I have not written for a while, for lack of inspiration. It’s been a discouraging few weeks, on the horse front. It started with another fall, that sidelined me for a couple of weeks. The incident, a fright on Nash’s blind side, left Nash shaken. In that down time, Tally took some steps backward, Coffee was healing from and injured shoulder, and Noble remembered that we are mere weak humans unable to hold a 1000 missile. After three years of serial setbacks, it’s hard not to get discouraged. When my mother made a comment about riding Noble in the future, I couldn’t help answer: “I honestly can’t envision a future of riding Noble, or any other horse!” But, just as I was seriously weighing the option to throw in the towel, Life was teaching me a lesson in the value of patience, persistence, and timing.
For nine years I led a high performing training and customer support team. In that time my team and responsibilities expanded. Our reputation at our university was high – people would come up to me to ask if I would have any openings. We were the star unit in our department’s stable. More importantly, we accomplished wonderful things for our customers on campus – garnering recognition from our Vice Chancellor and Chancellor over the years. But, as they say, all good things must apparently end.
Budget cuts hit, and my team was all but dissolved with layoffs. I was saved from being jobless by a sister unit that created a position I could move into. It was a kind and appreciated move – but it led to five years of stagnation. The unit was mired in very old ways, with no interest in poking its head out into the light. There was little for me to do, of any impact to anyone. I made differences where I could, and looked around for other options – but budgets were still tight, and fiscal recovery slow all around.
Then, an ill-fated system roll-out forced them to pull the Old Fire Horse out of the barn. This disaster, plus a forced reorganization, opened the door just a crack for a project I’d been pushing for four years. Traction finally achieved, things began to move more rapidly. In less than a year, I had a team and a project. Now a year into it, my responsibilities are expanding, and my team is doubling. The Old Fire Horse is feeling strength in muscles long unused – and likes the feeling!
Many times, in that journey, I felt there was no hope of improvement. I was angry at the man who laid me off, and I was frustrated with my new boss who seemed blissful in stagnation. I banged my head against a few walls, and came back with nothing but bruises to show for it. But when a crack opened, showing a glimmer of daylight, I was ready for the moment. Now the sun seems brighter every day, with only a few small clouds passing through to keep things interesting.
So, as the horses are relegated to the dark … literally, as well as figuratively, due to the brief daylight hours … I will remember the lesson from my “other life”. I will take the small victories where I can, while toiling through the stagnation. It may take longer than I planned, and the road will have more switchbacks than I expected – but the Old Fire Horse will find her stride again!
May the sun shine on you and your horses!