Riders need to realize that simply looking in the direction of travel is not the same as thing as setting a path for yourself and committing every fibre of your being to making sure you and your horse continue on a path towards your actual goal. It’s easy to look where you’re going, it’s much harder to get where you want to be! This theory applies while trying to navigate your horse around the ring, but, more importantly, it applies while trying to navigate your way towards an equestrian End Game. I’ve found that the one of the best times to review goals and plot new directions is a cold winter’s evening in January.
So, last week I sat down and did just that! It turns out I was in need of a minor directional adjustment myself. Ouch! I find that the toughest part of my personal path of enlightenment and self-discovery is understanding that my needs might have to take precedence over the needs of others. Somehow that always seems to smack of a selfishness that I’d rather not acknowledge and certainly not encourage. The truth is, however, achieving goals is a tough business which, more often than not, requires sacrifice. Of course, sacrifice in order to achieve your own goals isn’t so bad, but being sacrificed for the sake of someone else’s goals is decidedly unpleasant, especially if you’ve no say in the matter. At least, I’m pretty sure that’s how my newly gelded three-year-old colt must feel!
As with all important decisions, gelding my colt was not entered into lightly. I had hoped that my “Boy” might grow into a fine specimen of masculine prowess and that his genes would improve all those residing in the pony kingdom. But, in reviewing my goals and taking stock of my current direction, I realized that my goals of competing and breeding were indeed mutually exclusive. In order to achieve my breeding goals with the “chosen one,” who is now standing on the boarder of 14.1 and still looking every part of not quite finished growing, I realized that I would have to change out my current herd for much smaller counterparts in order to stay under target height if I had any hope of producing the quality of pony that I was aiming for.
I also realized that my belief in my guy’s ability to excel under saddle and be appreciated and enjoyed by actual young people, not just those who are young at heart, was more important to me than his breeding potential. In this day of FedEx fathers, having a poppa on your property isn’t really necessary and the potential for “accidents” becomes a real concern. I also realized that if I spread myself too thin by attempting to excel at everything, I’d probably wind up doing OK at everything but never really outstanding at anything. And let’s be clear, mediocre is definitely not the goal I’m going for.
I feel good about taking the time to reflect on my goals and I’m happy to say I’ve made the appropriate adjustments. I’m confident that my eyes are now looking forward to where I’d like to be and that will help me to actually get there. It’s tough assessing goals and cutting things out of your program and sacrifice by all involved can help to ensure the right goals get the attention they deserve. Just ask my poor pony…but if you don’t mind try to avoid mentioning the cutting part!