Sunday, March 13, 2011

Becoming Brave

Riders are brave people, and not just for climbing on top of an animal that can easily weight 10 times what a human tips the scale at, has a mind of its own and is (potentially) afraid of everything. Riders are brave because the very things that are intuitively the correct means of saving one's ass must be abandoned for the things that are intuitively the last thing one would expect to do and stay alive.

For example; when we humans are on something that is moving and we get scared, we tend to hunch forward and crouch making ourselves smaller and closer to the moving object. If we're straddling something, we grab it with our legs and try to anchor our hands on something solid.

Do that on a horse and you're taking the short way to the ground. Guaranteed.

Therefore, we school ourselves to sit tall, push our chests out, lengthen our legs without gripping, and not drag on the reins like they were our last hope.

Then, as if that weren't enough, we have to learn that when a horse seems out of control we must make him respond to our driving aids. In other words, we must kick him forward. To own a horse's mind, one must own his butt.

None of this is stuff makes much sense, initially. We must listen to instructors and trust in their knowledge and experience. And we must swallow down what we desperately want to do and replace it with something we are sure will kill us. It takes and equal measure of guts and a deep faith that someone else has already figured out how to do this to make ourselves even try.

And don't think this happens over night. There are setback and frustrations when the "right" thing doesn't seem to come close to working. Through all the mistakes, however, we make progress.

Much of what we face in life is the same way. We must gather our courage, have faith in someone else's knowledge, and try and fail repeatedly in order to make progress.

What "horse" are you trying to ride? What knee-jerk "truths" have you found to be exactly the opposite of what you need? What leap of faith have you made in trusting someone else's knowledge?