Who’s in control?


Have you ever been so excited to ride that rational thought just escaped your grasp? Well I had such a moment last week. Daisy had just come back to the farm from her winter holiday and Amelia had her all tacked up ready for a ride. I was genuinely excited about the day… after all it was one of my favorite people on one of my favorite horses. What better vantage point of this dynamic duo then up on the top of my own beautiful Birdie. I was so excited to see Amelia explore her new skills and confidence on already fabulous horses. I hurriedly tacked up Birdie fearing I might miss the moment. My normal method of saddling is to saddle up and loosely cinch, tighten the crouper and then go back and finish the cinch. Well I missed one very important step in my procedure.

Amelia and Daisy looked fabulous as they got reacquainted.  The trot was sweet and in typical Amelia style the canter was magical. I thought I should join Amelia and Daisy in their joyful splendor. After all, we both were on our favorite horses. Birdie and I played as we marveled at the other two. The rides went without a hitch, so I decided to ride a little longer after Amelia headed home. Now back to that missing step.

Not being the world’s most accomplished rider and having horses that we only have enough time to make sure they walk, trot and canter on cue in the direction they are asked, I decided to work on a flying lead change. This is not as stupid as it sounds; my Birdie and I can do a simple lead change, breaking down to a trot and then changing leads and we have had success with flying changes on a few occasions. Howbeit, it may have been a lucky accident.

Feeling insecure about the lead change, I thought it smart to over exaggerate the cue; the very thing we discourage in our wranglers. (Sorry guys.) Drop left, drop left, come to center, and drop right, another successful simple lead change. Again, drop right, drop right, come to center and drop left, boom! My saddle started to slip to the left. Well this would have been fine if Birdie would have done her normal simple lead change, but no, she decided to do a flying lead change throwing my unsuspecting self even further to the left side.

Still hanging on and trying, but failing, to push the saddle back over to the right, I managed to bring Birdie back down to the walk. I was riding around the arena leaning to the left and I really should have just hopped off. Well that would have been too simple. Instead I decided to side pass her over to the fence, grab the fence and try to pull the saddle over. Now, did I mention I was wearing spurs? Well my leaning to the left put a lot of pressure on Birdie’s left side so what does a good horse do when you apply pressure? MOVE AWAY! (and this case to the right). I had gotten my right foot out and rested it on the fence and then it happened. Birdie, feeling all this pressure on her left rib cage, obediently threw herself to the right and slammed her rib cage into my spur. Off we went buck, buck. Now birdie is not a huge bucker and generally I can sit what she gives. Don’t get me wrong, not because of my great riding but because Birdie is an apathetic bucker. This buck was a normal Birdie buck but since I was hanging on the left side I decided the best course of action was to bail. Down I went and Birdie took off, I was fine but my precious Birdie was headed full speed to the gate. “Please don’t get hurt,” I quickly prayed. Then she surprised me. She stopped, turned around and saw me on the ground, and walked back to me, still shaking. I fixed the saddle and got back on.

Afterward I sat on the mounting block with my Birdie, all I could think about is how little control I had sitting on the left side of my saddle. And how little control we have actually have in our lives. Be it our own oversight and dumb decisions, as in mine and Birdie’s case, other people or just life’s circumstances, we just do not have complete control. Birdie is my safe place.  She is the horse that gives me confidence when I feel discouraged. Rarely do I have trouble controlling her direction or speed. Still, in this scenario, I was not in control. I guess that is where faith comes in; by faith we must relinquish control and trust that God has the reigns. No matter how hard we try we are still subject to the unknown and there are no guarantees in life. We just don’t get to know everything, but this I do know: “ all things work together for the good of those that love God.” Even in the darkest times there has always been a light.

As for control, I will continue to try to be in charge of my life. At times, sadly, I will attempt to control the lives of the people I love.  But I will understand that He and He alone is in power. Thankfully He has the grace to get me through those out of control moments.

– Jeanie


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