I learned about the Centaur Selfie yesterday on the Bay Area Equestrian Network Facebook page. It’s harder than it looks to get the effect! You have to really reach up and angle the phone just so, to get enough of your face in the picture while also capturing the haunches and — most importantly, I discovered — the tail.
Without the tail, it just looks like there’s a blob behind you. It’s even better if you can get some of the dorsal stripe or the apple-butt dimple or some other shape and texture that really looks horsey.
I expected to end up with a fun picture, but I did not realize the other positive effects this project would have on my riding until after I put the phone away and continued the ride.
Escaped a Mental Rut
I had been a little nervous on my first loop around the ranch, as I’ve not ridden River outside the arena in a while, and I was only using a bareback pad. What if she shied at the pigs again?
Not only is this a useless thought, perhaps even giving her the idea that she should shy at the pigs, but last year when she did shy at them and I was riding with the bareback pad, I stayed on just fine and she even turned her nose to ask me “are you sure everything’s okay?” And in fact she wasn’t worried about the piglets in the barn before our ride so as an ongoing anxiety this one was extra silly.
As soon as I started trying to align the camera to get the best centaur effect I could, I forgot to think about any “what-if” dangers. This jolt out of the fearful rumination rut lasted the whole rest of the day.
Improved my Seat
In order to get the full effect, I had to sit on my balance point, deepening my seat and holding up my own head. No clenching, no tension, no slight lean forward at the hips, no eyes looking down or at River’s ears.
Both River and I were instantly more comfortable, and I got my confidence back, reminded how it feels to be balanced and light up there.
Put the Play in Playtime
I can get so concentrated (literally, going dense and tight) about working on myself — my body language, my seat, my feel, my focus, my eyes-shoulders-navel-hips-knees-toes alignment — that I forget to play with my horse.
Posing for the centaur selfie required me to move my body, to open my chest for a full breath by raising my arm, and to smile. All of this flooded my whole being with happy endorphins and the joy of horses was compounded by the silly adorableness of OMG CENTAURS SQUEEEEEE! After that, both River and I were able to enjoy walking around the ranch trail, stopping at various places to graze or get a drink of water, just moseying along together in harmony.
I can’t wait to try it tomorrow on Rocky!