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I can feel the arch of my foot getting back to normal. Normal-ish.

As I got up on Connell last night, I remembered how I couldn’t get myself up there because of The Injury.

I still get little twinges, little pulls that tell me that the network of tendons and ligaments and muscle, and whatever, isn’t completely forgettable. There’s a place on the inside of my calf, about in the middle, that still goes Oohhh, don’t think so! every so often. But the ball of my foot is firmly back on the stirrup, and that is something. Something huge, to be honest. I remember being on Delilah and unable to raise myself up in rising trot unless the stirrup was hooked in front of the heel of my boot. Which is incorrect. But if I hadn’t gotten back up there, even imperfectly, I wouldn’t be as far along as I am now.

I remember in one lesson, the instructor was like, turn in your toes! and gently turned the left foot in and I went Eeeeeeeeee! Oops.

When you are learning, you don’t realise how much of everything you are doing at once, and how much of your body is doing everything at once. How much your ankle has to do with jumping, say. How much your heel being down has to do with your ankle, how much your toes turning in have to do with your hips, how much your rising trot has to do with all of those things.

The things we take for granted when we can do them!

And then, there’s your mind. Your brain computes all this stuff, but it’s the mind that can get in the way. My brain is back in business, and I’m once more doing all the stuff I used to do without thinking, but it’s my mind that is just getting back into the game. My mind is the thing that has been getting over all the body stuff lately, and it has been noticeable.

It is easy to psyche oneself out. I have had issues jumping Connell, issues that have involved tumbles of various degrees, and that tends to accumulate until, if you’re me, you get up there and wonder, what’s going to happen this time? When I refused to fall off that !@&ing horse, I didn’t, but I could feel the pull in that halfway place in my calf. This makes me afraid — I am not going to tear that !@&ing muscle again! And then the fear just piles and piles until it becomes unmanageable…

So the thing is, to build on the repair of the physical stuff to mend the mental. Last night, I was feeling a little bit unsure, on the way to the lesson, but once I got up there on Connell, I decided, Hey, we’re going to have a good go. I want to jump! I need to get into the place where I can cope with whatever happens. Because my body is getting back in form, my mind needs to follow. And it did. Was it because Connell was fresh and forward going? Was he forward going because I was? Even if the right canter depart is still 50/50? — better than 0/0 which is was two Saturdays ago; I think I set a record for not consistent non-achievement of correct lead on the right rein, in that lesson.

See, that doesn’t even bother me. That was a thing that happened, and now I really, really know how much I have to work to make that right canter depart happen. Don’t give up before it has even had the chance to go wrong! Don’t give up halfway through a thing, just because it’s not perfect. This happened last night: we were doing a jump at B [left rein] into a turn at H for a jump at X, into — God help me — a turn at F to change lead into a jump at E. I lost the correct lead after the jump at B — gah! — and got back into trot, and kept going, and got the correct lead, oh, maybe three paces from the jump, but we did it, and then we wrestled over the lead change and made the jump at E — not very prettily, but we did it.

There was my mind going ‘uh oh, oh no, now what, circle out? but it’s a course’, and my brain just overrode that, got with my body, and we kept going. With superlative encouragement from the ground in the form of my instructor.

We got there in the end: body, brain and mind. Frankly, I love being able to just go and not worry. And since everything connects, that’s probably a good attitude to take into ‘real’ life.

… we are sitting around, we lessonmates, waiting for the lesson to begin, and we sigh.

We sigh and wish we were around the horses every day.

As a job, like. Read the rest of this entry »

FIGURES OF EIGHT

Eight years on from my first ever riding lesson, these posts are still wandering round and round, a figure of eight starting with today, probably, and yesterday, definitely. It's the antithesis of how I usually do things, but... that's horses for ya.

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