Chazot Thoughts 60


""The horse does one of two things.  He does what he thinks he's supposed to do, or he does what he thinks he needs to do to survive."  Ray Hunt


As we both read the quote, we both had the same thought. There is now a third option. We can learn how to coordinate our physique beyond natural reflexes in order to perform at the best of our talent and remaining sound. We can do that because our intelligence can be developed beyond our instinctive reactions.


He likes Ray Hunt. He never had the privilege to meet him but the man understands us with his heart and extensive experience and intelligence. The same cannot be said from the ones who exploited Ray Hunt’s ideas for marketing purpose without adequate knowledge and respect.


There is effectively a third option. We have the mental capacity to explore combination of reflexes that are going beyond our instinctive reactions. In fact, even when we do what we are supposed to do, we react in terms of survival. We protect whatever problem we have. We are not intuitively capable of analyzing our difficulties and identify the root cause. We are only capable to protect whatever problem we have. However, when you talk to us instead of submitting us too your “aids”. “dressage formulas,” and other stereotypes, when you listen to us instead of judging our reactions in respect of your primitive “behavioral” theories, we have the mental capacity to process the body coordination preparing optimally our physique for the effort.


Many riders and trainers believe that they are preparing our physique for the effort but they are far from doing it. Our physique was primitively known by your ancestors and their theories were based on elementary knowledge. Instead, today knowledge is impressive. I read his studies with him and I am amazed to realize that my body is so well designed.  I realize that instinctively I only use a small percentage of my capacities. I also realize that I can gain greater ease and effortlessness and quality in my gaits and performances when I work with him in furthering adequate orchestration of my physique.


I have great fun when I think faster than him. This morning, it was cold and windy and I wanted to pick up the trot quickly. He prepared my physique for the trot as he always does. As a matter of principle, I always resist a little on the right side as I have been muscularly damaged on this side during my racing career. Today, I coordinated my body faster than usual and his thought was, “You are fast today; obviously, you don’t like the wind.” And he asked for the trot. I gave him a level of suspension and straightness and amplitude that I usually do at the third or fourth trot departure. And then I blew up. He thought then, “ Ok you were good but you could have done better.” Then I blew up higher. He laughed thinking, “I was not talking about the blowing up, I was talking about the trot departure.”  Then I gave him a collected trot to dream for. He enjoyed a few minutes, walked patting me and thinking, “This time, it is my turn to be speechless.” 

I went from the suffering of the race track to this type of dialogue. I appreciate it but Caesar and Manchester always tell me, you have no idea how lucky you are. Caesar says, “I was guessing what I was supposed to do. When I was guessing right I was rewarded, when I was guessing wrong I was punished. It was basically the same aids but I responded influenced by my physical and mental situation at the instant where the aids were applied. I did what I believed was what I was supposed to do and I was punished and I started to be annoyed about that. I am like you Chazot. I take a reprimand if I know that I deserve it. I revolt if I feel unfairness. I am just not as bad as you, so I don’t react as much.”   I reminded to Caesar that he ejected his previous rider on a regular basis while I never ejected he. Caesar responded, “It is not because you did not try.”


I thought about that. Effectively, I tried ejecting him at the beginning but he could read how I prepared my body and he knew in which direction I will blow up. Also, he was smart enough to realize that if he tried to reprimand me I will blow up stronger, higher and more aggressively. Caesar interrupted, “This is where you are lucky. The general consensus is imposing submission by force. I was on the death row because of my lameness but also because of my lack of submission. I fought back and they did not try to figure why. I was a bad horse. I deserved to die.”  I asked to Caesar, why you never tried to eject he? Caesar was prompt in his response, “Because he respects me. I was lame and he taught me how to reduce the load on my left foreleg by recreating proper coordination of my back muscles. He did it in hand first and when I resisted, he listened, analyzed, and suggested a different approach. Rapidly I realized that he was guiding my brain toward a coordination of my back easing the pain on my left leg. I decided than that I will work with him. He did not submit; he suggested, letting me explore errors. As I was no longer punished for my errors, I gained confidence exploring better ways of using my body. I was no longer asked to perform in spite of the pain. Soundness was my performance. I loved it, I worked for it, and I succeeded.”


He thinks that advanced knowledge of our physiology is the foundation for sound psychology. We all love the interaction that we have with him because it is gentle and kind and we are mentally involved. We are part of it and it is precisely why we explore reflex coordination more elaborated than our natural reflexes. He gives us a glance of ease and effortlessness and comfort and we look for it. At first we became quicker at figuring where he directs our mind. Then we go further and it is why the ones of us who come here for lameness, recover soundness when every other approaches have failed. This is why the ones of us who come because of our difficulty to perform advanced movements succeed to do it. Of course he is the one who knows how our body needs to be coordinated. Yes, he directs our mental processing toward exploring new combinations of reflexes, but we further his work through the layers of systems that are beyond his possible influence. Without our mental research, he could not create the superb body coordination that is needed for our soundness or superior performance. He knows that and this is why he encourages us, from day one, to explore and try errors.


I heard him saying to his students, “Try and fail but don’t fail to try.” He told me that and I tried further knowing that he will support me instead of judging me.


Carl Jung wrote, “Thinking is difficult, that’s why most people judge.” This is the fundamental problem of training. It is easier criticizing the way we execute the movement than thinking about the body coordination that we have to elaborate in order to execute the move soundly and at the best of our talent. The culprit is an equestrian education integrating new knowledge to traditional thinking instead of questioning and upgrading classical inspiration in the light of new knowledge. He believes that knowledge of our physiology is the first step toward altruism and sound psychology. All these submissive and behavioral approaches are based on archaic understanding of our physique. He was very happy reading the comment of one of his student in the forum of their online course. “The intense biomechanics of the first few months of the course was very informative and a great way to undo all the non-evidenced-based equitation I've been taught over twenty years. With a (more) solid understanding of how the horse's body works, I'm more confident in my listening in the saddle.” (Leslie Ordal)

Chazot