Revelation: Different horse sports are useful as metaphors for different aspects of life. I realized yesterday that for me, Dressage represents religion and is useful for me to understand and accept the various aspects of religion.
I feel this needs additional explanation! I have a feeling this is going to be one of those posts where a reader will comment in one succinct sentence, something that took me an entire post to explain! Warning – this will be a religion focused post.
In my dressage lessons, it’s mostly me exerting great effort trying to keep it together, with brief moments of absolutely BRILLANT performances on Farley’s part. Two weeks ago, riding at a trot on the 20 meter circle I had a “moment” where we were working together is perfect harmony – it wasn’t a flash of brilliance, but rather a communicating and riding and modifying every stride. It was so quiet and it was so beautiful – I finally realized what riding “every stride” actually meant. There was true peace in the moment as me and Farley listened to each other on a level I’ve never experienced before.
In dressage, there is not a moment where you can say “ha! I’ve got it by George!” and throw it all away. There’s constant adjustment from horse and rider as they as a team re commitment and communicate every stride.
But at the same time, eventually some aspects, with time, become second nature and I don’t have to concentrate on them. For example, riding a round circle with the proper amount of flexion used to take my ENTIRE concentration. Now I can make those little corrections automatically and focus on something else – like supporting the circle with my outside rein! (which at this point makes my bain hurt).
I get frustrated with God and my religion sometimes because I feel like there should be a AHA! moment and I should be able to relax and move to the next thing. In reality, it’s like dressage – a constant re commitment to the purpose and eventually some stuff becomes second nature and I don’t have to concentrate so hard on them. Just like dressage, it’s important to have a good grasp of the basics and fundamentals before trying to understand some of the more complicated theology. Just like dressage, the relationship between me and God should look something like Farley and I on the 20 meter circle where we are so connected there are small little adjustments and communication every step of the way.
Endurance is also useful as a metaphor for life, but I think it’s doesn’t resonate so strongly because it plays to my strengths – be prepared, over come your fears etc etc. Dressage runs contrary to my nature – I”m NOT a details person and I tend to grow impatient with an activity that is process oriented rather than goal oriented. So although I get very EXCITED about endurance, it doesn’t cause me to think the way dressage does.