All About That Base

You’ve heard it before: as long as we are engaged and moving forward, the less likely we are to get stuck.  Dicey things can happen when we are stuck: we might begin to focus on the negative, we might continue to live in the past, we might even become evasive; unable to commit to our next steps.  And while constant engagement can become exhausting (and it will), it is imperative to recognize that even our down-time is moving us through the recovery process.  So how is it possible to lead a life where you are not either completely on or completely off?  Great that you asked!  It’s called the Pyramid of Training and it isn’t just for horses anymore.

Let’s start with rhythm.  With horses, we seek to arrive at that steady energy and tempo… finding that natural cadence that is neither hurried or subdued artificially.  In ourselves, it may seem hum-drum to intentionally look for a steady pace.  We need some excitement!  But as they say, we must walk before we can run.  Resolve to read before bed, walk the dog in the morning, or call your Mother every Sunday.  Whatever it is, look for that constant, that cadence that you can return to; that thing you are good at.  Find your natural rhythm and make it your base as this will become the next level: relaxation.

Relaxation comes easier to some than it does to others.  Something to do, I am sure, with the whole Type A-B-C-d-e-f… personalities.  The key here is to move and shake and become elastic.  Find your niche.  It may seem counter-intuitive to preach moving and shaking as a way to relaxation; but that suppleness and resilience, that ability to go right and left as life occurs is how to become confident in yourself and just relax.  Because with confidence comes connection.

Being able to connect is what makes us thrive.  Relationships are challenging and without connection, we have no way of sharing our thoughts, feelings and desires.  But connection can be really difficult to achieve!  Daily obstacles can make it so hard to engage with those around us that it becomes easier to withdraw and become stuck.  But that is why we are on the training pyramid!  To move through!  With horses, this is the training level where we ask for acceptance of the bit.  Great riders all have one thing in common: they make it look effortless.  Steady and effective, they have mastered connection by listening and reacting to body-language; seeking impulsion and balance.    

The next two phases in our movement training can be the hiccups some of us really never master: Impulsion and Balance.  We all know someone who seems to live their lives by the seats of their pants.  It may be you!  And impulsion is not a bad thing!  In fact, it is at this level that we see the type of drive that can make us great.  It’s the fire in our souls that drives us to be the best we can be.  But we must remember that what drives suppleness, connection and impulsion must be met with a steadfast resolve to be balanced.  Known as straightness, this balance takes power.  And lots of it.  There is no way to stay balanced having skipped the base steps.  And there is no way to reach the summit by cheating yourself of balance.

And here we are: the summit of the Pyramid of Training!  The increased engagement in life.  The lightness of soul and the self-carriage, or awareness and confidence that comes from building a solid foundation.  Life is work.  It’s the daily ins and outs, ups and downs that makes us who we are and what we stand for.  And only you can be you.  Your trainer is only your trainer; your guide only your guide.  It is up to you to keep moving forward.  It’s all about that base.