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Are You Putting on a Brave Face?

Eilidh Milnes

make the right things easy and the wrong things hard

Little did we know as we flew out of Heathrow earlier this month that our daughter, Catriona was being admitted to Mackay hospital. She was being rushed by ambulance to the emergency unit after a a riding accident at the same time as our flight departure. When we stopped off in Singapore for fours hours, we messaged her cheery updates. She replied in a similar style without letting slip her real situation. So you can imagine when we finally landed in Sydney and found out, we were extremely concerned.

We had to wait a further 36 anxious hours to be reassured that her pelvis was not damaged; that her internal organs were badly bruised yet thankfully intact. During this worrying time, we avoided voicing our concerns to each other. Both of us were silently and inwardly acknowledging the worst yet hoping for the best. Throughout the entire drama Catriona put on a brave face; not wanting to worry us. However as you can imagine we had mixed feelings regarding her decision.

Have you ever kept a worrying situation to yourself? If so, like Cat you may well have done so for laudable reasons. However your friends, family and colleagues might have seen things differently. A problem shared is a problem halved. We understand why Cat kept her situation a secret and we are grateful, however we were horrified to think of our daughter in agony while we were enjoying the hospitality of the airline lounges. Cat was doing what she considered to be the right thing to make it easier for all involved.

Making the Right Things Easy

I'm not sure who should take the credit for the phrase, "Make the wrong things hard and the right things easy". Warwick Schiller, riding legend and equestrian expert certainly uses it. Cat admires Schiller and has even attended his clinic in Queensland. She follows Warwick's methodology.

Cat does not believe that her horse, Elvis was to totally blame for the accident. In fact, she praises Elvis for standing still when she came off and puts his behaviour down to dedicated training. Elvis responds to Cat. She treats him like the 17-hand thoroughbred star he is. There's a mutual bond of affection and respect. He has learned from her that when he does the right things, life is sweet. On the other hand, if he behaves badly she makes him work harder and horses, like people prefer the easy option.