Last night, Rebel was strong again, but it was the manageable kind of fizz; even though he was literally lunging at the fences — taking off from waaay out, and then unable to get his stride for the second face of the double — it wasn’t a big deal. I got to do that thing with my butt again, the pinching thing that makes him shorten up his stride. It is fun! And it makes me laugh, the way it works, just tensing up my arse, and suddenly everything changes.

In the car to the LUAS, we chatted about the lesson, as we do. My horsey friend said how she trusted the horse she’s currently riding — and maybe that was a mistake? And I said that I didn’t think so: ‘Because since you trust him, you’re relaxed, and he feels your relaxation, and then he relaxes, and the whole situation just feeds on itself, in a good way.’

So what’s the opposite of a vicious circle? I initially thought ‘precious circle’ and criiiiiinged. This from someone who makes smoochy noises at Connell, in the barn, in front of everyone! Seriously, though, as words go, ‘precious’ is just one of the worst. Sorry, it just is.*

Luckily, Wiki offered up a legitimate antonym to ‘vicious’ in ‘virtuous’ and this pleases me, not least on an alliterative level. This also allows me to go down a dictionary/thesaurus rabbit hole. Virtuous has mainly to do with morals, is what I conclude, and I think… I think that the virtuous circle with the horses goes back to that state of trust.

The more I trust someone/something/somehorse, the less I worry. The less I worry, the more present I am. The more present I am, the less I worry, and then trust is a foregone conclusion, because I am confident and relaxed [because I am not worrying!] It’s like when we’re jumping a series of fences as we did last night: double at B and a crosspole roughly at X, on the right rein. Now, I don’t trust Rebel on the right rein, it seems to make him fizzier and fightier, but since we had so much to do, and I had so much to think about, I mostly just left him to it and focused on getting us around the place. Now, I do trust that once Rebel at least sees the fence, he’s going to go over it. I know that much. Since I trusted him to do that, the fact that he was taking off really early on that first fence — well, I just went with it.

The thing was, he needs to be able to trust me to do my job, too, which was to notice that, hey, he’s taking off really early and not getting his stride, so therefore perhaps I should pinch up my butt. We did the double again, with me pulling up my arse muscles, and it was perfect. [This was not an independent decision, just to be precise, my instructor reminded me to do it.] So maybe he trusts me, now, to be paying attention and making adjustments?

I don’t know that I trust Rebel in the pure sense of the word. I know I can rely on him to be stroppy, frustrating, and moody. ‘Rely’ means many things, but ‘count on’ seems to work here, in a less than positive sense. But! I suppose the answer here is to be able to rely on myself, to know that I will be present, in the moment, in every moment that makes up the lesson, and that I will flex as necessary.

I am finally in the place where I understand [acknowledge, know, be aware of, be conscious of] that I have to be there, every single second. Even more than I already have been. Which I had thought was a lot, but apparently, there’s even more Now to be experienced. I’m very juiced up to be experiencing this, and am going to be seriously experimenting with this virtuous circle thing — without being too precious about it.

*Some words I do like.