Connecting Body to Head

Riding can be such a thinking sport. Constantly, we mull over our weaknesses and how to address them. We reflect on the challenges our horse is facing and dream up exercises, tack, and strategies to reach the next step in our journey. Meditating on this sport can become all-consuming.

I spend car rides to and from the barn picking apart rides, noting where and why I need an adjustment here and a tweak there. All my directives aim toward supporting the horse I ride that day.

Then I will test out ideas, come to this blog, and write about it. I will also read the blogs of others to devour other ideas from the talented equestrian blogosphere. Throw in a smattering of COTH threads, and my head is rolling.

We are all thinking about our riding. Plotting, planning, and theorizing.

Today I had the all too common and frustrating delay. You know, when your mind is there but your body does not perform. It can feel like my mind is screaming for a change, but habits are immortal in that moment.

From the top. I rode a new-to-me horse, an adorable jumper packer with an uphill canter and steady, self-sustaining stride. “G” was utterly a blast, but an opposite ride from my usual Q.

I knew I had to adjust. I knew I had to sit taller, be slower with my shoulders, and check-in more regularly after each fence to contain the big-strided mare.

And yet. I felt slow to respond.

Yeah, I’ll get there…. Eventually.

I had become acquainted to my plodding Q, his slow jump. I am constantly supplying a reminding leg to cultivate the quality, balanced canter and pushing him to attach to my hands. All this finesse (likely my trainer would not use such a refined word) to avoid a downhill, strung out beast with haunches trailing on the inside track.

Riding G turned my usual cup of tea upside down. New mare didn’t need the help closing distances, I needed to place her at jumps and ease off. I needed a steady hand and a tall body, both of which were woefully underrepresented today.

My trainer today ^

We got there, but I always leave dejected when there feels to be disconnect with what I know must be done and what actually is executed. Each time, it reminds me of a computer program slow to load, waiting to execute the lines of code.

Today I was at 99%, waiting to launch, but befuddled and clumsy.

How do you reattach your mind to your body when habitualized to the “norm”?