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Don’t Get Caught In The Rope

By Darwin Star

One of the first things you’ll be told when you start working around horses happens to be one of the most important: Don’t get caught in the rope.

In its most basic iteration, this means that when you’re leading a horse with a rope, loop it up and hold your hand around the loop, not through it.

The reason for this is simple: horses are unpredictable. Sometimes they run off. If that rope suddenly gets pulled and wrapped around your fingers, hand or wrist, you’re suddenly hitched to a 1000-pound beast. You can get dragged a long ways before it stops.

I like the metaphor, too. What other ways can you still hold the rope but be safe to let go of it at a moment’s notice? In friendships that might look like allowing your friends the dignity to make their own decisions without meddling for specific outcomes. In careers that might mean keeping your resume updated and networking consistently, so you have a backup contingency if the workplace suddenly turns sour. Maybe it’s making sure you have a stash of cash and an emergency bag packed and ready to go, with clothes, toiletries, and essential documents. Or maybe it’s having a spiritual or meditative practice worked into your schedule.

Horses are naturally free animals. They don’t like to be confined; they want to roam. I think most people are drawn to horses because they have that same tendency.

Next time you’re feeling frustrated or confined, ask yourself: “Did I possibly get caught in the rope?” If you did: no shame. Sometimes you’ve gotta be dragged a fair distance before you learn not to loop the rope around your hand next time. And next time, do a double check to make sure those loops aren’t going around your fingers, hand, or wrist.