Bridled Horses

Writing for me is a necessity. Each day I must engage in the process of writing in order to yoke my thoughts, tire my intuitions , gather up all my loose ends and ride the powerful insights to purpose and production. If i let my thoughts go without taming them i risk injury.

When I was very young my mother decide we needed horses. She loved horses and was determined our 3 acre farm, clad with barn, was a perfect business opportunity- She was right! She convinced our land lord to mow the open fields and erect fences. We all pitched in to fix up that long hollow barn that lay waiting like a sleeping giant to be filled and utilized. We had 6 stalls. We lined the walls with hay, grain, saddles, shovels, and every other implement needed for a riding school. My mother hired an instructor and placed a sign out front that read:

MISSION-FIELD FARM.

I can hear sounds of heavy hooves stamping on the hard, packed earth in front of the barn, while the horses waited to be groomed or tacked. There was no more grass or weed under feet, mostly dust from being walked over, well-worn ground, where the horses stood attached to cross ties waiting for their treatment. We could never trust a horse to remain still on its own , they had to be made to stay by being tethered. Harnessing the horses was the most complicated and delicate part of tacking up for me. I remember three major things- the reigns, which went over the horses head into the riders hands, the bit, which was a heavy three piece metal “H” forced into the horse’s mouth, and third the bridle, which went across their velvety nose and around their long bony face. There was a system to putting this on, while they protested loudly, stamping their feet, sometimes clamping their teeth in an act of defiance or chomping noisily at the uncomfortable fit.
Often the horse would try to spit it out if it wasn’t fitting to their liking. I remember having to gently force their front teeth open using the metal bit, hoping I didn’t lose a finger or they a tooth in the process. Praying it would slide in easily and fast. The horses did not always approve. This metal bit sat behind their tongue and on either side of each cheek controlling them.
A bridle is the only thing needed to control a horse, that I remember on the road, in a ring, on a trail, as long as you have a tight hold on those reigns you have the say in where you go. The saddle helps you stay in place, but the reigns are your most valuable piece of equipment. Whoever holds the reigns , rules the world, telling that huge animal, right, left, straight, faster slower stop. And it obeys.

A wild horse can be dangerous, or a horse whose rider has lost the reigns can become wild quickly. If you lose the reigns you’re in trouble because that horse is fast, powerful and ignorant- it goes by instinct not understanding and despite it’s size horses can get spooked rather easily. a spooked horse is unpredictable.
Sometimes the horses would have pent up energy my mother called it ‘piss and vinegar’. Their energy would be especially lively when it rained for several days , but even when they had been in their stall all night. Before we rode it was always best to ‘Walk the Horse’. Ironically we wouldn’t go anywhere significant. after bridling the horse, we used a long lead line and to walk it in circles around us to tire them out a bit. A horse with a lot of energy, is hard to control, they are eager, hasty, full of drive, like children on sugar. They just want to go. Exercising the horse ensures a calmer, obedient and focused animal.
I have racing thoughts, wild and darting out in every direction. In order to focus and calm these thoughts I write. Writing is my tool for harnessing my thoughts. I can control the thoughts when I give them a purpose, a well-defined goal, …today I are going to right about wild horses…, suddenly all the clatter and clamor and noise of the other thoughts disappear under intent. The journal itself becomes the riding ring, my pen becomes the bit and bridle. When I put the pen to paper, i direct my thinking-right, left, straight, stop.
When I journal, which I need to do each morning, like any well nursed addiction, I am “walking the horse”. Leading that powerful animal in seemingly meaningless circles until they are ready to submit. My words and ideas, stories, memories and thoughts are abundant and energized; they have a life force of their own and they want to move. They want to go, especially first thing in the morning. I need to guide them, run them a little, otherwise I get heady, hasty, irritable, overwhelmed and anxious, this is can spell out injury and danger. It is the head which needs the harness.

In the morning my thoughts are like wild horses, I sit down with a cup of coffee and it’s like someone opens the barn door. Thoughts race wildly out in every direction. Each one important, valid, beautiful in form and potential. I would like to gather them all, but I can only harness one at a time. So I begin to write. On a good day all my horses are back in the barn by the end of the day, in their respective stalls, order has been restored. Other days I might lose a few. But as long as the barn is intact and I have a bridle by the door I’ll always have a few horses to ride, a few good ideas recorded, a business venture to pursue, and an opportunity at hand. There is something of value in every waiting barn, waiting to be filled, and walked, harnessed and groomed to perfection. We all have something waiting anxiously to burst out from inside, and as my mother always said, a horse wants to be ridden, it wants to carry someone on its back it was made to do this. It’s our job to figure out how to harness that power for a safe smooth ride.

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