Integrating Change

Disclaimer: random free association below.

Three days ago I was wearing a turtle neck, thermal, fleece and heavy-duty barn jacket.

Yesterday it was 70 degrees: T-shirt and light breeches.  At 4 pm.  My tall boots felt hot and oppressive.  It stopped raining.  Just like that.

Naturally, when the sun comes out, my first impulse is to reflect on the similarities between quantum physics and the nature of change.

No.  I will never be normal.

The correct response?

Oooooo….pretty…warm….blue sky, great day to ride!)

Change makes me uneasy.  I do not expect a good outcome.  I’d been sad to lose Pops.  Within a week, I had the offer of two more horses I absolutely love and have known for years: their owner is a friend and she didn’t want me to feel obligated, so had been afraid to ask.  I enjoyed the heck out of myself.   A 2nd level dressage horse and a retired reining horse!

Without constant rain, it’s starting to dry up.  I could ride Melody!  (Outdoor arena).  So here we have my dread of change and uncertainty, and because of it,I get to be with more very special horses. I’m not uncomfortable with the outcome, no sirree.

Back to my “Oooo…nice day” mis-reaction. I was trying to integrate my whole hating uncertainty/change with: “Wow this is great!“.  It’s a sort of the tree falling in the forest thing: if you hate change but love the results, did you really hate change?

The analogy I was making to myself: if I picture everything around me, including people and horses, as electrons, I can live a little more easily with the idea that everything is going to change.  Because there is no stasis.  In Quantum physics, there is no “zero-energy” state, only the least-amount of energy state.  Everything is moving, even if it seems still. Knowing more about something can make it LESS easy to predict.  (See Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle below.)

Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle states (more or less): The more precisely the energy of an object is known, the less certain we can be of its position in time.  Vice versa too, which is really strange: the less we know about the energy of an object, the easier it will be to predict with accuracy its location in space/time.   When I think of energy, I think of it traveling like a steady stream.  In quantum theory, it travels in packets.  An electron can move at one speed while it sort of builds up speed inside, and then suddenly jumps to a faster speed.  If cars operated on this principle (observable anyway) we’d go along at 10 miles an hour, see the 25 mph increase sign, push on the gas pedal, and still go 10 mph until we hit a tipping point, say 10 minutes later, when we were suddenly going 25 mph.

It’s a very good thing this is all happening at light speed, or there would be an awful lot of car accidents.

This is my brain on sunshine.  I’ll stop now.

I do have this tidy tidbit for you, the next time your instructor smacks herself in the forehead and yells at you: STAY ON THE 20 M CIRCLE,  just once.  Please.

Electrons (which we are made of, if we include the sub-atomic level) travel/exist as both particles and waves.  Wavicles, as I dubbed it in college.  My 20 M circles are both a circle and a squiggle:  squircles.  (Quantum physics and riding have a lot in common.)

Why can’t you make a perfect 20 M circle?

It’s impossible at the sub-atomic level.   Who doesn’t know that?!

Mumble something about Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle and you’ll be home free.

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13 thoughts on “Integrating Change

  1. goamwat

    I trailed off somewhere around the Heisenberg principle. I’m completely content to look at the pretty sunny picture and wish I was there.

    I don’t ride circles….I ride eggs. Or cucumbers on a bad day.

    Reply
  2. Arlene

    You certainly have a way with words. You ‘re very funny and I think this is a perfect explanation for anything that happens while riding.

    Reply
  3. Jane

    You guys are all so kind to forget about the above wacko post and help me out. I lengthened the stirrup to hit the bottom of my ankle bone (yup, cheating a little) and that helped a lot.

    It helped so much that I can barely walk this morning. Thank goodness Mel has such good gaits. I can’t imagine this on an unsteady erratic and bouncy horse. I have to get used to the feeling that I’m leaning slightly forward (everyone says I’m not) and stop correcting that. Then I fall behind the balance point.

    I’m off for another shot at riding this gorgeous, talented, very kind (and mischievous) hunter. Wish me luck.

    Hmm. Maybe a shot of brandy Liz? Lubricate the knee joints? Ack can’t do that at 10am!

    Reply
  4. JackieB

    I’ve always marveled that the really small things look quite a lot like the really BIG things. Atoms have a heavy bit in the center and bits that circle around the center. Planetary systems look like that and so do galaxies. Marvelous!

    So maybe you are thinking too small. Don’t be an atom! Be a planet with a great heavy sun in the center of your 20m circle. Too close and you’ll be a cinder, too far from the sun and you’ll freeze. Ride in the “habitable” zone.

