A day out in London….

A thought hit me in the shower – yes, that is where thoughts tend to wait for me – and I think I need to share.  Lessons come in all sorts of places and it’s pretty cool really.

So, my thoughts – in no particular order…

We do indeed have a time clock in our brain.  I have been staring blankly at my laptop for about four days, getting nothing done, and now, just after 11pm, I have to write this.  Now.  Tomorrow is too late.  I’d love to be nocturnal.  I am, pretty much, but it would work better in a more socially appropriate time / job situation.  Not many people want riding lessons at midnight.  But – lesson 1 – listen to your body and time clock, do things as and when it suits.  If you (or your horse) work better in the evening, go for it.  And if you are having a brain fog day – go for a hack, don’t stare blankly at your version of my laptop…

Lesson two

–If you are passionate about something you do, it will rear its head in all manner of situations…  I mean really, what kind of a nerdy horse brain turns an outing to London into a teaching tool – uh, yeah, me…  Be open to when a new thought will hit you…

Train to London is the best – who would choose to drive there?
Train to London is the best – who would choose to drive there?

Lesson three

– Take time out for play.  I had an awesome day last week – met up with a friend I hadn’t seen for ages, tootled into London and just bumbled along doing whatever.  A mental health day.  Which helped my current brain fog.  Don’t go around and around and arena – take your horse for a gallop up the track – you know you both want to – really you do!  This also opens up new ideas – my friend said to me that I should write more…  Now, look where she got me…

Lesson four

–  Set up a challenge.  Our challenge – go from one side of London to the other on Marathon day without seeing in men in tight lycra chasing each other down the roads…  And other then one runner in the afternoon and a few trickling home through Euston late night, we achieved out goal.

Little Venice, London
Little Venice, London

Lesson five

– No matter how well you think you know something – you don’t.  I thought I had a fair knowledge of London and you know what – I don’t.  I spent most of Sunday saying I don’t know where we are right now…  Even if it is a subject you thought you knew, approach it from a new angle.  Think like a beginner.  What have you missed – where could you explore new territory.  Maybe you have been missing out on Little Venice all this time – who knew???

Lesson six

– Everything big and shiny has a back side…  London zoo – we (well, I) think Lions and Tigers, big, flashy, ooooh….  Walking round their back-perimeter fence, there are signs saying don’t disturb our natural green land – we are looking after our hedgehogs, the second biggest colony in the region.  Everyone has the little stuff they should be paying attention too….  Next time you watch that pro rider trotting up the centre line, and you are thinking about the majestic head in front, have a thought that maybe the jockey up there is thinking about what is rustling in the undergrowth…  (And really, any serious rider should be far more concerned with what is happening behind and under him than the flashy head carriage out in front).  We compare our day to day practice, rehearsal, behind the scenes reel with our hero riders starring moment – of course they aren’t matching.  Do sweat the small stuff, that is where the magic has to begin…  The hedgehogs are just as important as the tigers.

The back of London Zoo, as seen from the canals
The back of London Zoo, as seen from the canals

Lesson seven

– Everything can be reinvented.  We started the gastronomic aspect of our tour with good ol’ Mr Whippy ice cream, but ventured along to the Nitro stuff that the hipsters have come up with – and damn but it’s good…  I grew up (way back when I was a girl…) when a pony was lucky to own a jute rug for nights and a New Zealand rug for days…  Now look at how their wardrobes have exploded?  And think of the plain old, standard bridle…  Who, and how could that ever be changed – enter Mr Micklem.  Even (or maybe especially) if you “have always done it this way”, don’t be afraid to explore and try something new.  A lot of people are wary of having a different lesson, or can’t get their heads around a new thought or concept.  But you know what?  If the hipsters hadn’t put ice cream base into dry ice, we wouldn’t have nitro ice cream, and that wouldn’t be much good…

Nitro Ice-cream – really, go and give it a go at Camden Lock Market
Nitro Ice-cream – really, go and give it a go at Camden Lock Market

Lesson eight

(we are rattling through these…) – Stuff that was considered rubbish or utilitarian can have a profound affect.  Strolling the canals, the backways, the tradesman entrances through London, where the gentry wouldn’t have been seen, is the stuff that has to be there but isn’t interesting.  And you know what, its stunning, useful and makes you happy.  Until recently, when doctors did autopsy’s, they threw out all the connective tissue rubbish to get to the good stuff, rather like bypassing the canals to get to the interesting things.  Only recently have they gone Oh My Word, the connective tissues (fascia) IS the good stuff – who knew?  Don’t disregard the simple things with your horse…  Groom and tack him up gently and with respect to have him enter the arena calmly.  Insist on him standing still for mounting to help your ridden halts.  Even better, do some ground work before you get on.  Leading him into the arena is more about just getting where you are going, it’s an integral part of the journey…

London Canals offer up all sorts of surprises
London Canals offer up all sorts of surprises

Lesson nine

–  Re-purpose.  So, when a public loo is no longer needed what do you do, fill it in?  Dig it up?  Rip it out?  Or, turn it into a cocktail bar.  Truly.  Think outside the box – that box was only a cage all along, a self-imposed cage at that.  Your horse doesn’t like jumping?  So, teach him dressage instead…  His saddle isn’t fitting and the saddler can’t come for a week?  Do ground work, or how about riding him bareback.  Use your imagination – again, if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got…  What can you do differently today?

Ex public toilets, now excellent cocktail bar
Ex public toilets, now excellent cocktail bar

Lesson ten

– Laughing is always the answer.  My friend, who was my amazing guide on the “Avoid London Runners in an Adult Fashion Tour” has a pretty stressful job, but she can laugh about it.  And you know what – sometimes I have days that it’s a case of laugh or cry…  But laugh.  Laughing makes you breathe, it makes your horse happy too.  (Or really suspicions, which could be bad…).  Don’t take it all too seriously …..

 

 

 

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