I have a competition coming up in a couple of weeks. I am on that journey toward going down the centerline and saluting the judge seated at C. At the moment, the analogy for my life is the classical labyrinth.
While I was in England I walked to the center of a classical labyrinth that is in the walled garden at Grimsthorpe Castle in Lincolnshire. This classical labyrinth has seven coils that are laid out in the walled garden with box hedging on turf. In the ancient world the number seven represented the seven visible heavenly bodies that move across the stars. In medieval times it was imagined that each of these had its own shell or sphere around the earth. So walking the seven coil labyrinth was a journey to earth via these seven heavenly bodies. This traditional labyrinth offers the user no choices, the path simply delivers the walker to the center in a certain way. Unlike a maze there are no choices of direction to be made.
So I went into the labyrinth and walked around the larger circles on the outside. I felt I was getting close to the center. I thought I was almost there. But no…the labyrinth is not just simple circles that spiral inwards. It changes direction. So I found I was now headed back toward the outside. Then…another turn and there I was at the entrance to the center.
Why is preparing for my upcoming show like a journey to the center of a labyrinth? It is a journey. I know the test that I will be riding. I have competed at this level during the winter in Florida. I have started back,after being on holiday, with lessons from my coach Belinda Trussell. Today we worked on the trot and exercises that will prepare Biasini and me for the movements of the test. I am walking around the large circular path on the outside. In our next lesson we may work on canter and exercises to prepare for the test movements. I am still on the larger circular paths. Next week we will start to work on some of the movements from the test. I am on a path closer to the center now. But there will be times, like the one that happened in my lesson today where I loose focus. I was doing a small circle just to change direction in the arena. “That’s a terrible circle,” Belinda shouted. “You were doing beautifully and then it all fell apart on that circle.” Truth be told I had just wandered off in my mind for about 5 seconds and was not riding Every…Single….Stride! I realize I am not arriving at the center and the path is leading me back toward the outside of the labyrinth. I admitted to Belinda that I had a mental lapse and then I got my act together. We then achieved some very good work. That sort of thing will continue to happen, good moments, not so good moments and wonderful brilliant moments. In about two and a half weeks it will be Biasini and me going down that centerline to show the judge our test. I have arrived at the center of the labyrinth.