GLEF 2018: Thoughts and Reflections

I started out brainstorming the highlights of our week to post to social media. But this is what came out….

I’d normally go into what a great time we had, what classes we won, and how proud I am of our team, but today I find myself resonating with a different part of the horse business. As always, we had a great time, had some wins and some learning experiences, and I am incredibly grateful and proud of our team. But at this moment, all I can think about is how my understanding of who I wish to become and what I am trying to accomplish has been restored in these last few weeks.

Just as everyone, I have encountered the incredible amounts of stress that this business, and really life itself, puts on people. I have experienced the anxiety, the pressure, the stress, and the mental and physical toll that this business puts on trainers. But really it relates to all professions and passions of anyone trying to be truly great on their chosen path.

I began to feel really wrapped up in the madness and even accidentally spreading the negativity that can come as a reaction to these pressures. But then I went to GLEF with an open mind, and I was met by fellow craftsmen of our sport. During that time, I did my best to learn from those around me, both for their weaknesses and strengths. I started to network with different people and start building future business relationships, and somewhere along my way, I remembered why I started.

I diligently watched those who I valued and what they were doing, from their tactics in the schooling ring to their setup at the show. I wanted to do business with them, I wanted to sit tail and tail with them. I didn’t have negative thoughts. I wasn’t dissecting their every move. I wanted to see their reaction. I wanted to learn. I respected them. I wanted to hear how they handled situations. And I remembered how I started.

I became a professional because I wanted to be great at something. Then I realized I couldn’t do it on my own, I needed to be part of something great. Usually I end up thinking about my business and my team that I want to be great. But really, I want our sport to be great. The best way to do that is to build a great team and support others to be great.  

I think too often we think about ourselves as individuals or even ourselves as a business, but we often leave the story short. It’s not about us, or our team, it’s about our sport. It’s about our love for the horse, our passion, our reason for doing everything.

I can’t speak for other professions and lifestyles because I haven’t been there. But I can’t help but think that they must endure similar obstacles. If people are lucky, they end up doing what they love. And it is easy to know why you began something, but the wherewithal to stick with it is really the game changer.

Unfortunately, there are times I too have become negative. I believe negativity breeds faster than anything else. It is hard to not get stuck. The notion of continuing what you believe and what you love Is the difference. But belittling others and judging what they are doing will never get you closer to who you are trying to become. It is important for your well-being and the well-being of others that you set that negativity aside.

I know I have big dreams and lofty goals. I have set out not only to become great at what I do, but to enable others to become great. We all have our upsides and our downfalls, but I try to focus on what I can do and what I can help others do. I want to find the most suitable horses for my riders. I want to help my riders to reach their goals. And I want to enable others to do the same.

I only wish that the competition could remain in the ring. I hope that trainers and riders don’t wish poorly upon others thinking that it somehow makes them seem more relevant. I hope that fellow horseman can look onto other riders and congratulate them on their winnings and learn from what they did. I hope that all trainers and horseman can work side by side and learn from each other for the sake of our businesses and the sake of our sport.

I am thankful for all the horsemen and women I have worked beside these last couple of weeks. I am thankful for the kind words and encouragement, and I thoroughly enjoy the comradery and sportsmanship. And I am ready to continue my path to learn from those around me and become the best that I can.