here are some; "Academic Riding", "shoulder-in", "Half- halt", "forward- down", "collection" and even "roll- kur". Now, whenever the proverbial light has been shone upon such labels, they are often difficult to look back upon, but I am sure you have all experienced that almost shameful moment of "shit, I thought I knew that, and I was SOOO wrong", perhaps even when no-one was watching. I know I have.

Whenever I find such a short- circuit in a rider, I know I have struck gold. If I can just find a way to break that barrier, I know the understanding will increase exponentially- like a balloon. Sometimes I just hammer away on it, behaving like gravity- not pitying anyone. Sometimes I try to find new ways of explaining, and both methods work just fine. It is impossible for me to know which will work.

The reason I hammer away at this right now, is that these things almost always appear just on that threshold between quality and quantity- where you can have powerful hipextensions that are more or less powerful, that would be quantity- but that are more or less correct INDEPENDENTLY of the power expressed... How about that?

The next time you ride, remember this: the amount of power expressed is important- but secondary. The quality of movement is important, but secondary.

A perfectly executed walk performed at 1/1000th of the max power- output of the horse, is at best practicing- i.e showing the nervous- system (including the brain) how it´s supposed to be done, and sort of lubricating that nerve- signal pathway. Which is a good thing. But it is the only thing you and your horse are getting better at. The ONLY thing in the whole world. If you want to walk 5%faster, that is a different neurological signalway... (There is some leaking, just to not tear our confidences apart all the way, but the essence remains the same)

So everything is secondary?

No, but separating stuff is science- this leads to that leads to that, because of this. Almost every experiment says "given that there is no air/drag/gravity/something". And as riders, we cannot really do that. We are not performing science, we are performing arts- with the means we are given. That is to say, our job as riders, is to find the limits, the cracks between the lines as it were, and pour through those cracks- finding ourselves on the other side. The inside- looking out on all the possibilities that your hard work and effort already have given you. Not looking at all the limits you or your body or horse have between you, but on the possibilities you are given.

Re-read this, to understand that the link between quality and quantity means that you CAN perform powerful hipextensions. Just not very powerful, or very extended, but that is of no consequence. It is the willingness to try "the new" that matters. Whenever it sounds or feels impossible, it might be that you need to find another way- and most often the ability to do so resides in you.



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