Is what you get when you seek out information, invest wisely with resources, work hard, get up when you fall down and push hard to continue to move in the best forward direction you possibly can.
This weekend I hauled my pony, my friend’s pony and my camping gear to the first annual Nebraska Horse Trail Riding Expo. Through a rather accidental series of events I have recently become a member of the Nebraska Horse Council Trails committee. We were putting on this event to fill a need for a big Spring horse oriented event in our area and to raise funds to continue developing existing and new Nebraska equine trail systems.
You guys, most of you, don’t really know me. I am not a social animal. I have a rather thin social veneer that is not so much anything masklike or phony as it is learned behavior how to best get along with my fellow human beings. In all honesty I like most of you just fine, quite a bit as a matter of fact. I admit, I also really want most of you to like me, too.
It doesn’t mean I can always act right in your presence. I have a tendency to get snippy, snarky and sometimes even snarly which usually doesn’t do a darned thing other than kill the message with the delivery.
Even though I have studied horses and horsemanship my entire life, I can’t always act right in their presence either. Royal, who loaded sketchily, high necked and clatter footed, can tell you plenty but even he has no idea how it used to be . . . He’s seen enough that not all that long ago he would barely look at me, much less give me his trust and willingness.
Unloading, I made a poor choice through some desire for haste. I let him break our routine and come flying out forward instead of turning him around and backing out with calm control.
All I saw were hooves going past my head.
We got my friend’s horse out. He backs out quite sanely eyeing his spotted brother with disdain. Back in the trailer goes Royal. I have learned there are no such things as shortcuts. If you are in too much hurry to practice good horsemanship, go do something else.
We work at it, one forward foot at a time til they land soft. If you want to know if you are doing okay with your horse, close your eyes (not where you can die as a result please). Listen to the breath, listen to the footfalls. They will tell you everything.
He backs off soft. Waits for me when I ask. We’re good. In his stall he goes.
It is my goal to be of service to this event and group of people however I can. I am too late arriving to help set up and while I am not happy with myself about that, I know I am doing what I can and there will be more places to fill in. It is also my goal to avoid drama, to not let my personality get in the way of my principles. I have to watch hungry, angry, lonely, tired and sick. I am already at least two or three of those things.
I get my trailer set up. My husband shows up to help and it’s not the Zen experience of me alone with my gear that I was looking for, but I appreciate that he took the time out of his busy day to come out and try to take some of the weight he knew was heavy on my shoulders.
Finally, it’s dark and I am alone in my trailer. I turn on my space heater, don my jammies and let some quiet arrive in my soul. I breathe peace in, fear out. I have some concerns about a whole lot of things. How will the car parking go? How will my horse behave? Will he throw fits when he sees other horses coming and going without him? Will I be able to be a cheerful initial face of our event for people? How will my clinic go that I will teach tomorrow afternoon? Will anyone get anything out of it?
I want to promote Peter if it goes well but if I mess it up, I sure don’t want people thinking that is what I get from him. I’ve already done more harm than good relaying some of our experiences together. I try to present how Peter manages the extremely tough job of getting through to me sometimes and people have misinterpreted those things to a negative that could not be further from the truth.
I have a lot on my mind. My horse, the group of people I do not want to let down, my husband, my family. All the things I want to be for folks and how limited I can be, sometimes in all of those roles.
Peace in, fear out. I don’t sleep a long time that night but it’s more restful than I would have thought it might be.
You might be wondering right now how this relates to pay off. Stay tuned. There’s more.