Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Are You Serious?

People call me about lessons, training, and buying horses all the time.  I am constantly amazed at the array of calls, emails and inquiries. (thank you, thank you, and please, keep contacting!)

They range all the way from clueless people who call me up out of the phone book who want to "borrow your horse to take on a trail ride with some friends for the weekend" (seriously, it happened!  thank God that was only once), to breeders with amazing young horse prospects--started and unstarted--that want to put their horse in full training with me to compete on the Florida circuit and everything in between.

Each one of them, including the clueless people mentioned above, are very serious when they call me.

So what do I mean when I ask the question "Are you serious?"  I mean, what are your goals?  Why do you ride (or want to ride) horses?  And the most important question of all--

What are you willing to do to achieve your goal?

What are you willing to sacrifice?

What are you willing to change in your life to accommodate the time, money, and work that it takes to ride a horse (well)?

I have been riding, training, showing, breeding, (living and breathing) horses for almost my entire life.  I can answer the above questions with the only acceptable answer there really is:

I will do anything.  I will do whatever it takes.  I will give up anything.

And only when you are on my side of age, can you answer that as I have above.  If you are on the newer side of age (below 50, let's say), you can only answer in the prospective term:

I am willing to do anything.  I am willing to do whatever it takes.  I am willing to give up anything.

And then you will spend the rest of your life proving it.

Anything less will get you less.  How much less is directly related to what roadblocks you are willing to accept.

Students come to me with differing long-term goals-- to learn to ride, or to progress in their riding, or to be coached, or learn to train horses, or learn to teach others to ride horses.  In the beginning, I try to have them define what their goals are--short term and long term.  (I realize as I write this that I need to be more assertive about clearly defining these with them).

Everyone of my students think they are serious.  But are they?  Are you?  They ask me if they are talented enough, which is difficult to answer.  Many of them declare that they are talented, and want to be the best, so I get all excited and start asking them the questions:

How many times per week can you ride and take lessons? (once a week is NOT serious--5-6 times is)

When will you be ready to buy a horse? (the serious answer to this question depends on the rider, and the answer to the first question)

Are you willing to put your horse (or your prospective horse) into full training with me? (this doesn't, and shouldn't, mean that you can't ride your own horse, but the trainer has to be able to maintain a supporting role in keeping the horse tuned up for you--you are not a trainer)

How much time and money are you willing to invest in your horse's care--nutrition, athletic maintenance, shoeing, grooming, etc.? (an athlete is an athlete, and your athlete deserves the utmost standard of care)

How much time and money are you willing to invest in showing?  (whether it is you showing your horse, or your trainer, or a combination)

If you are not willing to commit to whatever it takes to answer the above questions in the affirmative (whatever it takes), then you are not serious.

Before you answer, "I can't afford it", and get all depressed, read on:

The most money my household has ever brought in has been a little over $80,000.00 in one year (gross receipts, combined income).  Many more years, the income has been much less--one year, there was less than $9,000.00.  So income is no excuse.  Where there is a will, there is a way.

Success has very little to do with talent or money, and has everything to do with grit and determination.  It has everything to do with clarity of purpose, persistence, single-mindedness, and quality experience.

Your success in riding (as well as any other endeavor on earth) absolutely depends on your commitment to excellent education, commitment to your horse and your trainer, and thousands of hours in the saddle and in the barn.

The only thing holding you back is you.  I don't want to hear "if only I had more money...if only I didn't have to work...if only I didn't have kids...if only my husband was more supportive....if only I didn't have a husband....if only I had a barn....if only I had a horse.....blah, blah, blah.  Those are all excuses!

You can and should find a great instructor (ask here in the comment box below, or email me for instructions!) among all the shysters out there (and there are TONS--beware!).

Take lessons, seriously.  Buy, trade, work for all the lessons you can possible take....ride at LEAST 4 days a week in lessons at first, and as you achieve your goals, purchase a horse if that makes sense and board it with your trainer.  Your trainer should ride your horse a LOT--how much depends on the horse, your own riding level at the moment, and your goals.

Ride, ride, ride--  I don't want to hear, "it's too hot, it's too cold, it's raining, I don't feel well, I have to go (insert anywhere), my kid is sick, my  husband is complaining about money, my husband says I spend too much time at the barn, my mom wants me to do chores, my boyfriend wants to go out tonight, blah, blah, blah".  Not acceptable.

Those are all excuses, and you need to decide what you will sacrifice--your horse? Your riding? Your success?  Don't blame it on the others in your life--YOU take control.   RIDE!

Never, ever stop taking lessons (and your lessons will get more expensive the more you learn....I pay $300.00 per 45 minute ride for my lessons, plus I have to trailer down to the facility, and pay for a stall, and give up the money I would make giving lessons that day--so you can see some of what you have to look forward to....  Riding well is expensive and insists on continuing education and experience, but there is no excuse for riding poorly.  To back off is to give up, and that cannot be any part of your genetic makeup.

If you want to ride, RIDE.  Find a great instructor (that is actually the hardest part--but remember, you have grit and determination, and will find a way, no matter what).  Find the money.  Find the time.  Find a way.  No excuses.

Go get yours.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Do You Own a Dressage Horse That You Want Trained/Shown?

I have an opening for one training horse in my barn in Vero Beach, FL.  If you have a quality dressage horse that you would like to have campaigned on the WEF Circuit, call me after visiting my website.  

I will speak with you about your candidate, his/her care, the specifics of the training and showing programs, and set up an evaluation with you.
Serious inquiries only, please.