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Copyright 2011 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

 

Adversity or Opportunity ?

By Kathy Valentine, Heart Centered Equine Academy, Victor, MT

 

September 2011 issue

  

      I believe what makes a great rider — as well as a great individual — is the manner in which they handle adversity.

      When you are faced with a tough moment in your life, do you keep moving forward, looking ahead at a positive outcome or do you let it beat you?

      Adversity can help you grow and offers you lessons in life far more valuable than any success and when you learn to overcome an obstacle it is a life lesson that you will grow from as a person. It is an opportunity to grow and learn about your character and strength as a person both in the horse world and in life.

      In the late 1990s, I was searching for a business partner who had integrity and a passion to make a difference in the horse world. I met that person in Parachute, Colorado , and knew immediately that he was a man of character and integrity.

      What I did not yet know was that he was also a man with true grit. Ron had decided he was going to buy a horse to show in Western Trail. His goal was to buy a green-broke horse and train it, promote it, and qualify it for the AQHA World Show.

      After countless trips looking at horses all over the country, he found a three-year old filly up in Canada that he really liked. She had no Impressive breeding behind her and no show record, but there was something about her that he could not walk away from.

      He paid a good amount of money for this filly whom he called Fancy, and was excited to get her home to begin his dream of owning and showing in the AQHA circuits.

      Very soon after he purchased this horse she became very ill. Vet after vet looked at her with no answers as to what was causing her to become sicker and weaker. The vets described it as a rare form of leukemia. The original prognosis was bleak. Months passed as did the entire show season.

      Ron would go to the barn several times a day and hand walk his horse. Grooming her daily and spending time with her, he never lost faith that she would somehow recover. The weeks turned into months and at a time when many would have cut their losses, Ron continued believing and working toward his dream.

      He decided that if he couldn’t ride her just yet, he could build a wonderful foundation of trust and communication on the ground. Little by little the filly took a turn for the better. She began to put on weight, her coat began to shine. Soon he could put some light rides on her and so began their journey. She was now a five-year-old and had lost a ton of show time over the past year.

      Ron kept moving forward with his plan. He kept his faith and, when others told him it was too late to qualify her for the World, he simply kept pressing forward.

      Fancy not only qualified for the AQHA World Show Event, but she won Junior Western Trail and was 10th in the World in Western Riding. What an incredible journey for both of them.

      The adversity did not beat him; in fact, he saw it as an opportunity to grow as a person and as a horseman. How blessed I am to have known and worked with this man! His strong and courageous belief in himself and his horse carried him through. You see, he saw a destination beyond the devastation.

      What a great lesson for all of us who face adversity in our lives. We must keep the faith and believe in ourselves. In other words you must learn to see past the problem, failure can never be your final destination instead let it be a way to grow as a person and teach you to move forward in your riding and in your life.

      This article is a chapter excerpted from author Kathy Valentine’s upcoming book. Contact her at Heart Centered Equine Academy : 406-546-5134; or visit

www.heartcentered.com.

Copyright 2011 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

 

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