Jealousy – Life’s Natural Motivator

Turn your obstacles into excuses. Then, stop making excuses.

I was having a conversation with a colleague recently and the discussion turned to priorities. I’m the kind of person that firmly believes you get out what you put in. If you want something, make it happen. Turn your obstacles into excuses and then stop making excuses.

As a kid, my sun rose and set around horses. I loved being outside with the horses. In that respect, not much has changed. My parents get all the credit for using my love and passion for my horse to guide me into a responsible, driven adult. I don’t ever remember having a chore list or chart.. but I do remember being punished if I forgot to feed or water the horses.

I also remember being threatened with missing the rodeo on the weekend if I didn’t get on my horse at least 3 days during the week… this was all fine and dandy until I turned 16 and got a job. Then I needed to find new and innovative ways to get my horses rode while juggling a job. My solution: get up at 4:30 and ride in the dark before school. It was brilliant! My mom wasn’t impressed with my plan. She was even less impressed when I followed through. But hey, I never missed a rodeo!

Now, I’m a hard worker. To a fault actually. When I’m passionate about something, I will work myself into exhaustion. As I get older, I’m learning how to schedule better and prioritize. But I’m still the kind of person who feels a great deal of guilt if I don’t get done in a day what I have programmed in my mind I need to… such as getting my horses rode. This is probably part of what makes me a shoe in for a training business. I’m too hard on myself to screw anyone over with taking their money for not getting the job done. The trade off to being a hard worker is what I just outlined above. I don’t allow myself to rest. Even when I am resting, my mind is focused on what I should, could, or will be doing later on.

I get asked a lot “how do you find time to ride so much when you work a full time job? Aren’t you exhausted?” The answer is simple; there’s no other option. I don’t look at it as exhausting or something extra. It’s never been an option. It’s always just been what I do.

So, getting to the point I wanted to make with this post. I have always felt it is human nature to have feelings of jealousy or simply a longing for what others have. It’s how we express or handle that jealousy that turns it into a negative word. I have lots of friends that I’m jealous of for various reason. Notice how I said friends… I tell them I’m jealous all the time. For example, a great friend of mine put up her own indoor arena a few years back. I told her I’m crazy jealous. Because I am. We laugh and joke about it still…. because there are things I have that she wishes she had too.

Ironically, jealousy can be one hell of a motivator! When my ego tries to convince me that I’m jealous of someone in a negative way, I remind her of all the great things I have going… and once in a while I’ll tuck it into the back of my crown to work towards. If we stop wondering how someone achieves something and start working towards having it too… what a wonderful world we would live in!!

A friend, and client of mine sent me this meme a little bit ago and said that it made her think of me. It really resonated because it’s true. I do get complimented all the time on my drive and the great job I do on client horses and running my business and on my own horses. I get told even more that people wish they had my drive and passion. Now, I’m not saying that I don’t love what I do or that I would trade places with anyone to get out of being me. I love me. I love my passion and drive. But I can, 110% say that it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. I love my crown. I love having 4 million things to do and being under pressure to do them. That’s just how I operate. Always have, always will. BUT, there’s no denying that my crown is heavy. As I stated above, I work myself into exhaustion. I don’t get ‘me’ time… at least not until the school year is over. I can’t actually remember the last time I had dinner before 9pm or got to sleep past 7am (and THAT is sleeping in!).

There are people I look at and wish I had what they have too. I’m no different than you 😉 I’d love to make the NFR one day. Ultimate goal. I think it is for most barrel racers. But, I also realize that that road isn’t always smooth and paved. Those girls spend more time on the road than they do at home. They have weeks of no cheques and empty bank accounts. They have injured and tired horses pop up at the most inconvenient times. They have struggles. Their crowns are heavy. I’m not going to say heavier than mine or yours… but definitely different.

The biggest similarity between everyone else and me… and you too, is that we all have passions. We all put our energy where we desire it to be. Think about that the next time you watch someone work a full time job and then ride 6 head and wonder how they do it 😉 On top of that… put jealous into your positive word bank. It’s ok to be jealous. But own it, recognize it, use it as motivation and know that someone is jealous of you too!

