Our ‘gut feelings’ are those little ‘niggles’ that we get. A resistance, butterflies, unease. Things that happen on a physical level, which are our intuition telling us that we aren’t in alignment with our true selves.
In today's modern society, there are many things that have caused us to be out of touch with our instincts, or cause us to override them even when we have them;-
We’re busy - often we may be in a constant state of ‘unease’ and so it has become normal to us to feel that way.
It's not ‘in our gut’ and so we don't think it's a ‘gut feeling’. Sometimes our instincts can present as tension or unease in other areas of the body.
We underestimate our knowledge, so we ignore what we think, and listen to others.
We have people telling us the opposite of how we feel, and sometimes those people are professionals, so we push our feelings aside and listen to them.
We are simply ‘out of touch’ with our bodies and how they actually feel.
When it comes to our horses our instincts can be there to help us;
Stay safe - sometimes that uneasy feeling that says ‘ I don't think I should ride today’ is your intuition telling you that ‘somethings up’
Slow down - we may be following a method or training program, and our intuition may tell us ‘hey my horse just needs me to go a little slower on this one’
Find a ‘bigger issue’ - our instincts may be telling us ‘there is something not right here, maybe I should call a vet / body worker / hoof care professional’.
Protect our horse - I see this a lot with training, clinicians or coaches. A student may be uncomfortable with what they are being told to do to their horse, and yet they will continue to do so because ‘the coach must know what they are doing’. Often this is true - the coach does know what they are doing and what they are looking for, but, this doesn’t always align with how we are wanting to relate to our horses. Particular red flags in this situation is when you are being told your horse is;
Deliberately annoying you
Being a jerk
In certain circumstances it may feel that these are true, but we must remember our horse is simply doing what he believes he needs to do at the time, to remain safe. As soon as we start taking things personally, it brings us to a point of conflict, when, it is our job as the human to be constantly seeking resolutions. If something you are being told to ‘do’ to your horse doesn’t feel right, don’t be afraid to speak up, at the very least it should be ok to take a pause and talk more about the circumstances.
Practice tapping into your intuition by having more awareness on how you feel in your body - not just on an emotional level which can be reactive, but on a deep level. Meditation can help with our consciousness surrounding this.