Saturday, June 26, 2021

Trail Ride Hazards: Avoid the Second Bite Of The Tick

From Lyme's, to Spotted Fever, to conditions that make the consumption of red meat potentially fatal-- there are few creatures out on the trails more dangerous than ticks. I try to remember to apply a light touch of Deep Woods Off to my pants before going into the woods. I check myself for ticks as soon as I get home from being in the woods.

I often find a tick or two that has seized onto my skin and began to draw out my blood. To date I have been able to remove the ticks before I picked up any of the more serous tick related diseases. 

But up until recently I have been greatly vexed by the rebound from the tick's bite, the swelling and itching that comes a day later and is especially annoying when ever sweat hits the bite area. It irritates me. It makes me mad. It makes me resent the bite much more than when the bite actually occurred. 

It is this reaction, much as if the tick had bitten me all over again, that was the worst part of being bitten by a tick. 

And I finally came to understand the obvious---The tick bit me once and I chose to be "re-bitten." I chose to allow my reaction to the event to be much more painful than the event. I chose to react, resent and re-live the bite. 

And by doing so I gave a tick, that was barely large enough for my eye to see  power over me. 

I don't make that foolish decision anymore. The tick bites me. I remove it. I medicate the wound and I get on with life. I did not use to be that way. I am finally applying what I have learned in natural horsemanship to my sanity.

The round pen is not just for the horse. It should be the class room for the mind and the church pew for the soul of those who work hard to get the human benefits out of natural horsemanship. 

The round pen is a place for reflection and it is a place to sort out reality from appearances. If a tick bites you remove it and treat the wound--and move on. If a fool insults you, recognize that you have no control over the fool. If you cannot control your reaction to the fool then you merely join him in his foolishness. 

The only thing more foolish than trying to control the behavior of others is to fail to control the behavior of oneself. One decides how to react to the world.

Today I will go out into a world of ignorance and pettiness and the vast majority of people with whom I will interact will be self centered and selfish. That is the nature of human interaction. 

But I will decide how I will act and how I will respond to this unwholesome environment. And I will not delegate to others the right to decide my happiness for the day. I will not allow the tick to continue to bite me.  

What I have learned from the round pen has made it possible for me to start off the day reviewing Seneca, Epictetus, Aurelius, The Letter Of James and Ecclesiastes. It has made it possible for me to experience the physical peace that one feels after taking the hottest shower possible, followed by the coldest shower possible  and concluded with fifteen minutes in a bath tub of ice, cold water, and large frozen ice packs. 

What I have learned from the round pen has allowed me to understand that sugar and simple carbohydrates are as poisonous to my body as they are to a horses' and even more importantly, that they wreck my composure every bit as much as they wreck the composure of a horse. 

I can take steps that will reduce the number of ticks that bite me the first time, but I am in absolute control of preventing the second bite, the reaction to adversity that is so often worse than the adversity itself. 

Natural horsemanship makes better horses, but it makes much better people. 

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