Monday, December 08, 2014

Riding and balance

I'm learning to ride a  horse.  Not just, you know, hop on, giddyap and go Bessie, but actually learning how to do tricky things like post a trot and canter.  It's all part of my master plan to eventually become a therapeutic horseback riding instructor so I can do speech therapy with kids while they are riding a horse.

Yes, that's totally a thing.  No, I didn't make it up.  Seriously.

But the problem is, riding a horse is hard.  And I'm not very good at it.  I mean, it seems like it's not all that difficult, just sit up and tall and move, but there is actually a lot involved.  And sometimes my brain short circuits because it is trying to process too many things.  The other day, my trainer asked me to fix how I was holding the reins in my right hand, and I pretty much forgot everything else I was doing and thought about my right hand.  She sort of called to me and said, 'Whoa, what happened to the circle, and what happened to your trot?"  I called back and said, "Sorry, I forgot all about that stuff because I was trying to fix my right hand!"  She laughed and said, "You have to KEEP RIDING while you're fixing stuff!  Put it all together!"

Because, you know, horses are actually kinda lazy, and if you stop riding, they stop moving.  Except when they don't.  Sometimes if you stop riding, they think, "Hey look, HAY!" and off they go.

Neither one of these makes a person look like a professional.  Or even very dignified.

So it's humbling to learn a new skill.  I have to trust that my trainer knows what she's doing (she does). I have to train my own body to develop new muscle memories.  I have to make sure I'm continuing to ride even as I am panicking at the speed of the horse as she pulls up in a canter.  I have to be humble enough to be teachable. And I have to trust my core.

Which is hard, because my core has issues.

Since entering this training program, I just don't have time to exercise the way I used to, but I still try to squeeze short yoga sessions in a few times a week, and today I tried some balancing moves.  Most of what goes into riding a horse involves balance and core strength, and I want to improve both of those things.

I discovered today that my balance kind of stinks.  And it feels like it's getting worse.

I wondered aloud to my sister if my hernia and kidneys were to blame.  It's one thing to get fat and weak--fat packs on the padding around the muscles, but the muscles can still be strong under the fat.  It's another thing to have your muscles being stretched from the inside by ever enlarging kidneys, like a balloon filling up with air, getting structurally weaker as it gets bigger.

I worry that I'm getting weaker, and I'm not sure what to do about it.

I'm also getting dumber, but I know there's nothing I can do about that.  I have several tests coming up that I have to study for---tests about speech, tests about horses, tests about speech AND horses, and I feel my brain complaining, creaking to life, like that old man in UP when he gets out of bed.

This is also how my brain feels:

And I'm not even on drugs.

(Well, not THOSE kinds of drugs, anyways.)

I want to look like this when I ride:

 I am, however, fairly certain that if I tried the above maneuver, I would look like this:

I'm getting way too excited about videos and pictures.  I'll stop now.


Anonymous said...

Hahaha - really funny pictures! Thank you very much for the bright light on a dark day! Anna

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