"Just let his motion become yours. Instead of your energy moving differently than his, melt into his back - sounds sort of...voodoo, but thats the only way I can describe it."
"I knew exactly what you mean," I responded to Sarah with a laugh. I would just have to find how to do just that.
I tried to focus on Wesley's two beat gait, up and down, allowing my energy to flow up and down, without my body constricting this fluid dance that Wesley was inviting me to enter. If I could just learn the steps to dance with him.
In and out, up and down, I tapped my toes in relaxation in stride; now I was in the dance, the two beat gait, the energy of Wesley. Magically, Wesley's scrambled gait slowed way down and his head dropped down a bit as he lifted his back.
"Stay strong in your core, there's too much movement in that area."
I tried to engage my core, but when I did my back got tight right at the base, and I collapsed at my rib-cage, disallowing the flow of energy up and down. Wesley sped up.
"Find the rhythm again.You must stay strong in your core through every step. Breathe..."
I found it again, and Sarah directed me to lope. Still with my hands low and only cuing if needed, no picking, I had to allow Weez to step into the lope, without a bunch of fuss or control on my part, as is typical for my micromanaging self.
"This is a finished horse, he knows how to step right into the lope with only a thought."
Into the lope we were in an instant, and instinctively within a few strides I lost the now three beat rhythm Wesley and I were previously sharing. He sped up, I tensed. I needed to find that rhythm again. But this was a whole new ball game at the lope.
"Your midsection is moving too much again, remember the birthday breath, but stay relaxed in your back."
It seemed the only way I could achieve a quiet, engaged core, resulted in my inside, right toe, pointing up and out, in tension. I was made aware of this, so tried to relax my body. Which mad my midsection wiggle. So I engaged again, which caused a tensed right foot. What...? I voiced this correlation to which Sarah found interesting. I could tell she was curious; maybe she will have an answer for me the next time I see her. Irregardless, I seemed to find the rhythm for a lap or so, and then I felt the inner part of my thighs screaming, telling me I couldnt possibly hold this posture for another stride. So, with great effort to not collapse down into the trot, I stayed strong for a moment longer, and slightly caved my lower back. Wesley responded in a nice downward transition, and I collapsed into the saddle.
Later, I mounted Milo in a crowded arena, and for 45 minutes, desperately tried to find that beautiful two beat rhythm I had shared with Wesley.
I couldnt, for the life of me.
We loped, and loped longer, hoping I could find that perfect moment, just one stride, where we felt the dance.
I laughed to a Mom watching her daughter ride, protesting that Milo had three days off and now had no work-ethic. It seemed like a good excuse.
We walked for a while - why couldnt I find it at the walk? The simplest gait, I couldnt achieve. Finally, I was aware of the tense knot in my lower back. I had to release that tension - riding shouldnt make my back hurt, clearly I was riding wrong.
I breathed, and allowed my back to soften, and to melt into my horse better. We were again at the lope, and I found a half circle of rhythm. Thank you, Milo. For not allowing me to blame my horse, but rather, look to myself for the tension.
Its still a work in progress, as I learned from today's bareback ride. But at least I am aware.