Eric Lamaze and Wang Chung M2S winning the $25,000 ESP Jumper Stake. Photo Credit – Sportfot

Oh no! Get your mind out of the gutter. LOL!  I didn’t mean link in THAT way.  HJU is a classy site, for Pete’s sake. (Although, to be truthful, it IS an intriguing fantasy and if I weren’t married…NOPE! No use letting the poor old mind wander in that direction! Bad Amy!)

Here’s how this thought process began: I was watching the movie Avatar with my son for the umptiehundredth time the other day. When they got to the scene where the indigenous Pandoran tribe member links with the vaguely equine creature, I thought again how neat it would be to be able to do that with a horse.

Then I thought, why not go one better? Every ride is about trying to get that magical connection with the horse, the one where it’s as if you share the same brain. There have been times, although too few and far between, where I’ve felt that. In my Avatar-induced flight of fancy it occurred to me that what I would really LOVE to do is to link with a world class rider like Eric Lamaze so I would really know what to DO when I’m on a horse.

Think about it!  How cool would that be?  To get on a horse and to be inside Eric’s head and to know how he thinks and to feel what he feels on a horse? To be able to feel the aids he gives, to know when and how to give those aids?

Carl Hester and Uthopia won the 2011 European Dressage Championships – photo by Ashley Holzer

Could you imagine what it would be like to have the ability to “link” with Ludger Beerbaum, Ian Millar, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, Carl Hester, Steffen Peters, or Boyd Martin? (Boyd, are you reading this??)

Wouldn’t you love to be able to know what goes on in their minds as they ride each horse, how they assesses each situation, and most importantly, what aids they give to rectify the situations?

I tend to learn best in a combination of two ways: By reading or watching video and synthesizing what I’ve learned and then going out and practicing, and hopefully getting positive feedback from my trainer and the horse. If  I get a positive reaction from the horse or my trainer, I try to remember everything I did — what I was thinking and what my legs, hands and seat may have been doing to produce the desired result.  However, that’s a lot for my brain to process and remember, and for my body to transfer into muscle memory.

Think about how being able to “link” with a great rider would improve one’s own riding. As it is, I go around a 3′ course with, as my friend Emme says, a whole lot of “Holy Crap” going on in my head. I’ve been able to quiet that a bit by working with a mental coach, but can only imagine what it would be like to ride a course like Eric or Ian or Meredith, riding with a plan, thinking through each moment, recognizing the situation and reacting appropriately to it.

Of course, I accept I’d not be able to replicate the same kind of talent any of those riders have – I don’t have the same level of talent or aptitude, but my goodness, if some of those skill sets could be learned through that kind of experience…WOW!!  Just saying…

Of course, there is the Eeeeuw factor inherent in the whole ‘inhabiting someone else’s body” thing.  I get that.  Can’t say I’d be thrilled with some stranger just taking me over.  Which is why this works only as an Avatar-inspired fantasy and I’ll be continuing to do things the old fashioned way — reading, watching videos, taking lessons, and through LOTS trial and error.

Still, it ain’t a bad fantasy, as fantasies go. 🙂

Amy