You Get Out What You Put In

I had a particularly long and productive week last week. I’ve added a couple horses to the herd and they’re all doing really well. I’ve spent a lot of time schooling my hunter mare and have seen considerable progress in her strength, balance, and attitude. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t exhausted by the end of the week, but I’m so very happy with how all the horses are going.

While I was mustering up the last bit of energy to complete my rides last week, I reminded myself of some of my favorite mantras that get me through the days, weeks, months and years. I decided that they were worth sharing and so for your enjoyment, I’ve listed them below.

You get out what you put in.

Whenever I start feeling tired or my rides start becoming less productive, I remind myself of this. It gives me the little extra kick in motivation to keep trying to practice what I learned at the last clinic or read about in an article. When you ride on your own a lot, you have to find ways to keep stretching your abilities. If I start to lose inspiration in teaching or riding, I go back to books or the internet and find exercises to teach what I need to teach. We’re not re-inventing the wheel, we’re just trying to make the process more efficient and books are great resources.

The journey is the reward.

This is a big one for me. I’ve always ridden on a considerably tight budget in horse show world terms. In a sport known for it’s wealth and in a time obsessed with successful youths, it can be difficult to remain optimistic and not jealous of others. When I look at the horses I get to ride and how far they have come, I remind myself that my time will come with hard work. I will meet my goals, it will just take me a little longer. At the end of the day, I get to ride some pretty nice horses and have really awesome clients, so it’s a pretty good life.

If you’re going through Hell, keep going.

Several years ago, I attended a Young Horse Symposium hosted at Maplewood Stables in Reno, NV. Mindy Bower was the clinician for starting groundwork and starting horses under saddle. One of the things that stuck with me was how we all make a mess of things before we make it better. Making mistakes isn’t the problem, giving up before you finish on a good note is the problem.

In a similar vein, while I was at the Trainers Certification Symposium, Geoff Teall (one of the funniest trainers I’ve ever met), talked about how as an instructor or rider, you’re going to make mistakes. He said “you’re going to make mistakes in teaching, so don’t worry about it.” The more I teach and ride, the better I get at it, but every once in a while I get something wrong. Sorry in advance! The important thing is that I do learn from my mistakes!

The Annual Extra

Geoff Teall talks about in his book about the Annual Extra. He says that every year he picks one thing he will do better and incorporate it into his life. This may mean moving moving the warm up jumps a couple feet to the side so the footing is better, or improving one aspect of horse care to go above and beyond. It can be difficult, especially when the only things keeping you going are caffeine and NSAIDs, but it is totally worth it in the long run.

You make your own luck.

Oh boy can this be a tough one to admit sometimes! Luck can go either way, good or bad. This always reminds me of the responsibility I must take for my success or failures. Owning your actions is a great way to motivate yourself to do just a little bit more.

Kiva and me in our first 1.20m Jumper Classic at Woodside.