Would the Real Me Please Stand Up!

Before you go any further, I need you to do something for me. Stop. I need you to read this blog post from my very good friend Michelle Davey before you read what I have to say.

Are you done? Good read eh? I have a secret… I know where the inspiration for that post came from. Me. Me and my Imposter’s Syndrome. Bet you thought you’d never hear those words come outta my mouth. But it’s true. I come across as poised and confident but the truth is, I’m human. And my ego can be a real Bitch.

A few months ago I was having an unusually tough time. I was feeling sorry for myself, beating myself up over something. Something that, looking back now, seems ridiculous. I was in the early stages of coming to terms with the idea of not teaching next year and trying to wrap my head around training horses full time. I knew then I was good at what I do, but I had big reservations about other people feeling the same way and, in turn, making enough to justify quitting my perfectly good full time job.

“You need to look up Imposter’s Syndrome.” This came from a close friend of mine. She’s a rock and also an important part of the team that keeps my equine athletes healthy and happy.

So I did. And my eyes popped out of my head. “I have that!”

I recognized everything about Imposter’s Syndrome. The feeling of not-enoughness, the fear of being exposed as a fraud (even though I’m far from it), and constant self doubt… even the doubt of the things I had already accomplished… a feeling of it being a ‘fluke’ (umm… WHAT??). The burning question for me… and my actual first line of defense was “Ok… I have that… but what do I do to get rid of it?” In my world… when something catastrophic like this happens, we text Michelle 😀

I believe it went something like this. “Imposter’s Syndrome. I have it and I think you should do a blog post about it. I don’t know how to get rid of it.” I’m pretty sure Michelle was thinking I’d lost it. Like literally lost it. She had never heard of it. So she rushed off to google it too. It was about that time we both felt like we’d hit the mental jackpot and were on the road to curing millions of people 😀

Just as I’d hoped, Michelle’s post helped me. It led me to the realization that I’m normal! Who’d have thought! As Michelle points out, everyone, at some point, experiences the feelings that make up Imposter’s Syndrome. It is human to experience times of not-enoughness. And, as she reminds us in her post, we need to take a look at our egos. My ego can be real awesome. She can be supportive and happy and confident and poised. She can also be insecure and panicked and cranky and judgemental. She can make me feel on top of the world and she can make me feel like a total failure. Recognizing her sneakiness has been instrumental to pushing Imposter’s Syndrome out of my daily life. It shows up once in a while still, but when it does, I check in with my ego to let her know that she’s not running the show (she also really likes to be the star… figures). I kindly remind her that I’m busy over here building an empire and I don’t really have time for her negativity 😉

If you’re anything like me and had an “OMG I have that!” moment, do me a favor. Sit back, relax and tell yourself that you are enough. Get those feelings that your ego is trying to convince you are right out of your head and pump the good stuff back in.

You are enough. You are worthy. You are deserving. You got this!

Who’s the Star of Your Story?

The only really reasonable answer is YOU

I am a sponge. I love learning and bettering myself. I think that’s why I became a teacher… and why I have never let anything stop me from chasing my goals and dreams. I value education and know that knowledge is the first step to greatness… in any discipline. Now, my eagerness to learn has always led me to ‘follow’ people who are more knowledgeable than myself. It wasn’t until just recently that I realized this passion I had for dedicating myself to others was also my greatest demise.

You see, up until now, I allowed others to be the star of my story. Everything I did was for someone else. I was so quick to brag on or push someone else’s book… and this wasn’t just one person… its was several over the years. I was so thankful for the opportunities to learn from these people that I gave up myself to watch them succeed… to watch their stories take off. I allowed myself to feel like their approval and belief in me was the only way to be happy and successful… that what they thought of me defined me. Saying it now… that’s absolutely ridiculous!!! Now… please don’t take this as me regretting the time I spent supporting those I look up to. I do not regret a second of the time I put into others and their stories… in fact, I still support them wholeheartedly while I’m over here doing my own thing. But I wish I’d paid closer attention to my own true happiness at the time as well.

