Do you follow your instincts?
Following our instincts is actually much harder than it sounds, because unfortunately instincts don’t come with a set of clear cut instructions or navigation maps.
An instinct is a feeling we get, that we should do or not do something, that something is or is not right, that a person is or isn’t who we thought they were.
Sometimes we will meet someone and immediately feel that they are not to be trusted, or not to be followed, or that their beliefs are not in line with ours.
Quite often however, we dismiss our instincts in the hopes that we are wrong, or out of necessity, or stupidity, or we confuse our instincts for some other emotion or natural habit like hunger, or nervousness.
Learning to read our own instincts, and decipher when and to what extent we must follow them, is a tricky task, but one that if mastered, can help us a lot in our daily lives.
When people give that creepy feeling, more often than not they turn out to be creepy.
This isn’t to say that we should be judgemental, and I do believe that we should always give people a chance to prove they are good people.
I’m saying that if you suspect something isn’t right, be careful, or be brave enough to consider and confront the possibility that what you suspect might be true.
Don’t assume you are being silly, or dismiss instincts, or not trust your gut enough to take charge.
In dressage training, instinct is vital, and also requires that you know enough about your horse to apply your instincts when necessary.
Last week Batialo started sticking his head up in the air when I would go to the left.
Instinct, and trust and knowledge of my horse, said, he was not quite right somewhere.
I stopped him immediately and Julie Hartmann, my horse Oesteo, was called in.
He had a nasty knot on the right side of his neck, and his protest going left was of course because the bending left was making that right side knot rather angry.
If I didn’t trust my instinct, or know my horse, I could have easily pulled his head in and made him keep going, and perhaps it is because some horse people do this that their horses end up with other injuries.
When I started back to work on Batialo the following week, I went to go left and he stuck his head up in the air, but this time my instinct said, “Hmmmmm, maybe he just thinks he is still sore?”
Turns out, I was right, and while Batialo is very honest with me about his pains, he is also overdramatic about it when he is better, and likes to drag out the attention.
In two circles, he realised he was ok, and we went on to have a really great training session.
If you go out on a stormy day, and you look your horse in the eye, and think, hmmm maybe I better lunge him first?
LUNGE HIM FIRST! don’t be too scared to admit that we all need a little help sometimes.
If you do 20 minutes and instinct tells you that your horse is working super hard and you should give him a reward day, DO IT!
If instinct tells you that your horse wants a carrot, well that one is pretty low risk! 😉