Articles published on the Street to Stable website often take months to properly collect and fact check the information. This column has taken 46 years, plus or minus a couple of years to aggregate. The topic is the noun “constant” and how horses have played this role throughout my life. I am sure many of you can relate.
I was not raised in a horse family, but I grew up in the country before Santa Clara County became Silicon Valley and the tech capital of the world. My mother claims my second word was “horse” and by the age of 4 I had convinced my parents to enroll me in riding lessons. Barbie? She had no place in my coveted Breyer horse stable because Brenda Breyer was the woman I coveted as having beauty and talent.
IMAGE: "Brenda Breyer", photo credit Amazon.com
You may have noted in the last month that feature articles published on Street to Stable have almost ceased to exist. This is because as a self-funded website, I have not had time to research and collect the information needed to share the quality information I demand for our community. In a matter of two weeks, my husband publicly announced he was leaving his career in commercial brokerage after forming two companies over a span of thirty years and he is officially taking the role as President of his family's arm of their California based company. Simultaneously , we decided to place our home on the market and we were very fortunate that it went under contract in less than a week. We made a quick decision to rent a condo in town for one year until my husband’s youngest daughter graduates from high school and then we will be moving out of the Northwest. We have set an intention that our next residence will have longevity and will be a reduction in square footage. This rapid downsize has resurfaced my professional project management skills, but my anxiety has risen to an almost all time high as I am taking my very organized skills to the next level. The last thing I want to do is dread more sifting next June when we move permanently. From what I gather, I feel as if I am rapidly implementing the NY Times Best Selling Book, "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up."
For the last two weeks, my life has been consumed with pairing down my tack room to only a few trunks, clearing my personal office and all of the files and my corporate portfolio that I no longer need as related to my career, sifting through our entire library and donating several boxes of books, eliminating boxes of clothing, designating which furniture to keep, save for my husband’s children or ship away and these are just a few of the major tasks.
A week ago Thursday, my husband was away for about six days and these dates happened to partially coincide with the the timing on my project plan as to when I was to eliminate items from my personal storage unit. As I opened and sifted through the boxes that had been left untouched for almost 15 years, I found photos from childhood, college, my first marriage and eventual ownership of a working cattle ranch, as well as divorce documents, and papers/text books from business school and a thank you gift from my team that launched a large six figure e-commerce website. Growth comes from learning from the past, but emotions can defy logic and many memories resurfaced. I shed a lot of tears and I called my mom crying as I sat on the cement floor surrounded by old photos and garbage bags.
Here is the positive constant. Horses. In these boxes I found a wide range of photos that were taken throughout my life and emanated happiness including riding at my aunt's ranch when I was about seven, participating in a 4-H horse show, a candid with my first “Big D All-American” blanket that I saved money to purchase while in high school and even a close up of a 2 year old ranch horse that I picked out and helped train under saddle. A few of the mementos included buckles from AQHA championships, ribbons from hunter derbies and coolers from circuit championships. Each reminded me of wonderful memories and the people and horses that helped create them. Instead of tears, I felt pure happiness as I traveled down memory lane and reviewed the events that horses gifted me.
Additionally, even though I am currently burned out physically and emotionally from this personal downsize, the one constant that brings me happiness is going to the stable almost every day to ride the horse I am currently leasing, "Big Sur."
Big Sur by Carly Pearl-Sacks Photography
This is “my time” and my stress level dissipates almost immediately when I drive through the gates. I always enjoy:
1) Hearing “Big” nicker when I arrive. He loves when I bring him his peppermint.
2) The warmth of his body as I take off his sheet.
3) Physically using different muscle groups as I brush and tack up.
4) Concentrating totally during my ride. It is a period where I am not distracted by anything else besides the task at hand.
5) The content look on “Big’s” face after I rinse him off and clean him. He is especially elated when he is turned out on grass paddock following a lesson.
6) Cleaning tack after each ride- I love the smell of leather and the craftsmanship of each piece.
7) Stopping at Starbucks after I ride for a cold foam latte. I feel like a cool “unique” athlete when I am in my riding clothes :) For those of you Generation X’ers, you will appreciate that this is my total Allie McBeal moment!
8) Polishing my boots when I arrive home. My first boots were rubber when I was a child and I appreciate every stitch and the supple leather on my custom Der Dau’s.
9) The residual smell of horses on my clothes after a day at the stable.
Yes, my anxiety and stress are due to first world problems, but they are very real relative to my emotional make-up. As I reflect back on my ENTIRE life to date, horses have provided happiness and a reprieve from personal stress because of my chemical make up. In both the best of times and the worst of times, they always provide an inner peace that soothes my soul. They are my constant.
In one month, we should be settled in our condo for the year and Street to Stable will be in full mode again. In the meantime, take a moment to reflect and appreciate all of the joy that horses have provided you throughout your life. I guarantee a smile will come to your face as you look back at some of your fondest memories.
How do you stand out amongst a multitude of equestrian brands? You need to be easily differentiated.
To do this, you need to be authentically connected to your equestrian brand. Wholeheartedly and unequivocally you need to be fully invested in your core values, process and brand story to connect with your customers on both an an emotional and practical level.
Click below for five tactics provided by entrepreneur Eizabeth-Anne Rhodes, founder of the innovative branding agency and production company Saucy Piaffe, to better understand how to pass this authenticity along to your customers:
Recently, Izzy Baker’s The Kindness Movement, spurred a discussion with myself and a group of equestrians of varying ages. The topic of DIGNITY, and how it relates to kindness was introduced by a young equestrian. She commented, “Dignity, like kindness, used to be something that society considered to be extremely important, but nowadays it is thought to be irrelevant.” Upon further inquiry, she explained, “being collected and thorough with one's thoughts and actions. Those qualities aren’t valued anymore.” Wow, out of the mouths of babes.
Click below for insight on how to better integrate DIGNITY into both your competitive equestrian environment and everyday life.
Are you finding that you are short on time between balancing time at the stable and your have-to's during each day? Cross-training at the gym, specifically for enhancing your riding, is often one of the first items to be cut from a hectic schedule.
Click below for details and video:
Street to Stable®
Receive information about the equestrian way of life including stories, contests, product releases & more.