Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Matchmaking: Tips for Finding Your Perfect Equine Partner

A large part of my business is horse sales, specifically matching riders with the right horse so that they can have a long and successful relationship. This is similar to finding your human partner. It isn’t about finding the perfect individual, it is about finding the perfect individual for you. There are a number of characteristics I consider in both the horse and the rider. I am not going to discuss the obvious things like soundness and breeding. I am going to talk more about the chemistry involved in the process and the following criteria.

Goals: First, the goals of the rider must be clear. If they wish to win the world in reining this year, it requires a much different(not to mention expensive) horse than if they want to have a horse to improve on, enjoy,and are willing to take their time. The intended use of the horse needs to be as defined as possible. Even if you match a person with a very suitable horse, if the horse cannot meet the vision of the rider, today or somewhere down the road they will not be a satisfying partnership. As trainer, my job is to help shape the intention of the rider. I am responsible for pushing them to achieve as much as they can yet keep their goals realistic and attainable.

Experience of horse versus experience of the rider: I very rarely recommend a young horse to an inexperienced rider. The price of a younger horse is typically lower, but with the offset of potential hospital bills it is not worth the risk. Horses 2 and under are great for experienced riders who are looking to learn about the process of starting and training a horse. It should be emphasized that an older horse is not necessarily more broke than a younger horse. I have had very good luck matching intermediate riders with horses that are late 3-year-olds that have had a solid training program to that point. The horses are young enough to grow with the rider but have had enough experience to have a solid handle on them.

Aligning energy: I have found that horses and riders tend to have an idle energy. What I mean is that they either tend to be cooler or hotter by nature. The goal is to have the combined pair have a neutral nature with not too much “go” while still being responsive and attentive. This is an optimum training environment. I have found that a rider who tends to make a horse doggy or lazy will often suit a horse with a little more life. Riders who tend to be quick handed, high energy, or have an “electric seat” tend to clash with horses that also have a lot of life. They typically do better with a more reserved horse.

Forgiveness: There is a certain quality in horses that I like to call a “sense of humor.” If I am looking for a beginner rider, or a person trying to train their own horse, I am looking for a horse that can take a joke. I don’t mean this in a derogatory way; everyone makes mistakes. But when learning, a person makes more frequent and offensive mistakes then they will down the road. I want a horse that appears to be more forgiving. I will rank this quality higher for many shoppers than talent or breeding. As the trainer, and often the person selling the horse, I am in a unique position to observe both horse and rider. Additionally, I know their individual histories and tendencies and am able to narrow down potential partners to a couple of finalists. Herein lays the intangible part of matchmaking. For some reason, there will be one horse that just jibes with a person. Often he is the wildcard you threw in the bunch that maybe had some, but not all of the qualities you were after.

You can’t explain what makes it work, but when you see it you just know. I never discount the essentials, but some of my greatest matches only revealed themselves the moment the right person swung a leg over that special horse. As seen in the NWHS magazine www.nwhorsesource.com

Monday, January 28, 2013

Define Yourself

Somewhere along the way, you have to decide the kind of person you want to be. I liken it to a mission statement for your life. You need to look yourself in the mirror and know without a doubt, the traits that you wish to possess. It will help define your “way” of traveling through life. When you are faced with deceit, betrayal, pettiness and all other manner of shenanigans, you have something to hold on to. We may not have a stitch of control over the bad behavior of others, but we damn sure do over our own. It is not easy to be self-aware. That can be some hard stuff to see, but without constant introspection, there is no growth. It is not a onetime glance; you have to monitor yourself regularly. When you are faced with the ugliness of another person, challenge yourself to turn your light on your own darkness. Do not take for granted that you are sticking to your life’s game plan. Do not walk blindly through your own life. Examine your base level and remove all pettiness. It is terribly easy to fall into a fight at a level far below yourself if you don’t keep your eyes turned inward. I know personally how hard it can be to withstand blatant slander and to want to set the record straight. The trouble is that in a shit-slinging fight, even if you win, you still come out smelling like shit. I am not claiming that any of it is easy to do, or that I am always able to do it, but I know that it is the right path, so I keep coming back to it, even if I may trip or stray. I also know that I am in control of my own environment, and I try to be very protective of that. It can be hard to weather the inevitable storms that rumble across the path of our lives. However; if we are housed safely in the shelter of integrity, honesty, and authenticity and wrapped in the warm arms of compassion, gratitude and kindness, the storms will pass leaving minimal damage.

Be thoughtful, friends: thoughtful enough to know that there is something bigger than the discomfort of the moment. Be brave, friends: brave enough to be honest with yourself about your own actions. Be strong, friends: strong enough to hold to your mission, even when it seems impossible.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Cutting Runners...

I have often likened my dating practices to showing out of the herd. For the longest time, I would never get cut clean. The first cow to bolt and run, always drew me. There would be some perfectly good, round, healthy cow, standing there begging to be cut, faced up to me, respecting my horse. But NOOOOOOOOOO I would take the runner. Now those of you who cut or cowhorse know that feeling... the one where your run goes to hell. You get run over, back fenced, and almost always end up losing the cow. Best case scenario, you just end up with a high degree of difficulty, but an ugly run. I got pretty handy out of the herd once I learned to cut clean. So, there must be hope :) Dating Mantra: I will not cut a runner.

Hot Mess

I'm no authority on how to live, just a fabulously hot mess trying to get more hot and less messy :)

Learning to like myself...

