The first Sunday afternoon in November, I loaded Knockout in our 3-horse trailer and carried him to a friend’s ranch.
Since we mostly ride on our own farm or down the gravel roads near our farm, I wanted to carry Knockout somewhere else to expose him to riding in different locations.
I was pleased to see Knockout was calm and relaxed as we unloaded from the trailer and saddled up. I swung into the saddle and set out to follow my friend’s instructions to explore and have fun.
We left the yard at an easy trot, headed toward the back pasture. Passing thru the open gate, Knockout acted a little concerned, but I just asked him to keep going and he did. He eyed the sorting pens warily as we rode past. He pushed thru my seat cue to step left and avoid a scary looking mud puddle…so I turned him to ride back thru it. The third time around, we calmly rode straight thru the puddle.
We passed a big black bull on the left…no different than the bulls in our own pasture. Bulls in other people’s pastures look scarier, apparently. Knockout tensed a little and kept a wary eye on the bull until we were past.
The first fifteen minutes of the ride went like that. Water troughs, gates, salt blocks, even trees were cause for extra wariness.
Knockout never panicked…never spooked…never balked or bolted. He was just concerned about everything. Everyday objects no different than what we see every ride somehow looked more ominous when seen in unfamiliar surroundings. Yet he still trusted me through it all and continued to respect my cues.
When we reached the back fence line, we stopped to do a few exercises intended to help Knockout focus on me. We did some backing on light cues, practiced turns both directions on fore and hind, side-passed and counter-arced. Then we rode into a strip of woods where we wound a path between trees, circled trees both directions, and backed circles around trees.
By the time we rode out of the woods, Knockout was relaxed and focused. The wariness had all disappeared as he focused on listening to me.
Tuesday, I had a PET-Scan. There was no specific concern other than it had been two years since my last scan. Although all checkups were going well, my doctors felt it would be prudent to do another scan just to be sure.
I was surprised to realize I was concerned. For over two years I’ve been going to doctors’ appointments every couple of months for checkups and scopes. I’ve never been concerned by any of it. It’s just another checkup with expectations of a good report.
For some reason, the upcoming PET-Scan was more concerning to me. It was a break from the usual routine. It felt less familiar and a little more intimidating. I didn’t expect any issues…but then that is what the scan is for…to see if there are any issues.
Much like Knockout riding in an unfamiliar pasture, ordinary things are just a little more concerning in unfamiliar circumstances.
Wednesday, a nurse from the ENT doctor’s office called to tell me the PET-Scan showed a small uptake at the base of my tongue and they were going to schedule a CT-Scan to investigate further.
I’ve had CT-Scan’s before…but not recently. And what about that small uptake? I knew it was quite likely a false positive…but it was enough of a concern for my ENT to order a CT-Scan.
My level of concern was elevated. Much like Knockout, I was still trusting the one who directs my paths. I was not panicked. But I was concerned and a little wary.
Friday, I kept my appointment with my Oncologist, who reviewed the PET-Scan, scoped my throat, and performed a thorough examination of my mouth, throat and neck. All looks good! He believes the small uptake was reflective of a minor throat infection.
I’m still keeping the CT-Scan appointment just to verify. But you know what? I no longer feel the elevated concern. I feel relaxed and confident…focused on listening to The One who directs my paths.
Jesus is such a good horseman to me! He is my friend who will never leave me.