    Note, I never had to ride a 20m (or any other size) circle as most of my riding was on the trails. (how can you stand to be cooped up in an arena on a nice day!?!) Some h/j lessons too, but never had a trainer. So any suggestions by me should be taken with a grain of salt. No, make that the entire salt block.

    Hooray for spring! Today I got covered in pony hair for the first time in years. Bliss.

    Reply
    1. theliteraryhorse Post author

      That is a brilliant picture! “Ride in the habitable zone”. It also made me laugh. (Ahhh…NO…falling in or out and I won’t have any oxygen! Straighten up and circle, lady!)

      I “trail” rode on Hudson yesterday. The interior of an arena with that blue sky, swallows starting to build nests and sunshine was more than I could take.

      We had a lovely power amble on the access road.

      Reply
  5. Breathe

    Do you grade on a curve?

    (pun intended)

    It’s a fascinating place, your brain on sunshine. A tipping point, to be sure. I do think horses do quite a bit of quantum moves, particularly if vultures fly right toward them.

    It’s the only explanation I’ve got for hanging around my horses neck with no recollection of how I got there. Quantum leaps.

    Reply
    1. theliteraryhorse Post author

      ha ha ha ha ha! You got me. I just re-read the post and groaned. I wrote this and posted it…why?

      What on earth am I talking about? What was I thinking that this might conceivably be interesting?

      Note to self: always contemplate navel in private.

      Thanks for saving my butt with a good joke!

      Reply
  6. Marissa

    I’m so glad no one ever measures the roundness or size of my circles. I’d be in big trouble if I had to think about bend and pace and hands and seat and leg and eyes and the circle. I’m overwhelmed just typing it. (See? You can get hunter tips from me and I can get dressage tips from you! It’s completely symbiotic, sticking with your science theme.)

    Reply
    1. theliteraryhorse Post author

      I actually laughed out loud, in a snorty, shaky kind of way, when one of my trainers divided a 20 M circle into 4 quadrants and said “ride each quarter circle with 5 strides, that 20 strides for a complete circle.”

      I thought she was, um, kidding. That was embarrassing.

      She meant *exactly* five strides, not 4.5 or 4.75 or 6.

      She also thinks I should automatically know the location of each hoof at any given moment and be able to synchronize my aids to coincide with, say, the right hind finishing its push off, so as it comes forward, no part of my body is inadvertently blocking the aid.

      Great in theory. But I barely know where my right leg is at any given moment.

      Um, in hunt seat, how do we know when the stirrup length is correct? Any ballpark ideas? Anyone?

      Reply
      1. Marissa

        Ah! I can help with this (so great to feel valuable first thing in the morning). While standing on the ground beside your horse (please Jane, do not attempt the following while mounted) place the heel of your palm at the top of the stirrup iron where the buckle is. Then with your other hand pull the stirrup iron up to your arm pit. Your stirrup length (the length of the leathers and iron combined) should be roughly the length of your arm. Then once you are on you can go up or down a hole or two for preference. Generally, your shoulder hip and ankle should be lined up and your knee and toe should be lined up, so that when you look down you see just the very tip of your toe. (That may be the same for dressage, I have no idea.)

        It’s largely a matter of preference once you’re in the right ballpark. I ride in different lengths for light hacking, more serious flatting, jumping small jumps, and jumping big jumps (there is a 3 inch difference between hacking and big jumps for me, to give you an idea). I can take pics of my leg and some non-vertically-challenged legs and send them to you. That might help.

        Reply
        1. theliteraryhorse Post author

          Thank you! It’s the same general idea w/dressage, without the 3″ difference. (unless you are on ex racehorse 😉 then you’d better be shorter!) That really helps, to know the difference can be that variable.

          I thought Molly and I were roughly the same height, so hesitated to lengthen. But she jumps, and has a power seat. (That’s my pet name for an unshakable two-point base.)

          Reply
          1. lizgoldsmith

            Good starting point for jumping — when you drop your stirrups, they should hit you in your ankle bone. oh how many lessons I had as a kid where I had to ride without stirrups and ended up with bruised ankles.

            I play with my stirrup length a lot — usually have a range of 4-6 “holes”. For general hacking I ride long because my knees no longer bend in “that way”. For hunting, I ride fairly short because I need the support to stay in my half seat and there’s enough adrenalin to make me forget my knees. By the time I remember them I’m at the tea and there’s generally alcohol there.

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