Shane plummer horseback
Shane Plummer, pictured showing 2014 mare Dannika (Hydrive Cat x Light N Lily x Light N Lena)

Free to Choose

Last week, I showed one of my favorite cutting horses at the Brazos Bash in the Derby Non-Pro. I walked onto the arena floor, went through my pre-show ritual—which consists of stretching to the left, stretching to the right, touch my toes, touch my toes—and then I got on my horse. As I sat there readying myself as I was on deck to show, I thought to myself, “Shane, you are an idiot for showing in this show. You haven’t even sat in a saddle since April!” It’s true; I am an idiot.

I showed my mare, didn’t cut my first cow well and, of course, that started the run off bad. My second and third cows were great. I sure love that mare; she tries and tries and tries, despite me! I was disappointed when the score popped up—a 210. I only had myself to blame for that.

I don’t care if you love cutting, reining, reined cow horse, barrel racing, roping, sorting, penning or golf – if you don’t practice your craft, you cannot create your own opportunities for success. Now, I had a good time. I love riding cutting horses. I will never devote the time to it to be truly successful with it; I fall in the unfortunate “tweener” category of being a real amateur who has to show against non-pros that, for the most part, pretty much are professionals that own their own horses and just do not train other people’s horses. They are so great, my respect goes out to them for their success. They deserve respect.

I’m not sour grapes about my “tweener” status. I have won a lot of money and the rules are what they are. My success came from horse power, not my dedication or ability. Sure, you have to know what you are doing. I get that. I am hopeful that the future of the National Cutting Horse Association creates an environment so all people who want to show cutting horses can have a place that they feel they can be competitive. The solutions to that conundrum are in process; hopefully the powers that be can make magic happen.

We all have the same amount of time in a day. Each of us gets the same 24 hours to use however we choose. I could say that my lack of time in the saddle was because I’m so busy. Well, I am so busy that I sometimes don’t know how to think straight. Owning a few businesses, juggling family, church and social responsibilities, even one’s own health and well-being—one has to make choices of how to use their allotted 24 hours. But with all that, I know the choice is still mine. I will “make” time for that which I think is the most important and I will sacrifice what I must, as well. A balanced life is the one I try to maintain.

Some in the world are not quite as fortunate as we who are protected by liberty and choose our own fate. Not us though. We get to choose exactly what we want to do, be, have, live, eat, drive, wear, ride, and the list goes on and on and on. You want it, go get it. Work for it. Create it. Be it. I’m not getting political here, I shouldn’t have to be to profess a love of liberty and choosing one’s own RIGHT to pursue happiness. If we as a people don’t muck that principal up, we’ll be just fine.

There has been political drama and despicable slander since our founding. One of my favorites was the presidential campaign after George Washington, between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson—who became the second and third presidents, respectively. During the campaign, it got so nasty and vile that Jefferson or his supporters stooped so low as to call Adams a hermaphrodite. The other side slung mud just as wild and crazy. Politics is theater. These two men ran as heated and contested campaigns as you can imagine. Can you IMAGINE what it would have been like if they had Twitter?!?! They, in the end, became best friends and even died on the same day, calling out to each other by name. Fancy that.

So, don’t get so wound up that you end up hating those that disagree or think or believe differently than you. Contempt shuts off our ears, closes our hearts and minds, transforming us into miserable people. We, as a people, made it through President Obama; we’ll make it through President Trump. Now, go help your neighbor and be kind. America will be just fine.

As I plan my fall schedule and decide what I want to do, I am making a commitment to spend more time in the saddle, to enjoy my horses more. They are just so good for my soul. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, all play and no work makes Jack a mere toy—as the proverb goes. So, balance is what I am striving for.

Enjoy your day, all 24 hours of it!