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Should I Ride a Horse with a Cell Phone?

Cell Phones & Horses

Riding with a cell phone:   Should I or Shouldn’t I?

This is not going to be another article about cell phone etiquette. For some of us, especially those with small kids, the line at the supermarket is the only chance there is to have to have an un-interrupted conversation. This issue is much deeper. This is about setting boundaries.

If you’re leading your horse to the wash rack and he is encroaching upon your space you shank him with a tug of the rope and remind him to back off.  If he insists on going to the right, you make him go to the left. Just to show him who is in charge. If he starts walking away while you’re getting on you back him up until he learns to stand still for you. Keeping a 1000 pound animal in check seems almost like second nature compared to the daunting task of leaving your phone where you can’t hear it ring. I used to be that person who just couldn’t take a chance I may miss an important call. Then one day I had an epiphany.

I was taking my horse through a reining pattern and just as he was about to have a monumental finish, my phone rang and he became distracted and stopped (not a slide stop either.) I instinctively became so frustrated but only at myself. I started to take note of what a distraction my phone was becoming.

I began wondering if it could actually be possible that every time my phone rang my horse would stop or slow down. As it turns out, he is reacting to my anticipation.  Whether it is the barrel cactus up ahead that I anticipate he’s not going to like or the sound of a diesel truck starting up as we ride by, he’s reacting to the ring of my phone by stopping because he is anticipating that is what I will do. That was the epiphany. I decided from that point on to give myself permission to be in the moment with my horse. It’s actually been quite liberating.

As we drive home from the barn each night, windows down, mud on our boots and perpetual smiles on our faces. I glance back in the rear view mirror and see my daughter Maya texting her girlfriend. She’s 7 years old. Despite how disturbing this seemed at first, I decided to look at the positive side; she’s a better speller, writer and typer than I ever was at age 7! I begin to think, it’s OK to embrace modern technology, but when modern technology begins to embrace you, it may be time to check back in.

From all of this I have set boundaries with all of my “contacts” and even with myself. At least now when I pull into the stable, I may as well be in the shower. I am, for all practical purposes, unavailable to take your call!

Enjoy the Ride

by Rachel Jablon

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