When something is meant to come back to you, it doesn’t matter where you are or what you are doing, it will make its way back. In the meantime, you just keep moving forward or as Dory says in Finding Nemo “Just keep swimming”.
When I was in high school, I loved technology. Today, I have a love/hate relationship with it. But back a few years, it was exciting and engaging as the world was opening to the idea of home computers and mobile phones. That was just yesterday, right? My absolute favorite and most prized possession was a Casio credit card sized calculator. It was so small that it fit into a plastic sleeve and then in my wallet. I carried it everywhere I went and found reasons to whip it out and peck away at the tiny buttons. I had the meaning of life, the universe and everything in my purse (it’s 42 for those of you who forgot), the knowledge of actual money saved on sales, the fun of spelling words in LCD upside down, and the coolness of owning small tech.
Until, it was gone. Disappeared. No longer in my possession. I had lost it.
Several months later, after my grieving had passed and I had moved on to other cool bits of technology, I happened to be traveling through Colorado. I was on a bus with fellow high school band members waxing musically. At one point, the bus stopped off at a rest stop and we all got out and laid out lunches at the picnic tables. When I was done eating, I got up to throw away my paper lunch bag and was distracted by a small shiny object on the ground under the table. My curiosity won and I reached down and picked it up. I couldn’t believe what I was holding. It was my beloved Casio calculator – in Colorado – at a rest stop. Very weird. But absolutely awesome!
I had to move on, grieve and open my eyes to what was new in front of me before my calculator came back. In fact, I literally had to travel to find it.
I see this loss and finding again happen continuously with horses. It is so easy to fall into a routine and anticipate certain responses or behavioral situations. Maybe, the ride the day before was really, really good. Finally, all the hard work and hours of practice with your trusty mount is paying off. So you expect to pick up from where you left off. But your horse woke up on the wrong side of the stall and is having none of it. This can lead to frustration, confusion and grievance. What happened to that great connection the day before? And, (wait for it….. ) you feel the loss.
Horses are sentient beings with their own perceptions, opinions and consciousness. They change day to day just like we do. However, our expectations don’t always keep up. Expectations must be flexible. The good news is there are other choices besides disappointment. Look forward and see where your horse is mentally and physically. Acknowledge the limits and encourage the good moments for today. You will notice that those great strides you have made with your horse are still there just waiting for you to see them shine once more. Never really lost, but not always seen. Just keep riding and they will come back!
Now, I realize that calculator was small but it served up a very big life lesson. Loss, even as small as a dashed expectation, is not a reason to look backwards. It is the very inspiration to look forward, be in the present and continue to be happily mystified by the world around you.
Ride facing forward, ride in the present and ride deliriously mystified all at once! But most importantly, just keep riding.