Last weekend I was supposed to be competing in a show. I took my horse to the venue, saddled up and was warming up. Walk, trot canter – everything great. Then I started popping over a few small jumps – everything still going smoothly – my horse keen and seeming to be enjoying herself. Then I came on a tight right hand turn to the jump and blam!! I didn’t even see it coming! Suddenly, I was on the ground, on my feet in front of my horse – facing her! In the back of my mind was this vague memory of her hindlegs coming up in a powerful buck. I felt like a catapult had shot me into the air. I must have done a complete somersault to have landed as I did! Fortunately for me , the jump broke my fall!
The thing is that my horse doesn’t normally buck, she is the sweetest most willing mare. If she bucks, it is a signal of pain. Horses buck as a defence mechanism to protect against predators – so that reaction is almost involuntary. So I knew that this meant that she had some type of muscular or structural issue. The only way that horses can communicate that there is a problem is by “misbehaving”.
She had injured herself at the beginning of the year, causing muscular strain and needing chiropractic and physio treatment. This was her first show back in competition. Now I say that I didn’t see it coming, but in hindsight, there had been signals that she was starting to feel discomfort again. But I think I was in denial. I didn’t want to acknowledge that the problems were recurring, in case it meant that I would not be able to ride in the show. This is one of the blind spots that I talked about in my last newsletter.
- I don’t want to see or acknowledge the true situation
I was not consciously aware that I was hiding these messages from myself. My poor horse had been gently trying to let me know that there was a problem. The messages became more forceful, until they were unmistakeable!
This can happen so easily in our relationships. We don’t see what we don’t want to see – ignoring messages until it reaches explosion point – and then we are “WTF??? Where did that come from???
As always, the first step to change is awareness. So the awareness that I may be creating blind spots about things that I don’t like, means that hopefully I will be less likely to do so. Are there blind spots in my other relationships? I am sure there must be!! How can I find these? How can you know if you have blind spots? These are ways that occur to me:
- Get the honest opinion of people that you trust and respect
- Work on really listening to others – listening to understand, not listening to reply
- Honestly evaluate my role in any problems in a relationship