Barrel Racing

Bruises

I don’t try to collect bruises. It seems like bruises find me, scattering themselves across my skin like a macabre garden of flowers, shades of purple and yellow highlighting petals and leaves. These bruises tell stories: a single rose on my shin, after a downed barrel in slack, a bouquet of lillies on my thigh after that wreck in June, a violet on my knee from a gate post ‘that got in the way’ in the alley, and a posy from god-knows-what. I lose track of the small ones, the ones whose origins are unknown.

Bruises are a part of our sport, we all have had a collection at some point in our careers. Some bruises teach us lessons; to hold that outside rein a stride longer on second barrel, be aware of ground conditions when riding in the snow, find a buddy horse (a team roper or calf roper with a calm horse) in tough Alleyway setups.

I’m sure I collected a bruise in this run, and it was clean! Crystal liked to put my knee on the rim of the barrel. Photo by Emily Gethke

Some bruises show us that things ‘just happen.’ We can’t predict when a wreck is going to happen. All we can do is try our our best to be safe, have fun and enjoy the runs we are given.

Bruises are painful, they might remind us of mistakes and we might limp for a few days, but sometimes we need reminding of those mistakes so we won’t repeat them again.

Bruises, like scars, are reminders. They tell stories and teach lessons. What lessons have you learned from bruises (or scars)?

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