Life is so complicated. I really don’t think it needs to be, though. Why not trim it down, lighten the load, leave out the likes and shoulds? Those preset external alternate standards can really make it difficult for an individual to go at his own pace.
Speaking of which, I took a group ride yesterday. I met an older lady who invited me to join their fundraising trail ride. When I explained that my horse does not move at the speed of most other equines, she laughed and said it wouldn’t be a problem. I could even lead if I wanted to. Well, when I came to the ride, things were different. I wasn’t leading right, for instance, then I was too close to the horse in front of me. Then I was on the right instead of the left. I was constantly having to put the brakes on a horse who has no brakes. It was miserable. Velvet was bucking, rearing, crow hopping and moving sideways in exasperation. Sometimes she does that, you know, she puts her head down and picks her feet high up and moves slowly sideways as if that’s not really moving. I think she thinks that if she puts intense energy into moving beautifully then I’ll give up on asking her to stand still. Some horses drop their heads and plant their back toe on the ground in a restful repose when you set your brakes. Not Velvet, she lifts her head and hooves up higher with more purpose to each movement. Anyway, I was making people pretty nervous with my prancy horse but I was really doing the best I could- which wasn’t very good. So after all this holding back business on the whole ride out to Mesa Gould, I finally took the lead up on the way home. I was still moving forward at a snail’s pace, not a Walking Horse pace, and circling and sidepassing and performing enumerate feats to keep my Velvet’s dancing hooves occupied when suddenly one of those old quarter horses spooked and bucked his rider off. Well that sent all the other horses into a frenzy except mine, of course, who was too busy working her walk to notice a flurry of flailing fauna.
Anyway, we finally got permission to head out at our own pace. We had to be careful to make it gradual, however, no running ahead of anyone, just a slow and steady surge until we naturally faded out of sight.
It was pathetic. They wanted me to control my horse, how about teaching their horses to speed it up a bit? Or stay with their rider if another horse pulls out ahead? Or how about holding still when other horses sense invisible danger?
So we got about halfway home when a trio on horseback passed us going the other direction. Velvet spun around and headed to the front of that herd. I had to remind her that that was not our group and we were actually going the other direction. That upset her so much she started to perform the most exquisitely choreographed dramatics starting with a determined back stepping towards a cliff she couldn’t see, then her high step side pass, and for the grand finale she pulled off “the pinnacle of collection”-a Lipizzaner style levade on asphalt. In the end, however, my patience outpaced hers, and eventually she gave up fighting me and let the trio into the forest and took me home.
I firmly believe that from now on we have to travel at our own pace. It’s the only way. Why bother to bend to the shoulds and likes. She should be like this or he should be like that. It all sounds like a one way road to misery if you ask me. I think we’ve all got a much better chance at peace if we stick with what works for us. If that means running at the speed of your own hooves then I say Happy Trails!