Friday, February 18, 2011

Going with your gut.

I am talking about those tough choices we have to make on an almost daily basis when it comes to these big beasts that are so closely tied to our heart strings.  I generally think going with your gut is probably the right choice but sometimes our gut steers us wrong and that make us doubt those gut feelings that we get.  So then our internal arguement begins.  We have all been taught by probably more than 1 or 2 or even 3 trainers in our lifetimes and I always say ask a 100 horse people get 100 opinions.  So we were inevitably taught a 1000 things a 1000 different ways with 2000 different solutions.  And even if we have not been professionally trained by multiple people we have still gotten plenty of solicited and unsolicited opinions.

So the war begins...go with your gut or go with what so and so said one time?  What about what so and so said, maybe that would help?  Hmmmmm and if I did that then what should I do after that??   I mean so and so seems pretty smart and they said to do this.  Now I know one time someone told me to do _______.  Ugh it is a never ending battle that we all deal with.  Or at least I hope I am not the only crazy one that fights with themselves.  Uh Oh my true colors are starting to show.  Now you may be thinking..."is this lady bi-polar" but that has not yet been proven(nor disproven I might add).  But this is what goes on in that little head of mine on a very regular basis.

Yesterday was on of those occasions on whether to go with my gut feeling or go withone of the many things  I have been taught over the years.  See it has been cold here.  Not just brrrr cold but like ouch cold.  We are talking temps like -10 degrees cold and that is not factoring in the windchill.  And don't get me started again about the ice.  Well this week we got this pleasantly refreshing burst of warmer temps.  It took the first 5 days of decent temps just to melt the ice but the warmest day of all was yesterday and it was also the first day the ice was gone which made it finally safe to get on a horse.  Now I don't want to complain because the high temp was 67 degrees!!  But the WIND oh my!  It was terrible.  I didn't realize just how bad it was until I got out to the side yard on Steady's back.  The wind would gust up to 40 mph.  Steady would be walking along and a big gust of wind come and he would stagger to keep his balance.  But I was determined we could deal with the wind.  So I persisted.  Then the mud!!  Oh the mud!  It was awful.  There were the occasional good steps but mostly hoof sucking mud.  But I was determined and we were gong to just deal with the mud.  But then everyone started going banana's.  I think it was 95% the wind that had them in a frenzy but the other two in the pasture were running the fence line and whinnying.  Steady didn't pay much attention at first but after a few minutes of it that is all he could pay attention to.  Well that and every branch that was blowing and the neighbors horses and the wind blowing.  Well pretty much everything except me.  He was prancing and hoping and speeding up and slowing down, flipping his head and all sorts of shinanigans.  My gut said "get off of this horse as quickly as possible".  Then my heart said, "awwwww but I reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaally want to ride".  Then my mind says, "you may want to hurry or you are going to die!".  Then my first trainer I had said, Don't you let that horse be the boss.  Then came, if you let him get away with this stuff now you will only pay for it next time.  Then, "Are you really thinking about rewarding him for acting like a fool?".  Then I started to convince myself that continuing was what was best so we did a few more laps and then he tried to bolt like he was coming out of the starting gate.  I think Snappy the little stinker he is challanged him to a race.  So I pulled him into a spin.  Just trying to hold him back felt like he was at any moment going to rear and that is not what I wanted to happen.  All the while the wind is still blowing 30 mph.  And don't forget the mud that adds another fun aspect to the whole situation.  I then at that point decided to come up with a plan of action.  A compromise of sorts.  I was getting off of this horse no matter what so my gut won this one, BUT I was not going to let him think it was his idea at least.  So after our little spinning episode we walked our but right over to the fence line which made him very happy until he realized we were not going there to take on Snappy the mini in his race challange we were going over there to walk nicely and then turn right back around and head back to the arena.  We went around about 2 more times and stopped in a moment that he was moving ahead willingly.  Oh it never felt so good to get my feet on solid ground!  Our ride lasted all of about 10 minutes but they were 10 terrifying minutes.  I feel that I appeased all my training demons but also kept myself intact.  In the moment though it is all whirling so quickly through my head and it is hard to seperate it all.  These types of situations happen almost daily with horses and it is no wonder all horse people are crazy!!


  1. Ooof, I have many a days like that. Where you go with your gut, but then wait..was I supposed to do that, etc? The fact remains, NO matter what you decide-keeping yourself safe and in a controlled safer environment always reins supreme to me. Dismounting and doing hand walking or lunging, etc can still teach the horse, who lost it for a minute b/c instinct/fear kicked in (or whatever) to come back and focus. That is what I do. But, that is what my gut tells me to do. AND..I dont always listen either. It's a ying/yang of balance and what we were taught years ago, to whats being done now, etc. As long as you felt you ended it on a good note, I think that is success for both :)

  2. Listening to your gut is a fine art, a really fine art. What the heart and the head have to say in the conversation doesn't matter, though they can both be hard to muzzle and hard to distinct from the voice of your gut (instinct/intuition). It's hard to even isolate that voice when surrounded with as much stimulation and distraction as you were. Where I think you used instinct best was in seeing the moment where to stop, and then enjoying being back on the ground. Self-preservation is rarely wasted. WTG.

  3. Glad you stayed safe, crazy wind can make horses as equally crazy!

    Listening to your gut does get hard. I've had a couple rides where I kept thinking "I should get off this horse!" But I didn't and all was fine. Then there are the times like I've recently shared, and well, shoulda listened to the gut!

    Thanks for commenting on my post with regards to the vet decision, I think if she stays sound I will cancel the apt. and give her some more rest, then start back slowly.

  4. I know what you mean about letting your mind run away with you - almost as bad as your horse running away with you. It didn't really matter whether you should or should not ride - the pressing issue was how to resolve the situation - which you did.

    You did really well, saved yourself ;) but still let Steady know that you were the leader. Great job Amy!!

  5. If your gut is ever telling you to get off of a horse, do it! That's your instincts protecting you from danger. You can always do work on the ground so they don't 'get away with it' or 'get rewarded for acting bad'. Besides every horse is different. What one perceives as reward or punishment is completely different from what another perceives. You know your horse best and yourself best so always listen to your gut. Once you are safely on the ground you can have your battle about which trainer's advice to follow lol. And yes I definitely do that, so if you're bipolar so am I. :)


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