Chazot Thoughts 78

Living in the moment


We have a routine when he walks me back in my stall after our training session and my shower. He removes my halter and give me half of a carrot. He lets me chew it resting his head on my head. I let him know when I am ready for the second half moving my upper lip and advancing the tip of my tongue between my teeth. I was doing that and simultaneously, I noticed and unusual movement in the field at the end of the farm. I pointed my ears and look. It was just a tractor moving and I started to chew on the second half of the carrot. He was thinking, “you observe, you assess, take an appropriated course of action; don’t panic, keep chewing, all that in the same time; you can multitask.” Of course, I can multitask; I am not a politician; I have a brain.


“Beauty is not caused. It is” (Emily Dickinson) Many peoples ride us for the beauty of the art. They are willing to learn and explore and succeed and fail and explore further. Like any artist, they have to learn the system and then see the limits of the system and explore further. They have to follow their intuition at the cost of turning their back to the world of faithful servants. They are heavily criticized for their search but they have one of the greatest brain in the world behind them.


Instead, faithful servants want us to fit the system. They are servants; they obey the system and look at the damn poets as rebellious and punishable anarchists. True for the riders, true for us. They enter the show ring and they respect the system and we exit the show ring lame because the system did not prepare our physique for the athletic demand of the performances.


“I believe that there are two categories of ecuyers, those who, while skilled, use the horse as a tool, and those who love him and allow him to express the brilliance of which he is capable. The former are not less experts than the later. During dressage tests the might even triumph although never taking the risk of making a mistake when opportunity to yield with the hand occurs and lightness presents itself. The latter always risk being the damn poets of this art. They are misunderstood by the masses of riders who cannot distinguish between the means used by the former or those of the latter. Only the latter enjoy the true pleasure of feeling how a creature cooperates without constraint, as a friend.” (Nuno Oliveira)


The beauty of the art is furthering our athletic abilities allowing soundness and full expression of our talent. The beauty of the art commences with respect and therefore knowledge of the way our physique is designed to function. As our body is animated by our nervous system, the beauty of the art is respecting and understanding of our mental processing. The ones who see beauty in having us executing movement for which our body is not adequately prepared and coordinated are servants, faithful to the system, but unfaithful to nature in general and our nature in particular.


The ”true pleasure” described by Nuno Oliveira is mutual. We are interested in finding ease and effortlessness but you need to direct our brain toward the proper coordination of our physique. You need to develop the muscles that we are going to use. The hypocrisies of the herd order, natural dressage, natural reflexes, let us unprepared for the effort. We are then dysfunctional athletes executing performances out of our talent but until lameness ends our career. The further is the system of actual biomechanics knowledge, the earlier comes the lameness. For instance, our educated body function for balance control commences with greater decelerating activity of our hind legs. We rarely do that, unless we are educated to do it. Our natural solution is adapting the kinematics of our forelegs to excessive load. We shift the stance of our forelegs backward or skip the pushing phase increasing the decelerating phase. We can learn the mastery of balance but you have to understand first, how our physique masters balance control and how our brain process information, including the fact that we live in the moment.


“I was thinking today how wonderful it would be to be unburdened by my past. To start over with no preconceptions and just feel and learn without prejudice. This includes being able to start each day and each ride unburdened by my preconceptions as I tend to carry the past with me as a predictor of the future. It limits the potential of the day because I have already decided that some things are not possible today because of yesterday or the day before. My horse feel otherwise. Today is as good a day as any to reach his potential. The fact that he resisted it yesterday does not mean that today will be the same unless I limit it by expecting yesterday. I wonder how many potential incredible experiences I have not had because I did not think they were possible. I bet too numerous to count. The love of tradition and rules is the same as dragging the past into the present to limit it to what you predispose is likely. It shouldn’t come as such a surprise to us when the horse gives us something lovely. The horse is ready each day to give us something wonderful but we have to leave the past in the past and ride in the present with the belief that today is a perfectly fine day to reach our potential regardless of yesterday or the day before!” (Ronda Hanning).


The privilege of using the past to improve the future is a privilege of your intelligence. You should use it to direct our brain toward more efficient coordination of our physique using the wisdom of your ancestors updated to actual knowledge. We are willing to believe you and work with you, if the promise is ease, soundness and effortlessness. We are even capable to further your insights, orchestrating deeper systems of our biological mechanism for greater efficiency and ease. That is the cooperation without constraint, as a friend, that Nuno Oliveira is talking about.


We might carry on the next day, muscle soreness resulting from previous day work, good or bad, and this is where we need your capacity of using past experience to enhance the future instead judging the way we react today in respect of yesterday. For us, today muscle soreness is today’s reality. We approach our training session protecting our soreness. We execute today’s movement protecting our soreness.  We need your understanding that we might be a little sore. We need your knowledge of what would be the best gymnastic to resolve our soreness. The exercise that we need to be working on today might not be the one that we did yesterday. This is where we need your analytic capabilities and therefore your experience, your knowledge and your willingness of using both guiding us toward the most appropriated body coordination. Then, and only then, we can further our mental processing as a friend.


I say only then because if you judge us, we have to protect ourselves from you and you will fall in the myopic lens of poor behavior.

Chazot