The infamous horse dream is what unites us all. Some people dream of showing and others of simply riding the range, but the true love of a horse resonates in us all. To me there is no better smell than a clean soft horse. I love to kiss the soft side of their muzzle and the feel the warm air blowing from their nostril. Their ability to recognize smells far exceeds their ability to see. Every horse I have ever owned would smell my dads Old Spice cologne a mile away and they were drawn to nuzzle up to him. He is a big teddy bear and very kind soul and they knew it.
Horses are honest and a very good judge of character. While smelling something comforting their eye usually softens to the point that the veins show below their eye, as if there is total trust and submission. Their large gorgeous eyes seem to speak directly to my soul and somehow I feel at home whenever I am in their presence. I remember being a little girl and talking to my show mare for hours on end. She knew every thought, feeling, problem, emotion and dream that I ever had. It’s a good thing horses can’t talk! The dream sometimes is hard to pinpoint and it is forever changing. When I was little I wanted to be a world champion barrel racer, later I dreamed of winning the Snaffle Bit Futurity, now my dream is to build an elite equestrian academy to help people become a true horseman and to achieve their dreams.
I want to build something that can continue when I am gone that is based on service not self. I have learned to value my relationship with the people that have come to me through our shared passion for horses. When I stand before God he will not ask me about the horses he sent me, he will ask me about the people he sent me. I believe that the people that I work with through life are placed there for a reason and it is not by chance. Every person has their own dreams, background, and talent level. My life’s mission is to whole heartily listen to my clients’ dreams and to devise a plan to make their dreams a reality. Everyone’s dream starts with a plan.
I have always thought of myself as a trainer. More specifically I now realize that I am not only a trainer to a horse, but to the people that I coach. A COACH is someone that takes someone where they were unable to take themselves. A coach is “ALL IN” not just for an hour lesson, but rather until the students goal is achieved and then some. Being called a “Coach” is one of the highest honors and is a cherished title. The goal is to change lives one horse at a time and create lasting friendships based on win-win situations. It takes a lot of trust on both sides of the client/trainer relationship.
The client has to bear their soul, commit their time and money to their dream and follow the lead of ”the trainer”. The trainer has to whole-heartedly believe the client and commit 100% to the execution of the plan. The trainer doesn’t have to believe wholeheartedly in the horse but I do have to believe in the client. In athletics it is often said that “every athlete deserves a coach who believes in them”. It is not my job to doubt a dream rather it is to facilitate the clients dream without doubt. The horses are a median in the relationship. Horses get sick, get injured, die, get old, don’t pan out and get bought and sold, but a good relationship lasts forever. The plan should not be based on a particular horse; it should be based on achieving the goal. Sometimes the goal changes because of the horse, the rider or the outcome. The one constant in making a plan is to realize that all plans change. When my husband and I built our house we started with a set of plans but we changed many of details in those plans during the building process. This will happen. In all plans, the structure and foundation will stay the same but the details develop over time. The important thing is to stick to the plan, believe in the process and your leader/trainer/coach, and have good communication. With all this said at the end of all the planning you have to get on and ride!
There is nothing that will replace hours in the saddle. Quality time is quantity of time. There is no shortcut to mastery. No one learns how to ride a bike or swim by doing it once in a while. Horses and people learn from repetition and repetition is the mother of skill. It is vital to create good habits to be repeated not bad ones. One thing that has become painfully obvious through my years as a horse trainer and riding coach is that when it comes to horsemanship, “if you do what comes naturally you are usually wrong.” Question this concept all you want, but over time there are common mistakes that every rider at every level makes, which means it must be part of our nature. Riders make these mistakes because they come natural yet what they are doing is contrary to what should be done. For example, to stop your horse you should, stop your rhythm, sink down, release your feet, lift hands up, and say “whoa”. What usually happens is people throw themselves back, squeeze their legs, stand in their stirrups, and pull straight back, eventually landing towards the horse’s neck. If I had a dollar for every time this has happened I would be a millionaire. Another example is that people always want to lean to the inside of a turn instead of sitting on the outside of the turn.
Somehow it is just the nature of people to do the wrong thing at the wrong time and that is why it is critical to have a coach to install the correct fundamentals that must repeated until the right way becomes natural. The price of making something look easy is a lot of hard work. When learning the correct fundamentals it is important to embrace what you know yet be open to what you need to learn. I find this is easier to diagnose by riding different horses. Riding the same horse all the time will limit your horsemanship skills. You will get used to the same feel and will you will repeat the same mistakes. You will find yourself in a rut and that rut will prolong your plan. Most people’s answer to a problem with a horse is to put their horse in training. Great idea, but we have all seen the horse that is great for the trainer and not for the owner. If the owner is not of similar ability to the trainer the horse will immediately regress. Your horsemanship knowledge needs to grow as your horse’s ability grows. If you are green there is room to grow but if you are ripe all you can do is rot. Horsemanship is the relationship between a rider and the horse. (Horse – MAN – ship) You owe it to your horse to invest the same hours in your own riding as the trainer puts in on your horses ability. Yes this is possible; your actions speak louder than words. Winners do the work; wannabes talk about doing the work. Get on and enjoy the ride. Believe in yourself and the plan.
Believe it or not this is the hardest step. If you don’t believe in your dream then no one else will. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and your dream and that will support you on your journey. The vicious circle is a concept that I was introduced to by Coach John Baxter. The Vicious Circle is the mechanics of failure assuming one has the talent. The 3 parts of the circle are 1. No Plan 2. Don’t try and 3. Don’t believe. The most vicious of the 3 is don’t believe because if you don’t believe then nothing will ever happen. It’s your dream and you must whole-heartedly go after your dream. You cannot let naysayers and negativity hold you back. You only live once, life is short and opportunity is dressed in overalls and looks like work. Your riding life is even shorter; most people retire from riding at around 70. I am a good example; I have been riding my whole life, and riding as a career for over 20 years. I am more than half way through my riding life, and that is why I am so serious about achieving my horsemanship dreams. If you can conceive it and more importantly believe it, then you can achieve it. Today is the tomorrow you talked about yesterday so take action and Dream it – Plan it – Ride it – and BELIEVE IT!
***Interested in internship contact Jenny Sherbo at Jenny@Jennysherbo.com, (916)768-7300****