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 Post subject: New year, mares, feminism and taking that scary first step.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2016 12:14 pm 
White Lady
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Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2005 4:18 pm
Posts: 13964
Location: Eriksbråten, Skotterud
It's new year's day, and the mares have broken out of their fence during the night.

I bragged on facebook about how our horses are so brave and war trained. The leaders of each herd are Pelle's jousting horses, and they are used to cannonfire. For real. And gun shots, noise and general havoc. Plus, they have been out on new year's eve many, many times. They know it is not dangerous, and they know it will pass.

Well. I was wrong. We have mares. We even have mares with back trouble. And two-year-old fillies, horse teenagers really. Nothing knows best like a mare with back trouble. Oh well, perhaps horse teenagers know even better.

So, I have been trudging through the new fallen snow, after snotty mares, unwilling to be caught, just because. Because they were afraid before. Because Ronja wanted to say hello to Munin, now that she had the chance, because Amendoa worried for her daughter, that was on the other side of the fence, because Jasnah didn't want to follow after mom, thankyouverymuch, and because "auugh, where is mom? You have taken her on the other side of the fence?! Help, help!" And Friday just generally were uncertain of this place, and well, you know, back trouble.

The geldings waited on the other side of the fence. A little worried, but patient. Hugo stood by the gate for every one I brought back, a little apologetic: "Sorry, but they did not want to listen to me."

I trudged, and I mumbled this and that about female horses and female humans. Why can't we ever listen? And yes, yes, I am a feminist. I am a frickin' fanatic feminist, and I HATE it when women start behaving like this. Mares or women, whatever. Taking the oppfortunity to freak out instead of trying to listen to people with experience.

A woman from fiction I both love and hate to watch used to say "How I have such tremblings and flutterings all over me. Such spasms in my side and pains in my head and beatings of my heart that I can get no rest either night or day ..."

Jane Austen says about her character Mrs Bennet, from Pride and Prejudice: " Her mind was less difficult to develop. She was a woman of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper. When she was disconcerted, she imagined herself nervous."

Now I have all kinds of sympathy for Mrs Bennet, since I have much of these flutterings and pains myself. But my honest opinion is that we must never let ourselves be guided by fear, only because it is the easiest way out at the moment. If we imagine ourselves nervous, and freak out as a habit because it gives us sympathy, it might turn into a pattern we are not able to get out of. And it is not a functional pattern. because you might get sympathy in the beginning. But you never get any real respect or influence.

Feminists often whine and blame others for their problems. And Hugo stands by the gate, saying "sorry, I tried". Why aren't we listening to the people who actually know the business? Why do we have to do everything our own way?

Yeah, I know, I am generalizing again. Women are individuals and men does not know everything. Of course. But even when a man actually does know. When he sais: "trust me, I know this, do as I say and it will be OK", we often choose to panic instead, or just do it our own way. I instruct so many men and women, and there is a very recognizable pattern, when the going gets tough. Men listen, women freak out.

Not all. Of course. But I guess, more that 70% follow this pattern. I myself included.

Now let's not discuss whether my observation is correct or not. That is not helpful. Let's discuss what is happening in those women who choose to freak out. Me, for instance. Let's discuss me.

I fall into every category i mentioned. My back is not working right, I have the flutterings of the heart and the spasms and headaches, and I freak out or freeze whenever there is something violent going on. For instance a horse that is moving with impulsion.

First: I did not know that my body froze. I did not wish to admit it when confronted with it either. Why, I had been riding for 30 years, I liked it, I was not afraid. "Then", Pelle said, "why are your knees clinging onto the horse like that, then?"

Well, I did not realize my knees clinged. I just thought I was stiff on the inside of the thigh. Could it be that my body remembered that I was afraid, but my concious mind had forgotten? Just because I had tried to be brave for so many years?

The horses also told me I was more timid than I imagined. They were more relaxed and listening with Pelle than with me. Because they respected him more. Because his body language is more precise and consistent. My body says I am afraid, and my voice and behaviour says I am confident.

Women can learn from this. We can learn how to become more balanced, stable and confident in our bodies. That will give us more actual confidence as well. A confidence that is built on solid ground. The problem is, we are not willing to listen. We jump to conclusions. "He is more confident, so he must be too harsh", we think. Because we are basically afraid. Or "He is confident, but he does not know what he is talking about." So we don't listen.

Well. I have tried to listen to people regarding my illness, and been disappointed so many times, because the advice I got was no good. So I understand that people are distrustful. But I have learned that the only way to real confidence goes through athleticism, and the bridge to athleticism is a very scary path for a wobbly, scarred and scared woman.

For me, the solution has become to listen to Pelle. Without flinching. It is extremely difficult. Also because he cannot know all the limitations and blockages that exist in my mind and body. Most of these are unconcious, so I don't know that they are there. But I have to try. I have to just do it. Listen and do it. NOW.

Every time I try to wait until I am ready, it's too late. So I cry, whine, freak out and fret, but I just do it. Canter transition NOW! Not afterwards, after I have let the horse's impulsion dwindle again, because I don't dare to ride the impulsion. "Sit BACK!" NOW. Not afterwards, because then it is too late, and I just confirm my own habits instead of learning something new. Nor "after I have fixed the horse", because then I have dragged the horse back into my safe, but faulty, habit.

In order to discover new lands, you have to sail so far out into the unknown seas that you cannot see the shore. That is so difficult. You must suffer to move in an unfamiliar way long enough, so that your body finds out that it is possible, and finally: better than before. You have to trust that there are other meanings than the ones you feared behind the behaviour or opinions of others, meanings that you took for something else. You have to really listen. And ask, and ask again. What do you really mean? Ask with trust in your heart.

I took a lesson from my mares today. I will listen more this year. And I will cross that bridge to athletic riding.

Paradox is a pointer telling you to look beyond it. If paradoxes bother you, that betrays your deep desire for absolutes. The relativist treats a paradox merely as interesting, perhaps amusing or even, dreadful thought, educational.

Frank Herbert.

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