When I was a little girl I had a silver BMX bike that I named Lightning. I pretended that Lightning was my horse. I rode lightning all over my neighborhood, talked quietly to him and even gave him a reassuring pat from time to time.
He took me as far as my little legs could pedal, but… I wished for a real horse. I wanted a companion, not a machine.
Bikes have a few things in common with horses:
- You can ride them
- They wear saddles
- They typically get you somewhere faster than your own two feet
- They can go lame and leave you stranded on the side of the road
- They have a relatively low carbon footprint
That’s about where the similarities end.
Horses sometimes spook at mailboxes. They gawk at chickens. Sometimes they refuse to pass a real-estate sign and I’ve discovered they have strong opinions on large stumps. They like to walk the yellow line in the street. They seem to feel that if we walk in the center of the road we have plenty of time to notice monsters in the bushes. Apparently the oncoming traffic is more appealing than the unknown.
Obviously bikes and horses are different. But sometimes I run into people who haven’t noticed the discrepancy. Often people want to jump on to their horses and ride off into the sunset without a care in the world. They don’t even give a moments care to see if the horse wants to go.
If you are looking to build a meaningful relationship with a horse then you need to listen and respect their wishes. Sometimes a horse wants to ride off into the sunset with you and sometimes horses aren’t interested in even passing a mailbox.
You can negotiate with a horse, just like you can negotiate with your friend. However, if you aren’t in the mood for negotiations and you just want to enjoy a ride without hassles, you might be better to grab the bike.
To truly enjoy your time with a horse, you need to love the negotiation, the communication and the experience of building language together. You might need to release your expectation to make it to the sunset today. You might make it there another day. When you do it will be a lot more fun if you go with a horse that wants to see it as much as you do.
I’m curious, did you ever name your bike and pretend it was a horse? If you did please share your story in the comments. I look forward to reading them!