Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Open Your Mind • Listen To Your Heart • Follow Your Dreams

A famous trainer I know showed horses at the AQHA World Show Event over the past 10 years. Each of these horses excelled and emitted such talent, presence and grace. I asked him once “Of all the great horses you have shown and done so well with, which one was your favorite?” Without missing a beat he said, “The next one...” You see my friend understood the principal of moving forward. He was certainly pleased and excited about each horse’s success but believes the world as well as himself is waiting for his next great venture.

I often hear people say…
“Oh, I guess I’m doing ok with my horse”

“I’m not very talented at training anyhow”

“I’d love to show but I don’t have the time”

“My horse isn’t ever going to perform well”

No matter where you are in your life there is so much more you can and should accomplish. Never stop growing. We should always be reaching for new heights in our abilities with our horses our careers and our personal relationships. We may have achieved a certain level of success but there are always new challenges, new dreams and goals to pursue.

If you’ve been blessed with a great horse, great family and a great career then celebrate that and be grateful and thankful but do not get complacent. “I’ve achieved my goals, I’ve reached my limits.” No you haven’t. Life is a journey, never stop dreaming, hoping, planning. Keep the adventure alive. The best is yet to come.

Your best days are not behind you they are in front of you. However we must keep pushing forward. We must expect more of ourselves. Rid yourself of low expectations, dare to dream big.

It all starts in our hearts and in our minds. We have to believe that we have a gift. Maybe you have tried to succeed in the horse world or somewhere else in life but time and time again you have hit a brick wall. Sometimes we get discouraged but more often than not we get comfortable. We stop reaching, we stop dreaming. Somewhere along the way we forget that we are valuable and have a right to dream and succeed in life.

You have talent, creativity, discipline and wisdom. You have determination. It’s all in you. You are full of potential. You do have to do your part and start tapping into it. You owe it to yourself to make better use of your talents and gifts.

Years ago I had a friend who purchased a wonderful finished reining horse. This horse could turn with beauty and grace. Such magnificent style and speed. His rollbacks matched those of the greatest proven reiners. My friend would get on and run a pattern at about 50% of what this horse and he were capable of. He was excited and felt like he was riding this horse to his full potential. One day he asked if I could ride this horse and tell him what I thought as a trainer. As I pushed his gelding to his limits my friend recognized that he had not been riding this horse anywhere near the horse’s or his own full potential. As I dismounted his horse I said to my friend, “You see you are not going as fast and hard as you can go, you are going as fast as you will go.

You see it’s much the same with us; our potential is there we just have to be willing to learn how to use it.

The capability is in you. The real question is, “Are you willing to break free from yourself imposed limitations and start reaching a new level?”

I had a client “Mary” who owned a beautiful Friesian mare. This mare was talented and powerful under saddle. Trainer after trainer told Mary that she lacked timing and feel “Your not aggressive enough to ride this mare, you can’t do anything right with her, your ruining her” After hearing that for so long and from so many trainers Mary began to believe it. Mary felt beat down mentally and emotionally. She had no joy, little to no confidence and extremely low self esteem. She even contemplated selling her mare and getting out of horses. She thought well maybe if I sell her I won’t ruin her”

I told Mary what I’m telling you. You have value, you have talent and gifts. No matter what anyone else may say they cannot take away those wonderful assets that are inside of you. You’ve got to stop dwelling on thoughts that are negative and begin playing thoughts in your mind like, “I am talented, I am a good rider, and I am valuable.”

Words are powerful. They can create barriers in your heart and mind. Sometimes one little phrase can hold us back for years. To many times we believe what others say. We start thinking about our faults. What we can’t do or don’t have.

“I got into horses late in life; I’m too old to learn now”

“I’ll never be able to teach my horse how to do a flying lead change”

“I can’t do that”

Do not get stuck in a rut in your attitude, your career or with your horses. You have incredible potential inside of you. Much more than you realize.

Think about this, the dream in your heart maybe bigger than the environment in which you find yourself.

Consider a colt. If he is put in a small paddock and left unattended other than his basic needs of food and water, he will grow but not to his full potential. He will not learn to trust and his ability to be all he can be will be at a standstill.

Perhaps you are in that small paddock. Your basic needs are being met but maybe you need to move on to greener pastures. Sometimes we are put in an uncomfortable position, pushed out of our comfort zone. It’s not always because someone has it in for us. Maybe it’s the world’s way of pushing you, redirecting you, telling you to reach for that dream.

If we were going to move that colt out of that paddock we would have to put some pressure on him. We would have to pressure him out that gate and into that big pasture. He would resist, wanting to stay where he was comfortable and familiar. He may feel threatened, scared and even panicky but once thru that gate and into that green open field of grass he finds a new freedom, a new outlook on life. You see the potential was always in him he just did not have the opportunity to use it.

Maybe you need that push too. Think of that colt, as a trainer I have learned that horses have an unbelievable ability to adapt, learn and forgive, we as humans posse those same qualities. So what are you waiting for? Open up that gate. Move on to bigger and better things in life. Open your mind, listen to your heart and reach for that dream.

Written by: Kathy Valentine