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You can see the downed wire and Chickadee at the very end of the lineup. This was taken before she got caught.

Horses are prey animals. That means among other things, that they are hardwired to put as much distance as possible between themselves and whatever has frightened them.

It’s an instinctive reaction. They get spooked and then run as fast as they can toward safety.

Over the weekend when I was out feeding our two old sweeties and their gang of oldsters, Chickadee (formerly called Hanger and Miss H. in this blog) got her left leg caught in the fence. The horses are rough on this section of  fence. They do their best to see to it that there is always at least one string of wire broken or stretched loose.

It’s dangerous.

So as horses belly up to the fence waiting for their treats, it’s easy for them to get a hoof or leg caught.

Sure enough, that’s what happened with Chickadee.

Hello Fight or Flight Response

When she realized that she was caught, her fight or flight response kicked in and she tried to back away, pulling hard. The wire stretched but her foot didn’t come free. Panic lit her eyes as she struggled against the wire. She started to lose her balance and I worried that something bad was going to happen.

I grabbed a handful of snacks and reached my arm into the fence. “Come on sweetie,” I called, my voice calm and encouraging. “Come get your snack.”

At first she continued to pull against the fence. I thought, even hoped, that the wire would break, though I wasn’t sure what reaction that would cause. Instead, Chickadee walked toward me. As she came forward, I was able to pull in the stretched wire and wrap it around a post.

Another crisis averted. Woo hoo!

Is there a lesson for us?

It got me thinking about how we humans react to the things we perceive as dangerous or stressful, which is more likely these days. More often than not, we follow Chickadee’s lead and fight against the danger. We get stressed out. We envision the worst. We let our blood pressure rise and our breath shorten. We struggle. We push. We argue. We resist.

Where does it get us? Very often it gets us nowhere. Except worked up and perhaps even more stressed. The problem, the danger, is still there.

But when we let go,

when we release,

when we yield,

we’re in a much better place to solve the problem.

Just like Chickadee and the fence.

Or the Bamboo Finger Trap

It reminds me of the novelty toy called the bamboo finger trap. It’s a woven hollow tube where you insert your index fingers into each end. The harder you try to pull your fingers out, the tighter the trap becomes. The key to getting free is to push your fingers toward each other, which enlarges the openings.

You must yield, or release instead of struggle and pull with all your might.




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