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Finding Balance in Assessing Risk

Last weekend, I went to Tryon International Equestrian Center to watch horses jump on the cross-country course. If you haven't seen this event (which, ironically, is one of 3 disciplines in a sport called "Eventing"), it's absolutely incredible that a horse and rider can get over these huge jumps together. On one of the jumps, we saw a horse tumble over the obstacle. It looked like he landed on the rider, who we were certain was badly injured. However, in a few minutes, she was walking off the course with her horse. She could do that because she was wearing a safety vest that inflated when she fell. There was a part of me that wondered why anyone would take such chances. After all, it was a similar accident that paralyzed actor Christopher Reeve. When it became clear that you can get really hurt jumping horses, shouldn't everyone have seen the folly and quit doing it all together? Why take the risk? Watching the rider walk off the course with her horse got me thinking about assessing risk and taking risk. The truth is, we are all doing both every day. Driving in your car carries risk. Walking up and down the stairs at your house carries risk. Flying an airplane carries risk. Taking the dog for a walk carries risk. Sometimes we assess risk well. Sometimes we assess risk poorly and either pay for it or avoid doing something that we would have really enjoyed. We also take risk, ...
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