Our gut feeling about a situation can keep us safe if we know when to listen.
Quite often peer pressure can lead us to do things we actually know we shouldn’t be doing! Like that one day where everyone was riding in the arena and started going over huge jumps. They told you to not be such a scaredy-cat and take the jump, and you did… but you were sweating and deep down you knew you weren’t ready.
Perhaps your horse is unconfident about jumping and by taking that big jump you ruined the trust and relationship between you two. Or you were unconfident and ended up falling off or getting more frightened!
Dog owners are the same way. You can be on a walk with a group of people and everyone has their dog off the leash. Yours is leashed because he or she is not yet trained, but everyone tells you to loosen up and let the “poor dog have fun”. So, with a deep feeling of regret, you take the leash off and something bad happens – the dog runs off, chases something, doesn’t come when called… and you can’t reinforce your training! Bummer!
These are moments where you need to listen to yourself and know when something’s not a good idea. Put your foot down and ignore peer pressure for your, and your animal’s, sake.
But sometimes this gut feeling can be mistaken for a general fear. Maybe we really are ready to take that jump with our horse but we wait our whole lives, because we’re too scared to try… That’s when it’s time to take baby steps forward. Start by going over a pole, then a raised pole, a small jump, and so on. Just do something to get over your fear.
We need to listen to our gut and instinct, but there comes a time when we need to move forward! Stay safe!