In Reflection (2017-2019): Ranching

Meadow Morning CLU 7

The one aspect of my life that I continually missed while traveling coast to coast working horses was ranching!  Where ever I was in my travels I always had this trapped feeling or rather a sensation of imprisonment that was in an odd way weighing me down.  How did I choose to deal with this obvious feeling I couldn’t ignore?  My answer at the time; blind and relentless action.  This took shape in the form of more horses, more work, and ultimately no “free” time.  How can you miss something that you have no time to dream about?  

Luckily for me, the mountains are very persistent in their request.  The calling to live and work in the mountains never relented.  Day after day, the known fact continued to steep with more potency until that brief pause in the day would inevitably confront my life.  A little voice synonymous with the ever brewing picturesque daydreams forming in my mind being seamlessly integrated with the perfect sounds of nature playing in the background with subtle whispers in my ears reverberating little phrases and words teasing me with what other life I could or should be living.  This seemed to happen more and more as the days passed, ideologies forcing themselves into any second of free space within my mind.  Eventually, I had to take pause and reflect deeply upon my life and where I wanted to be heading.  Otherwise, I risked completely depleting my life-force trying to resist my own soul, rather than fulfilling its obvious needs.

Looking back now it’s just funny, but at that moment my life was in the balance.  I was literally on track with every part of the life I previously wanted.  The hardest part of it was all over.  I had the reputation, results, horses, clients, notoriety, and more money than I had ever dreamed possible in the horse industry doing what I was doing. As I continued on, I became more empty, even though I “had It all.” The future as it was had nothing but fame, fortune, and success as it has been portrayed through the media outlets as we know them today.  

So why then did I feel more lost and empty than ever?  Could anyone leave everything they worked so hard to create behind for the unknown?  Maybe I just need to suck it up and push harder, ignore my soul by continuing to pile more on my plate?  Oh how trying those times were.  I sure feel the decisions I made at that time were the difference between choosing life and that of literal or metaphorical death. 

Nothing can rival the time spent in nature amongst all of its elements in order to create a more productive setting to maximize the ranches’ efficiency and effectiveness.  The main production on the ranch here being for the horse operation.  Every action taken on the ranch is around simplifying the daily tasks, effectively using every square inch of the property to produce for the horses and the efficiency at which everything is maintained for the future.  This has taken shape in forms such as fencing to expand the perimeter or creation of new pastures, clearing deadfall or thinning out the forested pieces, the never-ending battle to keep the sage off the meadows, building of ponds to create natural watering holes for the horses, and the list goes on to infinity.  

That infinity piece is my favorite!  No matter how hard I work or obsess over ranching, there is always more to be done.  Ranching is a never-ending supply of boredom fulfillment out in the wild.  At any point, if I need to get outside and air out (after some life coach calls, reading, or writing sessions,) all I need to do is step outside the door.  This was the piece of my life I missed most, the ability to step outside and have the infinite source of entertainment at my fingertips.  No money is necessary, no traffic, no planning, just a step outside and I am free.  That doesn’t mean that I am only working, I love to just walk around the property admiring the infinite detail that resonates within everything right in front of me. 

I get to see the mountains slightly different in the way the light hits the peaks and the silhouette of the mountains change with the seasons as snow accumulates or dissipates.  I get to see the imperfections of the snow become smoothed over by the drifting pixies of snow floating across the flats waiting to find a resting place.  I get to watch the shadow play of the trees on the snow-white meadows or the mountains creep ever farther across the vastness of the valleys.  I get to witness the alpine glow of the clear evenings as they creep from low too high.  I get to observe the mysterious clouds display arrays of color I never thought possible twice a day as the sun climbs quickly over the mountains or creeps back down the distant mountains at night.  I get to experience the feeling of grass running through the palms of my hand as I watch the horses graze in the peace of the evening.  I get to do all of this while riding horses and tending to the ranch within each and every day.  

For just a handful of these descriptions above, I am forever grateful for each and every one of the moments I get to continue to witness by just living my life.  The longer I am here, the less distance I have to cover to be enamored in the details of nature.  While nature has so many fluctuations that we deem erratic or unpleasant, It is all so effortlessly fluid in its similarities.  The snow-covered meadows are symmetry to the sand dunes of the dessert or smoothness to the waters of a windless feature.  The endless cycle of being born, growth from infancy to full maturity, from full splendor to withering death, to dormancy, and eventual rebirth upon the season.  Everything we know as humans can always be related back to nature.  

