The Key Ingredient

 Grit. Such a small word but it contains a world of importance. Grit is what makes us successful, determined, persevering, undaunted by failure and happy with ourselves when we get it right. Grit is what makes us horse-people.

If you wanted life to go smoothly, well planned, and under control you probably should not have horses. Life is a bumpy road at best, and where there’s an equine living in your barn that road is full of gigantic potholes! The true horseman is a problem solver, repairman, psychic, sympathizer, disciplinarian, and dreamer. Having spent half a century in the saddle I can tell you for a fact that the percentages aren’t good. Here’s a typical hour spent at the barn:

  • galloping along in ecstasy with the wind blowing in my hair (1 minute)
  • onerous chores (29 minutes)
  • de-mucking myself and my horse (15 minutes)
  • hand-to-hand combat or ‘who’s the boss’ discussions (15 minutes).

Yet I look forward to that hour every day!

A long-time good horse-friend of ours, Katie has just launched a new phase of her equestrian life that’s surely a case in point. Having survived a rare form of cancer via amputating her leg, she redoubled her efforts to make life what she wanted it to be.   Months out of the hospital she pulled up her bootstraps and became a para-athlete. She found the right horse, signed on to be trained with the US para-team dressage coach, and jumped into riding and showing again. In 2016 her first year in USPEA, she won both 1st and 2nd places nationally for her Grade V level, plus she was regional 2nd level amateur champion (a class for able-bodied riders) as well. In 2017 Katie moved up to ride in the FEI levels of competition and just completed the international competitions in Wellington FL. Goal: Qualifying for the US Para-Team and 2020 Olympics! Now that’s some grit?

Things rarely go as expected, or as you want them to be…so make it work. As my friend Lyn Anderson sagely pointed out on her new video Going for Broke “work through problems, not around them.” Then you get to experience the one minute of ecstasy of galloping around with the wind blowing in your hair, and you know what? It’s WORTH IT!