I recently wrote about how while riding I felt the hind legs of the horse move under me as if they were my own. A great experience, like I said but, alas, a fleeting one like these things usually are. I have ridden several times since then but without a similar connection with the horse. The first time on horse back after the glimpse of enlightenment (Sounds like a grand word for it it but it was grand!) was in fact rubbish. I was stiff and my lower legs were all over the place as you can see from the photo. They should be hugging the horse gently, maintaining a constant contact with the horse. But not that time, no sir. That has been my Achilles’ heel (pun intended) for a long time now but that day was particularly difficult. In addition to that, Allu, the horse I’ve been riding recently, had just been shod and that almost always affects the horse and the way it moves. So Allu too was feeling a bit stiff and was even more headstrong than usually. Not that he would be a particularly difficult character to get along with, he just has his moments like every thinking being does. Look at his tail in the photo: he may seem concentrated and all that, but the whipping tail tells that he is not. Instead he is thinking ways of avoiding me (which I’m making easier for him with my loose legs). Ach well, never mind, it was rubbish riding but a great day.
This is how it goes when you are leaning to do stuff that pushes your motor skills to their limits. You have these moments of clarity and insight, glimpses of how things will feel when you finally manage to do them right. You catch that tiny glimpse and then it’s gone again, and for awhile after it feels like you have just taken two steps ahead only to be flung back a dozen. Easily disheartening. Frustrating, heck yeah. But what do you do? You keep at it. Never give up, never surrender, because if you have felt it once, if you have managed to get it right even for that one tiny moment, you can do it again. Maybe not today, or tomorrow, nor this month, but maybe next Christmas or the year after that. It’ll come – if you just keep at it.
So I now know how it feels to really connect with the horse and to truly ride. I know that it can be done and I even have an idea about how it’s done. Now I just need to let myself do it. Like Yoda said, ‘Do or do not. There is no try.’ I needed someone to show me how it’s done (Thanks, Sully, I owe you one, really.) but the only one who can implement it is me. Like another great and wise fictional character, Groo the Wanderer, once said: ‘Wisdom cannot be bought, but it can be borrowed until you find your own.’ It’s all there, somewhere, waiting for me to get there too.