101610. I realized something Thursday while I was riding the Cowboy’s prized Dunn horse Rez …
(Isn’t he pretty?)
(Here's the same pic, just a little closer ... so you can see his real beauty. This pic was from Utah, when Rez was performing in John Carter of Mars earlier this year. I think he's going to be a star.)
You see … horses are sensitive creatures. And I don’t mean just a little sensitive. I’m talking really sensitive. Like … crazy sensitive.
A fly lands on his back and in the miniscule spot where those tiny little fly feet touch the horse, his skin ripples and twitches. You can watch it happen. It’s pretty wild.
So … with that in mind …
I was riding Rez on Thursday … supposedly practicing a “sitting trot,” in which I was to start out with Rez walking, bring him up to a trot, and then slow him down so that I could sit and sort of bounce from side to side in my saddle – a sitting trot.
But here’s what was happening: I would bump Rez into a trot and then make a move to slow him down. Instead of slowing down, he would speed up … faster … and faster … and faster. And on more than one occasion (okay … every time) he would take off in a gallop and I’d be loping around the arena with absolutely no control over where we were going, how it was happening, and all my attempts to stop him seemed to speed him up.
It was scary.
It was frustrating.
It was humbling.
It was embarrassing.
It was a downright bummer.
And this went on for more than a little while.
Time and again, we’d go from a walk to a trot and then Rez would take off across the arena, far from the direction and the speed I wanted him to go.
And I started to get really peaved.
Because I was doing everything my teacher and the Cowboy told me to do.
I was sitting down in my seat.
I was easing him back with the reigns.
I was talking to him.
I was pressing my calves into his side.
I was doing everything they told me to do.
Again and again.
And then the Cowboy said … “you’re heels are up.”
“Your heels are up. So every time you bump him, you’re asking him to go faster. If you’re heels are down and you use your calves, you won’t get the same reaction.”
But that seemed too simple.
My heels were up?
I couldn't see it (or feel it). I had no idea. I was totally unconscious of where my feet were.
But he was right. My heels were up. Hitting Rez exactly in his haunches that would send him galloping away.
So I started to focus on keeping them down. And surprise, surprise ... no more galloping out of control. No more loping around the arena with abandon. No more humiliation. No more frustration. No more stress. Whew!
And then I started to think:
People are pretty sensitive, too.
Even if we don’t realize it.
The wrong tone of voice can get a terrible reaction from a store clerk who’s having a bad day. Closed-off body language can turn off even the most gregarious and generous person. A roll of the eyes can start the argument of a lifetime.
Every action we take causes a reaction from someone else.
So the effort is to be conscious … of our behavior … of our attitude … of our interactions with others. Because, if we smile (sincerely … not a fakey fake hostile smile), maybe the store clerk will be a little more helpful. If we’re open with our body language, maybe we’ll get noticed for the promotion. And maybe, if we listen instead of roll our eyes, we could hear that one piece of information to help us avoid the fight.
If we’re conscious, our heels will be down and we’ll set ourselves up for the outcome we are hoping to achieve.
Q: How many unconscious choices do we make in a day that produce unwanted results?