Just because you made a mistake or an unwise decision with your horse doesn’t mean your equestrian life is over. Horses are an ongoing learning experience and we can choose to learn from our mistakes and grow through our experiences or we can choose to stay exactly where we are at. But keep in mind, just like you can’t get anywhere in a parked car, you can’t make progress with your horse if you don’t continue to move forward.
Take time to examine the situation. Understand why this was a mistake or a bad decision in the first place. For example, all of your horsey friends said you just had to have that new brand of saddle. So you went out and bought it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the best fit for your horse and now your horse is sore. Horses are wonderful teachers (many times at their own expense). Now you know the importance of a properly fitted saddle and it doesn’t matter if it is the latest trend.
Where there is wisdom there is peace. One way to avoid repeating the same mistake is to follow your intuition. If you reflect back, you will be reminded that initially the decision probably didn’t feel good. But peer pressure took over, and you did it anyway. Next time look within yourself. Does it feel good? Or does it feel bad? When you feel at peace about something, you will know it is the correct path.
Don’t settle for what is readily available or for what everyone else is doing or using. Hold out for the right saddle, save a little more money, and don’t compromise quality. We have all done it, but learn to stick to your standards and don’t let anyone or anything else pursued you except for your internal GPS.
Another great way to pull wisdom from your decisions is to find the right people and situations that add value to not just your life but your horse’s life as well. If it isn’t adding value, get rid of it!
We have all heard the saying, “The truth will set you free!” Well, this is more applicable than we think. When something is lacking, it is a good indicator that something is wrong. Do not continue to work with that trainer that has lied to you, the Tack Shop that screwed you on your consignment saddle or the vet that over charges you. Lies create an unnecessary bondage, but the truth sets us free and as a result our lives are much happier!
Stay away from any decision or situation that violates your values. Giving-in always leaves you feeling empty on the inside. Stand up for what is right even if you are standing alone. Many times, we know deep down that a training method isn’t ethical, but we allow our trainer to do it anyway. Next time, I challenge you to speak up and question it! After all … it is your horse and YOUR money!
Stop procrastination! I know, this is a hard one. I do it myself all of the time. I always say, “I work better under pressure.” The reality is that once you choose a better path then why would you want to delay? Procrastination only drags out the emotional process and postpones the healing. You know you screwed up. So get yourself back up, brush off the dust (optional), and get back in the saddle!
Okay, this one is an oldie but goodie! It is okay to say no. Period. You don’t need an explanation. We could avoid a lot of mistakes and bad decisions if we would just exercise our right to say “no.” I challenge you today to start practicing. Do it just once this coming week. “No, I do not want to go to that show. No, I do not want to buy that saddle. No. Period.” Try it….you just might like it!
Start to become aware of the red flags. Take heed to the warning signs. They are usually there, but we don’t want to admit it. Pay attention from the get go. Wisdom is always cautious when something isn’t right. This goes back to our intuition and letting our horse sometimes be the one to guide us. Because let’s face it, they know more than we do.
And last, steer clear of the drama. Avoiding chaos will guide you down the right and peaceful path. No one is flawless, but we can turn our darkest mistake into our best experience by choosing to learn and next time make a better decision based on our experiences.
The bottom line: Avoid the mistakes you can by tuning into your internal guidance system. Learn from the ones you do make. And most of all…enjoy your horse!
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