Wednesday, January 22, 2014

It's a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll

I escaped the second snowfall of the year by a narrow margin (12 hours by many counts) and while
my horses are freezing, I'm in the sunny equestrian-themed island of Wellington, Fl.

My trek this year with ponies was changed because I really felt that the time, money and effort spent should be concentrated towards other things. It's been rewarding, Hidden Pond Farm sent horses down for training, and there are other on their way that would have not been on the boat to Florida. But it's been a lesson of how to tolerate the cold and getting creative with schooling sessions.

Before I left, everyone schooled great. Danzador is on a lighter schedule, taking time to just work stretching and mediums. Sinari is also hammering in the I1 really well, the zig-zag canter work is becoming easier. The trot work is solid. Asanto HPF and Denia HPF are getting their sea legs back, they started doing light lunge work and if the weather is better when I get back, they should have their first grooming overhaul session.

Both of them are very sweet, talented horses who should do very well in the Amateur arenas.

Already the trip has been wonderful, if not busy. The first couple days I spent in Wellington were full of catching up with old friends and some new faces. I was attending the Young Rider Graduate Program, and already the time spent with people in similar and the same situations is really refreshing to know no man is an island.

The resources developed here have a far reaching impact. Not only is there face time with a lot of industry professionals, but there's legal help, there's networking for a future generation, there's brand revitalization and my phone will not stop buzzing with people who are realizing, spring is only a short 60 days away and there's things to do!

The second day proved just as fruitful as several judges, riders, trainers and industry professionals helped us lay out solid plans for the upcoming year and future quarters. I have a concept of how to go forward, and I'm working with people to help guide the process and make it a little less intimidating.

It's refreshing to know that there are also several people who haven't had the Young Rider accolades, who are doing things in a non-traditional path and there's even someone who is also making the transitions from a traditional amateur to the open.

The take-away message is you create your own success through stepping out of your comfort zone and finding/taking opportunities that are presented, no matter how small or large. Yes, it will cost you (money, time, sweat, lost clients), but you have to do what you feel is right for you, no one else will.

Outside the conference, the quality has been nothing short of inspiring.

I visited barns and caught up with old clients and really started to make a plan for the horses for 2014 and 2015. I had specific things I needed to do in a very short time span to make this year and next year viable and also to help my clients gain exposure for their horses.

2014 will be concentrated on the spring seasons and sales. The business needs to focus on the cash flow, education, maintaining the calendar and creating good results.

By 2015 we will hopefully be doing a full season in Florida. For the last three years now, it's become a very large part of what I do and I don't see it ever going away. It's where I feel I'll be able to further myself the most and in an area that's productive

In the interim, I miss my horses. It's tough being down here and having everyone around you ride, and you not be able to at least experiment with ideas and concepts. But this will change as I go back into the Polar North that has become Kentucky.

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