Kids, it’s hard to be a cowboy when horses don’t like you.
When I was a boy, my heroes were pirates, soldiers, explorers, knights, thrill seekers and adventurers, but mostly, they were cowboys.
And all those cowboys had great horses. Smart horses. Horses which would often help them out of tight scrapes. Horses which could do almost everything but talk… except for one, and you can check him out here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mister_Ed
I had a rocking horse which I’d ride for hours, imagining myself chasing baddies, rounding up cattle, riding for help or simply moseying over the range merrily twanging on my guitar.
My rocking horse was so tame I’d often go to sleep on it and never once fell off. Great horse. Fifty years later it’s still carrying the littlest members of our family.
Unfortunately, I learned very quickly that actual horses weren’t so nice.
I’m not going to go into the long list of bad experiences I’ve had with horses over the years, but I am extremely happy there aren’t many ‘neddies’ strolling the streets of our town waiting to kick, crush, bite, run down or trample me whenever I wander out the front door.
To be fair, the one equine exception was an enormous draught horse which appeared out of a gully like a fur-coated tank while I was taking a shortcut through, what I had thought, was an empty paddock. To my utter astonishment (and relief) it didn’t stomp me into the shape of a dinner plate.
So, I gave it a pat, then it followed me to the river where it contentedly watched me not catching fish for a few hours. I was so stunned I even walked back through the paddock with my new best friend rumbling amiably alongside me.
Honestly, if this good-natured, gentle giant had hurt me it would have been completely by accident and I wouldn’t have taken it personally at all.
Emboldened by this experience I decided to stare down my fear (something I’ll write about later) and ventured to a local horse-riding farm determined to make up for lost time.
Long story short, I limped home and returned to cycling and motorcycling.
Let the record show I have been injured riding mechanical horses, but not once has a bicycle ever wandered up behind me and pushed me onto an electric fence.
Kids, I don’t know why horses don’t like me, but it seems whatever it is that makes even the mildest pony want to headbutt me in the face, hasn’t been passed on to your parents, or you. Apparently their feud starts and ends with me.
So, my dream of being a yodeling, rodeoing, wandering, horse mastering cowboy was laid to rest, because I wasn’t prepared to pay the price of being mauled by horses on a daily basis. .
And there it is kids, the most important thing I’ll ever tell you, (apart from stay out of my beer fridge):
Everything has a Price.
Your job, basically for the rest of your lives, is to find out what the price is of whatever it is you want and carefully choose whether you’re prepared to pay it, or not.
Be it a hobby, friend, sport, career, holiday, cleaning your teeth, spouse, house, bicycle… whatever.
Trust me it’s not easy.
Sometimes the true price of something doesn’t reveal itself until it’s too late. While something looks like a golden opportunity at first glance, it may ask a heavy toll on your physical, emotional, mental, financial, spiritual, family, career or relationship stakes.
Also, at some point you may forced to work out the price for NOT following your dreams, which can be a source of great personal misery and regret for many years.
We’ll do our best to guide you until you’re old enough to work this stuff out for yourself but, and I don’t want to discourage you here, sometimes even us old people (who should know better) get it wrong; a lot.
Kids, it’s important to have dreams, to aspire to do, or be, something which will bring you deep satisfaction, but the key question to ask is:
Will (insert goal here) make me a better person or, perhaps, make the world a better place in some way; no matter how small?
I’ve been fortunate enough to follow a few of my dreams and some were very gratifying, some quickly turned into nightmares, there were surprises and shocks, others introduced me to wonderful people and betrayal by others, or took me to places I never dreamed I go to and a few places I’m earnestly hope to never see again.
But, all those experiences have taught me valuable things about myself, both good and bad, which helped shape me into the bitter, twisted, wreck I am today.
I’m extremely grateful to be slightly wiser, more content, still buoyantly optimistic and hopeful in spite of fates’ occasional twists and turns.
Because while things could have worked out better, they certainly could have been quite a lot worse.
So, I can live with the price of never becoming a cowboy, a-riding the range on my faithful steed and I’ve also pretty much decided to give up my dreams of being a pirate too… mostly.
I’ll keep you posted on that one.