Lately, particularly this year, and even more so that last few months, I’ve gotten more and more serious about improving my skills with horses and improving my riding.
My enthusiasm for riding has wavered a little over the past few years. Mainly, because life (tiny kids, businesses, etc.) was forever getting in the way. Partly, because I also didn’t really have the right horse, at the right time.
Then, late last year when Miss Bee came along, I suddenly discovered how amazing riding could feel when you have the right horse, at the right time, underneath you.
The difference in my riding from November last year, to now, is quite extraordinary. The difference in my confidence levels is quite extraordinary too.
The confidence Bee has given me, has allowed me to both get some help to get Mr Trigger started again (as he wasn’t quite the right horse for me up until now), and to also purchase and now ride, my new boy (who luckily has turned out to be utterly amazing, but was an unknown quantity when I first leapt aboard!).
But one of the things that has really stuck out to me, over the past few weeks, where I’ve really been trying to learn how to ride each horse in the right way, to help them be calm, balanced and responsive etc., AND after riding a slightly wired Miss Bee at riding club yesterday, is just how precise, consistent and direct you need to be, to get the best out of a horse.
I’ve always had this habit of simply ‘drifting’ around while riding and allowing things to happen – rather than taking control and helping the horse to really move and behave in the manner that he/she should.
In fact, first, one must get really clear on what you WANT from a horse (in your own head) – and then communicate that TO the horse in a way that makes sense to them – but THEN (particularly with green or young horses who may not understand or resist your initial request), you need to back it up and insist that you get what you wanted. And if the horse really struggles, you still really need to persist until you at least get some sort of ‘try’ towards what you want from the horse.
Even when the end result isn’t perfect, you cannot simply give up and let it go – you must get your message through to the horse and get SOMETHING, before you reward them and move on.
Otherwise, you’re rewarding a poor response or your rewarding their resistance, which creates further issues.
Because for some horses, who may be naturally relaxed and cruisy, you can get away with dawdling along, making wishy washy requests, and sometimes following through, and sometimes giving up – because even though you won’t get the best performance out of that horse, you won’t end up in too much trouble. They’ll just cruise around like a donkey, but at least on those horses, you’re less likely to die
Problem is, there aren’t too many horses who are genuinely like that.
Most of them, know precisely how serious you are, about what you’re asking, and whether they can get away with resisting or ignoring your request. And when you teach a horse that YOU aren’t sure about what you’re asking, or that they can give a minor protest, and that will make you give up on following through – then it starts degrading both the horses performance AND (most importantly) your horses attitude and the relationship between you.
And that, is when it causes issues. Unless you take control in a very precise and clear manner, the horse will make up its own rules, and potentially, get dangerous, should things progress down that line. You’ll constantly be fighting with each other, or they’ll just get super worried because they don’t have the leadership, they need to feel safe.
Then, it becomes impossible to ignore the situation, as your horse will begin behaving badly, which makes the rider even more scared, which causes the horse to feel worse and everything ends up a huge, giant mess.
Why does any of this matter, if you don’t ride horses? (It will make perfect sense to those of you who do!)
Funnily enough, much of this directly translates into how we approach business and marketing.
Unless we literally, take the reins, and drive our business in the direction we wish to go, nothing will happen. You’ll stay stuck at the same point. Your business might even fail completely.
And unless we are crystal clear about who we are, how our business benefits people, why they should buy, who we are targeting, and how to communicate to those customers absolutely clearly – you won’t get results.
You need 100% clarity, or at least as close as you can possibly manage to that, in order to communicate the right things to your target audience and score the sales.
Then – you will have a business that performs at the highest levels, consistently. Providing you keep doing all the right things, consistently.
And that’s not to say that we’re looking for perfection, at any stage.
Just like horses need to learn to use different muscles, carry their bodies more effectively, and rewire old habits, and throughout this process, you’re looking for ‘better’ or a ‘try’ towards your goal (which then gets refined over time)…
Your business and your marketing will begin slightly clunky and disjointed etc. as you ‘find your groove’ and figure out what strategies and tactics work for you and your industry, and which don’t, and as you continue to run your business you’ll discover ways of refining your business activities and operations over time, too.
Particularly, if things like digital marketing doesn’t come naturally or easily to you. You won’t be perfect in the beginning, but that can’t stop you from trying darn hard to steer that horse and make him move at least somewhere towards where you want to go.
Because otherwise, you go absolutely nowhere OR you get carried off into some random sunset, and possibly get bucked off that horse altogether.
It simply gets so easy sometimes to get stuck in victim mode, inside our own heads. Our big goals seem so far away, that it’s all too difficult, so we kinda make a few half-hearted attempts at things, but kinda don’t really take charge, and simply drift around, hoping that maybe, someday, something might work, and you might magically end up reaching your goals.
Business doesn’t work like that. Horses don’t work like that.
For me, with my horses, right now, it’s all about stepping up to the plate, growing a set () and taking charge, with confidence. That’s what they need from me. Certainty, clarity and confidence. And never ever accepting a ‘no’ response.
And never hesitating in asking for what I want from them either, simply to avoid the ‘no’ response (because in that scenario, they aren’t learning or progressing either).
And chances are, that’s possibly what your business needs, right now too.
Particularly, when times get tough, but at any time, you simply must…
Grow a pair.
And get going.
With zero excuses.
Or in other words…
Step up – figure out a plan to move forward (and fix any issues) – and implement it.
And if you don’t know how to do this – get help from someone who does.
Your business (and perhaps your horse) is depending on you.
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