“Events + Response = Outcome” –Jack Canfield, cocreator of Chicken Soup for the Soul series and author of The Success Principles
In other words, attitude really is everything.
Now that the deer flies and mosquitoes have disappeared along with the hot temperatures of the summer, we are fortunate to be able to ride back into the deep woods behind the stables. Unfortunately, horses are prey animals and can be spooky to the sounds of the forest after months of not venturing past the familiar pasture and arenas. And although horses view humans as predators, we are also prey to certain species. The sound of what could be a few deer crashing through the underbrush is not so different than a black bear doing likewise. Due to fear of the unknown, both horse and rider may panic. What should be a relaxing walk in the woods could turn into an unintended wild ride out of there.
Thankfully my riding partner Connie is bombproof. She’s 70 with the energy of a 20-year-old and the wisdom of a centenarian. I’ve ridden alongside her for two years now and have yet to see her respond to her horse spooking or tripping with anything besides “It’s okay.” And it always is, almost as if she can will it to be so. Thankfully so far the crashing noises have been harmless deer or possums but I don’t think even a bear would get a scream out of her. Her calm responses to the surprising and hair-raising events lurking along our trails always result in smooth sailing, not a stampede.
My response to unexpected noises used to be a scream of “What is it?” My Sportie does not want a fearful leader. Who does? I can’t calm him down until I calm myself down, and so I must work on being less reactive every day. I try to think “What would Connie do?” I can finally say fear is no longer my go-to emotion, and I’m working hard at moving it out of my Top 5. Namaste.