Houdini, A Shetland Pony, and Life.

When I was a kid, we had a Shetland pony named Sugar.  That pony was a master escape artist if I ever saw one. A regular Houdini. We constantly had to find her, catch her and put her back in her pen.  What kept us scratching our heads was the fact that we could never find where she was getting out.  And she was smart enough that you never saw her when she did.  Years passed as they tend to do, and Sugar got old.  Her days of pony rides for the youngsters were over and she became the family pet.  Useful for soaking up stray affection and disposing of treats, but even then she had the uncanny ability to escape her pen. We would come home from school to find her wandering around grazing, doing whatever she pleased. Eventually her eyesight began to fail.  Unto this day, I swear that that is the only reason I ever discovered her ‘secret.’ I was standing outside petting our bulldog, and I just happen to be where I could see Sugar’s pen.  Knowing her eyesight was bad (she was practically blind really) I realized she didn’t know I was watching her.  I had to pick my jaw up off the ground as I watched.  That pony took off at a dead run straight toward her fence.  I just knew a trip to the vet was going to ensue. Now her fence was made from barbed-wire, two strands nailed about two feet apart and about two feet off the ground.  It was a fairly formidable barrier for a pony, with the top strand set about eye-level with her. But Sugar had no fear and barreled straight toward it.  I started to call out, but I never got the chance.  Just as she reached the fence (I will never forget this sight as long as I live) she dropped onto her belly and skidded forward, dipping her head at the same time, and turning it just enough to get under the bottom strand of wire. Then she slid her hind section on out by pulling herself forward with her front legs.  It was amazing.  I know I have people staring blankly at the computer screen and thinking “what a liar”, but I swear it’s true.  After she managed to free herself, I walked over and caught her by the halter, walked her back to the gate and put her back up.  I’ve known there was a lesson there somewhere, but I never really discovered it until I relayed the story to my lovely wife today. A lot of times we are like horses.  Our world is only as big as people tell us it is.  We only do ‘so much’ because we believe that is all that is possible.  That fence represented what kind of life other people think is possible for us, what dreams we can dream and what jobs we can pursue.  That half-blind Shetland pony proved to me that day that you are only limited in your achievements by what you let limit you.  Are you living the life you want, or are you letting yourself be fenced in by what other people are telling you?

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