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 Post subject: The broadband connection to an unbroken horse.
PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 10:28 am 
White Lady
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Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2005 4:18 pm
Posts: 13964
Location: Eriksbråten, Skotterud
I have just had an awesome experience. I have just felt and managed to receive all the signals from an unbroken horse when riding. Or, well, who knows how many millions more there is to feel? When you are blind, just a glimpse of light will feel like all the wonders of the universe.

But what I felt was like a flood of stormlight, immensely powerful, and almost more than I could take with my newly awakened body. You think I am talking habberdash now? Or sound like some new age preacher, just got home from an out-of-the-body experience? Well, perhaps I am. Judging from all the dead backed horses I have ridden in my life, I am not alone in having been blind and deaf. So this might sound strange to you. But if you wish to become better at riding, it could be worth while reading on.

I have the privilege to be married to one of the few people I have met who are truly athletic. In both body and soul. It sometimes feels as if he is as much horse as he is human. It frightens me. Not because he is evil, and you-know-what goes very well, thank you, but because physical power is frightening. I am a wild soul caught in a crippled body. And the soul connects to the athletic being beside me, but my body is afraid of powerful movement. Roller coasters, jumping, somersaults, fast driving, heights, whatever. Makes me sick.

My body is a product of our modern, cultivated society, brought up as a well behaved girl, sitting nicely at school, doing homework, behaving at table, all in all cultivated so much that there is no athletic ability left. I had some other problems from birth as well, so the difference between me and Pelle is so big that even though he also is trained well and is the perfect gentleman, under the polish, he is so strong and fit that he always surprises me. He can jump from tree to tree. He can put on a snowboard for the first time and just do it without falling. I have to train for ages to manage just a little of what he can do without having practiced a second.

So, when he gets up on a horse, he finds a soul mate. They understand each other. Pelle knows how it is to live in a society where everything breaks if you don't put strains on yourself. How they must always take care so nobody gets hurt.

Have we ever imagined how the horse feels around us feeble beings? We can't even tackle one blow from a hoof without breaking. The horse is appalled. How can we imagine being equal to the horse and on their backs without damaging something if we can't tackle their speed?

So we tame them. Not by violence and force, god forbid, that is not our way, but with gentle, slow, intricate and passive ways. Slowly, slowly we make the horse realize that we are frail creatures that need their careful consideration. Around humans the horse must put bounds on itself. We tell the horse what it must not do at all times, but not so often what we can do together. Some people try trick training with positive reinforcement to remedy this, but the horse is still reduced to a puppet on a string, doing clownery for our pleasure. He is not allowed to use his full force.

And of course he cannot. All horses must pay attention to its herd and behave. Every herd living horse knows that, and that is also the reason why they allow us to train them. Horses are so physical beings that they even mould their bodies to ours. Whatever we do on horseback is transferred to the horse, so the horse moves as we do. That is how we can ride without using strong or hard aids.

And this is where many troubles begin. For if our bodies are unathletic, we will slowly but surely transfer this onto the horse as well. We tame them too much. We take away the bloom of their movement, which can never again be restored. We can try, and manage something that looks like it, but it will only become a mock copy of the original wild thing.

So. Back to my original revelation on horseback. I rode Ares again. In walk. Last time I tried, I fell off. The power and immenseness of the signals from the horse was too much for my crippled body. But since then I have trained. Not on horseback, that I have done for forty years, and doing what you have always done gives what you have always got. So I have trained at the gym with Pelle.

I have lifted weights, rowed at the machine, trained handstands, somersaults, deadlifts, clean and jerks, jumping, balancing through my hips. I found out in real life how paralyzed my body has been. I have ridden for forty years and just been a passenger. Even though I know how to ride with my seat bones, even though I can ride a Grand Prix on a GP horse. But I could not do it without taming the horse. Without blunting the horse's signals, that I was not quick enough in my body to recognize even was there.

I have balanced on a floppy pad, tried training towards a slack line, and felt how slow I am. If the slack line throws me off, it is just the horse's shere kindness and blunted movement, and my clinging onto the horse's balance that prevents me from tumbling from the horse as well. So now, Pelle thought I was ready to ride a real horse. One that was not broken. One that is not trick trained into "knowing" the exercises, or to follow some human conditioning. Ares is just a horse following his natural instincts and who knows that he has to listen to the rider. Pelle told me that he actually had trained Ares lately with this moment specifically in mind.

What do you say to that? At least you don't say "no". You dare to get up there, even though you know that you are not good enough. And Ares is the kindest, gentlest of horses, but he is intact in all senses. The moment I put my seat bones into the saddle, it felt like an electric shock. The immensity of the signals from the horse is not to be understood. It felt like I was overrun by communication signals that I had to use all the concentration that my nervous system could muster to compute and communicate back. I was finally quick enough to feel it. I was no longer a potato sack depending on the horse's balance to compensate for my disability.

I was unable to speak. Pelle tried to ask me how I felt, and I could not answer. In walk. It took some minutes before I could stutter "I'm OK. It's... fun..!" And so I had to shut up again.

It became better. I upgraded my driver software and learnt. What did I learn? Why many of my riding students ride cold blooded horses that I find very boring. Why they cannot handle lusitano horses that I love to ride. Why so many riders dull their horses' back movement and rythm. It is just because they struggle the way that I have done, but perhaps even more.

It feels like I am pioneering the hidden and overgrown road from cripple to athletic. Nobody has gone this way before, and I have to write the map. I hope I will be able to write it so well that others may follow.

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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