Updated: Oct 24, 2020
Orientation, that speech at the beginning of a flight, or when the roller coaster is beginning its way around the track, or that first day of school where teachers introduce themselves and all of the information you will be expected to learn from them by the end of the term.
Your adventure with me begins with an orientation too! It tells you what to expect, how to treat our stock so that they will work for you, and most importantly who we, your guides, are so that any concerns or needs you have along the way can be met.
If we're really good we just might catch those things before you do!
A rustle in the grass, then a loud buzz, I pull my horse to a stop as my eyes snap to the rattlesnake just off the trail. I holler behind me for everyone to,
“Stop! There’s a snake!”
I am terrified of snakes… But, there I sit staring down the beast so that I know the people behind me are safe, the horses are safe, and I will be safe too.
That day was unusual because we didn’t bring the pistol along to deal with a problem like a snake quickly and efficiently, as it had been set aside after another trip the day before. So, we had to wait for a nearby neighbor to come with a gun or a shovel before we could move on. That meant I had to keep sitting there calm and watchful. Did I mention I’m terrified of snakes? Yet, the people behind me were depending on my being able to know where the snake was when help arrived. I had to be fearless so that they could be calm knowing they were in capable hands that weren’t going to panic and make the situation much, much worse. My guests' Safety had to come first!
The second thing that was important was the safety of our horses. A horse is no more immune to a rattlesnake than we are and as a guide, it’s my job to ensure they are taken care of as well.
It is only last that you can think about your own safety or what you want to do; this includes running as quickly in the other direction as you can when you come face to face with a horrible snake!
Snakes won’t be the only thing you face out there. If you are a client you should know that the people whose hands you’re putting your life in, know where they are going, are licensed to be there, and have prepared with the proper equipment for whatever may happen along the way.
My old choir teacher used to say, “something will go wrong, expect it.” His next question would be, “Who do you look to when it does?” In this case, it should be your guide.
Ask questions. Even dumb ones. The wild is where life and death can happen when a dumb question isn’t asked. It doesn’t have to come to that and it didn’t that day with the rattlesnake. We knew our stock, our guides dealt with the situation and the ride continued without another incident.
Remember when you join our adventure when you enter our world that it can be fun even on the job. It will only stay fun if you follow the S.S.S. Rule: Safety of the Guest. Safety of Stock and Equipment. Safety of Yourself and Fellow Guides.
*pictures provided by Tim Bowers
Thank you, fellow adventurers! You can follow the lilmissbearpaw blog page on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @lilmissbearpaw for sneak peeks into upcoming posts and my adventures. This will also be a great place to share your own adventures!