This morning while wobbling around trying to complete these origami workout exercises from Kaila, I had some really interesting thoughts. I was doing my workout in this darkened room for like Zumba classes or something, with a big mirror. I was standing up doing these squat/weight/lunge torture drills and looked up at myself and thought… huh, not half bad Trimble! It was an interesting moment for me, and one I can’t remember having. I know that a lot of people have said, with regards to the ACE photos, “was that really you?” It was. When I look back I think of it as almost another life, or another person. In reality, it wasn’t all that long ago. At that time, I was so unhappy, and the weight was the least of it. There was a lot of self-loathing and insecurity compounded with a feeling of being stuck. I felt… well, I felt bad. Today when I looked in the mirror, I could see her standing next to me. I saw her, the old me, in a very different light. I don’t hate her one bit! That woman, no matter how low she got, kept fighting for me. I remember the day she got her first tattoo (something pretty out of character at the time) because she wanted change so badly that she wrote it on her forearm where she couldn’t ignore it. She made endless mistakes, some of them multiple times. She cried and struggled, but no matter how hard it was, or how many stops and starts or redirection, she never gave up on me. I look back at those old pictures that once hurt to look at, and realize I am looking at the best friend I have ever had! They don’t make me ashamed to look at, they make me happy. Old Allison, loved me enough to never give up. She was amazing. It gives me strength. I am always going to be trying to grow, and change, and develop. That reality makes me look back on old me with a new respect. Today, it is much easier to do the work than it was then, and it is still really hard. I still make lots of mistakes, backsteps and sidesteps. Change can be scary. We know we should love ourselves, however we look or feel, so sometimes it can be very hard to say the things that we don’t like about ourselves, or to break out of comfortable patterns. Now, when it is hard… I think, if she could do it, so can I. I keep thinking about who I am going to help myself be someday. I know that a lot of you out there are in that place. That unhappy place where change seems impossible. But, what if the person you are today is not someone you loathe? What if you are the very strongest you, you will ever be? What if the you today, fights for the you of tomorrow? I have been talking a lot about compassion and letting go… today was the first time that I looked back at the picture in my mind of the old me, and more than loved her, I liked her. She was one tough bitch.

Changing My Outlook

CHANGING MY OUTLOOK: This morning, while rubbing my eyes going to let my yapping dogs out, I stubbed my toe on the piano. Hard. I suspect that this happened because I am so sore that I can barely lift my leg, let alone swing it properly. Now, I remember other days like this where I said, "perfect, I guess I know how this day is going to go..(grimace)" This morning I actually thought... well, I'm glad I got that out of the way first thing! It was nice to be not so easily thrown of my path by a little toe stubbing. Good morning everyone! The clouds are out and the rain is shining...the perfect day to do something grand :)

Judging Others

JUDGING OTHERS: This has been a discussion topic of late. When I hear someone make a blatant judgment of someone else, it immediately makes me narrow my eyes and look at them twice. Whether it is about race, religion, sexuality, life choices, or daily choices, it really is all the same. Personally, I think getting through life is really hard. My perspective on life has changed so much over the years that I typically assume that it is possible that an experience I have not yet had, may change my opinion. I have learned to never assume anything. I have so much work that I need to do on myself; I don't even dare to venture a guess on what someone else should do with their life. I have made so many mistakes and stumbled so many times. I have been reckless, and careless, and I have gone against the grain. I am a pretty sharp cookie, and even though I may be able to make a witty statement about something, I am a really good judge of what is not my business or place. Who am I to judge someone else? It is an awfully prideful thing to profess to know all the answers. I do a poor enough job when I am living in my life; I would never suppose to know better about someone else's journey than they do. My job in this world is to learn from what it shows me, and be the best me I can offer the world. I am not sure what it is about people who feel it is their life’s mission to set the world straight on how things should be, but it is likely that they are spending a lot of time avoiding serious issues in their own life. I feel sadness for them that they are not brave enough to shine a light on their own darkness.

Here is what I think.

~ I like color, all colors. In nature, the variety of colors in wildflowers is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. So is it with people.
~ I look for the special in everything. Sometimes special doesn't come in a tidy package, but that takes nothing away from the gift.

~ Creativity is the energy of life. I love authentic, unique people. My challenge has been to appreciate the seemingly average person. It is a challenge I accept.

~ There is nothing that is less of other people's business that who you choose to share your body with. Sexuality is a complicated part of our psyche, and seriously not the business of anyone else. Shame on those who even begin to comment on other people’s sex lives.

~ Everyone you come into contact with, each day, is going through something. It may be big or small. It may be current, or deep seeded. Being a human is hard. Being a good human is even harder. Even if I can't see life from a person's perspective, I try to simply assume that it has been a challenge and have compassion for that unseen challenge.

~ Not everyone is in the same place you are. It would be nice if everything happened when you thought you were ready for it, but that may not be the timing in someone else's life.

~ Other people's relationships are also none of anyone's business but the people involved. It is a delicate dance to partner in this life. Nothing is every one sided or simple for the people who are in it. How in the world would someone outside the situation be better informed? Support people struggling by listening, sharing a relevant story from your experience in your life, and assure them that you know they will make the choice they believe is right, and that if they find that they were wrong, you believe in their ability to right the wrong.

~ Freedom of religion is a choice that in America we are blessed to have. Many sins have been committed in the name of or behind the shroud of religious right. Many blessings, kindness and wonderful acts have come from the same belief system. Your heart and actions are what make you in this world. No other person can truly know your spirituality. It is not visible on the outside. Don’t be that guy that uses religion to validate anything other than human compassion. That guy is a jerk.

~ There are certain things in this world that are beyond judgment. Truth: and truth has no color. Kindness: and kindness has no shape. Faith: and faith has no dress code. Love: and love has no bounds.

Be your own Truth. Show Kindness to everything on this lovely earth. Have Faith in humanity, and that includes you. Love, even when it hurts.