Saturday, November 2, 2013
To see potential in life it takes time and failure
Take the green off him!
The spring of my sophomore year of high school I was gathering up a colt or two to work with in the evenings after I got home from school. A man who I had previously worked for talked with me and he said that they had a horse that had had 60 rides put on him the late summer/fall before this spring. They just wanted me to ride him enough times to get any buck out of him that there might be because of sitting all winter and getting him ready to go for a hard summers work. Of course I said that I would do it and so I took this opportunity.
It must have been a week or two later that they brought the horse out to my house and I put him in a pen for the night. A day or so later I went out and got him and brought him in to the barn to give him some grain and brush him down good and clean his main up. I believe in taking care of a horse well and having them look good all around when you ride them. So this go around we were becoming friends and getting acquainted. All went well, and the next day I planned on taking him out and working him in the round pen a little bit before I took him out and rode him.
The next day I got home from school and went right out and grabbed him, brushed him down and saddled him. Then we went out to the round pen and I long lined him and he did really good and I also rubbed him down and everything. I wanted to take all of the cautious steps so that I didn't get in to any trouble just trusting the horse to much. By now though he was acting fine still and I was ready to be on his back seeing what he could do. I bailed in the saddle, while still in the round pen, and rode him around for a minute. Just as I thought, things were going great and he was responding well. So I opened up the gate and rode him out into the bigger field. Once out in the bigger field I got him on a trot and on a lope and he did good so I took him over to the fence that would let us out onto the BLM ground (government ground). At this point we are progressing quickly and i am trusting him a ton. We then proceeded to go on about a five mile loop. We went up a big hill behind my house to a radio tower up top and then we road the ridge to the south. What a great view and I was on a great horse. Things were going well and he was surprising me on every corner at how good he was for having not been ridden all winter long. There was a slight breeze and a great sunset. What a great setting and a fantastic place to be! It couldn't have gotten much better. We continued the loop we were on and returned to the house. Once back I gave him a good rub down and some grain and turned him back out.
When I got back from work the next evening later on, probably around like 8;00 I thought that I would still go out and ride since he was a good horse and I could trust him. I did all the same steps that I did the day before, but a little bit quicker today. I was planning on taking the same loop that I did the night before, but making it just slightly larger. We were on a good lope headed up over the first little ridge towards the radio tower and ready to drop down in to a little basin when I could feel a change in the horses step. This isn't something that you can typically feel unless you have ridden a horse quite a bit. It was a small change and not a big difference, but once I felt it I knew what I was facing. I was in a run away. This wasn't much of a problem and I figured it to be an easy thing to deal with. I would grab the reigns and try and stop him and he would just bite down on the bit and run faster. I would grab the reigns and pull with both hands on one side and get his nose to touch the horn, but he would still be running straight pretty much, just blindly now that he couldn't see forward. At this point I figured I better at least let him see where he is running so that he won't trip and roll with me. So I did just that, but as I did so I still slowly pulled on him, and he began to turn, slightly... ever so slightly, but he was turning! We made a loop around the little basin at the top of the hill and he finally stopped once we got back onto the little dirt road that goes through the middle of the basin. Once he stopped I let him relax for a minute until we started going again and it was then that I had a firm knowledge of why I had the horse I felt. I started off again on a slow lope across the dirt road towards the radio tower. Once again, I felt a change in the horses step and I thought "here we go again, punk horse!". This time it didn't seem to be nearly as bad. He would start to veer off of the road and I would be able to slowly get him back on it, and then we would do the same thing to the other side of the road. Once we were in the bottom of the basin and had just started to go up the hill instantly the horse just takes a julting turn to the right and stays on his dead run right towards a barbed wire fence that runs parallel to the road about twenty feet from the road. I am thinking in my head at this point, " you have got to be kidding me! haha there is no way that this idiot horse is dumb enough to run through this fence. He'll probably try and jump it,... actually, I hope that he even sees it.". All of this is running through my mind so fast that it seemed to me like the horse was running in slow motion towards the fence. I realized that I didn't have time to jump off and not get in a mess, so I looked ahead and thought to myself. "Well I feel like I have lived a good life, I hope there are a lot of people at my funeral!" So what happened next? This oh so great horse from the night before ran right into that old barbed wire fence. I think he was stopping when we hit it, so we didn't go right through, but we stretched those wires to the max because when we hit it, I looked to my right and to my left, and I was even with the posts of the fence and right in line with them. Thank goodness the saddle I was on had big bucking rolls, they were what kept me in the saddle. He must have got cut at that point I am sure, I know that my pants got cheese graded a bit and I got my legs cut a little.
