I have people frequently ask me what my secret to success is, or questions along the same vein. I always find myself telling them the same thing, “hard work pays off.” If you’ve ever been in my barn you’ve probably seen my markerboard with this quote. I have it there as a constant reminder for myself. Everyone has those days when they wonder what all of it is worth, and have a hard time getting motivated, or at least I do (especially with these cold temperatures!). I always fall back on this quote.
In my 30 years of experience I’v been through the school of hard knocks and learned lessons the hard way. I’ve always been a dreamer and with this has come great reward and risk. As with anyone, I have had success and failure. Failure is a funny thing; it is the one consequences that I believe holds us back as trainers, competitiors, or any discipline you are in. It creates a fear that literally can paralyze us from progressing. The fear of failure leads to various other fears, fear of financial loss, fear of embarrassment, and even fear of injury of our equine partners or ourselves. I think we all need to let go of the stigma of fear and accept failure if it comes. Our society expects everything to be perfect and done right the first time and these are unrealistic expectations. Michael Jordan said it best, “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I cannot accept not trying.” I believe this is so important. Today if something doesn’t work, like a stubborn colt, a relationship, or even a marriage we just toss it to the wayside and give up and get a new one. Never giving up is the best advice I can give anyone trying to be successful. Quitting is contagious, and once you do it once it just becomes that much easier the next time. I believe the lesson aspiring trainers and competitors need to understand is there is going to be failure from time to time, but you can never truly “fail” unless you give up. Until next time, safe and productive training!