Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider

Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider
Click on Logo (Original artwork by Lanie Frick for Messick Quarter Horses. Not permitted to be copied)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Where do you start? Help those who want your help!

I have had some friends start writing their blog. I have started reading Pioneer Woman and mugwump recently. Maybe that is what started me on this soul searching. Their writings gave me the desire to start writing, and to put my thoughts and feelings down on paper. Pioneer Woman makes me want to be a nicer person. I love her love of life and for her husband and family. Her picture stories are fabulous! I love her humor, and her recipes, even though it has been ages since I have had the time to cook. But putting some meat in a crock pot to cook is cooking, right? Oh, the writings of mugwump have me laughing. I have had so many of the same thoughts as mugwump. She understands her horse so well! I love reading how she deals with her mare, lol! Yes, the best way is to start by what you know, to do a clinic, and who comes, comes! Maybe it isn't the number of people that you help, but just helping those that want the help. Maybe that will be my next blog! And it has!

I’m at a different place in my life, being an empty nester, getting older, with a husband who is terribly busy at work, and I’m not wanting to, or willing to, work in 0 degree and 100 degree weather full time. I’ll soon be a grandmother to 2 babies! (Not twins, but 2 of our children are each expecting their first baby this December). Where do I want to be in life? Should I continue with the tack store, should I continue with giving riding lessons, or should I build my training business back up? All at once, it seems like there are many middle age woman who are having, or making, the time for horses, who want to start riding lessons, and/or are wanting training put on their horse. I could help them. Would they want my help?

Burn out came a few years ago! I know now that was what it was. I was getting discouraged. I wasn’t excited about what I was doing. I didn’t even want to do what I was doing. And the worst was that I didn’t even want to ride. Riding was work and I was tired of working all the time. Working from 7 in the morning to 9 at night. Morning chores, hay, grain and water 8-10 horses and cleaning stalls. Feeding outside horses. Grooming 8-10 horses then cleaning those 8-10 stalls again. Filling waters again, saddling and training on 8-10 horses, and cleaning those 8-10 stalls again. Evening chores. Feeding outside horses again, feeding training horses again, cleaning those 8-10 stalls again. Then maybe 3-4 lessons. And finally, cleaning those 8-10 stalls again before going in to the house for what is left of the evening. Can you tell that I never like to have a dirty stall? Weekends had horse shows, helping my own kids show and coaching other kids. Every now and then, we were home to go to church Sunday mornings. It seems like those 3 or 4 months in the spring when I was the busiest felt like it would never get to be summer. Summer time brought less training horses, but then I started and rode my young horses when it was 90 degrees out! How tiring is that? And still coached youth at evening lessons and at shows, when it was 100 degree days! I wanted to quit. One morning, I woke up, dreading going to the show to coach that day. I didn’t want to go to the show. I didn‘t want to help people anymore.
Then recently I had a group of little kids. They brought me flowers, and cookies, and smiles, and hugs. Lessons went by fast. Kids loved their riding time! And I loved helping them. When I was selling my son’s youth horses, these little kids looked up at me, and, with big open eyes, they asked who they would ride when Misty and Chick were sold? They didn’t realize that there would be less lessons if I sold these horses. They just assumed that there would be another horse. I realized that I couldn’t stop helping them. How could I not help someone who had a love for horses so great that they wanted to come for lessons, no matter what the weather was like or what horse they rode? As long as there were horses, even to brush, they would come! They wanted my help and I wanted to help them. They were good for my soul. They made me realize why I started doing what I did, lessons, training, helping others learn how to ride and about horses!

Now, a few years later, I’m at another turning point. I want some free time. I don’t want to be on everyone else’s schedule any more. I started trail riding more. I started doing some Competitive Trail rides. After 15 years, I just told my 4-H group that I am done coaching 4-H! I had made that decision a few years ago, but it didn’t feel right then. I couldn’t leave a few great kids hanging. Today, it feels right, and I am content with that decision. My families that mean so much to me are so supportive and they have helped to make that decision easier. I will still do spring and summer lessons.