He immediately started to back out of that as fast as he could and backed up all the way to the road, he turned off his hind end, and took off in his run away mode up the mountain. Now I was just not a very happy camper at this point and so I thought I would give him and encouraging thing or two to help him get up the hill and so I would give him some good smacks while thinking to myself, "If you want to run, we are going to really run, and straight up the hill!" The typical road weaves up a draw to the ridge and up the hill, or there is another older road that is partially grown in that goes straight up the mountain. This was my road of choice so that he would get worn out and stop. Then he would have the chance to think twice about what he had done. Also, I was thinking on the good side of my brain about an article I had read not long before that from the Western Horseman magazine. It was talking about the dangers and perks of using hills to train horses. So one perk was that they would be tired and more willing to obey, that was the thought I had just had. Now I began to think about the dangers of it and all I could remember was one that said, "Something dangerous about using hills to train a horse is if you get to the top and they aren't tired or calmed down, you still have to go back down the hill with them which can be bad." I took that thought out of my head, because I am hard headed and I had a lesson to teach this horse I was thinking!
We continued up the face of the mountain and we were getting to the point where the horse starts to do the hope type of running to get the power to get up the hill and I was thinking that I was finally getting him worn out and things would calm down again. As soon as I started thinking that the horse must have been thinking he would be a smarty pants and so he turned to the left and took a couple of strides and then he turned down the mountain. Oh! Once again, the little boy side of my brain came out as I thought, "Well when I get to heaven I want a good video to watch of my life and so I thought of the movie Man from Snowy River. One of my favorite parts was when he took off running down the steep hills on his horse. So I put up my hand and began to make a ride of it." It was after a second or two that the wake up and realize what's happening side of my brain finally started to think. I realized that in the movie the horse wrecks close to the bottom of the hill and he was a good horse. I knew that the horse I was one wasn't that good and I thought that us rolling was definitely going to happen. I quickly shot my eyes ahead of us and all that stuck out to me was a big group of tall Wyoming sagebrush coming up. Now this horse had been jumping all the sagebrush it came to since day one and so I realized at this point that I was looking at the death scene.
As we neared the big brush I don't remember thinking anything other than, "Wow, this is going to hurt! I hope the horse goes back to the house and that they can find me!"
He jumped and gave it his all to clear the whole patch of brush, which he did without fail. But as we were beginning to land I felt his front knees give way under him and his left side began to whiplash towards the ground. I don't remember the next couple of seconds, but I am guessing that we must have rolled together a couple of times. The next thing that I know I am rolling to a stop and something tells me that the horse is going to land on me and so I need to roll myself just a little further down the hill. That's just what I did, and just as soon as I was out of the way the horse landed right where I was. I just laid there for a second thinking to myself, " Did that really just happen? Well I'm glad I'm still alive, I hope nothing on me is broken."
The horse laid there for just a moment and then he stood up and arched the whole left side of his body towards me and looked at me like I was the son of the devil and he was dead in his tracks. I knew that I needed to grab him right then or I would be walking home for sure. I jumped up not thinking about my body and the pains I had and grabbed the reigns right under his chin, which to my surprise weren't broken, and punched him right in the face out of my frustration and anger. You know what? Ya, it didn't help! It just made me just worse and he continued to stand there. Although, inside I felt a little better by getting back at him a bit.
