Rocket Science

I can over think things a smidge.

In my desire to control my experience (and the outcome: ha), I try to make it linear and logical-ish.  I attempt to ride correctly, read the horse, figure out the next best move, and not drop the chalk.  First I do A, then I do B: if that works, we will get C. Right?

This usually ends up with Jane trying to walk in a straight line, holding the reins too tightly.

Then a horse bolts, bucks, or spins, and a Solid Jane rolls her eyes, takes over, and is perfectly comfortable and confident up there.  I decided to interview her.  Pardon the insanity.

Jane: I saw you riding Queenie yesterday when those horses got loose, what did you do to stay so relaxed while she was sidling around and trying to bolt?

Jane: I don’t know?  She wasn’t trying to unload me, she just felt young again. She was being silly and happy, that made me laugh, so I just let her get a little of it out?

Jane: You mean the cantering in place and trying to bolt?  You do realize she was cantering in place while you were chatting with Alice, right?  With loose horses dashing around. On the road.

Jane: Oh yeah.  I forgot about that.  Is that what she was doing?  I liked the rolling feeling, that was fun.  Alice and I were in the middle of a great conversation…I was blocking the road with Queenie’s body so Steve could drive the loose horses back into the paddock.

Jane: FUN?  What aids did you use to keep her from bolting?  How did you keep her still?  She was higher than a kite.

Jane: It was fun.  We were in it together. It was easy.  Aids?

Jane: But what did you DO?

Jane: Um.  Kept her inside my legs and arms?  I don’t know.  It’s not rocket science.  You have to feel it and react.  I didn’t think about it?

Jane: Are you CRAZY?  Of course it’s rocket science!  It’s dressage!  Impulsion! Precision!  Angles! Lift!  Suspension!  Helloooo…instructor shouting: “stay straight on your circles!” Sounds like calculus to me.  You practically need a master’s degree in mathematics to get to 4th level.

Jane: Riding is…FEEL.  I don’t know anything about dressage, I know what staying on and connected feels like though?

Jane: Do you know what you could do in dressage if you rode like THAT in the arena?

Jane: Um.  Do I care?  And why can’t I ride like that in the arena?

Jane: Exactly. You can, and I can’t.

Jane: Of course you can!  You’re me, you idiot.

We will now pause for station identification.  You are tuned into The Literary Horse: The Psychosis Hour.  We will return to our regularly scheduled programming after a word from our sponsors: several highly esteemed members of the pharmaceutical industry.

Yikes, gotta run, I’m nearly late for the psychiatrist hairdresser!

Jane:  (Is she gone yet? Great.) Okay everyone, whatever your discipline: it’s in there. You can already do it, it’s NOT rocket science.  We show up, we practice, we do it wrong, we do it right, we practice some more, we get fit, and voila, when the rocket starts to move, we go right along with it, and it’s FUN.

 

 

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8 thoughts on “Rocket Science

  1. Annette

    As a rocket scientist, I would like to thank you for explaining why riding is so doggone hard! 🙂

    (And yes, I really am.)

    Reply
    1. theliteraryhorse Post author

      Finally! We really really need a rocket scientist around here, I hope you consider staying. 🙂 Someone needs to help us understand how you stay straight on a circle, and why the atomic weight of dirt gets heavier/denser in direct proportion to our age, making falling off much more painful as we get older.

      Can we bribe you with donuts?

      Reply
      1. Annette

        Since my horse owns me, carrots probably work better as a bribe!

        Aren’t the answers “the circle just feels straight” and “the dirt just feels harder”? 🙂

        Reply
  2. theliteraryhorse Post author

    Aarene: Um, I think we need to go over food groups. (You had me ROLLING.) I think we might be on to something here: a new company. We’ll create disasters in the ring so riders can have flair and show their true abilities. (Water balloon, anyone?) I love the “Hey attack me, and we’ll find out, okay?’ FUNNY.

    Lee: Jane and Jane thank you. (I think, they’re still arguing. I think I’ll go have a nice ride while they analyze each other.)

    Marissa: I have that same dialogue, word for word! Oh. You know that. Jane and Jane. shoot. 😉

    Shane: ARGH “feel”. It’s the Zen-ness of dressage: you have to be know what it feels like to achieve the feeling. It’s the sort of thing that makes me want to strangle that cute little Yoda guy. Does this bug the crap out of anyone else? Good luck in the lesson, I hope it went well!

    Reply
  3. Marissa

    Ugggggggh, why do we all suffer from this? In my version, it goes like this…. “Wow, that was a great shoulder-in! Good boy Tucker!” Then the inner monologue begins… “Was that a good shoulder-in? How do I know? Was he really engaged or did I just think that he was? Was there too much angle? Incorrect bend? Did I lose the impulsion? Ugh, maybe it wasn’t such a good shoulder-in after all. In fact, now I think it was terrible. Oh this is hopeless, I am never going to get good flatwork out of this horse. I suck. Hmmm, this is a really nice trot though. But wait, is it a nice trot?” And so on, and so on, and so on… until I can’t stand myself anymore and have to start singing a song in my head. Hmmm… maybe someone should do a study on the occurence of multiple personality disorder in riders?

    Reply
  4. dressage rider

    Snort (spewing coffee all over computer screen) You’re so right. If I just go with it, it’s FUN! If I analyze and over think it, while solving quantum physics it stinks. Good for you Jane and Jane.

    Reply
  5. AareneX

    In a different lifetime, I studied karate for a lot of years. After a few million centuries passed, I noticed that the newer students often asked a question:

    “How do you defend against ________? Like, if your opponent does _______ and then what do you do?”

    I had to admit that I hadn’t the faintest idea what to do. Block? Kick? Order a double latte with cheese and extra ketchup?

    With the most persistent, the only answer I could manage was some variation on, “well, you do that thing to me, and then I guess we’ll find out. Right?”

    Without trying to seem especially Master Po-esque, it seemed the only way to answer the question. I expect your extra personality suffers from the same inability to problem-solve for you. Maybe if you could just simulate a few catastrophes in the dressage arena, you might score a bunch of 8’s?

    Reply
  6. Shane

    Freakin’ hilarious! And freakin’ spot on. Why is the “feel” so hard to achieve and why does thinking only get us into more trouble? In all other areas of my life, it pays to think, to analyze, to work it out systematically. But in riding, dressage specifically, I have to block out my left brain, find some zen and feeeeeeel…nearly impossible, I tell you. But I have gotten there, maybe only a few times, but it HAS happened! And perhaps this hilarious and all too true post will help trigger some “feeling” in my lesson tomorrow morning! THANKS!

    Reply

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