Sunday, March 25, 2018

Preparation, Patience, and Priorities

Preparation, patience, and priorities.  These three words swim in my head as I'm thinking of my barrel racing goals for this year.  Sitting out a year leaves a person craving to return to the arena but sometimes life doesn't always let that happen right away. Mother Nature and calving sure has put a damper on my hypothetical barrel racing schedule among other things. Spring weather and above freezing temperatures are coming, sooner or later. Although, patience for such things hasn't ever been my strong suit.

This year I feel it will be a fly-by-the-seat-of-your pants kind of year. Never knowing what is to come, in what order to do it, or when it's going to happen, these three words come back into my mind. Preparation, patience, priorities. I might not know when I will get to go to a barrel race, but I can prepare as best I can and have the patience that it will happen someday.  One thing I've always felt is if I have my priorities in line, then the rest will fall into place. I just have to be ready for when the opportunity is within my grasp.

I think these three words can be applied to our horses as well. Especially for those goals with timelines such as Futurity horses. Lately I've been asking myself these three questions when I'm riding.

1. Have I prepared my horse for the task or job that I'm asking to complete? Whether it's getting them in shape enough to run barrels or making sure that I've given them the foundation in our training to have the tools to complete the job, this question is valid in every level of horses and can also be applied to ourselves.
2. Have I had the patience? Getting a horse in shape doesn't happen over night so being patient and making sure I'm preparing my horses go hand in hand. In the same token, it's hard for a horse with a kindergarten education perform a high school level task.  These things take time.
3. What are my priorities? This follows the same line as what are your long term goals but also short term day to day goals as well.  Am I rushing a process for short term gain/long term loss or am I operating for the long term?  There might be a barrel race this weekend but is my horse in shape? Am I ready? What is more important, running to run and not being prepared, loosing confidence, etc, or working hard to be ready for the next one and setting your horse and yourself up for success Whose agenda is more important? Your's or the horse's?

I heard legendary Coach Wooden say, "Failure to plan is preparing to fail." This year I might not be able to control the circumstances but I can control the outcomes by being prepared, having patience that our time will come, and making sure that my priorities are in line with my long term goals.