Thursday, July 05, 2007

One wild ride, one joyful child

What's the difference between a fairy tale and a rancher's story? One starts off "Once upon a time" the other "I swear this is true." -Jim Yost

I swear this is true. My daughters and I headed out on a all day ride with 3 wranglers and 3 other riders. About 40 minutes into the ride as we passed Red Dirt Reservoir, the lead wrangler jumped us up to a lope, when we heard some yelling from the back of the line. Stopping my horse I turned around to hear Moriah ask, "who is it, Dad? Who is it? Is it Elie?"

My heart dropped when I realized it was Elie. Worse yet, I realized that fact at the moment that I saw her tumbled to the ground and lied in a heap. I turned my horse and broke the line to get down to her. It took a while as Alonso wasn't exactly the kind of horse that one would take to a fire, but I made it and dismounted reaching Elie a few seconds after the trailing wrangler reached her. Konnie was already checking Elie out and to my joy she was alert and able to move her body parts. Her complaint was that her wrists hurt. She also had an obvious scrape on the face as she had obviously landed on her head as well.

After checking her over real well we realized that Elie wasn't going to have the strength to hold the reins to return to the ranch, much less complete the remaining 5 hours of riding, so the wranglers radioed the ranch for a truck to pick her up. They could make the pick up about 1/4 mile from our location we would only have to walk her to that point. Though woozy, Elie was able to make the walk and her head seemed to clear a little along the way.

Needless to say, I cut my ride short and returned to ranch. There I found Elie patched up, and doing well, but beat up, with tow sore wrists and extremely sleepy. She and I made the 20 drive down the Kremmling to visit the 4 bed emergency room. X-rays confirmed two slightly fractured wrists and the doctor acknowledged a minor concussion. No major treatment would be necessary, but Elie's riding for the week would be over.

Ironically, we choose the ranch vacation because Elie loves horses so much. So it would seem that this would be the end of our vacation fun. However, I am often amazed at how God works in a child and how mature my daughters are becoming. Instead of complaining, Elie put her injuries aside and found ways to enjoy the ranch in other ways. Yes, she was sad to miss out on the rides, but she found her way into the hearts of the ranch staff. She spent one day working in the ranch kitchen while the rest of us learned to round up cattle. Some might think, "how can KP be a positive experience?", still Elie made it really special. When I asked her later was her favorite part of the ranch experience was, she proclaimed the day in the kitchen.

Every good thing requires risk. The experience of riding a horse in the mountain certainly has risk. By it's very nature, risk means something can go wrong. When that happens, people can react in different ways: swear never to face the risk again, complain and wonder why it happened to them, or pick up what they have and make the best of the situation. This may be a minor event compared to other things that may have happened, but, still, I'm pleased that Elie took the highest road possible.