My horse Jasper has been working hard to change the way he walks. It is really very hard for him, more mentally than physically. He has to change the way he has been walking, learning to balance himself while shifting his weight to his hindquarters. I can see that it is hard for him, and I can accept intellectually that it is hard for a horse to change the way he walks, but how hard can it be, really? I mean, it isn’t like sparring, right? Now that’s hard…
I had my first knee operation when I was 17. I favored my left knee for so long afterward that I ended up damaging my right knee. I had three more on my left knee and one on my right by the time I was 40, even spent a couple of months in a wheel chair. I learned to move — or not to move — to reduce the pain as much as I could. But by the time I had my last operation (I was 40, 3 years ago), it was obvious I had to change what I was doing (real obvious when my surgeon said “Dude, you really have to change what you are doing”).
So I started changing what I was doing, which eventually led to sparring — stand-up Muay Thai — and sparring is all about moving. But moving is still hard for me, and balancing while I move is pretty tricky.
The other day I’m sparing someone who is a lot better than me, and I started to get upset — emotionally overwhelmed, not angry. I still can’t get my balance right and move fast enough. And the guy is good enough that if I don’t move, then I get hit — hit hard. I was starting to get really upset and overwhelmed! Every time I didn’t keep my balance and move fast enough, I’d get punched or kicked in the gut! I mean I was really getting overwhelmed and was about to freak out … That’s when it hit me, my OMG moment — this is EXACTLY what Jasper goes through. I was Jasper! OMG
Now I understand. I really understand.
I am still surprised how much we have in common with horses, and I’ve learned that we have more of a link between mind and body than we really like to admit. So if it is hard for me to relearn how to move, and my brain is 3x larger, then it must be really hard for Jasper. But he keeps working at it, and so do I (he’s a good role model).