Recently I watched the movie The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, (spoiler alert) there is a point in the movie where one of the two protagonists is caught snooping around a suspicious character’s house and is invited in for a drink. The protagonist agrees and comes in for a drink, even though he gets the feeling that he very likely is putting himself in harm’s way by making this choice. Surely enough as they are talking and drinking the homeowner casually pulls a gun on him makes the situation clear-he is now in complete control. He later ask: “Why people don’t trust their instincts”? Explaining he has invited many people in for a drink, that he then later kills, each time they get the sense that something is wrong but take him up on his invitation to come in anyhow. This made me really think because in my own life there have been many times I have gotten a bad gut feeling about something and pushed through and done it anyways and not a single time has it ended well for me. I can mostly relate this to riding horses; it is dangerous enough as it is but there have been so many times I’ve gotten a bad feeling and proceeded anyways because I feel like I should. Unfortunately, I have plenty of injuries to prove it! Sometimes I had felt pressured by someone else, but at the end of the day I could have always said no.
I consider myself fairly brave and find a big difference between a nervous and bad gut feeling. The nervousness works itself out because I just get on with it, but the bad gut feeling doesn't, and on horses if I am feeling this way and don't want to bail I'll try to convince myself otherwise. Don't get me wrong there have been plenty of times I've felt that bad gut feeling and actually trusted it and not gotten on. The times I have because I've felt pressured or otherwise I'll try to ignore it until I can't anymore. This is obviously a terrible habit I really need to break! Talking to other riders and people who ride and do risky activities they claim to do the same thing. I don't really understand why we do this and have been putting it into different terms for myself. If I was invited in to a sketchy van I didn't feel good about I would definitely not ignore that bad gut feeling. So why would I ignore it in other circumstances even if the results might be less dire? All the time I hear stories of people dying from getting on a dangerous horse, killing them by rearing and falling on top of them or in some other way. So my advice to myself and everyone else who rides or doesn't is you have nothing to prove that is worth your life or serious injury!! At all!! It doesn't matter how anyone else feels if they aren't the one putting themselves at risk. I wish I would have figured this out earlier in my life because it's very simple and important but unfortunately for me sometimes I just need a few bad instances for it to really sink in.