Chaos and confusion. I don’t do well with that combination. I know some people can just rise above it and glide on but I have never been able to master that ability. There are others who actually seem to enjoy chaos and confusion and will set about creating some if they want to spark things up. I can neither rise above nor do I wish to create any chaos or any confusion. I like clarity and certainty!
I especially like clarity and certainty when it comes to my riding, training and competition. Ten days to go for Biasini and me for our next show! Time for clarity. I must have clarity ,inside my head ,because Biasini will pick up whatever energy I send out. I have to be clear about what we are doing, what is our purpose and specifically I must be clear about my aids.
Biasini is a horse that tries very hard. He is a real worker and tries his best to do what I ask. His only fault is that sometimes he tries too hard and gets very strong. It is essential that I give very clear aids. If I shift my weight in the saddle or one ankle twitches and I am not aware of it, I will be sending very confusing signals to Biasini. He will not know how to respond and will respond by doing something that will not be what is wanted. I can’t blame him! I’m sending unclear messages so he cannot know how to respond.
In a competition situation there are lots of distractions and pressures that do not exist in the arena at home. I know that I must stay focused on my “inner game” and not allow my focus to go to outside distractions. I have to think that no one is watching me, nothing outside of Biasini and me matters. That is how I can keep my mind clear. Clarity!
I have to practice that now, each day in lessons or when riding on my own. There is enough for me to think about; is Biasini straight, does he need more bend, do we need more power, less speed, am I preparing him each stride for the next movement, do I need to make a correction? Clarity is needed to have my mind free and clear to concentrate on the job at hand.
Certainty comes from having confidence in my training, my preparation and my commitment. Biasini will pick up on that certainty and he will also feel confident. I know what the possibilities are for us and I can look forward with a sense of excitement. The excitement is what makes all the hard work fun. There is always the possibility that chaos and confusion will turn up but as far as my riding goes I try to minimize it and focus on clarity and certainty instead.
I recently saw a lovely video of British Olympian Carl Hester that I would like to share with you. Carl Hester is a master rider, trainer, coach and horseman. In this video he is riding the Grand Prix Freestyle at the Royal Windsor Horse Show. The horse he is riding , Barolo, is competing in an international competition for the first time. Take a look at this video. Here is a rider who comes into the ring calm and focused. He has clarity and certainty. He gives this to his horse and together they go on to win the class. There is a good commentary on the video for those of you not so familiar with dressage. Here is the “Masterclass that is Carl Hester.”