Monday, March 27, 2006

The Silk Thread

If you want a horse to stay on a circle around you, whether lunging or round penning or whatever, you apply pressure and provide an escape route. When the horse does what you want, you lessen or preferably eliminate the pressure.

If a horse is pulling, trying to run away, the last thing you want to give to that horse is something steady to pull against. Pull and release. At the slightest sign of not pulling, release, reward, then pull again.

Betty Sue was a puller. Strong and a-go-go until she was tired. The first time I put her bridle on her, I loosened it two notches (4 inches) on each side. That’s a lot. No wonder she was pulling -- her mouth was always being pulled on. I’m amazed she could even feel any signals her driver was giving her through the lines.

So on the lunge, with the bridle properly adjusted (two wrinkles, barely, in the corners of her mouth), she still pulls some, but I pull and release and she learns from this how to give to the pressure. Just as she learned how to give to the pressures of lunging.

There are pressures in living. Do we, with our choices, live to relieve those pressures or do we just continually tighten the bit on ourselves? It would be my contention that most people live with a tight bit in their mouths, and of their own choosing. I choose a silk thread, and really, all I’d like you to do is to see is that it is possible.

A few weeks ago I was walking home after midnight on a dark moon night through a holler so deep that we call it The Valley of the Shadow of Death because the sun literally never reaches part of it. For a long ways I wasn’t really able to see per se but more sense my way, aided by the fact that I know this place so well and have walked it in the dark so many times. Still, that night it was so dark that at one point I became totally disoriented. I knew I was somewhere in the road, but not where (right or left or center), and I literally could not see my hand in front of my face. I had to stop and just stand there for a second. I could almost not tell which way was up or down. And then, finally, I just had to start walking again. Take the next step.

So that’s the thing too: Take the next step. Just take the next step. Always take the next step. It isn’t like everyone in the world hasn’t been pushed down on the ground at some point, so there is no use complaining about it or wallowing in it or panicking about it. But before you take the next step, stop for a moment to assess the direction you are traveling in, and is it in line with where you want to be, who you really are.

People think the way we have chosen to live is “hard”, and that their way, the more consumerist way, is “easy”. This is no less than Newspeak. And the old definition of insanity is when you keep doing the same thing and expect a different result.


clairesgarden said...

" the old definition of insanity is when you keep doing the same thing and expect a different result"
I think that's a very thoughtfull insight.

Joe Tornatore said...

good story.

Buffy said...

I think I use to live in that Holler. No joke. Somewhere in WV....

the Contrary Goddess said...

Well, Claire, don't you know a lot of people who seem to do that -- the same thing over and over and surprised. Just like how Betty's person kept tightening that bridle.

It isn't that I don't understand. She can be a handful. Especially fresh. A big Belgian pretending to panic is a awesome thing.

And buffy, thankfully there are lots of those hollers in these hills. (trying to think if I told that old story of my uncle's yet involving a steep hill, a mule, a plow and a man in wild wonderful West Virginia)