Thursday, October 30, 2014

Groovy, Baby


It was really nice to get to the barn last night after another day on the stress bus that is my job right now. It's good to be busy, but I am struggling to find that marathon pace groove instead of an all-out sprint while I am at work, so I am making sure that my barn time is about everything but feeling rushed.

When I used to row on the crew team, there were always a lot of phases to the actual race, even in a sprint. There was the start, short quick strokes building to using the full slide to pick up speed and get the boat up out of the water, then finding the race pace, or what is called settling in, and then some power tens and sprints within that to the finish where the cadence increases again and we win!

It's all about harmony, consistency, form, and communication. In a crew boat, there is a lot of feeling involved in feeling the balance of the boat, feeling the cadence of the stroke rate, staying consistent in form, and controlling your breathing as your body fights to consume oxygen. There is usually the added benefit of a person (the coxswain) in the stern or the bow of the boat yelling commands about stroke rate, power tens, and generally being a crazy person (I sat there quite often in addition to rowing - it was fun to learn to do it all, even if I was the heaviest coxswain know to the sport of rowing). Sounds a little like, riding, right?
I miss these long, skinny boats
It's the same thing with running, and probably any other sport. Finding that spot where your mind and body settle in for the work without working to exhaustion and burning out too soon.

I am really enjoying getting Abbey back into working after some time off. In a way, there is less pressure to be perfect. Her usual soft jog is more of a racing trot, her canter departs look like a giraffe, and she is just all around not focused. And that is okay with me. I get a chance to see how much I have actually learned about feeling a horse, listening to what they are telling me, and asking them to please try it a different way. The fact that we had some really nice canter departs and circles after a lot of counter bending and flexing in both directions lets me know that I am actually communicating correctly what I want, rewarding her for correct behavior, and making progress, even if we aren't show pretty. And, the best part is that I am not on a schedule, there are no deadlines. It is all just up to me and Abbey to figure it out on our own time. How awesome is that?
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Maybe I seek out sports that require physical balance like crew and riding because my life-struggle is learning balance in the mental sense. Even when the world feels like it is spinning out of control, I can sit in that saddle and find my center. It's pretty awesome.


  1. i agree - the horses definitely help me slow down and pay attention to the little things, esp when work and life are rushing around in a blur. hope things at work can settle into a rhythm soon!

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