Sometimes you get the lesson you need, and with some luck, nothing terrible happens in the process. I was lucky enough to get the lesson yesterday without the bad thing happening - but it was close. The lesson was about judging, and about attention.
What happened yesterday morning was this. After I rode Dawn, I was turning her back out. The problem was, that wasn't the only thing I was doing at the time. I was also going over in my mind the speech I was going to make to the barn workers about how upset I was that they had failed to notice Red's injury last week, and that I wanted them to check my horses over - very briefly, it only takes a few seconds - and text me if there was anything wrong. I'd even gone to the trouble to use Google's translation program to turn what I wanted to say into Spanish for the one barn worker who understands almost no English.
But since I was busy in my head with that, I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing with Dawn. The door from the outdoor arena leads to a small area where there are two gates - one leading to the mare pasture and one to the gelding pasture - the one Red and Pie are in. You probably see where this is going . . . I carefully opened the gate to the gelding pasture, led Dawn in and was about to take her halter off when I saw the black and white mini gelding - his name is Piranha - not that it's relevant to the story but I love the name - standing there by the water tank. Just before I took Dawn's halter off, letting her go in the (very) wrong pasture - my brain focussed and I realized that we were in the wrong place. We turned around, and I took her into the (proper) mare pasture and let her go.
I've done stupid things around horses before - the time Dawn kicked me in the jaw comes to mind as a noteworthy case of extreme stupidity on my part - but this was definitely right up there in the close case department. It certainly caused me to rethink my desire to tear into the guys for their stupidity and lack of attention in not noticing that Red was injured. I just ended up asking the two guys (who were the candidates for not having noticed) to look briefly at my horses and text me if anything was wrong.
I needed that - to be reminded how important it is to pay absolute attention, every moment, when we're around horses - and anytime at all for that matter - and how judging other people to be lacking is a bit like the pot calling the kettle black. I hope the lesson sticks.