The Fourth Quarter Assessment

This last week, I went to a centered riding clinic to teach me to ride horses better. I have only been to one other clinic and it was over 10 years ago. I have no horsey friends around me. I largely live in a horse vacuum where it is just me and the horses. Almost everything I know I have learned from books, magazines and videos, but I have a real desire to know more and it is time I find someone to critique me.


I don’t know why I have a draw to horses and horse training. In many ways, I wish I did not. It doesn’t fit in with my family life, and just building the infrastructure for the horses is a constant challenge. When it comes to horse training, I have a desire to learn as much as I can and try to get better. Few things in life are this way for me. I am not particularly patient and I don’t set out for the long haul on most projects, but with horses I have and it is beginning to really open my eyes to somethings.

True Confession

First off, I kind of suck as a horseback rider. That’s a true confession. I started riding and thought I was pretty great, considering I had never been around horses in my life and I immediately went into starting (or breaking) horses. An unbroken (and yes that is a horse word) horse goes through a phase of what they call green. Just like the new rider trying to learn the basic concepts, green means you have some understanding, but there is no muscle memory, no true perception, certainly no mastering of the process. A saying in the horse world goes…green and green is said to be a recipe for black and blue…and I don’t recommend it.

Surviving green and green made me feel like I must be pretty special, but now I look around and realize I have been messing around with horses for over a decade, and that is a long time. I am very good at starting a young horse, but I don’t really know how to do anything advanced. I look at young people who have been working at horseback riding for several years and they can do all kinds of cool things. This made me realize, it is time to take it to the next level. I really want to be a good horseman who moves in harmony with the horse. I know that moving toward this will give me great pride. I also believe that even though I have a long way to go and the learning is endless, that some small adjustments to the way I am doing things will have big results.

Life Lessons Learned

So here is the life lesson. What is it that lifts us from one level to another? What does it take? Well, first, there is desire or need. Second there is the Law of Karma that states you have to accept where you are. Third, you need a goal or at least vision of where you want to go. Next you need a plan or program. Finally you need tools, teachers, and critics to evaluate you.

I realize that I am at step two, and to be honest, it kind of hurts. It is making me look at other areas of my life and questioning,  am I where I want to be? Am I where I should be? Boy, that is a potentially dark road, so how you approach it is important.

The object is not to compare yourself to others for that sake of living up to them, but to assess if you have the components of the life you want to lead. In life coaching, we break it down into some categories such as friends and family, finances, environment, health, romance, personal growth, fun and recreation, and career. All that being said, it is okay to use others as motivators of what you can accomplish. To go full circle in this article, that is why I want to get out there, to discover other horse people and see what they are doing and how I can do it to.

So, before you come out with the big New You resolutions in a few months, is there an area of your life that you want to improve? Are you ready to take a stab at it? Go for it! See what you can do to make a small tweak that can really lift you up and improve all areas of your life. We are in the fourth quarter and there is still a lot of time left in this year. Let me know what it is you are taking on and I look forward to watching your mastery build momentum.

Keep leading,


Next week: getting stuff out of the way…

Written by Rad Watkins

Rad Watkins

Rad Watkings is the founder of Animal Leadership LLC where he takes his vast experience from working with wildlife & the environment to help bring out the Leader inside you. He teaches how to excel without the complex tactics that so many people live on for their careers, relationships & more!


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