I stopped to see a friend I haven’t seen since my world turned upside down and then right side up again. She took one look at me and her face broke into a smile. “You look so happy.” That’s when it hit me. I am. I am SO happy. And of course, because this is what I do, I started to reflect on why. Why, after the past few months of discord, am I happier than I ever have been in my life? The last few months I’ve lost things that I thought were the secret to my happiness. The irony in this is that losing those things hasn’t changed anything. I’m still experiencing the same, if not more success, I’ve gained things that I never would have even thought to write into my pages, and, for the first time in my life, I’m doing things for me. I’m starring in my own story. I’m truly happy.

I think we often forget to look out for number one. Especially those of us with big hearts. As I talked about in my post about taking ownership of our successes, I hate disappointing people. I hate people thinking that I’ve used them or taken advantage of them. Do you know how long those feelings held me back from building my own empire??? I was literally terrified that if I stepped out on my own, someone would think I had used them to discover my own greatness. Typing that out sounds ridiculous too! You should NEVER be worried to do you! I should never have been scared to do me! But I was. And I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that someone reading this is too.

Everyone we meet has an impact on our book. It’s important to give them credit for the part they play, but don’t let them be the star. Take control of your story…. you’re the only one who deserves a starring role.

Do You Think They Know?

This morning, as I was gazing up into Famous’ soft, loving eye a thought crossed my mind. Do you think he knows? Do you think he knows how special he is, how many people would kill to have the opportunity to sit in his saddle, to run up the alleyway on him? Do you think he knows that yesterday, and so many days before that, he helped me to knock another goal off my list? Do you think he knows?

I’m not just talking about Famous here. He’s just the horse my mind goes to first because he’s mine. I’m talking about any horse who’s ever meant something. I’m talking about Sister (every horse named Sister because clearly that name gives them wings or something), Ripp, Stingray, Babyflo, Foxy, Elvis, Eddy… The list goes on. I’m talking about great horses. Do you think they know?

There are times I watch Famous (I spend alot of time doing this… I pinch myself a lot over him too) and I think he has no idea. He just knows his life is pretty great. He gets fed good. He gets nice stuff that makes him feel good. He gets to play with friends all the time and he has a human mom who tells him every day how much she loves him. He has it made.

Then there are days that I think he must know. Those days are usually the ones when leading him to the barn is a game of strategy to dodge his front feet and teeth. Those are usually the same days that he makes a good attempt to buck me off. That’s right, cat’s out of the bag people… Life with Famous isn’t all sunshine and butterflies. He’s kind of arrogant. He has the kind of arrogance that someone who knows he’s great would have. So he must know… Right?

A few years back I had a conversation with a friend. She was commenting about always having doubt that her horse was good enough. I surprised myself by saying “from the moment they’re born I try to always believe they’re gonna be great.” I often wonder if that has the same impact as that rice experiment… You know, the one where you say rude things to one jar of rice every day and nice things to a second jar. At the end of a month the results are startling. The “rude” jar turns all sorts of gross colors. The nice jar is thriving with health. Famous has never been told he’s anything less than amazing. Even when he wasn’t great, he was admired for living. Would he be different if he’d been told he would never become anything? Was Sister told she’d be great from day one?

So, as I sit here waiting to get the big guy ready for his run today, I’m occupying myself with these thoughts… Because that’s just what I do. I wonder if he knows just how much he’s done for me and just how special he really is 💕 I hope he does 😊

This One’s for You

Hey you. Ya you. The same you who just clicked on the link to this blogpost. This post is for you.

It’s for you… You with the big heart who gives everything you have to make others successful and happy, all while you yourself are far from it.

It’s for you… You working yourself thin to find some sort of self satisfaction.

It’s for you… You over there constantly feeling like you’re not enough. Like you can’t compare. Like you just don’t do a good job.

It’s for you… You with the empty bank account and if you don’t pull a cheque this weekend you’re not sure how you’re getting home, let alone to the next one.

It’s for you… The young kid with big dreams and the passion to see it through.

It’s for you… The hard worker who puts everything on the line for your passion, hoping it pays off.

