March 21, 2017

TrishBits #31: Use Some Horse Sense

Just last week, I went to a rural barn in South Carolina to try out a new pony.  Her name was Rachel, and she was a pretty palomino paint with friendly eyes that sparkled.

I mounted and – off we went!  She was incredibly sensitive, turning this way and that if I merely thought about how I might want to go this way or that.  Every shift in the saddle was a message to Rachel, and she responded immediately.

It got me thinking about that part of us that is more ‘animal’ than ‘thinking human.’  We all have a physical and intuitive response to what our senses pick up.  The more primitive part of our brain, the limbic system, is a powerful processor of sensorial information.  It reacts quickly to input that we might be in danger.  It sends us into fight or flight.  It gives us a gut feeling about whether a stranger can be trusted.

Over time, if we are well-educated and good citizens, we learn to think through all this sensorial input with a different part of the brain – the neocortex.  This can be very good.  But it also can lead us astray – when we try to ‘talk ourselves out of’ irrational feelings. 

When your gut and your thinking brain serve one another – that’s magic.

So, when folks come to the ranch to do groundwork with a horse, I often ask them, “What if you were a horse?  What would you be doing right now?”

Play with this thought.  Stop over-thinking, and just ask yourself, “What do I know without knowing how I know it?”

Trust that.  It’s good, old-fashioned horse sense.

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