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The One Thing Judges Never Miss

20141110_151912Exhibitors ask all the time, “What is the one thing that judges are looking for in XYZ class?” The answer given most often is judges consider many aspects of the performance when determining the winner. It makes perfect sense. After all, anyone who has ever met with success understands the amount of time, work and countless hours of practice that go into making a stellar performance.

Yet the truth is there is one thing that judge’s never miss.

In the 1991 movie City Slickers, Jack Palance playing a crusty old cowboy named Curly, tells Billy Crystal’s character, Mitch, that the meaning of life rests on one thing. Mitch is a 39 year-old man suffering a mid-life crisis who goes on a two-week cattle drive in search of what’s missing in his life.

When Mitch asks Curly what that one thing is, Curly tells him, “That is what you have to find out.” Finding that one thing is crucial to creating winning results, to finding success in life.  That one thing launches winners to the top of a judge’s card. That one thing is called purpose.

In the best seller, Think And Grow Rich, self-development author Napoleon Hill said, “There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it.”

Winners use purpose like a compass to direct their actions. A strong purpose prioritizes every area of life – work, family, relationships even horse showing – and creates productivity. And while it is possible to have productivity without purpose and priority, the results will disappoint.

Purpose, priority and productivity are the bedfellows of success. Acting like a road map, purpose driven priorities determine the steps necessary to achieve the desired results. They keep a person grounded, doing the right things, one step at a time in practice and when making life choices like putting on the show halter and practicing showmanship after a ride, teaching a 180 before asking for a 360 or skipping the Starbucks Macchiato in lieu of water.

Extraordinary performances are the result of countless hours spent perfecting one goal at a time – in order. Ken McNabb recently compared riding a horse to learning the alphabet; you cannot skip letters and read all the words. You cannot become a World Champion if you only know one lead.

Winners use purpose driven priorities to order their lives. This does not necessarily mean they live extremely rigid and disciplined lives. Instead, the priorities determine what is important. They learn to focus on doing one thing correctly before moving to the next step. Extraordinary performances require the person to focus with laser intensity. The ability to focus on that one thing motivates achievers to learn from mistakes, to make a move without fear of failure and to build success one syllable, one step, one ride at a time.

With a single purpose as a guide, successful people ensure that everything on their to-do list is congruous with their purpose. If it is not, they do not do it. Period. Everything is broken down to a level that helps them achieve their goals with their purpose at the core. It allows them to stay in the moment, in the here and now and to avoid the distractions that so often fight for our time and lure us off course.

At the horse show, every exhibitor wants to win. But winning is not the purpose –it is the result from living a purpose driven life. Living with purpose is the most proven path to presenting the one thing that judges are looking for – extraordinary results.

Just as Curly told Mitch that his one thing is something he must find for himself, recognizing purpose is a unique experience each person must undergo on his or her own. Finding what one stands for comes easily to some while others have to dig deep to find purpose.

The work that goes into making a winning run cannot be done without the individual possessing a burning desire. Winners have passion for their purpose and using their purpose to determine their actions, are driven to succeed. Staying true to a purpose opens the floodgates to the extraordinary results individuals and judges are looking for.

Those who live life with purpose develop priorities and understand results are the consequence of their actions. Learn to prioritize and make sure that all your objectives, the short-term goals, serve your long-term goals and each serves your purpose. Concentrate your efforts on one thing at a time. When everything you do revolves your purpose, you will see extraordinary results. Do right by your purpose; be the best horseman you can be, enjoy the ride and the results may surprise you.

Getting the Most Out of Your Lesson

Fred & MeWhenever I give a clinic or lesson to a new group or student, I go with little expectation of what we might work on. It is difficult to plan for something when you have no idea what skill level your riders or horses might be. Although I always ask what the rider wants help with, sometimes the ride goes in a different direction.

As a student, you have expectations for the lesson. Communicating that to the instructor is an important part of getting the most out of your lesson. You may come with a list of things you want to work on or maybe you come to every lesson open and let the instructor guide you in your progress. Most coaches are going to focus on what they perceive as your biggest hurdle to achieve good horsemanship.

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Thank You Pro Horsemen

IMG_7750Last week I was honored to receive the 2014 AQHA Professional Choice Professional Horsewoman of the Year. It is especially rewarding since the award is given based on the vote of my peers, fellow Professional Horsemen. Standing in front of the group to receive the award I was overwhelmed by emotion. Had I more control of my emotions at the time this is what I might have said:

 “Wow! What an honor. It is such an honor to stand before you tonight and receive this award. I am humbled by your support and so very grateful to have been introduced to the American Quarter Horse back in 1966 at Murphy’s Stable.

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Its Christmas!

Jane Katelynn decided fluff was best worn on her arm!

Jane Katelynn decided fluff was best worn on her arm!

Its Christmas – my favorite time of the year. I love it for many reasons but most of all I love it because it is an excuse to give, to give gifts of all kinds. Its an excuse to spend time with friends and family, to gather and to work collectively for a cause, even if the cause is simply to put together a spread for loved ones.

This year, the most memorable day may likely not be Christmas day but the day I spent with my sister and niece running around town finishing our Christmas shopping. After wending our way through some crazy old blue haired Florida traffic, grabbing a coffee at the local Starbucks and snagging a parking spot, we finally arrived at T.J. Maxx, where we thought we couldn’t get into too much trouble.  Continue reading

5 Winning Action Steps

Team Gif: NSBA Winners Karla Friedli with Hannah & Margie Buchholz

Team Gif: Karla Friedli, Gifford, Hannah & Margie Buchholz    Photo Credit Rachel Reilly

Most people go through life and wish they had the money for a fancy outfit, a full time trainer or a better horse. Yet most of the winners, those who repeatedly find success in and out of the show ring, don’t have a wish list at all. Instead they embrace challenge, take responsibility for their results and ownership of their destiny and understand sacrifice.

Last week we looked at those behaviors listed above that successful people have in common. Below are 5 action steps commonly used by high achievers.

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10 Winning Habits

KP Arm CmpSuccess in the show ring – everyone wants it – that’s why we show our horses. But if you are trying to determine what sets winners apart from the runner’s up, look at what winners do differently from the others. Winners, in and out of the show ring, share characteristics that set them apart from the rest of the pack.

There are many traits that set winners in the show ring apart from the placers. Much has been written about winning traditions outside the show ring. But success, in and out of the show ring, is the results of commonalities and riders can learn from observing and reading about successful people in any field. This week we take a look at behaviors that winners employ. Next week we will look at action steps that winners take to put themselves at the top of the judge’s cards.

  1. Winners take responsibility for their success. People who achieve the most do not place blame on others. They hold themselves accountable for their actions and the ensuing results. Rarely do they complain because what’s the point? Complaining does not change the situation but does bring out negative emotions.

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