Friday, April 10, 2009

Today's deep thought: Horse sense forgotten

Horse sense is noun that means common sense, good judgement, logic. I understand it as an awareness of acuity in a way that a horse can and does sense things. It can also mean the sense that comes from working with or around horses that may transfer into an uncommon but innate understanding of people or situations. Having it takes time, years and it is a quality that is earned through struggle and if nothing else total failure. I do not own a horse currently. However, I have flashbacks of my early life with horses quite frequently which is the inspiration for my "deep thought" today. I will take you back to that moment:

My parents didn't have any money yet bought this Thoroughbred Quarter horse for me because I wanted a barrel horse . I didn't just want a horse, I wanted a winning barrel horse. And my mother was dying of cancer and wanted to give me something whether it was practical or not. It wasn't practical, it was the furthest thing from it and as I review my own relationship to finances as an adult: I see the paradox of my own undoing. I see how I might have been set up from the start of my young life to desire and to want beyond the means of logic and actuality. It was the venomous want, the sweet sickly poison of consumerism that now is trampling mid-lifers like my self as part of our "dirty little secret" in Amercian economics.

In my teenage head, I wanted to look like every other girl did hanging on for dear life amidst the pounding hooves, the flying gravel and sand. I wanted to feel that tension through my whole body of that animal pushing and reaching with all of its might; And I wanted to feel like a winner. I wanted to be a winner. My sister and I would play "barrel horse" and take turns racing. We would act out the movements, talking to the horse---everything I saw the other girls do when I watched the speed events at horse shows.

My dad hated horse shows; but he put up with it because he loved my mother and at least we were involved in something constructive. It was before the advent of teenage self -pleasuring devices otherwise known as cell phones, i-pods, and the infamous PSP. It was before the consumer brain fuck revolution that has since turned most teens into friekish little sociopathic extortionists. But in essence, I was just like they are: Wanton, needy and trying to experience reality with some gadget that was all mine; for me, that was a fast horse.

It had to be early spring because snow and ice were on the ground. I did not go with my dad that day to get the horse but I waited patiently for him to come home.Well, he came home alright, but apparently there was an accident. The horse (that stood over 16 hands tall) wouldn't go in the tiny trailer we borrowed when my dad went to pick it up. He manhandled the horse, as he always did, into the trailer and it got hurt in the process. So the animal was lame from the time it came home. It ended up going to auction and eventually a slaughterhouse.

I woke up this morning and relived that moment. It is one of the many incidences where I experienced first hand what my parents did consistently with money. I didn't need the horse. My dad did not need to endure the frustration of doing what he didn't want to do in the first place let alone be forced to manhandle it into the trailer. And my realization from reliving this moment was that trying to make something happen out of desperation to appease someone else or something only leads to lost prospects. Ironically, that was the horses name: Joby's Prospect. Furthermore, Jobe was the dude who God tested and made everything go to hell just short of his weenie falling off.

I always felt that Joby's Prospect was one of many curses to happen with the dream of being a successful winner in the horse world; to have that winning feeling and to be the best at something. Imagining that trophy or that ribbon in hand was part of the reward for the time put in to training and caring for a horse. But nothing ever happened that way in the barrel horse world for me; I had horse after horse from that time on and before I knew it, I was 18. I had a job and no time to ride anymore. Then, my mother was gone, and so was I---off to run the race of adult life. There were many times I felt an emptiness and a disappointment about that time of my life. I looked at other people who were in that realm with the same wanton-ness as that needy teenager because it was something that had lived itself out before I had a chance to let it go.

Years later, I realized that it was never really my dream to have horses, it was part of my parent's dream, the dream my siblings and I now refer to as the "Utopia". We were just part of it. But it will always be one of the greatest gifts I was given to learn from. Looking back onit, I am still learning the meaning of "horse sense". Although I don't look like a horsewoman today, it is a way of life that still exists beneath the surface and will always be there. I can saddle a horse from memory and I know that when you get bucked off, you have to get back on. But now, my horse sense needs to take a different approach and yet be revisited as I search for solid ways to be practical, healthy and happy with what I have-without over doing it.