Can you imagine being human without nature?  Could we have even made it this far without the example of the wild?  Nature was the first teacher, mentor, and leader to the human race.  We have been formed by nature and continue to be formed by it.  This is the most humbling piece of getting to spend every day outside, I get to relate my experience back to earth and back to myself.  If I can’t relate my experience through that filter, I know I am in the wrong or way off course.  

I find deep compassion through the earth, through nature, horses, and ranching.  I get to work with the land, with the elements of nature, in order to learn!  I get to make changes through different processes in order to not only create better results on a specific project, but I also do not waste anything from one project to the next.  If I dig drainage ditches and find rocks or have leftover soil, I get to reuse that somewhere else to strengthen a damn or build up a low point.  I get to watch as the sagebrush disappears from the meadows and how the snow reacts with the wind differently without the sage there.  I get to watch the herd of horses change the land and produce better growth through proper grazing and the spreading of their manure back over the land.  I get to use my physical being to create something of deep worth to me and in return, nature continues to guide me towards refinement.  

Nothing happens overnight here, in fact, progress happens so slow here I don’t even notice It.  I just keep coming back day after day, chipping away little by little, until one thing is complete then moving on to the next.  All I know is that at the end of the day when I look out over the land and the horses grazing, that something deep inside me has been fulfilled.    

I don’t believe there is any better teacher for us humans than to be in nature and learn from its ruthlessness.  The real question I find myself thinking though, can we really learn from nature without being taught how to observe, relate, or compare to it?  This doesn’t happen in a day, this happens over years and the exposure to so many different seasons.  Every day is different and every season is different, can I continue to raise my awareness to learn from the infinite lessons and detail that nature exposes me to in my daily life?  I have no idea, but I relish every day I get to try to decipher the endless code of working amongst the land.

I am curious to hear from your perspective on how you may relate your discipline to other sources of experience.  Mine being horsemanship to ranching to life coaching to nature.  To me it’s all the same, it’s singular, it’s universal.  What is it to you?   

In Reflection (2017-2019): Horsemanship



The focus of my pursuit of better horsemanship over the past two years has been all about rediscovery and refinement.  I say rediscovery in the sense of the pure passion I used to have for horsemanship before I made it my sole source of income.  When I refer to refinement, I speak to working horses of my own over longer periods, taking them from start to a more refined state.   

I must first acknowledge my journey up to the past two years by saying how grateful I am to have been able to experience all that I did and make a great living doing it.  Without that exposure to so many different facets of the horse industry and the people within it, I wouldn’t have been able to pursue my future as I desire now.  But in life, some times we have to let go of something good for something better!  That in and of itself is a definition of the word refinement as I have come to believe in it at this time of my life.  

The last two years have been so humbling for even having the opportunity to explore refinement in a setting I couldn’t have dreamed up any better.  I mean some people never can make it out of the survival state of being to pursue any desirable future of their own.  Some people have to do everything in their power just to make it through one day.  Other people have to spend every moment of their life working to provide a potentially better future for others.  

Previously, my life with horses was all about short term fixes or starts, never allowing me the ability to actually enjoy the fruits of the long term labors of refinement.  That was the missing link between both in the rediscovery of my love for horsemanship as well as my own personal refinement within my pursuits.  I believe the key to being a balanced horseman is the ability to start, fix, and refine horses both in the short term and in the long term.  

The importance of refinement is only realized through years of dedicated and intentionally focused work.  The love for something isn’t enough, that love needs to be reinforced with proof of action and the results from those actions.  Refinement isn’t anything that anyone else can just give you, it has to be earned from within.  Obviously, we all need mentors to show us what is correct and what is unnecessary, but at the end of the day, it relies solely on the ownership of the individual.  

To refine a horse, one must first be capable of starting the uneducated horse as well as progress them beyond the basics.  One must also have the ability to fix the created problem horses out there.  This allows an individual to understand both the nature of the horse and the nature of the human.  Two similar natures, but portrayed in infinitely different progressions.  A topic for another time.  

Thus leading me back to the enjoyment I so dearly missed, getting to ride refined horses.  The refined horse is the representation of oneself if taken from start to our personal limitations at that time.  The process shows us our faults or represents our understanding to the best of our abilities at that time.  If one can create a refined horse then one truly respects and honors the horse as an equal.  A refined horse is literally the fruits of intentional labor over a lifetime.  There is no other way about it, you can’t just be given a refined horse or purchase one, for the truth will shine right through those illusions.  

