And then things went wrong!
Such drama! I'll tell you.
Since a few weeks I started the beginners course horseback riding at the riding school near us.
During the 2nd lesson I got a horse called Ondine. Ondine was not in a good mood that day.
While brushing, Ondine had his ears flat against his neck the whole time. I had once heard that ears flat in the neck means that horses are angry.
So I asked my instructor Vera if I was doing something wrong. Did I brush too hard? Was there a sore spot I hadn't seen? No, was the answer. Ondine is just always grumpy, that's his nature.
I thought: great, putting a grumpy horse in a beginner's group. Nice!!
Ondine was also not allowed to get too close to the other horses, because otherwise things could go wrong.
And something did go wrong during class.
Ondine wouldn't do anything at all. He just stood still. And every time another horse looked at him, those ears flattened again. At one point Vera got so angry that she started cursing at him. She walked up to Ondine, took the reins from me and slapped him in the face with those reins. I was so surprised. I couldn't even respond.
After Ondine got hit, his head hung completely down. And I felt terrible. I saw such a big horse being completely sad, I felt so bad. I actually wanted to give Ondine a hug so that he would feel better, but of course you can't do that. After all, you will undermine Vera's authority and send the wrong message to Ondine.
I felt a bit torn between 2 emotions. At first I was annoyed because Ondine was being so grumpy and then I felt sorry for him that he had been beaten.
So this was not a good riding lesson for me.
And then I had to think about my work.
A couple of years ago, I was an executive assistant at a large commercial company. I then led a team of receptionists.
The telephone exchange regularly went down, so I asked 1 of those receptionists to keep a record of how often and for how long the exchange went down. I was then able to provide feedback to the supplier. When the supplier came by, I asked for that file.
And guess what, she never made that file. I was completely surprised.
“Didn't I ask you 2 weeks ago to keep track of it and you said you would? Then why didn't you do that."
The receptionist just sat there and said, "Well, I didn't do it."
I was furious.
“How could you not have done that? Now the supplier is with my manager and you haven't kept a record? How is that possible. Unbelievable!”
"Well, I didn't keep track, I didn't know I had to." Well, that comment just made me super angry. It was a good thing I didn't have a pair of reins in my hand.
Like Ondine, this receptionist was completely upset by my anger. And I also felt bad for her, because just like Ondine, she suddenly started to look very sad.
And then later your manager comes to you to tell you that you were very angry.
Yes, I was!
She doesn't do what you ask and you can't even get angry?
And then also be reprimanded by your manager?
Everyone looks at you in shock, it feels as if you are on your own then.
That 2nd riding lesson was therefore a feast of recognition. A perfect mirror for your own behavior and state of mind.
Dear reader, do you also recognize this situation? One minute you are angry and the next you feel sorry for horse or receptionist? Let me know below. I am curious for your reaction