Taking a small break from the latest business series on halfway wholesaling… I just had to share two small gifts in my life lately.
I started back riding two weeks ago. It’s the first time I’ve been on a horse in more than six months–maybe closer to eight, come to think of it. It was wonderful! But that’s not the small gift (because being well enough to ride at all is a big gift….)
My “main ride” at the stable is Fancy, an old blue-eyed quarter horse with a thick black mane and a skinny tail. (He’s the favorite candidate for mane-braiding among the younger riders.)
Fancy could be urged through his paces, but emphasis on the “urging” part. Whenever I asked for a trot, you could see him thinking, “Are you suuuure?”
You could actually see him heave a huge horsey sigh, a low groan, and then, if you were lucky, a reluctant, slow trot–for a few paces. A few more requests, more sighs and groans, and I’d get a finally get a good trot out of him. (Which was a nice one, when he finally got going.)
He carried his head low, low, low, which meant I had to give him a lot of rein room. And just when I would relax and let my attention wander, he would do something like bolt through the barn door and dart outside. I learned to duck in a heartbeat.
But he was reliable, and safe (except for the barn door thing), and I grew to love him. Even the slightly worried look on his face when I came to his stall, which seemed to say, “We’re not riding today, are we??!!”
Fancy is not doing well this season, and I can’t ride him. I miss my old cow pony (though I’m not sure he misses me–he always kinda kept to himself, though he loved the Cheerios I brought him.)
My new ride, Carol, is a smaller, slightly younger mare. She has her “things”–every horse has their “thing”–but they are manageable things. (For one, she’s a head-tosser and needs to work with a martingale.) She’s quicker to respond, and wants a lighter hand on the reins, forcing me to use my legs more. She’s also quicker to see if she can get away with something–but easy to bring back around. I will need to pay attention at all times, and be ready to catch her. She also has more energy, and will work harder for me. I need to get strong fast, so I can keep up with her.
She is, in short, the perfect “next horse” for me.
I also went back to Tae Kwon Do class for the first time since my hand injury (in December.) I was so nervous about going! I feel like I’ve been trying to catch up in this school ever since I started 18 months ago, and now I’m really behind the eight ball. I even took several private lessons with my instructor, to help me build confidence about returning.
There’s another student, brand new to our school but with martial arts training. She’s coming back from horrific injuries and surgeries. My instructor paired us up so we can both train slowly and carefully, bringing each other back up to speed gently.
My new partner is excited to be training again, but overwhelmed with her setbacks. She keeps apologizing for the things she can’t do (when she can barely stand to do the techniques.)
In her I see myself. All the ruefulness, all the regrets for the skill she used to have, and may never have again. The embarrassment for what she can’t do, the self-consciousness of being around people who are better than her. The fear that this is as good as it’s going to get.
And my heart goes out to her.
About the fifth time she apologizes and says, “I used to be able to do this!”, I interrupt her.
“Let’s not go there,” I say.
I tell her we both have to let go of what we used to be able to do. It will destroy us.
We both have to focus on what we can do. We both have to be right here, right now. And we both need to move forward from here.
“You’re doing great!” I tell her. “And I know how much courage it took for you to even show up tonight. Let’s focus on that for now. You and me, we’re going to get better, and do better. Starting now.”
She lets her breath out slowly, and nods. And smiles.
I am the right person for her to train with right now. Because I’ve been there.
And she is the perfect “next partner” for me right now. Because everything I tell her, I’m also telling…myself.
Two gifts in my life right now.