Chazot Thoughts 68/Back to the Future

He arrived this morning with his breeches, I have not seen him in riding clothes since a little more than three months. I don’t know if he does not remember how to dress or if did not have his morning coffee but he had only one chap on the right leg and the zipper of his left boot was open. He corrected my thoughts; “I still have too much swelling on my left leg to close the boot and wear a chap.”

He lunged me first. I knew that the big day was coming as he gradually increased the lunge work. He did not ride since the accident but I can feel that today was the day. I wanted to be ready for him and I applied what he taught me. The stretch-shorten contraction phenomenon is a very effective way to warm up. During different sequences of the stride, 50% of our muscular work is eccentric contraction. This form of contraction is powerful storing energy in our tendons, aponeurosis and muscles. When the eccentric contraction is immediately followed by a concentric contraction, the energy stores in our tendons or aponeurosis or even muscles belly, is almost enough to replace or at the least minimize the concentric contraction. This phenomenon allows us to sustain a rhythmic trot with minimum muscular work. The cadence has to be correct and I concentrated in keeping the right cadence. I must have been quite good because Helyn, who was watching commented, “Look at this cadence; he is like a metronome.” They call that the “natural cadence” because humans like to believe that we have naturally the appropriated reflexes. They ask us to perform far beyond our natural reflexes but cultivate the fantasy that we can perform sophisticated moves through the refinement of our natural reflexes. He taught me the appropriated cadence and I furthered his teaching finding the benefits of a technique allowing me to move comfortably and effortlessly.

This is the way we work together. He taught me reflex combinations and body coordination that I could not figure based on my natural reflexes. The benefit of having a body precisely coordinated for the athletic demand of the performance, is ease, effortlessness and soundness. As a horse I do like ease and comfort and I further his teaching coordination and refining systems that are beyond his reach but part of the performances. Like humans, we have systems, within a system, within a system that are too deep to be controlled by his nuances in muscle tone but are part of our mechanism. Once our brain is interested by the feeling of ease and comfort, we explore further. Of course we are making errors and when the riding technique punish us for our errors, we do not explore beyond the primitive level of our natural reflexes. This is where science help us. Science further understand the sophistications of our systems and the practical application of new knowledge better prepare our physique for the effort. I was ready for his weight on my back. I did not have any rider since three months too but I was quietly warmed up; endorphin, which is a pain killer, makes me feel free of any possible soreness. He rode me keeping at first his weight off the saddle. As I started to walk, he progressively let his seat coming in contact with the saddle. I appreciated his concerns bur I was ready for his weight and I walked quietly. I was quite happy that we were back together but I can feel that he was even happier than me.

We just walk right and peacefully around the ring. We even walked on the grass out of the ring and between the trees. I was so concentrated on keeping him comfortable that I did not even eat a few leaves from the low branches of the trees as I do every time. I can feel him thinking, “I really made it; I am back on my horse.” He thanks me to be so nice joking, “usually the first day is calm. The second day is the truth”. I blushed a little as I was just thinking, that he felt quite stable and in balance and I can safely express my creativity as early as tomorrow. I did the next day. He kept me at the walk but asked me to coordinate my back muscles and convert the thrust of the hind legs into greater vertical forces. In simple terms, he asked me for more balance. I felt a little muscular discomfort on my lumbar area on the left side and he felt it immediately thinking, “It used to be on the right.” His first thought was starting a light gymnastic using shoulder in but he realized as soon as the second stride that it was not the right approach. He went back in shoulder for asking for more flexion of my thoracolumbar spine. This was the right approach. It felt better right away. This is where I decided that his balance was good, his mind was on me and he will feel in which direction I will express my joy de vive. I did and he followed me thinking, “thank you for feeling that I was stable enough to follow you. So I blew up again and he was laughing.

Today, which is the third day back together, was the first trot. At the lunge, I went to the “pignot Jog” right away. The “Pignot Jog” is the name that members of the course and peoples familiar to the science of motion use to describe a trot slow, rhythmic and efficient. He orchestrated my back at the walk through increased flexion of my thoracolumbar spine and, when he felt that I was ready for it, he asked me for the trot. I gave him more suspension that he expected and he was ecstatic. He enjoyed and I enjoyed the fact that he was stable, quiet with just the right tone. He was amazed that I did not lose the quality of my trot and I was amazed that he did not lose the coordination of his body. I lost some of my body control and I am sure that he did too. He is perfectly aware that at every level of my body as well as his body, cells adapt to stress. We lose integrity of our structure very fast and damages occur when our structure, bone, tendons, ligaments, muscles, are placed under stress before our adaptation down to molecular level is fully achieved. I am so comfortable with him that I can let him know where  my soreness is and when I am ready for more. He does what I cannot do, which is the analysis. I tell him how I fell, what I protect and he figure where is the source of the problem and address it. We have a very deep mutual confidence because it is not about domination. Our two brains work at their respective level; He does the analysis and provide appropriated insights and I process the most efficient solution. Because of my chronic creativity, everyone, except Helyn, advised him to ride Caesar first. Caesar is easy going and rarely blow up. He knew that I will understand what he can take and what he was not ready to take and his confidence was on me. Helyn knew it too and never questioned the idea to restart with me.

Helyn was there watching and she was also surprised by the regularity and quality of my trot. I felt a little cocky; both were very proud of me.