Monday, 24 September 2012

The Rhythm of the Course

The common denominator shared by hunter courses and competitive trail courses is that each have a prescribed distance between obstacles which determines the rhythm in which the course should be ridden. Courses based on a 12 ft stride for hunters and a 6 ft lope for the western trail competitor each call for an easy quiet ride. Unless….the rider gets ahead of the rhythm.

I judged a trail competitor recently who came into the multi pole lopeover obstacle at a forward 7 foot lope. As the horse began to hit some poles he got nervous. Although the logical response would seem to be to shorten the stride and slow the rhythm down to fit in the designated space, the logical response for a prey animal is to speed up and get the ordeal over with as quickly as possible! The more that horse hit poles, the higher his adrenaline level rose and faster his feet went. When horses are in flight response they don’t think logically. As a matter of fact, neither do we riders.

The pair loped over two extra poles that weren’t included in the course before regrouping at the trot for the next obstacle.

This made me think of how the obstacles in daily life come at a prescribed rhythm, but when we fret about what lies ahead we get ahead of ourselves and make it worse. When I rehearse a problem, I actually experience it more than once – I live it over and over. I multiply the stress by worrying about what might happen. And I might even create problems that were never meant to be included in my day at all by forcing a solution rather than “sleeping on it” in hopes of a solution when my adrenaline level lowers.

Jesus Christ had plenty to worry about – with the gift of foreknowledge He knew the death plans against Him would succeed. Yet He told His followers “Do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own”. When I consider God as the course designer I remind myself that He sees the beginning and the end and has allowed the obstacles to come up in my life at just the right rhythm.

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