you can’t learn to ride out of a book

That said, I read a book about Bruce Davidson winning the 1974 World Championships on Irish Cap. He was pretty green himself at the time and humble with it, so he watched the great riders of his day to figure out what they did right and he did wrong. He noticed they rode with short stirrups and crouched over fences.

I think I’ve told you that I’ve been riding shorter lately and that my lower leg has greatly improved as a result. It turns out that for human corgis like me, long-bodied and short-legged, the mythical straight line from head to hips to heels just isn’t. Your leg needs to sit further forward. So I wondered what would happen if I tried crouching as well, to get my weight in my heels and stop anticipating fences.

What happened was that Dez said: “Oh my God, I love your position over fences today! What are you doing that’s different?”

It was a brilliant lesson. We ran over the hour and I wanted to keep going. I’ve been in a warm and happy haze ever since, which has made me much more patient with errands and children, which is nice because I was pretty awful to the kids all day yesterday. Got myself caught in that horrible cycle of disliking myself for being snappy, and then immediately turning around and snapping at them again.

I’ve actually been stricter today, giving them only healthy food and refusing to turn on the TV so they have to go do imaginative play. But it’s been mellow because I haven’t felt the need to excuse or defend my hardass-ness. I simply make decisions and refuse any further engagement. A curious game, bickering with the kids; the only winning move is not to play.

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