Monday, February 21, 2011

Fear or Common Sense

" Casualty of the Wind "
The weather around here this past weekend was a disappointment to say the least.  Friday we had a Spring teaser with temperatures in the 60’s.  Being an optimist, I took out the Kubota and drag and proceeded to drag the indoor arena and reset the cavelletti.  My always helpful Aussies Murphy and Maggie were right there with me directing traffic.  Of course I had to keep redoing where they walked because of their little paw prints.  I know I may have a touch of OCD but I don’t like footprints or paw prints in my patterns until I bring the horses in for a ride.

Unfortunately, Saturday came in with a roar bringing winds up to 60mph and temperatures in the 30’s.  The winds were so loud it sounded as if a jet might be using the roof as a landing strip.  I decided not to ride.  A ride would have been possible but I thought that after a few weeks off Dusty or Blue or myself might have been airborne.  I came to the realization I wasn’t afraid to ride but I was cautious and using common sense.  There have been many times in the past that I would have gotten on anyway because work needed to be done and the weather be damned.  Maybe wisdom or self-preservation comes with age; I’m not sure.

I do know that I once came off my very spooky horse (Erik) when he spun around as a jump standard blew down right in front of us.  That ground hit was especially painful as I recall and since that incident I’m not all that eager to mount up on windy days.  So the question comes to mind:  is it fear or common sense?  I’d like to think its common sense.  I’m slightly more cautious now that I’m older.  In younger years my thinking was, if I fell I’d deal with it. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not afraid to ride in howling wind or other possibly less than safe conditions, it’s just that I have more common sense now that I realize my limitations.

These days I take into account that with a knee replacement I would like to avoid falling at all costs, mainly because I don’t know how mangled my knee might get and what would be needed to fix it.  This is one of the reasons I go back and forth in my mind about whether I should still have some jumping incorporated into my training of Dusty or Blue. My favorite part of riding has always been jumping.  There is no more exhilarating feeling than that of taking a talented horse around a course and if I do give it up entirely for safety’s sake I will miss it.  The decision may be made for me regardless of my wishes simply because neither Dusty nor Blue is ready to jump courses.  I’m not sure Dusty is talented enough for it and although I know Blue is very talented and loves to jump, he sometimes gets too excited with himself and forgets to stop when asked.  So it’s “wait and see how the ground training goes” before I make a final decision.

I wonder how many riders are out there who would rather not ride in certain conditions but do it anyway because they feel they must, either to keep a horse going in work or perhaps from peer pressure if you’re boarding at a facility where lessons go on no matter if conditions are safe or not.

I’ve come to appreciate the perks that come with age.  If I don’t feel safe riding I’m not going to do it until it feels right.  Call me a wuss-bunny, but it takes longer to heal from an avoidable accident than it does to wait for a nice day to enjoy a ride.

How do you feel about taking chances when you don’t have to just for the sake of getting a ride in?

Until next time

Quote for Today
How to ride a horse:
Step One - Mount the horse.
Step Two - Stay mounted ...

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