Try Something New


Routine, structure and procedures are proven methods of success. However, it is equally important to try new things. Without breaking out of your mold, you become stagnant and stop learning. When learning stops, enthusiasm is stymied and before long, a new winner is crowned.

Trying new methods, tools, classes or techniques keeps the program fresh. It offers insight, even if by failure, and solutions to problems that puts you in a position to achieve your goals. Continue reading

Baby Steps to a New Year

It’s New Year’s! Time for celebration, forward looking and resolutions most will unfortunately never fulfill. Personally I do not make New Year’s resolutions. Don’t get me wrong – I reflect on my past successes and failures, consider changes I want to make, set new goals and contemplate my purpose. But it is an ongoing exercise – something I do more than just when the calendar turns.

Perhaps it is because I am slow or dense. Or maybe it is because I think too much. Whatever the reason, breaking each goal down into smaller steps makes achieving any goal easier. Use your goals as a reference  to decide how to live each day.

I like to think of it as Bob did in the 1991 comedy film What About Bob? Dr. Leo Marvin, played by Richard Dreyfuss, gives a copy of his groundbreaking book, Baby Steps, to his hapless phobic psychiatric patient, Bob played by Bill Murray. Continue reading

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

Thank Goodness!

Di W KidsFor the last two weeks I was in Oklahoma City at the AQHA World Championship Show coaching, competing and reporting for on events of the day. It was my first attempt at being a “reporter” and I have a new respect for those who crank out the daily news. Depending on my day, sometimes I had to look harder than others to find good things to report on.

Like many, I become nocturnal at the World Show, riding during the night while still trying to take care of business or showing during the day. It is often grueling and easy to lose sight of the greater good – the successes of the season that brought us all together in Oklahoma City. Upon returning home, I was immediately grateful for a full nights sleep – hearing no alarm at 2 a.m. and knowing I could sleep through the night. Continue reading


H&I WalkDo you ever think about how the little choices made every day might affect your future? Many choices have little bearing on the things that really matter in life, like the shirt you are wearing at this moment.

And yet, you chose the shirt you are wearing for a particular reason. Maybe it is cold out and the shirt looked warm. Or maybe you knew you had to meet with the boss today so you wore something that makes you feel strong and invincible. Maybe you are getting ready for the World Championship Show and you put on your favorite riding shirt because it makes you feel like a champion. Continue reading

Get Back on the Horse

Christ WAwayTalking with a friend today, she recounted a story about someone getting bucked off never to return to the saddle. After hanging up with my friend, I could not help but continue to think about the loss suffered by those who never return to the horses. This time of year it is especially evident that there are thousands of us who would never give up that easily.

Those of us who can pick ourselves up, dust off our jeans and climb back on the horse have experienced more than just a little delight in the ability to fend off the foes. Whatever the demons each of us struggle with, it is the ability to humble ourselves and  to accept the lessons that come from the fall that determine who we are.

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Congress Character Building

Congress Win 1Showing horses is not just fun – it offers more opportunities than any sport I know of to build character. For one thing, I cannot think of a sport more humbling than showing horses. You can have a great ride and feel on top of the world as you win or hear your name called out. And the very next step, your horse can spook and toss you like a bad chip.

Or, as happens to the majority here in Columbus, Ohio, you show all year at home winning with ease preparing for this one big horse show called the Congress. You diligently practice, doing your homework, preparing for this one big event. Then, when the day arrives, you and your horse perform flawlessly, doing everything exactly as you practiced – yet you do not make the split.

Or not.

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Good Starts on Course

SHOWshowmanship23Congress is here. Parents, trainers, coaches and riders are madly making final preparations. Expectant participants anxiously wait for the day to come when they arrive in Columbus. It won’t be long now, the show will be in full swing and everyone will be there, stepping up to the cone.

 It always seems so easy at home: you walk up to the cone, close your leg and off you go. Yet at the horse shows, it often does not go so well.  One of the biggest mistakes riders make is not replicating the scenario at the horse show.

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Good Starts: Cone 1 Collection

5 10 14.2The best way to get off to a good start is to start at home! It sounds like a broken record, but the best performances originate at home with proper preparation ahead of the performance. With that in mind, here are some steps to get you off to a good start at the first cone beginning from home ending with good starts in the show pen.

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Willfully Guided

 Zach trot cropDoes your horse understand the difference between punishment and discipline? Do you, as a rider, understand the difference between the two? Horses and riders often get confused between what is discipline and what is punishment. While some horses cannot understand the distinction between the two, most can and the resulting difference in their reaction is night and day.

One instills fear evoking reactions from the horse that are fear based and the other furthers your communication, fine tuning the horse’s training. One creates more problems, spooking, overreaction, kick-outs, running off, and the other creates confidence, better departures, more seamless transitions and lighter aids.

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