Michael's Monthly Column "Throwing My Loop"

Throwing My Loop…    

By:  Michael Johnson 


     Even though no one has come up with a way to explain it to everybody…it’s still true.  Some rejoice when they see it.  Others become angry and deny that it’s real.  Maybe the reason those who refuse to believe somehow sense believing would require them to admit the truth and take responsibility.  And it was never more difficult for anyone to see than for me to see.
     Most of us have the same problem.  Whether we are the teacher, supervisor, doctor, or law enforcement official, or someone who works with horses or stock dogs, we eventually come to a common place where we all have the same problem.  And we all begin our journey to that eventual destination from the same starting point. 
     In the beginning, it’s obvious that we lack knowledge - so we know we need to become “educated.”  We begin by entering some school or program, or enroll in some class - or apprenticeship - in order to learn how to do the thing…to manage people or train the horse.  Once we complete the required training, we then find ourselves graduated, acclimated, certified, satisfied, and chicken fried…and now we are ready!
     We walk into the classroom, office, hospital, or arena, and begin.  Being kind people – all of us are – we wait for a sufficient time to allow others to become accustomed to our presence.  And then since it’s time to get down to business…we begin to “exert our influence.”  To our surprise, our behavior has little impact.   Not a problem.  We’ve been trained in how to handle these situations.  So we turn things up a notch.  We now stomp into the room (or arena), raise our voice, and begin to give orders.  To our stunned amazement, no one listens – humans yawn, horses run off, and the dog just sits there barking like an idiot – right smack dab in the way, of course - and none of them seem to care.
     Now comes the time for the “problem analysis.”  After some intensive soul searching, career choice questioning, two hissy-fits, and a good cry, we arrive at the sad solution. “It’s not me,” we say.  “It’s them.”  Whew!  Take a load off, baby!  For a minute there, we actually considered the impossible possibility that maybe…NO!  It’s these kids these days, that’s what it is.  People have lost their work ethic - their all just looking for the easy way out.  Nobody cares anymore.  And horses?  These knotheads are the worst.  Won’t do anything you tell them.  Had the same problem with my horse for three years…three years!
     And that’s where I found myself.  Then something happened. 

     As my circle of friends in the horse world grew, I began to encounter a different sort.  More than just ropers or cowboys, these few men and women seemed to be the luckiest people on earth.  Their horses were just better than everyone else’s.  All my roping buddies had a ready explanation.  “Yeah,” they said, “ain’t they the lucky ones?”
     That didn’t quite seem the explanation to me.  So, I sought out these lucky people with their good horses, curried their favor, and sat at their knee.  To my surprise, every single time I asked any male or female horseman about my problem horse, after listening for a time, they would say, “Let’s get some lawn chairs.”
     “Great,” I would say.  “Are you going to show me a drill with the chairs we can use to make my horse do better?”
     “No,” they would answer.  “We are going to sit in them...and talk.”
     I didn’t want to talk.  I wanted them to fix my horse.  Obviously, they didn’t understand my question or the problem I was having.  Yet, each time I described any difficulty with my horse, there came the same annoying, irritating response… “Let’s ride around in the truck and talk.”  This really began to get on my nerves.
     You see, no matter how many times I tried to explain to these people the problem my horse was causing, they misunderstood.  They always seemed to think the problem had to do with me, and it took all the patience I had to keep telling them we needed to talk about my horse.  And then one day, I’m driving down the road with my old friend, Bronc.
     I had droned on for an hour about some problem with Shine, and finally asked, “So what do you think?”  And I will be darned if he didn’t do the same thing.  He started talking to me about me again.  I had just about had it trying to tell these hard-headed people anything, and I was about to let him have it when… this little door at the back of my mind began to creak slowly open.  And the light came seeping in.
     “Oh,” I said after a long silence.  “It’s not Shine, is it.  It’s me.”
     “Yes,” he said in a voice I could barely hear, and I could tell he was so relieved.  “Yes.”
     While my horses will be the first to tell you I haven’t arrived, they will tell you I’ve never been quite the same since that day. 

     When we undertake any task initially, we are right to seek education, training, and understanding.  Problem is, after what we think of as a “sufficient time” passing, we assume things should get easier.  The Universe doesn’t work that way – it doesn’t revolve around its center.  It shoots off in all directions at once.  So do horses – so do people.  When we encounter difficulties along the path, what do we do then?  It’s a quick, simple, and logical solution to place blame outside ourselves.  We react to such frustration with our initial impulse.  When the working dog bolts into the sheep, we raise our voice.  When he doesn’t respond, we blame him.  According to master handler Bob Hooker, this is the time “the dog needs someone who knows more than he does.”  And if you spend a few hours with Mr. Bob, it’s amazing how much you will learn you didn’t know – and that your dog is not so stupid after all.  He was just in desperate need of guidance and direction. 
     So it is with all of us.  The best student you ever had is just around the corner, the best horse you ever rode is waiting for you to help him become more, and the best dog needs our help to find his magic.     

     It takes two things to become a master – hard work and from time to time, a very painful look in the mirror.  But the journey is worth every moment.  Sometimes we reach those assigned to us, and help them shine.  That’s how we reach the stars.      

     “Somebody else can’t solve your problem.  Especially when you think somebody else is causing the problem.”

                                                                                 Dr. John Hall, Psychologist
                                                                                  Texas Wesleyan University


 Order from Michael's website.

Michael heading for the great Sonny Gould

Michael & Blue

Healing Shine


Please stop
and sign our Guestbook

Send Michael
an Email

Michael Johnson Books
1172 CR 4122  Campbell, Texas 75422  (903) 862-2082

Copyright © 2003 Michael Johnson Books. All rights reserved.
webmaster pswope@candw-webmasters.com