Once I realized that we were both shocked by it and weren't going to be moving anywhere fast I rubbed the bloody dust/mud mixture off my face so that I could breath something other than the dusty clay dirt.
Still not very happy with the horse, I bailed on him and walked him to the bottom of the hill and a little ways across the bottom of the basin, then i started him on a dead run for the house and didn't stop him until we were at the gate of the round pen. I put him in there and went to the house to grab some rags to clean myself up a little and him just enough to make sure he wasn't seriously injured. Once I was sure that he was ok and so was I ran him around in the round pen for quite a while and wore us both out even more. I spent a substantial amount of time that night with the horse trying to teach him a lesson. At the end of it all I left him in the round pen saddled up planning on letting him go in the morning.
When I woke up and was upstairs eating breakfast my Dad came walking inside and asked me why I had not let the horse out last night. I then told him the story and my reasons. He told me that you still don't do that, and let the horse stand out there all night. I wasn't happy that he said that, but I realized I didn't have a choice because my dad had already let him out.
Now it took me a couple of days to feel ready to tear into working with him again. I was pretty sore, and I had a bruise that took up most of the left side of my face that was pretty darn tender.
With time I began to work with the horse more and he started to progress back to what he seemed to be the very first day I rode him. After a lot of work and even more time he turned out to be one of the best horses I have ever trained. I had everyone riding him and he would let you rope off of him. He was just an all around good horse. I gave him back to the man who gave him to me initially without telling him this story so that I wouldn't make them scared to ride him because of how good he was now. I figured they must have a had a bad experience with him in the past and I didn't want to feed the negative and scared thoughts that they had towards him since he was so much better now.
Now onto what I have been able to learn from this experience. Through this experience I have been able to learn that God can see our potential and that he is going to be willing to work with us to help us reach it no matter how hard it is for him to work with us. Just like my experience with this horse we have similar experiences in our lives. We start out and we are so excited because of how good we are doing and so we begin to move faster, possibly faster than we should be moving and then negative things start to happen. The horse runs into the fence, you get cut up. Then we usually take that ok and we start to use it as motivation and we want to do better, while being slightly frustrated at the same time. We begin to see progress again, and with time we have another problem that is even worse than the first. It's bad and now almost everything we are doing to cope with the problem seems to be out of anger and frustration. We get to this stage in life rarely, but it does happen. When we get to this stage it is a final straw, and we really need someone to step in and help us out. In my case, it was my Dad. Just like our Heavenly Father, my Dad stepped in when I was struggling and he helped me out of a tough situation before I made things even worse with the horse.
In life when things are past bad Our Heavenly Father steps in and helps us through His Son Jesus Christ. Once we received of His grace and His mercy we were able to correct what we did and build off of it. We didn't forget the past and I didn't forget this story or the pain that I felt, but I was able to positively with time turn it around and make something better out of the story than I had even thought possible. The horse became one of my favorites and with time I tried to buy him from the man that I rode him for. With time, we come to love and appreciate the trials in our lives even when they appear to be so bad that we can't get out of them or really even see a light at the end of the tunnel. I bear testimony that when you get stuck in life and you think you can go no more you have a Loving Heavenly Father who wants to bless you and wants to see you succeed. He gave His only Begotten Son Jesus Christ for you and because of this you can return to live with him with all the people that you love as they follow the same principles. I know this because I have had many experiences including this one where I have been able to learn about the principles of Faith and Repentance. I leave this with you today in the name of Jesus Christ, my Savior, Amen.
I would love to get some feedback on this story and ones from the past. How are you liking them? Are you seeing them relate to you in your life? If so, how? If not, how can I help? What are some things you want me to relate to the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Thank you all, - Elder Tenor Teichert