Friday, July 8, 2011

I Hold My Reins

As Equine Program Director at Sorenson’s Ranch School I observe the changes that take place in the students from the time they begin the Equine Program until they complete it. It is a remarkable change. The following is written from the point of view of the new Equine student:
When I arrived, my direction was unclear. My past, my present, and my future were like a twirling cloud of dust. Confused, scared, lost, mad, angry, and out-of-control, a young life not knowing which way to go.
Half a ton of muscle, guts, bone, hair, and flesh, how was this beast, foreign to my world, going to be any use to me? Yes, this creature was beautiful, powerful, and enchanting, but what does it have to do with me? When I was introduced to dusty saddles, smelly blankets, confusing halters with lead rope, headstalls with bits, reins, chin straps, throat latches, cheek pieces, and browbands, I was so bewildered. Too many parts, too many names, too much work. Why should I even try? Yet, something new and strange was calling me towards the muddy, pungent corrals. Was it because I wanted to be outside in the cold wind, rain, hail, and snow? Don’t know why, but I started going to the barn.
Horses! Who needs them? They’re scary! They stink! They’re dirty! They step on your feet! They’re a responsibility! They poop a lot! They’re frustrating! They pass wind all the time! They’re stupid… …they’re fun, challenging, calming, soft, stimulating, beautiful, powerful, fast, strong, alive, real, aromatic, tranquil, exciting, and most of all, they’re amazing. Oops, was that my outside voice? Shhh, don’t tell anyone. I think horses are teaching me something about me.
Positive energy, stirrup, cannon, soft hands, breast collar, stifle, toe up and heel down, cinch, pole, pressure in the stirrup, offside billet, withers, sit up straight, tender loin, body language, shirt, frog, projecting direction, hats, cowboy boots, spurs, long-sleeve shirts (even in the summer), sometimes I think these people speak a different language and are truly from a different planet. How can this be fun? What if I fall? Other kids will make fun of me. Yuck, that green stuff is on my shoes again!
I’ve gone from fighting to controlling, from no whoa to WHOA, from a walk to a trot to a canter, from a saddle to no saddle, from a small pen to a big pen and back again. Watch out world! I’m ready. I’m not scared. If I can be as one with a thousand pound animal, I can handle life’s challenges with the same control.
My reins are split. I’m not afraid. If I drop a rein, I can still control my life with one until I get hold of both once again. You may not see my reins move, but I am in control of my destiny. I steer towards the unknown with confidence and direction. The dust has begun to settle. The trails I‘ve learned to ride take me from my past towards my future. I hold my reins.