Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What do you do with separate passions?

When I was younger, I was fascinated with Monty Roberts, his method of breaking horses, and in particular the round-penning method he used.  Today it came to my attention that Fox has been a bad girl on the lunge line.  She stops and spins so that she only has to go in one direction.  So today I practiced the skills that the Sticky pony has been teaching me the past few weeks.  Sticky has lived in a herd for most of her life, and therefore is extremely sensitive to body language.  In her first week acclimating to her new herd, Polly drove her away each time she tried to join it.  In the same way, lunging a green horse is largely based on body language.  Sticky taught me more about my body language in the first day I worked her in the round pen than I had ever learned previously.

I was able to use those simple principles that I learned that day today with Fox.  From the way I position my body in relation to hers, to where I look, to my posture - she reacts to all of it.  After about twenty minutes of driving her forward, asking her stop, turn, and go forward she was ready to finally listen to me.  I dropped the whip and turned my back on her.  She stopped too, looking my way.  Eventually, while my back was still turned on her, she walked towards me and rested her head on my shoulder.  I proceeded to walk away, and she followed.  A huge part of respect on the ground can be taught in the round pen, and the concepts work whether you are in an enclosed area or not.

The past few weeks have been stressful, I declared my major - Human Services, and I will likely minor in Spanish.  Knowing that though doesn't really help me much, since I know that I don't want to be a Social Worker or a Psychologist.  My heart is with the boys in Honduras, but also with my horses.  I have not figured out a way to combine the two, and I'm not sure that there is a way.  While I am a Just World International Ambassador, I don't see a realistic way to combine my passion for horses and riding with my philanthropic desires.  However, I can combine my innate business sense with my love of horses and writing.  There should be a way to do that.

I just watched a short film that received recognition at the Sundance Film Festival.  Happiness was about fifteen minutes long, and about an older woman looking for something she doesn't have.  The question posed by the director, the question many people have thought about, was what if, what if you could buy happiness?  For each person happiness is a different thing.  Its intangible, some find it in a pair of shoes, others in a family dinner.  For the woman in the movie, she aspires to outdo her superior, a woman who flaunts around in fancy heels.  In buying her happiness off the shelf, she goes to the store and buys the same white stilettos that her boss was wearing.  The next day as she heads into work, trying to carry herself as a new person, the boss struts in with new red patent leather stilettos.  While the director is clearly cynical, illustrating many other small details that are relevant but a waste to point out, he succeeds in portraying one crucial item - happiness is fleeting if you think you find your happiness in the comparison of yourself to others.

As Kaitlyn and I were talking tonight, we discussed the proposal ideas we have both been constructing over the past few weeks.  We both love the barns we grew up in, and though we have both continued on to different farms and different opportunities, our roots are in these farms.  Its easy for most to see why we do the things we do.  There is a comfort in a place you are used to, a complacency almost.  Though complacency is something I'm not sure I know much about.  My college essay was about it - this elusive term that could be used to describe most Americans today.  For many years Kaitlyn and I have talked about opening our own barn together.  We are equally motivated, determined, and realistic.  We have few illusions about the business.  Its not one that you make lots of money in.  You put in long hours and often there is little tangible reward.

However, we both love the creatures, know them extremely well, and are also great with people.  And yes, money is a concern.  The problem is, we both have better taste in horses than we have depth to our pockets.  It occurred to me that one of things I have been working on the past two weeks, while studying for exams, has been a business proposal that seems to have been the easiest thing I have worked on despite having never done anything like it before.  It forced me to look at every aspect of a business, of the farm, things that bring in money, and how it is spent.  And the craziest part is - it was fun for me!  Granted I'm sure its easier to talk about how to make and spend money than it is to implement the plans, yet still it got me thinking.

I want to look into the idea of an equine consulting.  I don't mean in the way that a person hires their trainer to help them find a horse, though that could be part of it too, but I mean studying businesses and coming up for ideas on how to improve them.  Everything from growing a client base, to developing programs, can change the face of the business.  Now, I don't know if there is such a thing as equine consulting already, or if horse people actually spend money on these things, but I feel like it could be a way to use the knowledge I have been gaining over the years, and still not be destined to tie myself down to one place.  Meeting people is a crucial part of my life, and helping them is too.  Who knows where any of this could lead.  I don't know that anyone would hire someone with so little experience, or even if there is a market for this, but I think passion is the most important part.  Thats the part that can't be taught.

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