When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going

Photo by Amy Dragoo.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

As trite as that sounds, it is absolutely the most valuable lesson we can learn in horses and in life. Not to be overcome by circumstance but to allow it to spur us on and shape us into a mentally resilient participant.

I live, breathe, eat, sleep, dream and most importantly LOVE horses. My passion professionally and personally happen to be the same which makes the impact of success or failure felt all the more deeply. There is a small little group of us that do this whole horse thing professionally and haven’t died yet, and even more amazingly, still wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Horses are the only sport where the ball can willfully say yes or no, and in lies the quest of the horseman, to get the ball to say yes without force or fear.

With the exception of a handful of trainers or competitors, we don’t make a lot of money, I know, SHOCKING. We generally make just enough to get by from month to month if we are lucky even though we seem to work eleventy billion hours a week. So why do we keep at it?

I can’t answer that question for all, but I can answer that question for me. I keep at it because of the insatiable desire to be better, braver, stronger, clearer, quieter, smarter, calmer and the list goes on and on.

Some people are gifted with the ability to be content, that just isn’t me. Not that I want more things, money (although that would be nice), notoriety, ribbons or accolades, but to become the person that when I look in the mirror I can honestly say I am proud to be her. I want to be the same person in public that I am in private and be growing every second.

There are two types of horse people, really: the ones that are in it for how the horse can make them look on the outside, and there are those that are in it for how the horse can make them look on the inside. I personally have had some VERY unglamorous moments while riding or trying to ride, but I embrace them and am willing to share them because they have made me a better person, trainer and horseman. They have made me mentally resilient, taught me I am not guaranteed or owed anything, and I am not a victim but in charge of how I respond to life’s experiences.

There was an article a while back that said “embrace the suck,” and I believe that is so important — allow the lowest of lows to be the moments that allow the highest of highs to be even greater! Don’t be a vanilla, safe, milquetoast version of yourself. Push, drive, embrace, work, FAIL!, and let the successes along the way be the fuel in your tank.

I know I am not a lot of things, but one thing I am EXCELLENT at is showing up.

Show up, or I promise you, someone else will.