I wasn’t doing enough with my own horses. They weren’t being ridden. In today’s market, they were worth pennies on the dollar! So I did less with them, they stood in the horse lot, eating hay. I started downsizing a few years ago. Selling a few at an auction, selling a few privately for, what I thought then was ½ their value. Now, 3 or 4 years later, I wished I had sold more at that previous auction. Now these horses, broke but who need an experienced rider, are only bring about 30% of what they did a few years ago. I took what money I got because I’m feeding less horses, therefore my winter hay bill is down. I know that next spring I wouldn’t get any more money for my horses if they had another season of rides on them. The market is down! Who knows if it will ever go up since they took away the kill plants. But that is another issue. I need to ride the horses that I have, make them better horses for all levels of riders, and then they will sell at a fair price. I need to have the time for me, my goals, and for my own horses.
Getting back to why this blog originated…it’s not the number of people that you help, but help those who want your help. Someone once told me that you can only help the people who want your help. I started out wanting to help everyone. Some people just don’t appreciate what is handed to them, imagine that! When the kids do, their parents don’t. When the parents do, the kids don’t. Not everyone, just a few, but what do they say about a bad apple in a bushel of apples? I learned over the years to keep my mouth shut, and, for those who know me, imagine that! Ha!

Now, I see the wisdom in only helping the people who come to me. I will keep the people away who pull me down. If I concentrate on a few, the few will excel and will learn as much as I am capable of teaching them. Don’t we all want that? To teach someone something so well that they go on and achieve more than they thought they could? Others will see their achievements and ask about what was different. My actions will speak for themselves, and through the actions of others. But…you can’t make them want “it” as much as you want “it”. You can’t make them strive to learn more, to get “it”, if they don‘t want to. It has to come from within them. I had to learn to only give them as much as they wanted or could comprehend. I had to learn not to give them all that I could if that is not what they wanted. A hard lesson for me to swallow, and to learn how to do. I now have fun watching people have fun while they learn. I have more energy, I enjoy these lesson times, and I have a rewarding feeling.

But it is also about limiting the number of people that you help so you have time for what matters most to you. It's amazing when you see clinicians doing something that you do, and making money, you wonder why you don't do the same things? But, by doing more, you develop a bigger business, then you start doing even more work, ride more horses, do more lessons, and be even busier. Well, maybe I’ll stay at this point in my life because I can’t imagine being busier! Something would have to give, and it would probably be my wits! Why on earth would someone want to be any busier? I have no time to breathe right now. I want to find something that gives me some time to do the things that I want to do, find some time to relax at the end of each day and drink a cup of coffee or glass of ice tea, plant some flowers and a vegetable garden, and maybe cook a meal or 2 a week. I want to wake up some morning and wonder what I will do to keep me busy that day. That is not even an option today! I don’t even have time to clean my toilets! I could make the time, but I can’t be doing something every minute of the day. I need some down time in the evenings. I manage to keep the house picked up. Clutter is in organized piles, and the office door stays shut. Meals are cooked in the crock pot. Sometimes, the dishes are washed in the dishwasher, then remain there until they are used, or I get tired of the dirty dishes in the sink so I empty the half-emptied dishwasher. Clothes are washed, then hung to dry so there is no ironing. I try to keep the mail caught up. And my toilets get cleaned when I have company.

Now I have more time for more rides on my young horses. More trail rides. More CTR rides. I’m exciting to see what next year brings. I’ll have 2 grandbabies to cuddle. I have 2 young horses to make better. I have 3 coming yearlings to teach ground manners and learn how to round pen. I have Finny to continue working on maneuvers and logs together. And I have a husband to share my love of horses with. I need to plan a trail ride with him!

Time to reflect, restructure life, regroup, relax, and enjoy these horses! Come along on my next ride with me. Brenda


Nosnikta said...

Brenda.. this is really cool. I think you are right that you were burned out and kinda broke down a bit a few years ago. You are MUCH more fun and relaxed now! :-)

I'm glad I made it through the cut lol.

You've paid your dues helping everyone else. I think it's dang time you DO take some time for yourself. Soon you will have grandbabies and ponies!

brenda said...

thanks! I am more relaxed now that I got out and did some trail riding. With the house empty of kids, it gives me some focus! I am very excited for my grandbabies to get here - in the next couple of weeks! I will enjpy working the colts next year too! I know you are having fun too!

Nosnikta said...

Omgosh! The babies are due in the next couple of weeks? Wow.. that went fast (I'm sure it didn't go fast for the girls lol).

LOL yep, I'm having a blast with my colts too. :-)

Brenda said...

I know, I can't wait!!! I'll be a Grandma! lol


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