I though that for my first official weekly blog post, I would share a little about myself and my main horse, Zeus.
I thought if I share where I am coming from and where I am going: you might recognize some common ground, or see something inspirational along the way.
I started off with horses at a young age. You all remember I am sure- the age where you fell in love with horses, and felt that draw that made you want to be near them- no matter what. If we could bottle that feeling, I am sure it would be the most addictive drug in the world. But, as many of us do- I started to think that as I grew up I could turn my passion into a career, and I did. But, as many people do- I began to pay the price for turning my passion into work. I got caught up in the pressures of our industry and although I thought I was doing right by the horse- I started to realize, maybe it was not the best I could do.
Often times in the horse world, we get caught up. Caught up in the drama, caught up in the showing, the winning, the failures, the successes, the friends, the foes- you know- ALL THE THINGS. The problem I learned with being caught up in all things “horsey” is that all too often we are swept away by it as well.
What does that mean? I think it really means we get lost. Horses become a way to prove something- to ourselves, to others, to judges, to peers and in that moment- we lose the ability to really connect with the horse because his perspective is lost. It becomes all about US- the human- and what the horse can do FOR us to achieve our goals.
I am striving to break this model and mold and get back to what really matters each day- the HORSE. I am striving to find better ways to communicate and understand things from their perspective, so we can both learn from the interactions.
No horse has taught me the value of this lesson more than my warmblood Zeus. I have owned Zeus for about 6 years, and it has been a long path to where we are now. People see us ride today and comment on how willing a partner he is, and how nicely trained, etc. But, what they don’t see is all the sweat, tears, grit, and growth it took on my part, as the human, to meet Zeus where he was (and is) each and every ride.
Zeus started out as a greenie- who was a little “lookie loo” but fairly rideable. Thru a cross-country move, time off, and bad training decisions, he unraveled over a year or so into something I could not seem to communicate with or ride successfully, or even safely. Spooking, bolting, running off at the gate, impossible to ride anywhere but in a small arena indoor arena, afraid of EVERYTHING, prone to do a 180* in weather like wind or storms. Frustrated, I put him up for sale TWICE, but felt responsible for making his life better- not passing along my problems to someone else and something about him pulled at my heart- always. We were a wreck- and by we, I mean me. With every failed ride, I got more and more emotional, frustrated, and lost.
A friend of mine (who I will forever be grateful to), saw my struggle and mentioned I should come with her to check out a clinic with Buck Brannaman one weekend. That was the fall of 2015 and that experience saved us- truly. Now, I would not take all the money in the world for this guy- because you can’t buy what we have created with each other.
Nowadays we are making progress as a partnership- and I am always trying to look forward to our future, and not linger on the past. I had to get really honest, really focused, and WAY LESS emotional with him to see progress in our relationship. I had to get physically and mentally in shape and I had to start getting educated.
He is the catalyst that started me on the road to being a better horsewoman, and was a huge part of what inspired me to share all I have learned with others. I am grateful to Zeus for all he has done for me, and all he gives me each and every ride. You will see more of him in future posts I am sure.
SO WHAT INSPIRES ME?
The list used to be long and complicated, but recently I have managed to get it down to one word- THE HORSE.
While I find my mentors inspiring, and word of wisdom motivational- the reality of my life is that everything is driven by my love of the horse. All my actions are geared towards being a more effective communicator, a better ambassador, and a truer partner to the horses I meet and train. Each one gets my 100% focus and attention, 100% of the time I am with them. I have learned that to achieve my goals with the horse, I have to do one thing really well and that is be a better human being.
To that end, I have spent the better part of the last 4 years, learning that lesson. I have chosen to surround myself with elements that support this goal, and my gains with horses have been greater than the other 20 years of my professional career combined.
One element I realized was factoring into my progress with horses was surrounding myself with other like-minded people. Not necessarily from a training or discipline standpoint are we all alike, but from a MENTAL standpoint- we are the same. Positive, supportive, effective, direct sometimes but not critical or destructive, and above all willing to lift each other up and inspire- rather than “compete” and tear each other down.
I realized the feeling I got from being lifted up by my horsemanship peers and mentors, rather than torn down- was something I wanted to promote and share with others as well. Thus, B.N. Spired Horsemanship was born.
Whether you take a in-person lesson with me, subscribe to my viral channels, or fellowship with me at a clinic down the road, my goal is to show you how to appreciate the horse- where they are, for who they are.
This blog is inspired by my hopes to show you there is a better way to learn and grow in our sport. A positive, inspiring way that makes a winner out of you as a human being, so you can make a winner out of your horse. According to the great Ray Hunt, that’s what it is all about after all.