It is interesting how we let previous experience get in the way of the present moment. I have been wanting to jump my horse over a log in the wood for a long time, and every time the opportunity presents itself I have lacked the courage to try it. I know that jumping can be an exhilarating and enjoyable experience – so why have I been avoiding it?
We own two horses, Dee and Red. My relationship with Red started badly, owing to an accident caused by a saddle slipping. I suffered an injury to my knee that took a long time to heal. This was the first past experience that was getting in the way of the present moment.
The other past experiences that were preventing me from seizing the moment, were times in the past that I have actually fallen off while jumping. These incidents have always been on riding stables' horses that did not really want to jump, and—sensing my nervousness and reluctance to push them on—swerved away at the last moment, or almost stopped and then did a huge leap from a near-standstill.
However jumping logs in the wood is fun. Riders enjoy it; horses enjoy it. The logs in question are quite small—probably only 1 ft high—so there is no reason to doubt the willingness of a horse to jump them. Jumping such a small log is not really very different for the rider than continuing at a canter. I know all of this, so why do I let past unfortunate experiences and projection of possible problems prevent me from enjoying jumping a log?
Yesterday, I seized the moment, I relaxed into the confidence of myself as a rider and my horse as a sensible mount. We sailed over two logs – and it was indeed barely perceptible as a change in canter pace. But Red and I thoroughly enjoyed it and our relationship has grown because of it. Our confidence in each other has deepened, and the moment of presence we shared was most wonderful.
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