Land Rover Burghley HT and what I thought I knew

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This isn’t Burghley, it is Eddie and me at Fox River Valley PC HT, because I don’t have pictures of Burghley and the post needed brightening up and who doesn’t like to look at a pretty tb jumping? I do like Eddie’s form here. Knees up and bascule. Yay! I could have a more auto release, but not bad riding on the whole. (Yes, I have pictures of me riding perfectly badly. Gee I just can’t lay my hands on them…)

So the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials took place over Labor Day weekend.  Super cool event of course and amazing that ALL the rides are online on Burgley.tv, listed by name and phase.

So, of course, I’ve been watching them.  All.  In batches of three or four, in a spare moment on our smart tv (ok, which kicks serious booty, but it could also be done on any web-enabled computer)  And this morning I learned that one thing I thought I knew for sure is, well, just flat out wrong.

Watch Ben Hobday’s ride on Guna Be Good.  First of all, love that the horse is jacking around in the start box and Ben is like “Ho hum, another day at a four star.”  Well done, Ben.  There’s no need to add to the drama.  Then off they go out of the start box and jump around the first two minutes quite beautifully.  At around 3 minutes 30 seconds in, they are coming down to a HUGE white oxer.  The thing is massive.  The horse is cross cantering right on down to it.  I braced myself.  Of course a horse can’t jump a max 4* oxer from a cross canter.  Everyone knows that.  A cross canter takes a large part of their longitudinal power and sends it laterally – wasted into space.  Guna Be Good and Ben Hobday don’t subscribe to that theory.  The horse produced a beautiful jump, well up over the rails and cantered off like a champ.

The horse cow-cantered several more jumps on course.  (A ‘cow canter’ is the same as a cross canter.  This information is brought to you by my dear Daddy who grew up on a dairy farm and one day pointed out that holsteins always “cross canter”.  Check it out next time you see a cow cantering somewhere.  If you live somewhere where you only see cows on milk cartons, sorry for you.  Try to get out more.  😉  )   And the horse did a beautiful job over the fences.

So there’s my ‘Ah ha’ for the day:  Probably a true canter is a better choice, but no reason to go to confession about the occasional cross canter coming down to a fence.  I did not know that.

Other thought for the day: Watch a bunch of xc rides on Burghley tv and especially pay attention to what the riders do when they cross the finish line.  They stay in two point, up off their horses’ backs, despite the fact that they just held two point for most of the 11+ minute trip around the course.  They praise their horses.  They get off as soon as they can.  Brilliant horsemanship.  If you want to be excellent, fill your mind with images like the riding and horsemanship seen at Burghley 2012.

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Qi Gong

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Qi Gong folks in New York City

So I do yoga about 20 minutes a day 5 days a week because it makes me feel good.  I sleep better, my shoulders feel better yada yada.  Really it isn’t as big a thing as people make it.  I am always surprised when people say they are afraid to try yoga.  What?  Or that I must be really flexible because I do  yoga.  Um, I’m really not flexible, which is why I do yoga.  They say a woman must really love a thing if she practices it with no hope of mastery.  That is me and yoga.

Because I do yoga, I am on a few yoga email lists and I had a very interesting thing come across mid-week last week:  Qi Gong classes.  My acupuncturist (don’t get crazy about that either.  No big deal) said it would be really good for me.  I have no idea what that means, but I wasn’t there to argue the finer points of that comment.

‘Qi’ means ‘life force’ and ‘Gong’ translates to ‘work’ or ‘practice’.  It is a 5 week class and I signed up for it.  Starts tomorrow night.

So, of course I googled Qi Gong and found out lots of interesting stuff, but one thing really was super cool.  It said that Qi Gong is about ‘going with’ rather than ‘doing to’.  Interesting that they didn’t say ‘going with’ or ‘doing to’ your body.  They just said, ‘going with’ rather than ‘doing to’.  My guess is that it is a whole lifestyle thing.

Hmmmm…

So as I always do, I thought about that and horses.  Some of my best rides have been when I have had the feeling of ‘going with’ the horse rather than ‘doing to’ the horse.  Of course there are times when we have to ‘do to’, especially with green or unsure horses, who need to be shown the way.  But when I get on and provide direction to a horse and then ‘go with’ it rather than ‘making sure it gets done’ in a micromanagement manner, the result is always not only better, but more enjoyable for both of us.

I am reminded of my yoga teacher who says that ‘how you do something is more important than what you do’.  There’s a mind bender.