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Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Taking it all in Stride ... Navigating the Arabian horse world and keeping your sanity!!!

I feel slightly criminal in starting this blog with a title that is entirely hypocritical and likely full of empty promises.

As the owner and operator (i.e. coach, trainer, mentor, psychologist, part-time vet, secretary, groom, transportation manager, etc) of Stride Equine Arabians, I have most certainly failed more than once when it comes to keeping my cool (and my sanity) in my journey through this amazing world of Arabian horses.

Whether you've taken one lesson or been riding and showing for many years, you will know that the world of horses (Arabian or otherwise!) is chock full of emotional decisions and that horse people (myself included) have rightfully earned their sterotype of "crazy". 

So why on earth, you ask, would one want to get involved in this outrageous world of people and beasts that seems so often to bring out the peculiar in the best of us?

Well, I don't have a concrete answer here, but I think it has something to do with the Winston Churchill quote that claims that, "there is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man".  Horses are huge, strong and occasionally wild animals, yet we gain their trust, train them and capture a little bit of heaven when they so graciously allow us to saddle and ride them.  Even after riding for almost 25 years, recently anywhere from 10-20 hours a week, there are still days when I stand back and am overwhelmed by this grace. 

Other days though, I find myself wandering dangerously close to the nearest mental-hospital, my referral in hand.  It doesn't take long in the horse industry to learn that there are a million disiplines, philosophies and methods, and even more opinions about all of these than anyone can sanely comprehend.  How is it then that we navigate this broad and emotionally-charged world while both appreciating and growing from all it has to offer?  How can we hope to remain confident, grounded and centered during all of our horse adventures?

I believe the answer is found in in finding people who love the animal and the sport as much as you do and for similar reasons.  I also believe it happens when you work with people you trust and respect, who truly understand the needs of the horse and human and weave these together successfully in their own unique way.  I believe it starts with building a strong understanding of both horse and human physiology and psychology, and then applying that to whatever discipline you are currently working within. 

First and foremost though, I think success in this industry as a rider, owner, professional or even spectator, is entirely reliant on learning to not take ourselves (or others) too seriously.  Hence the name of this blog (and of course it works well as a shameless plug for my business).  I've certainly not mastered this but I'm willing to openly share how I'm trying!

So, what can you expect from reading the entries that will be published here?  Some tips, some anecdotes, some philosophies ... All of which I've compiled from my own experience, training and research throughout the years.  Some will be my ideas (which of course are no new ideas ... merely ones I've stolen from people much more talented and experienced than I)  and some will be directly from the "experts".

I hope you find some humor, guidance or even solace in an honest and open look at one trainer's ideas and opinions.  I share with you knowing it makes me vulnberable to do so and I hope you find something valuable, or at the very least entertaining.  And if you don't, I hope you'll at least take my advice, and not take me too seriously.

Look forward to blogging with you!!

Jacquie Ganton
(Stride Equine Arabians)

A fun, informative and reflective look into the world of Arabian horses, through the eyes of an Arabian trainer, instructor and coach.