Friday, August 26, 2011

In, Out of and Under Control

During our recent vacation we went horseback riding. It’s usually a lot of fun, even with the sore legs and stress I feel after the ride ends. It’s always a relief to return to the barn injury-free because anytime I climb onto a horse and grab the reins, I wonder who’s really in control.
Before our ride the guide told me that my horse had a “sensitive mouth” and then she showed me how to steer the horse with the reins, reins that connected to the horse’s mouth. Horses are smart, powerful animals with minds of their own, so I wondered how well the horse would respond to my commands. As we walked along the trail the horse kept stopping to eat the vegetation and that’s when our second riding guide showed me how to keep moving by pulling on the reins and slightly kicking the horse’s sides. So I’m supposed to pull at a sensitive mouth and kick. Was this a recipe for disaster?
Fortunately, it wasn’t. But after the ride, I heard that my horse had been bitten by a snake the day before. Was it in the mood to walk the trail? I don’t know. I can say that the rein instructions worked and my horse behaved. Despite my nervousness, the guides were pleasant and the ride was great—this time. In times past, I‘ve had some unsettling experiences with unruly horses.
Here’s a video of a horse not in the mood for a rider:

I like animals, especially horses, but they can have their moments. A trail guide can offer great instructions, but until animals talk, it’s mighty difficult to know what they think or what sets them off. You’ve heard the news stories about trained animals suddenly going on the attack and their handlers never see it coming.
We like to think that we’re in control, don’t we?  Who or what really controls the reins in your life? Is it money, an addiction, your job, you, the boss, your spouse, your parents or someone/something else?          

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