Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Roping on the Beach and Beginner Blisters: Ouch!

I am in Cancun, Mexico right now, practicing my roping techniques with my brand-new lariat. Beach chairs beware! Yup, that's right, I've been roping every inanimate object in sight, from beach chairs to banana peels (I kid you not). And I've got the blisters to show for it. Ouch!

But hey, I'm in Cancun for five weeks and the series of roping clinics I've been planning together with my pro-roper friends Dusty Healey and Mary Duke (of Stirrup Cup Farm) will start right when I get back to Colorado, so I want to be prepared.

I brought my lariat with me and I have been practicing for about 20 minutes a day. It's fun, and I get more than my fair share of comments, sniggers, and outright stares! Oh well, being a zen cowgirl isn't about being "normal" in any sense of the word!

Lessons of the Lariat
I'm big into learning (my hubby calls it staying out of trouble). Learning keeps my mind and body agile, both of which are important around horses. And if it's cheap learning, all the better. So what are the "lessons of the lariat" that I've learned down here in Cancun so far? Well ...
  • A lariat is a cheap horse activity (when you take the horse out of the equation, of course)
  • You can give yourself rope burn in all kinds of places when you first start out, especially if you are wearing a bathing suit!
  • Your hand-eye coordination improves at a rate directly proportional to the number and painfulness of your rope burns
  • The arm can only stand this kind of work for about 20 minutes (thus far, anyway)
  • Blisters are a fact of life so get used to 'em
  • There's immediate satisfaction in roping something (can you say instant gratification?)
  • I'm finding a "sweet spot" on my rope, a definite place where the loop is just the right size, the rope is balanced just so, and I don't hit myself or others in the head.
All of this, of course, can be translated into some priceless life learning opportunities. Roughly translated, the lariat lessons above equal:
  • Save money where you can
  • Learning can be painful
  • Painful learning can speed up the process
  • The tortoise approach is often necessary to success
  • Life sometimes sucks, be prepared for that fact
  • Immediate gratification is a necessary counterpoint to tortoise-like patience
  • There's a sweet spot in every part of life ... you just gotta look for it!
So who knows how these lariat life lessons will evolve as time goes on, but I've got at least four-and-a-half more weeks here on the beach in Cancun, so I'll be sure to report on my progress, if for nothing else than entertainment value.

And by the way, if any of you are wondering how the hell a zen cowgirl gets to spend five weeks on the beach in Mexico during the recession, drop me a line. I'd love to chat about it, swap stories, share secrets ... the whole nine yards.

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