Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How to tame your horse, after the fall !

What was it that inspired me? The fact that many great men in history is always associated with a horse? Or the marvelous picturization of horses in the various movie sequences or just the thought to control a magnificent animal which weighs nearly 500 Kgs and stands 2 meters above the ground with well toned muscles? Every single thing about the horse makes me feel like a tiny little guy standing on the ground. And there are certain things that make me feel jealous too, like its muscles and most importantly of all, the pampering it gets from the beautiful ladies who are there in my riding school! Three gorgeous girls spraying the horse with water and scrubbing him as he stands lazily enjoying it. I am sure this sight would about make you feel to stand there instead of the horse!

The first thing you learn is how to groom your horse. Clean its hooves, scrub his body and legs. It so well co operates with you and its amazing how it will lift its hooves automatically with you bend down to clean it. Next is to learn how to put on the saddle and secure it. And when you walk with your horse, it needs to know who the master is. The more confident you are, the more the horse is going to like you. It wants to be controlled, in a loving manner and when you sit on the horse, your posture already becomes confident. I guess my mom would very happy to see me now. She used to tell me that I always slump whilst walking and sitting, a casual laziness that used to be a part of my posture. But not anymore. After 5 weekends of riding, my posture has become more straight and my backbone seems to be relaxed only when its straight now!

The horse responds to your body language. A slight relaxation in your body and the next second the horse relaxes too. The slightest kick and a knee push, it starts trotting and the instant my right leg is raised a little bit, it starts to gallop. As much as you work, the horse also works. I cannot judge how tiring it will get for the horse, but I know how tired we get after our course is over. The last class, especially, after my historic fall, was the best one ever.

Men who do not fall down, don't have the opportunity to learn. And men who do not rise after a fall, arn't men at all. It was the fall that mentally prepared me for the best. Before falling down, I thought may be, I am not fit for riding it. I was unable to lift my body during the trot, it was not synchronized, it was not high enough. But last Sunday, things got different. My trotting was nearly perfect. Before I mounted the horse, a rush in me told me that I am the boss and no longer is the horse going to make me feel small. I guess that is exactly what the horse needed too. My adrenaline was its feed. After gaining confidence in the trot, the instructor asked me, so, ready to gallop? Of course I am, is the horse ready?!

I did it. Sitzen, sitzen, sitzen.. was the instruction from my instructor (sit, sit, sit). The idea is to maintain your perfect seat position. When the horse gallops, its energy and force will try to fling you over and your mission is to act against 500 Kg of well toned muscle, galloping at nearly 30 Mph, and maintain seat position. Sounds easy?! Well, to describe it, I felt connected to the horse. The uncomfortableness of irregular bounce vanished once the horse started to gallop. Felt like I had gained the 500 Kg from the horse. It was just tremendous. I had to take a break after 3 galloping rounds. I have never sweated so much in Germany, not in any sport till that day. Finally when I got down after nearly 7 rounds of galloping, my legs were just shaking, but my face was glowing!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Nostalgia in a fall

When was the last time I fell down before this? Hmmm... 2001 after my quarterly exam results, I was cycling back home when my friend crashed into me on the kotturpuram bridge and I fell down and encountered a green stick buckle fracture in my right arm. I rode the cycle back, single handed before I went to the doctor for the casting. Escaped a good trashing for my poor results!!

After nearly 10 year, it was today, during horse riding. Though there was no physical injury, this fall brought back a lot of memories. Last weekend, my instructor was pleased with my body language during riding and she said, next week, we start with galloping. That already had my adrenaline rushing. I was mentally prepared this week, to encounter the muscular beast and reign my command over it even during galloping. Reading and watching videos cannot prepare you for what I encountered today!

I started with the walk, then the trot to find the proper seating position and now the instructor said, ready to gallop?! Of course was my spontaneous response. Ok, left leg should kick the horse, right leg should be a little behind the usual position and power forward with your knees was the instruction. The next instant the horse started to gallop. 40 Mph and in circles. The centripetal force was too much. Too many instructions and the instructor was repeating, bend your body back, back, back, power with knees, good, go on, faster! Everything was a blur. The blood flow to my brains was tremendous, I could hear my heart beat and I was losing balance. Managed to stay put during the first two trials, though my seat was slipping! The third time, I was determined to make the instructor proud. I am going to bend my body back, I told myself. Patting the horse friendly, I started with the trot and then, kick with the left leg, right leg behind and he was galloping. A desperate attempt to bend my body back and I knew I was falling. Not a single thought in my mind. It was like one of those slow motions they show in Matrix, when Neo jumps up before the kick, but it was that instant. The next instant I was on the ground. Thrown from the horse from a height of 2 meters and when galloping at a speed of 30 plus miles per hour! My legs were shaking when I got up, with a smile on my face! My instructor was also smiling, now you know how it is and now you will not make a mistake! Get back on the horse now, it should not feel you are afraid. Now I rode him alone, without the instructor holding the string. It felt majestic!

After so many years I fell down. A travel back to childhood when you constantly fall down when you learn. You get up, and get going. I felt just the same. But I missed my mother. Back then, when I used to come home with a hurt knee, it was a scolding first and then the dettol cleansing. Unmatchable care. Nostalgia in a fall!