It’s for you… The weekend warrior with the old broken down trailer and 4D horse who’s never made to feel worthy.

It’s for you… You, the barrel racer who hasn’t pulled a cheque all season and you’re ready to quit.

It’s for you… The one who smiles when your friends succeed, when inside you’re actually as jealous as they come.

It’s for you… You… who allows yourself to be let down and then beats yourself up over it.

It’s for you… You over there in the alley, so nervous you can’t see straight.

It’s for you… You who want it so bad you can feel it, but always feel like your running in place.

It’s also for you… The girl who sunk her rig in a mud bog at the rodeo grounds late at night then cried in frustration until someone came to help. (ok this one was… Is always… Me. But I had to throw some sort of funny in.)

This post is for all of you. It’s a reminder that you are enough. You are worthy. You are loved. I might not know you, but I believe in you.

You’re not alone. I’ve been there too. And it got better. Don’t worry, it will for you too. Just keep going.


Someone who cares

Stop Chasing The Win

I like to win. So do you. If there’s a person out there who says they don’t like to win… on some level, they’re lying. I know that’s blunt but it’s true. The win is what we all chase. Knowingly or unknowingly, the win is the ultimate reward. I spent years focused on the win. And only the win.

Focusing on the win is all fine and dandy… unless you’re not winning. Then it’s just exhausting and heart breaking. In an earlier post, I talked about how our wins don’t define who we are. Neither do our losses. Reality is – everyone experiences a ton of both.

I struggled for years with how to win. Actually I should rephrase that. I struggled for a lot of years with how to KEEP winning. I’d experience success here and there, but following a success, there was always a period of prolonged ‘failure’. Looking back it wasn’t actually failure, but rather, the realistic peak for myself and my horses at the time. But back then, it just felt like I was running in place, unable to move forward. It wasn’t until just recently that I finally understand why I felt that way.

You see, I was groomed to focus on nothing but the win. I think this is a societal issue to be honest. We are raised to understand that competition is a healthy part of life but that success really does come down to the win. Well if success is how many wins you have… I wanted them all! Because of this way of thinking, I went into EVERYTHING, and I mean everything… a 500 horse finals or a 10 horse jackpot… focused on nothing other than that 1D cheque. If you talked to me before I ran down the alleyway, I was gonna win it. It didn’t matter if my horse had only ever been a 17.8 at Ponoka, this was going to be the one time she smoked a real run to win the show (I have to laugh at the irony in this sentence….. but… what happened with Famous was kind of a fairytale lol). The issue with this… When we ran an 18.2 to finish out of the money in the 2 or 3D, I was heartbroken and felt like a failure.

As usual, you’re probably struggling to keep up with my twisted little mind, wondering where in the heck I’m going with this. Ok, so stop for a second and think – when you pull into a jackpot or rodeo, what is going through your mind? What are your goals? Not for your lifetime (like come on, I’m not generally focused on running down the alleyway at the Thomas & Mack when I pull into Ponoka… but I’ve thought about that on other occasions) but for that day, weekend, event? If your mind instantly goes to winning a cheque… or even to the clock at all, chances are you’ve already set yourself up for failure. Now, I’m not saying that it’s not possible to be focused on winning and win. I’ll get to that later. But for now, if you’re struggling mentally AT ALL, get rid of that focus. Stop thinking about the fuel money you need to get home or the hundreds of dollars it cost you to enter. Stop thinking about how important it is to crack into the 17s on standard pattern. Stop thinking about everything you feel you stand to gain or lose! I’ll let you in on a secret… your horse doesn’t care about any of that. In fact, if he’s anything like Famous, he’s thinking about sleeping 98% of the time. I’m saying this all from experience. I’ve been there. Lots.

About a year and a half ago, an incredible horsewoman made a comment that really resonated with me. I was at her clinic for the very first time and someone had asked her about jackpotting. She responded that she went to a lot of jackpots, but she didn’t go in to win very often. I was instantly confused. To the point of spending the next two and a half months between this first clinic and the next one I took with her pondering this concept. By my second clinic I was in a better space mentally all round and I as ready to really delve into what this statement meant. Really understanding that statement has changed my world. In a big way.

