These two young beasts are being raised to join the PBR circuit. This may be the only sport where the animals have a decided advantage. Look at those faces. They’re mean. Look at the bends in that fencing. They’re daring you to even think about getting into their corral. The crazy young bull riders will be thrown every time. It’s the only way to get off. Landing on their back or on their head, they pray their momentum is in the opposite direction of the bull’s or a hoof may add punctuation. These male monsters will never be tamed, but after their performance they trot happily out of the ring appearing to relish in the cheers. They’ll retire to a pasture as breeding stock, but the cowboys will live with painful memories of each throw. Why do they ride?
Last month I joined my sister and my mother on a short week to Breckenridge to visit my brother. I’ve made this trip to the mountains often to ski or hike but my only expectation this time was to hang out with my immediate family and let the time unfold. To live in and enjoy every moment. We’re all pretty easy-going so we relaxed and took turns suggesting the next activity … Quandary Grill, a nap, a drive up the resort road to Devil’s Crotch, Daylite Donuts, a trip over Boreas Pass to FairPlay, horseback riding in the rain, Blue Moose, Patagonia, Mountain Outfitter, Rita’s, Whale’s Tail, Cool River. We don’t have unrealistic expectations of each other or carry emotional baggage, so we can just be together and smile at each other. While this feels pretty lucky, why should we spend time any other way. What makes a good ride? It’s who you’re with, not where you are. It’s being in a place where we can accept and embrace our differences.
My brother was a herdsman (breeding dairy cows) and has a charming self-consciousness about his fragile masculine image. As a cow-man he absolutely would not have been caught dead working with horses. They’re worthless. Well, maybe so, but now he not only works with horses, he’s managing a rodeo. And, he wears a cowboy hat! The transition has been much easier than he would have expected. He’s always been happy but seems even happier now. Why is this the ride of his life? It’s not only who you’re with, its also sharing the experiences and interests of those who are important to you. He’s living close to his daughter, he’s enjoying working with his son-in-law the rancher, and the move was necessary for his wife. That whole package happens to include horses and now the whole family’s become interested in horses.
Where will the next ride be? This trip came together when we were all in Harbor Springs earlier in the year. The conversation naturally included imagining a visit to Breckenridge. My sister had not been there and was not particularly interested in the mountains, but before my brother left we picked a week that worked for just the four of us. Serendipity is “the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way”. What will chance bring next? It cannot be forced and is happening all the time, so every day …
I am enjoying the ride!