Saturday, August 23, 2008

"What if...?": Fears on the Trail



1. "What if my horse spooked forward and jumped off this cliff?"

2. "What if Johnnie tripped and fell down while we are crossing this 55-mph speed limit road, and a semi came roaring around the corner with brake failure?"


3. "What if John got stung by a wasp while we are passing this rusted-out wreck in the woods, and cut himself open on its sharp fender, and bled to death miles from anywhere?"






There's a fine line between due caution & care on one side, and worry-warting negative thinking paranoia on the other. I suspect I am often a leetle tad to the wrong side of this line. Where do you draw it?

17 comments:

OnTheBit said...

Roads scare me...I like to have at least some barrier between me and a semi...but I think that it is good to be a little out of control on the back of a horse sometimes. My trainer just lost her mare last week and that mare taught me how to trail ride...there are few things as fun in this world as galloping through an open field bareback! My rule is that is I feel a little nervous that it is fine, but if I feel like I am clamping down with my seat, legs and tightening that is where I draw the line!

Grey Horse Matters said...

I guess a little caution comes with age, I don't like going on roads, I'd rather stick to the wooded trails. I'd also prefer to stay away from cliffs. But if I had a horse like Johnnie, maybe I wouldn't be as cautious out on the trails, he looks like such a sane sweetheart of a horse. He really seems trustworthy.

Mrs Mom said...

It seems to me lately, that if you pre-pave things, Ie: disaster, that disaster is what you get. Being AWARE, and having a plan of action is fine- but take it no farther. Instead, focus on the good- and pre=pave your horse behaving. Pre-pave safe passage, as it were. Set the negative intentions aside, and work for the good.

If you expect to fall from your horse, what happens? ... You fall from your horse.

BUT.

If you expect (and INTEND) a good ride,.... you get a good ride.

Least that is how it works in this corner of the world...

Hope that helps some!

Flying Lily said...

Onthebit: It is so sad when the old campaigners have to go. Galloping bareback is (a) an important life experience for all horsepeople; and (b) one I will never know! Too scary for this lily-liver.

GreyHorse: He is so steady I wonder why I worry. Yet I do. And run these little scenarios in my head. Maybe they will go away in time. Riding alone, which I mostly do, leaves a mental space which my imagination tends to fill. My biggest fear now is not of me getting hurt, but Johnnie!! I would never forgive myself.

Flying Lily said...

Mrs. Mom: You are absolutely right. Getting control of one's own thoughts is key. I used to work on that more systematically than I have done lately. Point taken.

The Knutson's said...

Heeheehee...I thought that I would stop by and visit, and I am glad that I did!

As an avid trail rider-and a recovering worrier!-your post really hits close to home. It is awful when you can see the potential danger in everything, and it hasn't helped that I am a nurse, and my hubby a volunteer firefighter/EMT...we have seen the worst!

I now tell myself that I am going to have fun, and when I see a potential "danger" zone, I let myself semi-think it, then I tell myself that it is silly, and I push the thought away :)

Oh...I love the pic of your (?) horse lying down, and eating, while hi-lined. My old horse used to be able to do that too.

Happy trails to you!

Melanie

lytha said...

I had the "what ifs" goin on too on my solo ride the other day. I was actually scared to get on the horse, when he was acting so tense and distracted. My mind went back to his owner's warning, "He throws riders he doesn't like" and that was enough to make me start to question, "What if he doesn't like me anymore?"

I couldn't admit it in my blog entry today, but it felt appropriate here. I just didn't get on the horse until he was calm.

beth in germany
http://horsecrazyamerican.blogspot.com/

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

With age comes wisdom...well, I won't say that I have gotten wiser, I'll just admit that I have become more aware of the "what if's".

When I used to ride colts regularly, I would go from the round pen to the open pasture all alone, without a second thought. There was more than once that I would end up chasing a coyote on a colt. Now, I wouldn't dream of doing that. Heck, I have been having an ongoing conversation in my head about even stepping on colts for the first few rides. I never in a million years would have thought that would ever happen.

Flying Lily said...

Melanie: I love 'semi-thinking' it! Great idea.

Beth: You can never go wrong listening to a horse's angst and giving it a few minutes, IMO. I've seen far too much ugly training where the opposite happens.

Brown-Eyes: Chasing a coyote on a green colt...now that is courage.

ranchette said...

I draw the line when I get that feeling in the pit of my stomach that something is a bad idea. Not the little, huh, I wonder if, but the real oh-oh in the gut. Might be Nature's way of telling us to slow down and take a step back I think. Other than that, agree with the prior comments that a positive attitude and quiet confidence go a long way to keep you and your ponies charging forward.

photogchic said...

I really work hard to present my horse with the "what ifs" so if we encounter them...she is confident enough to handle them. Lots of desenitizing to sounds, to objects, to bikes, to motor vehicles, to coughs, to zippers....you name it. I let me mind wander to come up with new things try to expose her to every day. Today it was opening a pop can. The one that worries me is a bee sting....can't quite expose her to that:-).

c2b said...

If I listened to all the "What if's...." I would never get on my horse!! I carry a mobile phone, wear hi-viz at all times, some on me some on my horse in case we part company. And just go for it.

Jamie said...

If you listen to all the bad "what if's" you lose sight of the good "what if's" and I'd rather think good "what if's" than the bad ones.

Flying Lily said...

Ranchette: Your beautiful phrase 'quiet confidence' will be my mantra.

Photogchic: I do the same thing with trying to expose my 2 little rascals to new weird stuff. Agree about the stinging insects. And the most spectacular blowups in the ring I've seen are due to that, as far as anyone can tell. So I just put the earnets on and hope for the best...

C2B: You are among my favorite cowgirl heroes. Has the curmudgeon waving his walking stick appeared on your bridle paths lately? Last night at dusk while out riding I encountered a crabby old man who said, "A little late for horses on this path!" He by the way was walking 4 dogs off leash and they were everywhere. "Is it? What about your dogs??" was the only response I could come up with. Not too quick with the sharp retort, me.

Jamie: Too utterly true; you have said it.

GP said...

checkin inn late on this subject but one i struggle with myself.. where do i draw the fine line? I'm starting to know/intuit the difference between, hey this really isnt a place to go (literally and physically) with "sit down and ride" and I expect the best from my horse... And it is okay then. Proactive rather than reactive. A work in progress for me

happy trails
gp in montana who thinks this is a GREAT topic

Train Wreck said...

Line theres a line??? Where? Did I step on it,... over it! Yikes no one told me there were any lines!! LOL!! I am a "thinker too" I try not to listen to myself!
I love that old car! what a great pic!

Flying Lily said...

GP: hey thanks for stopping by! I love your phrase 'sit down and ride'.

TrainWreck: Yo! I love that you don't listen to yourself LOL. That old car is so intriguing to me. Someone dragged it out about a half mile from the nearest road, or else drove it back in the day, and there it sits, rusted and with a story to tell if anyone could hear it...