To me, this statement is a mantra of sorts. “Don’t go in to win.” Sounds silly. It’s a competition… shouldn’t you always go in to win? The simple answer would be yes. The complex answer is no. Especially if you want your horse and yourself to stay sane and sound. At the time this revelation hit me, Famous was 5 and he was less than impressive. He had turned a few heads and pulled a few futurity cheques but more often than not, we were a bit of a trainwreck going down the alley. The reason? Lack of confidence and too high of expectations. It was the end of October when things changed for me. I had been on the fence about whether to turn Famous out for the winter or keep jackpotting him. The advice I was heeded was integral to our future successes. I was told to keep running him, with zero expectations. Don’t go in to win. Focus on correct and pretty. We won 6 jackpots in a row and were top 3 at anything we didn’t win. Famous built confidence and got faster and faster.

Ok, now I’m going to take a detour back to winning and expectations. It has taken a year and a half to mould myself and Famous into the fierce team that I can confidently claim us to be. There have been so many people we have met along the way that have helped us to become well, us. For the first time in my entire life, I feel confident in having some expectations when we run up the alleyway. I know.. I just finished saying that you shouldn’t do that haha. Here’s the thing… I’ve learned recently that there isn’t anything wrong with having expectations… IF you have the confidence and mindset to accept that you may not meet your expectations every single time out. Famous and I don’t always win. Most of the time we don’t actually go in to win… or even clock. We go in to be OUR best. When that happens, whether we win a cheque or not, I’m happy. If it doesn’t happen, we go back to the training pen to fix it. The point is, I’ve gained the confidence to accept whatever happens and know that I have the tools and patience to keep him winning.

So, the moral of the story or post is that the second you take away the pressure, you set yourself and your horse up to start gaining confidence… to start learning how to be winners I suppose. Set yourself up for success. Forget about the clock, and just do you. After all, your biggest competition is staring right back at you when you look in the mirror.

If You Can Think it….

Growing up I was raised to set goals and do whatever I needed to reach those goals. I say I was raised that way because I do credit my parents for giving me the tools necessary to set and achieve goals. They pushed me to constantly reach higher, work harder, and go after whatever it was/is I want. I’m 31 and they still push me and support me in this manner. I am, I guess, one of the lucky ones in that respect.

I have always had a lot of goals. Some short term, some long term, and some that even I will refer to as ‘pipe dreams’. I will admit, however, that slowly but surely, even my self proclaimed ‘pipe dreams’ have all become realities. One by one, goal by goal, dream by dream. Literally… Anything that I have given energy to – good or bad – has, over time, become a reality.

This isn’t really where I wanted this post to go but, in all honesty, I didn’t really have a plan for this post when I sat down to write… I just knew I should probably get a post out. Anyway, I’ve come to the conclusion that if you can think it, I mean really think it, you can literally dream anything… any goal, wish, dream… into true existence. I know this because I’ve watched it happen…

I haven’t shared what I’m about to share with many people. It’s kind of creepy and odd.. but also a great example.

As a little girl I was obsessed with the young adult novel series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell. In the very first book, A Horse Called Wonder, the main character, Ashleigh, saves the life of a sickly Thoroughbred filly who should have died. The sorrel, blaze faced, chromey filly grew into a respected champion. It wasn’t until Famous was 3 or 4 that I realized the parallels between this book, that I had obsessed over as a child, and the reality I had lived. There was probably even a time I thought or voiced “wouldn’t that be a neat experience.” Actually… not probably… there definitely was a time… or two… or ten.

Most people in my world know Famous’ story. Not his success story.. but the story of how he came into this world and, against all odds, stayed in it.

I purchased Famous’ dam, my true ‘heart horse’, Saloon, in foal with Famous. I’ve never been so excited for a baby in my life. The resulting foal would have bloodlines I had only dreamt of and I couldn’t wait to meet my new partner in crime.

