“If you cant laugh at it, you lose.” – Jon Call, Professional Acrobat
This post, like most of my writing, is basically a mirror pep-talk to myself, but everyone is welcome to listen in. The days I drive home from the barn saying to myself my list of coulda’s, woulda’s, shoulda’s inevitably end up with me preaching to myself on my laptop.
Life is serious business. Being entrusted with the safety of the horses at our stables is also serious. On Saturday mornings, I am often the last one to leave the premises, which means locking up everything tight and horse-proof. I have a long checklist in the notes on my cell to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything after I have ridden and done my chores – hunt down all my tack/grooming tools/jackets/gloves/empty water bottles and put them away; make sure all the stalls have clean water, fresh grain, enough hay for when the horses are brought in at night; double-check that the stalls are roped off and the three gates I go out of are all locked and chained behind me.
Much of this is so engrained into my subconscious that, on the way home, even if I can envision myself actually locking that last gate I will question whether it happened ten minutes ago or last weekend. Lately, I have resorted to taking photos of the locked and chained gate so I can prove to myself after the fact that it’s a done deal. Everything is okay.
With so much responsibility weighing on my shoulders and mind on any given Saturday, it’s hard to be the light-hearted and carefree rider that my equally-burdened Tara needs. As one of the top mares of her herd, she has her own concerns about safely returning to her post as queen of the pasture every time I take her away from them.
It’s easier said than done, but it’s vital for both of Tara and me to just forget our cares for the hour or so we get to spend with each other. If I have survived one of her spooks and am still safely in the saddle, instead of stewing over it, it can be a lesson in levity to laugh at the fact that big bold Tara would ever be afraid of the little cardinal that just darted out of the bush in front of her.
When my kids were young, when they left for school, I would hug them and say, “Love you, bye, have fun!” I will start remembering my own advice because if we can’t have some fun in our endeavors, what’s the point? Live, love, laugh. Laughter lightens the heavy loads we sometimes lug around with us that our horses have no interest in having on their backs.
(Photo courtesy of Jessica Kelley)