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Blood, sweat and no regrets - Cowgirl Chronicles

Updated: Oct 9, 2019

There have been a few occasions in my life when I have been asked, “What is your biggest regret?” I think people secretly ask this to judge or compare who looks like the bigger failure, or some may ask it from a purely introspective standpoint. Whatever the case may be, it is an interesting question. If you care to dive down this philosophical rabbit hole with me, I’d be honored. I promise I’ll bring my point back up to the surface; on how to ride without regret.

When I was in my early teenage years, I was painfully shy. Although I was involved with school groups, dance and horse activities I spoke to almost no one. Some of this was caused by insecurity; some of it caused by the desire to not answer people’s dumb remarks. But as I grew older I felt like my shyness was clenching my throat, pinching my tongue and creating a dam between my heart and brain. Keeping quite wasn’t working for me.

At that time my family had 3 or 4 horses, who were used lightly and just for fun. One summer in California I was home alone, when the farrier was scheduled to come by to shoe our crew. I was asked to be outside to “hold horse’s and try and learn something” while the rest of my family could go run errands. I had no qualms about this other than the fact it was 120 degrees outside, and the flies loved fresh hoof trimmings and sweat.

Our farrier was one who could have been sketched out of a famous Western. He was no-nonsense, rusty, stinky, old as dirt and as kind as a cowboy.  ‘J.R.’ hobbled out of the truck already sweating, sprayed the horse’s down with fly repellent out of an industrial-sized weed pump canister, picked up his hammer and clinked away. By the 3rd horse I could tell he was hot and tired; but he still kept politely asking me about school and my goals and which horse I like the best. In fine shy-girl form, I could only nod and half smile. Finally he finished 3 sets of shoes, and the moisture through his shirt said he was beat. All I could think about is how much I wanted to ask him if he needed me to get him a bottle of water.

He helped me turn all the horses back out, a long hot walk to the paddock, a sweaty wrestle with a broken gate, and more dusty steps back to the driveway. Plenty of time and opportunity for me to ask aloud, “Can I get you water?” But my mouth was parched with shyness, not from the dry heat of the summer. I never asked. We were almost back to his truck, when he reached through the fence into a water trough, avoiding floating algae, to scoop up some  water splash his neck and quench his thirst. On his way out the driveway I think I said, ‘Thank you’ but that was probably the most I could stammer.

I’m guessing by J.R.’s age at the time, he probably drank from a hose, a mountain stream, and a cow trough many times before in his life. He was doubtfully bothered or fazed by it. But for years, it bothered me. Why couldn’t I just speak up? My shyness ended up landing someone with dirty water and smelly breath. My skills and manners couldn’t even make it through my wall of silence.

So, when people asked what my biggest regret is I tell them: At one time I was too afraid to offer people clean water when I had it, they had to seek it from another source which was dirty and not quite as thirst quenching. I had paralysis to provide something that people needed; because I was not confident.

2 Corinthians 7:10 says that, Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldy sorrow brings death.

This lesson was two-fold for me. Eventually, I learned I just needed to friggen speak up and use my words like a grown-ass woman. But I also learned that keeping gifts, blessings, and certain abilities concealed and silent could actually bring death to people. In my farrier’s instance he could have literally died of heat stroke and/or listeria… (Then I really would have some serious regrets). If you don’t give people what they need, when they need it – they WILL find it in some other form. And it might be from a place that is not clean. And if you have what people need, when they need it and you are too frozen to give it to them then, THAT is what regret feels like.

Change the underlined words to  an applicable circumstance in your life:

Have you ever been thirsty for clean water someone was too stuck to bless you with? When you quenched your thirst with a dirty source did it help or hinder your situation?

Don’t regret drinking dirty water (finding sound knowledge) and don’t regret not sharing it (being silent).


“I was thirsty for teaching my horse to trailer-load . Someone told me that pulling my horse in with a butt rope would probably work. I broke 3 ribs and sold the horse.”

Instead of feeling like you are receiving dirty water/bad information from someone (or Google) don’t be afraid to ask for help outside of your normal circle of friends or trainers. In order to ride free and confident without regret, pursue a source you trust and inquire about how the process might look and what result it would have.

Don’t think back with regret over an action or decision…have the confidence to learn from it, and reform the feeling that made you feel stuck, into a sensation that actually makes your feel powerful.

You deserve to drink clean water and share some too!

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