Loosening the Reins

ImageMy aunt taught me to ride a horse the summer that I was 11.  Over the Kansas prairie we trotted and eventually cantered.  Being in the mid-west, I learned to ride with a Western saddle.  Basically, this meant I needed to be careful about how I held the reins.  Specifically, I remember being instructed not to pull too tight and to eventually work toward holding the reins with just one hand.

Loose reins?  One hand?

Even my 11-year-old self thought this was asking for problems.  For me to be in control, didn’t I need to grip tightly, closely, fiercely?  Counter-intuitive though it may seem, loose reins are needed in order to really be able to guide the horse.  And to trust the horse.

Somedays, life feels a little bit like riding a horse for the first time.  My instinct to grab the reins tightly, closely, fiercely rears itself in a moment. How is it that all these years later I can still feel like that 11-year-old girl trotting across the prairie?

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