|By Frank J. Buchman
“He dropped the gate.”
Not as bad as leaving the gate open, or falling off the cliff.
Some consolation for fumbling old cowboy, continuation of a bad day in the pen.
Completely rider error, not the horse, whereby earlier poorness in part is blamed on the mount.
Best clarify that opening remark. Contestants open and close a gate in a horse show trail class.
Nowadays, it’s generally not the arena gate or even a makeshift likeness. That’d be more authentic, and the way of years gone by.
Rather, a rope is strung between two upright standards. Mounted rider unhitches the rope, goes through and replaces rope, closing the opening.
Sometimes a snap is hooked, but this time the rope had a small loop over the post. Simple enough maneuver, and in perfect position, but we somehow dropped the rope.
Still unable to comprehend our clumsiness, it knocked us off judges’ scorecards, obviously.
The whole show had been just like that. Arriving in ample time, indoor arena warmup actually went quite well.
Knowing Maggie’s sometimes nerviness of wind, fluttering objects and noises, even though other times oblivious to such, we did our best to be prepared.
Big noisy fans only bothered her initially, heavy shadows were soon overcome, and stomping kids on shaky bleachers became bearable.
Yet, first class at the end of the halter shank, that pretty mare did an obnoxious sashay. No severe reprimand from handler, still things went downhill from there.
Everything imaginable put the classy buckskin on edge lunging, flaunching, snarling to the point of being dangerous.
No explainable reason for that cantankerousness, only solution was “wear her out.”
Fortunately ample lawn made hard riding possible. Between the dozen classes, Maggie was galloped steadily in effort to work the meanness out.
Slowly, but surely, abrasive mannerism pacified, so notable a competitor commented on “calmness.”
Despite considering some rides favorable, negative precedence had been set. Judges gave no slack.
Last chance was trail, sometimes a highlight of the day. Mare rode at least average, and then the dumb rider “dropped the gate;” ugh.
Reminds us of Isaiah 45:10: “What are you doing. What clumsy fingers!” So, Romans 5:19: “His carelessness was costly.” Still perhaps, First Samuel 4:13: “He was nervous about the day.” Yet, First Peter 1:17: “Work hard to reap the rewards.”