Once I have painted a picture, carving part of the picture off is a difficult decision, but one I have to take when I paint and repaint but I cannot accomplish what I want to accomplish - which in this case is to have the farmer and his hand stand out. See below where I took the plunge and removed one of the horses in Amish Farmer Harnassing Horses.
Below is how the area of detail looked originally - the background horse keeps distracting me from the farmer and his hand, which is where I really want your focus to rest.
Before carving anything off I repainted the horse in the background to see what the picture might look like once it was gone. This helped me to decide to proceed.
Nerve wracking though it was (because once wood is carved off it can't be put back), once I made the decision and carved off the horse, I knew it was the right one. That area behind the farmer's hat and hand was simply too "busy" prior to the change.
Below see how this area of detail looks now. I can tell it is right because I feel calm when I look at it.