Today I’m using a metaphor for life. Oh yeah. I’m that good.
One day in Peru I had to take a doctor up to the ranch to get him comfortable with galloping and asked one of my colleagues if she wanted to go as well. She had never ridden before. The fact that she said yes tells me I am a/very persuasive and b/excessively enthusiastic about the joys of horseriding.
So we got to the ranch and I put her up on the biggest horse there. Not to be sadistic, but because this horse, Natalie, was a sweetheart. She had a very long stride which made for a smooth ride and was very well trained. Whatever you asked her to do, she would do it. Riding Natalie put your head about eight to nine feet off the ground, but she was one of the safest horses there.
So my friend gets up on Natalie. Now I had to give her some basic instruction before we even left the stables. There was no fenced school for riding, so she would be out on the roads and we would probably meet a vehicle or two out there. Here is the metaphor:
Don’t just sit there and let her carry you wherever she wants. Horses are flighty creatures. They’re herd animals. They are used to a hierarchy where someone else is in charge, so as soon as you get up on them you have to let them know that you are in control. As long as they know that, they will relax and do what you ask them to do.
This means you don’t slouch in the saddle. You sit up straight and keep your hands up, maintaining a firm but gentle pressure on the reins, just enough to feel the horse’s head moving. They can feel you there and they will know you are in control.
When I took off with the doctor Natalie wanted to come along, but my friend kept her under control and had a great time.
In case you’re wondering, this is a metaphor for life. You can’t just let it carry you where it wants. You can’t control everything – a lion could leap out in front of the horse and you would have to deal with that. It would be a distraction, to say the least.
It can be scary to put yourself in this position. Things can go very wrong, very fast on an animal capable of speeds in excess of 50mph and life sometimes moves even faster. However, if you keep your nerve and make sure you are in touch with what you are doing and where you are going, you can go far further, far faster, than if you just sit there and let yourself be carried, or if you don’t even get on in the first place.
So now I have to open up my WIPs and get writing. I’ll never get anywhere if I don’t put the effort in and make it happen.