Monday, April 9, 2007


"It really cracks me up when circumstances force me to practice what I preach!" I IM this morning, as I watch my plans heave like the sea in The Perfect Storm.

As a free lancer, I piece each day together in an intricate patchwork of varying locations, tasks and timeframes patterned around multiple people's schedules. One of those people, we'll call him Genghis Khan, destroyed any possibility for productivity by tearing his (unfortunately vital) piece out by the seams in the 11th hour and with enough uncertainty around the replacement that the pattern was minimally salvageable, at best. The impact? Complications, cancellations, tangled time and lost income. And this was the second time, with the strong possibility of spilling over into day 3.

John Maxwell's words hang by my door, reminding me as I go out to greet the world that "the greatest day in your life and mine is the day we take total responsibility for our attitudes." There's a piece of the preachin'. Now for the practicin'. I can get pissed off, or mine fresh possibilities. What can I do but laugh as I pull out my planner? Again.

I make phone calls, shuffle things around, try to work around each possible scenario Genghis offered. I figure if I stay local (NOT on the original agenda!) at least I can get back quickly if he comes in sometime today. I head down the road to a client's farm.

The first horse, Luke, is in rare form. He'll be going along nice and responsive then catch a passing car out of the corner of his eye. 1500 pounds of raw force and rebellion exploding into the air and fighting for domination. We work on the ground where he can clearly see my body language (horses' native "tongue") until he has a major breakthrough in communication and attention. I swing into the saddle. And groan.

The creak of jagged fragments grating together, the unmistakable feel of flexing instead of firm resilience-- my saddle tree is broken. Destroyed. My favorite saddle. My most expensive saddle. The saddle qua non of my business. The only explanation I can muster is that the feed store boys slammed a sack of grain into it while they were loading the car. Unless Luke snapped it that one astonishing aerial...Its irrelevent. Its broken. I sigh and dismount.

I'm driving home afterwards, mulling things over. Get pissed off vs. mine the possibilities.... I know its a piece of some as-yet-unseen puzzle. There's something to come out of it, but right now I'm struggling not to get hung up on counting the cost (ouch!)

It occurs to me. Luke detonates with absolutely no forewarning. I can outride just about any creatively violent maneuver a horse can come up with, but I can't keep them on their feet if they lose the game with gravity in mid-acrobatics. By ending my ride prematurely, what disasters were averted? What catastrophic price was supplanted by a broken saddle tree?

I may never know, but as always, in all things, I will give thanks!


  1. Another possible NMA foiled by that meddling John Maxwell. Way to keep it up. Don't let that water stop boiling!

  2. Ouch. Yes, broken saddle is better than broken head. Do you have a back-up one (saddle, not head. You've only got one of those, I think).

  3. I do have a backup--since different horses have backs of different shapes and sizes I have a few. But this was such a nice saddle, it fit almost everyone, me included! Since training has been my living all my life, this saddle was my treat to me last year. I'm still holding out for its healing (hey, there may be no logical explanation, but its worked with other broken appliances and vehicles!)

  4. You've only had it a year? Yikes. We'll have to give alms for it. The Saddle Emergency Resurrection Society? Either that, or wave a dead (rubber) chicken over it...

  5. No dead chickens required, but resurrection is in process... Meanwhile if anyone wants to kick in a couple grand, feel free!