Nadia and I cantered past the barrel with the long pieces of dowel sticking out that were doubling as makeshift garrochas. I reached my hand out and we sailed past without making contact.
Missed. I giggle snorted at my lack of ability and thanked Nadia for her efforts.
Back we go. We come in slightly hard and Nadia’s front knee clips the barrel. I ignore the crashing sound and fling my arm out enthusiastically, just in case it can make contact with the smooth pole. But no.
Nadia’s picking up speed now, her canter becoming more defined, more purposeful. We are both having fun even if we are getting it all horribly wrong, technically speaking.
We come around for the third time and this time we are close but no cigar. Now I can’t wipe the grin off my face and Nadia and I soar over the cavaletti in our path as though we are jumping a steeplechasing course with a herd of galloping hooves behind us.
On the fourth time around, something changes. While we were riding all those laps around the arena, my body had been at work. My brain had been mapping my arm, the pole, my horse, my arena.
My intention had mapped the pathway, and my constant execution and failure allowed it to update, adjust, make decisions about where I, we, needed to be in space to fulfill our objective.
And on the fourth try, success. We made contact. I grabbed the pole. It wasn’t graceful. But we cantered off to a full salute and the jets of the Royal Air Force overhead. Not really. But at least in our imagination.
Constant failure is not really so. It’s the necessary ingredient to hitting the target. It’s how you perceive it that determines whether the air is full of howls of laughter or the melancholy of depression.
I personally prefer the giggle snort route.