Friday, August 29, 2008

Consciousness in Motion

I realize that one of life's greatest gifts is living in a physical form. Having the ability to taste, see, hear, feel, smell, and think. When you take on activities that involve another living being (human or animal) you become aware of connection and how these senses are affected in another being. One could ask--how do you create a connection, what is the result of the connection, are both parties satisfied and comfortable with the result, how to change, what to change, etc. Contact tends to create aliveness and then dullness. How to keep the aliveness throughout the period of contact--how to stay awake/conscious in the feel?

Looking at a small scenario: you are running, you get thirsty, you stop to drink water, there is an anticipation of the taste, feel, and temperature of the water, you take a swallow, you are immediately aware of its taste and feel in the mouth, how it spreads throughout the body as it goes down, you notice the feeling or satisfaction/calmness as the body receives the water and becomes quenched. Why does the first drink feel more satisfying? How to keep that aliveness throughout the action?

Examining all of this in the responsibility of holding the reins, taking dance hold, sitting in the saddle, how the leg hangs, making contact to the partner, the weight and balance through my feet, how the partner receives my presence and continues to receive my presence. It is my responsibility to keep examining my part of the contact, the recipients response, and continue to create adjustments as needed so the appropriate areas have stillness or aliveness. It all becomes like a flame--the fire is on but it is to what degree.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Horse Shows

Fascinating to watch a dressage show and see so many variations of dressage. The idea of how to organize the outside of the box (or basic outline) is similar. The vast differences come in how the rider's organize the inside of the box (throughness, straightness, degree of core engagement, etc.) and interpret rhythm, relaxation, and impulsion. Is it a good thing that there is such a wide variation? The nature of connecting two living beings and having them interpret exercises would create diversity. I think the key question is are they doing all of this in a humane way--the "happy" horse idea.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


As a person who rides a lot of different horses and dances with different people, I am always amazed how much more connected I feel when I am riding or dancing with a body that fits my physical specifications. My two personal horses, Jaz and Ultimo, are both narrow horses, so they allow my legs to hang from my hips. I am able to create a triangle from my torso balanced over my hips, through my legs hanging down with a clear weighted connection into the stirrups. I can feel the contact of the stirrups as if I am standing on the ground with equal pressure in both feet. With their narrowness, I can use gravity as part of my inner weight to help my balance. If I am riding something too wide, my legs fall at a "less natural" angle from my hips, etc. Of course, I learn to adapt and find a way to work positively in that avenue as well. Dancing with a body of similar proportions (height and width) is the same. I can center to the person in a more refined way since it becomes more obvious with a "like sized" person when the shared center is out of alignment. Also, I have noticed that it is easier to feel the subtleties of the rib cage's position and timing of the swing action in the horse or the position and rotational action of the dancer.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Good to be back teaching. I have been riding and dancing like the mad scientist in the laboratory. Working with integrating the ideas from both worlds while producing sound, happy, fit, rideable horses and developing my physical expression through my own body in dance. The core is the key. Watching riders, all the movements and reactions are either positive or negative in terms of creating or allowing effective communication of aids. The more body awareness and control the rider has through their own body, the more he/she can create balance and activity in the horse without interfering. The information goes through to the horse without getting stuck in the rider's body and ending up as a garbled message, similar to the cell phone at times. Of course, there are many factors for the horse to be able to respond to the rider's aids: the horses soundness, calmness, mental focus etc.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Beginning of Unraveling My Thoughts and Observations

This marks the beginning of unraveling my thoughts and observations from my journey/study of riding, dancing, and spirituality. I am interested in people's personal experiences and reactions to mine. Everyday provides insights and clarification in these processes.

Discovering core engagement
Putting it into motion
Recognizing that the expression of movement comes from extension of the core
Observing that authentic connections to others comes from extension of the soul
Noticing that there appear to be two basic actions: extension or contractions--of course, there are varying degrees of the two actions