Risks with Riding Horses

Sophie Brush

What risks do we take on a daily basis? On our first day of INTD 105 with Beth McCoy we discussed risks and how it relates to our course epigraph:”If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is a risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner.” Octavia Butler “Bloodchild”. This got me thinking about the risk I take on a daily basis in my day to day life. The only thing that came to mind was horseback riding. Risk is something that comes with the sport. Your partner is a 1200-1300 lbs animal that doesn’t even speak the same language as you. Anything could happen and it could change your life. A horse is its own being and has its own mind and choices. Everyone says that horseback riding is easy, but it’s not. Our partner could kill us if we make a mistake or misread a sign. But how does this relate to the epigraph? With riding and being an equestrian you take risks everytime you decided to get on a horse, be around a horse, or work with a horse. It’s scary yes, but the outcomes when you complete a perfect dressage course or clear every jump in the jump off, the feeling is incredible. But the best thing is the bond with a horse.

In Bloodchild, T’Gatoi sends Gan out to slaughter an animal from the family “farm” that is half his size, now he’s never done this before but he has to. He took the risk to slaughter the animal so he could save a life and get eggs for T’Gatoi and the T’Khotgif Teh citizen. Gan killed an achti,which was a local Terran animal and could help the man. He took the gun from the hidden spot and went out to kill the animal for T’Gatoi and the man. He was helping his family and helped save a life until the correct people from his clan came to claim him and help him properly. Gan took the risk of using a banned weapon and an animal from the family “farm” to help what he believed in, even though he had never done it before. The risks out weighted the benefits in this case and it was for the better. This relates to the epigraph because of a few things, he had to be an adult and kill the Terran achti for the man and follow the order from T’Gatoi who could kill him if she really wanted to. In riding this is the same, but not really. We have to accept all the risks we take when dealing with a horse. No matter what the outcomes are always incredible and amazing. Since riding is one of the most difficult sports ever, the risks are so much higher when something goes wrong. It is very common for a horse to basically ignore your commands or literally throw you off. But it’s all with the risks like Gan took when killing the achti. You do what you do, given the circumstances you are under. 

The amount of times I have been riding a horse and everything is going good, one second can change that; and sometimes you don’t even see it coming. This past fall when I was riding at the college stables, Leg Up stables, I was on Rio. We were just cantering along and practicing transitions from the canter down to a trot, I was going around a corner and BAM…I was on the ground. I later learned that Rio is very famous at the barn for throwing people off if he doesn’t like what you’re doing. I had my reins too tight and was pulling on his mouth. And he simply just got me off by crow hopping. I landed on my back and couldn’t breathe for a few seconds. Now in Bloddchild what could have happened if Gan wasn’t mentally prepared to kill the animal? He could have hesitated when he wanted to kill it and the animal could have tried to kill him first. Risks happen on a daily basis where Gan lives with the Terran. Since they also have the hidden gun, which were outlawed to keep people safe, the family could be shown to the “government” that they have on their planet and who knows what they would do. T’Gatoi and having the eggs are a risk, because since the mom doesn’t take hers usually she ages at a rate we would call normal but they call it fast. The eggs keep you younger for longer, but since the mom doesn’t eat hers, she is always tired and pale. The eggs are keeping her alive and she only ate when T’Gatoi forced her. She then was sedated by T’Gaoi and went to sleep until the next day. But why would she want to not take the eggs? 

Bloodchild and riding horses both have increible risks and both have your life on the line. One wrong move or judgment or action could cost you your life. Risks are just a part of life no matter what planet you are on or who your government is. No matter what happens to someone who needs an animal to be killed to survive or a horse that is having a bad day, it could change you and their life forever. The author, Butler, is very good at showing and describing the risks in her book and it always gets you thinking and trying to predict what will happen in the future and is like an ongoing cliffhanger from page to page. In my life, riding is always the biggest cliffhanger, you have to be constantly thinking about what you are going to do next and what the outcome could be. Horses and people think differently and we don’t know what they are thinking and they don’t know what we are thinking, but we can get them to understand what we are going to do with the correct guidance. It always depends on the situation and you will be always taking risks, either on an alien planet or riding a horse. Risks are a part of everyday life, we can’t run and shouldn’t run away from them. 

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