Friday, September 2, 2011
FOCUS ON THE JOURNEY, NOT THE DESTINATION
You know the routine. You pack the kids into the car to go on your summer vacation. It is a long trip, and five minutes out of the driveway it starts: "Are we there yet?" I can remember as a kid that it felt like it took forever to get anywhere. Sometimes I was so excited about the destination that the hours of sitting still in a car were complete torture. Time didn't go by any faster when
I was figiting and frustrated. So I had to learn to "wait well" in the car. As an adult I occasionally find myself with the same wrong attitude, spending too much time focused on my destination instead of enjoying where I am. I believe I have finally learned that life is about the journey, not the destination, and now the ride is becoming a lot more easy and fun.
On your own horsemanship journey toward excellence and safety, you also need to enjoy the ride. Now you may be one of those lucky people who does enjoy every ride with their horse, and if you are congratulations. However, in my travels I meet so many people who are frustrated, afraid, and feeling incapable. It is not how far away your are from your destination, or even where you are right now, what matters most is the direction you are headed.
If you live in Alaska and are headed to the sandhills of NE for a horse vacation in our bunkhouse you've got a long way to go. However, you will get here, no questions, as long as you keep heading south. On the other hand if somebody living in Denver CO heads south they will never get here even though it is a lot closer to Burwell than Alaska. If you are studying tried and true
horsemanship principles and applying them to your journey, be excited that you are headed in the right direction. Every thing you learn, every book you read, every DVD you watch, every lesson you take, every clinic you attend takes you one step closer in the right direction. So go ahead and feel good about it no matter where you are compared to those around you.
The important things is not what you can do with your horse today, but that you are improving. If you goal is to gallop across an open field or compete at the highest level of dressage don't get discouraged because it seems so out of reach. Instead, ask yourself if these are realistic goals considering your age, physical abilities, dedication, time, and money you can put into the project. If you can make the necessary sacrifices then continue by developing a plan. If not there is nothing wrong with lowering your expectations a little.
But even if you have to change your goals to become a bit more realistic given your current circumstances, be PROUD of today and all that you have accomplished so far. Don't focus on how far you have to go, always remember to look at how far you have already come. Do everything you can to make this day with your horse a success. And when it is, allow yourself some deep satisfaction in it.
Think about your successes, rather than your failures. Maybe you made a mistake with your horse today, but the good news is you probably didn't make as bad of a mistake as you would have a year ago. Perhaps you intended to ride your horse for two hours today, but got started late and could only do 20 minutes. Don't feel that you are a failure and should have done better. Remember there were plenty of times you didn't get out there at all. Be happy that you at least got a little time in, and then try to get a little time in more often, and you will be amazed at your progress. Keeping a positive attitude about your progress will breed more progress.
Let your days be filled with good choices and good thoughts. Then your body and soul will be happier and more content with where you are. Don't focus on the long trip, the many miles ahead of you, instead focus on the day or even the moment. Have one good day with your horse, and tomorrow becomes more enjoyable, and that leads to an even better next day. As you enjoy the journey, you'll soon discover how easy it is to love just where you are each moment, even if you haven't arrived at the ultimate destination yet. Your horse lives this way and so should you if you want to see horsemanship from his perspective.
I hope to see you on the trail this year. I am staying a little closer to home the next couple of months because of training horses and quite a full schedule of people reserving the bunkhouse to come out for lessons, to enjoy our gorgeous trails, participate in a spirit horse retreat, or even just to relax and kick back. If you would like to have one last horse vacation in 2012 we only have a few dates open, but I am sure we can figure something out if you want to come bad enough.