Famous was born on a Friday. I wasn’t home. I had taken off for the weekend to a barrel clinic, knowing full well that Saloon was two weeks late and showing signs of foaling. What’s that saying? When the cats away the mice will play? She did. Not 24 hours after I pulled out, she foaled. He was big, chromey, blaze faced and gorgeous. He was everything I had hoped for and more. I couldn’t wait to get home to meet him.

I was instantly in love. This colt was the pathway to every hope and dream I had ever had. He would be my rockstar. Watching him grow up was going to be the best adventure ever. Everything was great. He was full of personality and talent from day 1! Then, when he was a week old, the world came crashing down.

I went outside in the morning to do chores. When I walked past the makeshift covered pen that that was housing Saloon and Famous, I noted that he was lying down. I didn’t think much of it as most babies do sleep an incredible amount. I went on with getting the other horses fed and made my way back to the pen. As I approached I felt my stomach drop. Famous was convulsing. His tiny body ceased and relaxed, over and over again, his head thrashing wildly in the straw. I pulled out my phone and began dialing every vet in the country, not caring who I got, just knowing I needed someone NOW.

Within an hour, a vet arrived and had an IV into my precious boy. It was determined that he had developed a bacterial infection and as he had lost strength and stopped nursing, forced himself into dehydration. The vet put him on a slow drip and advised that because he still had a suck reflex, we had a shot at saving him. At this point we would have to milk the mare and syringe as much milk as we could into his little body. I set to work while the vet packed up to leave. She promised she’d be back before the IV ran out.

The following few hours were a blur. The next thing I remember vividly about that day was the IV running out and the baby that we were trying so desperately to save, hitting ground bottom for a second time. Even I’m not that naive. I knew at this point our chances were plummeting. The vet took my urgent call and hustled over. She promptly switched the IV bag and checked his vitals. This time she didn’t say anything to me about our chances. She just advised that he would be down most of the night so to get comfortable and try and get as much milk into him as we could. She showed us how to switch the bag if needed and went on her way.

This is where the miracle started to happen. Our vet drove down the driveway to leave at about 4:30pm. At 5:30, it was as if Famous made up his mind that he wanted to live. We had been picking him up and holding him to nurse. We were beginning to feel defeated. He was just too tired. My husband decided to try one last time before we gave in to syringe feeding him for the night. Famous’ legs began to work. He was attempting to hold himself up! He had a good drink and laid back down to rest.

Half an hour later, he tried to stand on his own. We helped him to his feet and guided his shaky form to Saloon. Once again, he drank and laid back down. This continued and each time, he required less and less assistance to stand. He would stand, drink and lie back down. The only hassle in all of this is that as the night wore on and he got stronger, we also had to be quicker in getting up with him so he didn’t pull his IV. By morning we had become his slaves, chasing him around the small pen while he trotted away, trying to lose his insistent followers.

About 10:00am the following morning I received a hesitant text from the vet “…. How is he?”

“He’s a handful! He’s been standing and drinking on his own since late evening and now he’s drinking water and trotting around the pen.”

“We’ll be right there,” is the response I got. I didn’t read too much into it. I was exhausted, happy and still in shock.

It wasn’t until the vet and her assistant had checked Famous over that the truth came out. He was supposed to die overnight. In her years as a vet, she had never witnessed a foal going neurological twice survive. After the first episode he had approximately a 60% chance of survival. Once he had gone down the second time, his chances had shot down to a mere 5%… and that’s being rather generous. We had literally witnessed a miracle.

48 hours after he went down, Famous was finally off IV and alone with Saloon for the first time

Unknowingly, I had dreamt that situation into existence. Right down to the color of the foal! Now… was it a ‘cool’ experience? No. It wasn’t. It was awful. It was heartbreaking. And it was something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. It’s also one that I know I will never get the opportunity to experience again. But, I do get to look into the eyes of a miracle each and every day. When we win, it’s just a tiny bit brighter than it would be with any other horse. And when we struggle, it’s just a little bit easier to keep driving forward than it would be with any other horse. Famous is literally exactly who I’ve waited for since I was a child… I thought/dreamt/wished him into existence 🙂