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 Post subject: Shaking your Cage
PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 3:34 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2005 4:10 pm
Posts: 1354
Hi!

I will begin this with a quote. From "the father of quotes", of course: Frank Herbert.

"At the quantum level our universe can be seen as an indeterminate place, predictable in a statistical way only when you employ large enough numbers. Between that universe and a relatively predictable one where the passage of a single planet can be timed to a picosecond, other forces come into play. For the in- between universe where we find our daily lives, that which you believe is a dominant force. Your beliefs order the unfolding of daily events. If enough of us believe, a new thing can be made to exist. Belief structure creates a filter through which chaos is sifted into order."

When we teach, which is just about all the time, we always find, in every rider, that there is a misconception of sorts between what we can see is definitely true, and what the student experiences. This is actually rather puzzling- how can there be a difference between our experiences and what actually happens to our bodies?

One of the working- thesis we are currently employing, says that the brain uses something like 90% (the number isn´t really important) of its capacity for telling itself that it is in control of events around us. To shed some light on this: have you ever noticed that if you talk on your cell- phone while driving, the road you just drove is very hard to remember? This is an example of how much we are capable of doing without actually being in control. The cell- phone usage is very good for showing how much we do unconsciously, and therefore not "under control" as our brains like to believe.

Make an experiment right now: Call someone you really like talking to, and then go buy something at the same time. Note how difficult it is to be properly engaged in the conversation while trying to observe the gender, looks, and clothing of the person in the cash- register.

This is no better when you ride, of course. And we regularly employ those little "accidents" in your riding, in order to try and illuminate the path you need to take in order to improve your riding- not just technically learn a new thing, but actually radically improve your self.
Here are some examples of the little things you (we?) all do without thinking about it:

- Pull the horse around with the outside rein
- Squeeze our thighs whenever it gets difficult: down transitions etc
- Release the top-line so that our heads bob when trotting
- Let go of the lower leg because the horse is "too fast"
- Pull the reins when you´re "just stopping" rather than planning a real halt

And a gazillion other stupid little incidents. If you think you don´t do any of the above, I think you should do one of two things: come here and get your ego handed to you in a short video- or become world champion of whatever ridingstyle you like.

A lot of these things are so deeply ingrained in our psyches that they are very hard to even spot in one self. That´s the whole idea of having a teacher! To learn new techniques isn´t all that hard; there are tons of books to read on the subject/s, but to actually notice our own faults- those that in body- language- terms "contradict" our newly learned techniques, that is really difficult.

It is almost never possible to teach these things by either words or actions alone. I find that I need both- some words to prepare the student- often almost contradicting what I want to show, then some sort of exercise which I know will provoke the behaviour I need to correct, and then more talking- preferably by the student :-)

We call this "shaking the cage". And sometimes it really rattles your teeth as well ;-)

The point of it is of course to put the student in a situation that can not readily be defined inside the paradigm that her/his brain has defined to be "correct".

In my own line of work, what costs me the most energy, is to always doubt. The moment I stop doubting, I will no longer be able to learn new stuff. Now, I know many of you will have trouble believing that I doubt, but that is simply because my job is very often to provide the rider with a "safe haven" when they have to let their soul sail the scary seas of the unknown.

Thus my job is often contradictory to itself, as well: I must provide the rider with "the truth"- but "the truth" is an unstable thing indeed- as has been shown in this post. The question is: are you willing to throw your old self out the window, and invite the next version in? NOT a windows 8.1, but actually something totally new- not improved, but changed?

If you can answer yes to that, I applaude you, and I am always willing to challenge your old concepts in new ways!

Welcome to the new world.

Pelle

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