This happened weeks ago.

Monday morning, Bray. I leave my house at around 8am-ish, to get out there in good enough time for my 10.15 lesson. There’s a long walk down a long road, and I hate rushing. I walk at a ruminative pace, and have plenty of time to change into my riding boots, and to hang out with Malabar.

We were in the short end of the indoor that day, and from the second we started moving, I said to myself, ‘Hey, my brain is totally in my legs today!’

I know, yes I knoooow that my legs should always be on. But that day, I was just so aware of doing it right that I noticed it right away. My brain was in my legs. It wasn’t straying to my hands, or to my head, or worse, the back of the horse’s head. I still do this, and know that I’m feeling unsure when my gaze is glued to the mane, as if I can see into the brain of my mount and therefore know what’s going on.

My brain just shuts down completely under stress. I suppose this may happen in other areas of life, as well, but it’s certainly more noticeable, say, when you’re trying to get a horse to canter in twenty metre circle, and he’s not having any of it, and you’re trying and trying, and the instructor is yelling and yelling, and: up go my hands! Forward I go in the saddle! Aid gone completely south! Whip waggling! Added to all this, I feel my consciousness just drift away, somewhere above my head, observing as if through a mist. All brain gone out of my body, a sort of dissociation, and I hope that I can identify it well enough, now, to just bring everything — horse and brain — back to a walk in order to chill out and breathe and start again. It’s panic, I suppose, this impulse to keep flailing away until something goes right. But how can it, if I’m not breathing and I’ve lost my brain?

Nope, this day, the brain was totally in my legs, and by extension [ha, ha], totally in my seat. Mal was bending around the inside leg like nobody’s business. For twenty minutes, in walk, we did these big, squat figures-of-eight, and flowed from one side to the next flawlessly.

I could have done that all day. I told a civilian friend, ‘Yeah, we did these big, squat figures-of-eight for like twenty minutes!’ And she was like, ‘Wha’?’

It’s a horsey thing. She didn’t understand.

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