Next, I'd like to share what happened during my ride today. Enzo has been getting much more sensitive to the leg and we've been working on disengaging the hindquarters and using his hind end to stretch his gaits out. All good, but there's a basic that he and I have still struggled with.
Whenever I take up ANY kind of contact he goes slower and slower and gets crabbier and crabbier, until finally we are at a dead standstill while he swishes his tail, pins his ears and threatens. Two nights ago at my lesson, I had my trainer Elsa ride before me. Then I got on and we did not have any problems at a..
So I go out today and we start out fine, though sluggish and then he pulls this crap. And we get slower and slower. Okay, people. This is the part where I'm going to share with all of you the meltdown that I had. I want to share this because I know there are other people with this problem. There are other people who have anxiety (I'm so glad I have realized that this is not a confidence issue, it's an anxiety issue. Totally different.) and there are other people who get stuck.
So, I'm sitting in the arena by myself on Enzo. I have a light contact (no, really. It's really light. Pinkie promise, this is not a 'too much contact' or a 'too heavy hands' issue) and we've now come to a complete stop. I'm tapping with legs. I'm tapping with whip. The most he can be bothered to do is to pin his ears and grump at me. Which causes my heart to speed up, my breathing to go shallow and my body to tense up.
A zen meditation master would tell you to take deep belly breaths and let everything out of your body. And though I have found this to be a great release of tension, it does not do much to create 'energy' for you horse. Plus, I was frustrated and angry. And wanted to throw something.
Instead, I opened my mouth like I was going to scream and let out a loud as I could silent scream. I pushed that silent scream all the way out. I threw my hands up in the air in double fists and shook them at the sky, then at Enzo's ears, then at his mane. I stood up in my stirrups and flung my body from side to side like a little kid losing his shit. And then I put my hands on his mane and went a little apeshit. I didn't have a conscious thought except "I want to fucking MOVE! NOW!!" and by whatever means possible. I crouched forward like a jockey and flapped my elbows and wiggled my hips and my legs. None of it was kicking or whipping or anything hard, it was....energy.
I finally get it. I finally felt it. I FINALLY got my energy truly up without tension. And miracle of all miracles, Enzo stepped directly into a canter. From there we came down into a lovely energetic trot. And changed directions. And circled. And took up contact. And moved hindquarters. It really made me realize how much tension I was holding and how secure of a rider I am when I let go of that. So good!
Then we opened the gate and rode outside, where I kept that energy and asked him to trot a few steps. He lightly stepped into it and politely stepped out of it when I asked. Brilliant. Effing Brilliant.
I can't wait to see if this revelation sticks, but I'm so excited to have been able to have a moment of bringing my life up and having my horse respond in kind. So fun!