There are two very important factors when determining what road to take when traveling. One, where do you want to end up. Two, where are you starting from.
Here we are at the end of summer. The time of year when many of us have taken on the opportunity to go on a trip. A vacation, chance to see the kids or parents, quick drive to somewhere interesting, a private getaway, see friends, a horse show or clinic. Any number of chances to hit the road in search of whatever purpose we have in mind.
When embarking on a journey, I still tend to make my route to destination the old fashioned way. I get out an atlas, or road map. For those of you too young to know what those are, they are books and pages made of actual paper with different colored lines drawn on them indicating the choices of roads you can take in order to get where you’re headed. Red lines, blue lines, green lines, black ones, and grey ones. I personally like this system. I get a visual of where I am and where I am going. With that, I can get anywhere. I can even get there different ways. I can choose to experiment with the black lines, or stick to the faster green and blue ones.
Recently I was given a little device called a GPS. It’s intention is to simply get me where I’m going. All I have to do is put in where I want to be and this British woman with a friendly voice will tell me at the appropriate time where to turn, and let me know when I arrive! I just have to turn on the engine and start moving. She’ll take it from there! Or so I was told.
One of our summer trips was to a place I had been before. A horse show (imagine that). We were taking horses of course, using the big truck and long goose neck trailer (remember the long part). Since I had been there before, I pretty well knew how to go, yet decided to check my atlas once just to be sure. Yup! I knew the way. This time however, I determined to allow my new British travel agent a shot at getting us there.
The destination was plugged in and the wheels started rolling. We proceeded to the end of the driveway where she kindly requested I make a right turn, now! Luckily I had patience enough to wait for the actual road before turning. Though her directions were a bit early, they were correct and we were on our way. After that however, there were discrepancies between her route and the one I had envisioned.
Apparently Anna Belle, the name given our English guide (also coincidently my mother-in-law), assumed we were driving a Mini Cooper and capable of making any turns required along her chosen path. Which by the way, is all it was, a path. Here in the East, there are many roads most of which are hilly, curvy, narrow and mapped out by George Washington and his troops as they made their way from one official Washington headquarters to another. I had no idea there were so many headquarters……they’re everywhere…..in nearly every town……on a hill…..next to a river…..and remarkably close to a gift shop. Anyway, I continued the quest as Anna Belle instructed right up until the road became an obvious grey line. No commercial vehicles, load zoned, narrow bridges, even a couple of covered ones! A scenic byway! Yea!!!
We had to turn around. No easy task given the size of the rig and the width of the path. After finally getting wiggled back the opposite direction, Anna Belle suggested we make a safe U turn. I ignored her. Soon she gave that up and suggested in point 2 miles I make a right turn. It was a T intersection from one cow trail to another. I ignored her again. This seemed to upset her. She had to recalculate a number of times! We proceeded to track our retreat to where the lines returned to a dark shade of black, meeting with British resistance the entire way. I now know how George must have felt..
Here we were, back to within a few turns of the Ranch, where I declared my independence! I would no longer be ruled by this twisted woman with the pleasant voice. I unplugged from the British guide who was obviously luring me into an ambush. A very sneaky ploy that I nearly fell for. With atlas in one hand and the other on the wheel I felt free! Free to read the map while traveling at 65 mph. Free to take the road of my choosing. Free to get fuel whenever I wanted to. Free to recalculate on my own.
I have since found good uses for my sweet accented guide. Restaurants and hotels are two of her specialties….after the horses are put away and the rig is unhooked. Until then…As for me, give me an atlas or give me death!
When it comes to riding horses, there is only one way to get where you want to go. You need a well written map from beginning to end. There is no GPS that will train your equine partner to high achievement. I call it your training r.o.a.d.m.a.p. R espect, O pportunity, A dvancement, D edication, M otivation, A chievement, and P urpose. This may not be the shortest route. It may not even be the most scenic, yet it will allow you to arrive intact with dignity and the freedom to adjust along the way.
Respect is earned by being patient and playing a fair game that the horse understands. Opportunity is accurately assessing both your and your horses abilities to go to the right place using the right tools and good judgment. Advancement is challenging you and your horse to a higher level of development, one step at a time using a proven program that promotes excellence and compassion. Dedication is having the personal desire to do the required work no matter what or when. Motivation is the thing that allows you to be consistent and excited about your plans. Achievement is when you trust that what you have prepared for is now, and you are ready. Purpose is what makes all the others possible. Come up with an excellent purpose for you, provide a sense of purpose for your horse, and you will have arrived at your destination.
It doesn’t matter if you choose to end up at a beautiful lake at the end of a days ride or take a shot at demonstrating excellence in a chosen horse sport at it’s highest level. As long as you follow the roadmap, you will get there…..the right way.
I challenge you to clearly define each and every aspect of the map. Know how you will get there and why. Right it down. Then close your eyes and see it happening. Begin at respect and finish with purpose.
I also welcome you to attend one of our upcoming clinics, read the eBook, watch our DVD’s, or arrange to come to the ranch for lessons and coaching.. We go beyond what to do. You will have a map to follow. If you would like to know more, search our improved web site for riding and learning opportunities. If you have interest in hosting a Let it Rein clinic near you, contact us. We are here for you. Our business is riding on your horse.
Let it rein, Craig