Refining horses was the piece of balance missing in my life and from the pursuit of the refinement comes the rediscovery of what horsemanship used to be to me.  From the whole process, an infinite pool of compassion continues to fill within me with each passing year.  By understanding the reality of the importance of the start of a horse and the understanding that bad horses aren’t born, they are created by us.  Therefore leading to not only compassion for horses who are putting up with our infinite ineptitudes but also compassion for the humans who have created the troubled horse.  It wasn’t even their fault, it was the fault of those closest to them who failed to show them the reality of the growth necessary from within to overcome our most basic reflexive human instincts.  In the end, the process shows us the extreme effort, time, and love It takes to create a real refined horse or should I say a refined rendition of ourselves.  To really understand what It means to create refinement, from the start to a state of refinement, it can only be understood by those who have achieved it through one discipline or another.  

In Reflection (2017-2019): Life Coaching


It has now been over two years and more than 3,000 conversations with people from all over the world.  My pursuit of life coaching was all sparked from one question.  How can I create a more meaningful influence through others?  From that question, unimaginable personal growth has followed in its wake.  Before I get into the actual reflection, let me define a few “terms.”  I say “terms” with skepticism for obvious reasons in this day and time.  This is my life, meaning I live and breathe this to the best of my ability.  I practice what I preach with great intention, crazy concept these days, I know (insert winky face emoji for those who understand.)      

That term life coaching for me is just another way of teaching horsemanship to individuals, only without the horse.  The new opportunity challenges me to relate my own experience with horses to others in a way, they not only understand but see things from a different perspective in order to improve their daily life.  Life coaching continues to challenge me to more positively help influence individuals; regardless of their discipline, circumstances, or environment.  In return, leading me to unforeseen growth I couldn’t attain without this new practice. 

The phrase I use to break down the title of life coach to non-horse people is that I am merely a guide to the path of self-mastery.  That is what any worthy discipline is at the end of the day, isn’t it?   Our ability to grow from within ourselves, in order to more positively influence those around us.  That’s how I think of the phrase self-mastery and therefore my definition for what I consider to be the real pursuit of horsemanship. 

What is horsemanship?  It is the endless pursuit of self-mastery through the discipline of horsemanship!  The only way that can be achieved is through intentional work every day; studying, applying, and reflecting upon our day to day experiences and those of the past.  This allows us to continually adjust our future visions and therefore adapt as we continually progress over time.     

This new avenue of personal learning has really been the most humbling experience.  The exposure to so many individuals’ trials and tribulations continue to lead me to an even deeper appreciation for every facet of my own life.  Therefore, leading me to an even greater sense of compassion for each and every individual’s journey through life.    

Through all the learning and growth I have experienced in the past 2 years, the one overwhelming feeling that persists within me is gratitude.  Gratitude for the opportunity to speak to so many individuals on a real meaningful level, trying to deduce some sense out of this life, without any outside agendas or distractions.  I know how hard It is to trust and believe in other individuals to really open up to, in order to speak honestly to what we have experienced through our own perspectives.  For an individual to tell me their truth is a small miracle within my daily life.  I will never take any one of these conversations for granted, I think it is the most meaningful thing in the world!  

This is where my motivation comes from.  The absolute necessity for me to get better on a personal level so I can better serve others.  It is not even a question, I have to!  If I can’t prove results through the actions of my own life, why should anyone reach out to me in the first place, let alone continue to converse with me?  If I don’t continue to get better, how am I supposed to continue to help others?  I can’t expect others to come to me on any level if I don’t continue to get better myself. 

I couldn’t have grown personally without those individuals who continue to openly converse with me.  The individuals who continue to prove their intention through small positive actions in their daily life.  A final thank you to those who continue to believe in me.  Thinking back to the beginning of this journey, it really brings me to tears that people were willing to let me in their life with complete confidence and trust.  

You are my inspiration, showing me the difficult paths each of you continues to endure through to make things just a bit better.  That first step to positive change is no joke, the literal hardest, so to watch you all continue to break through each barrier with such determination, feeds my soul.  I often wonder who gets more from these conversations and when I do think about it, I sure feel like I should be paying others to chat with me.  Thank you for giving me hope, thank you for feeding my soul, and thank you for continuing to force me to get better alongside you!  

Please, continue to reach out to me and those around you.  I challenge you to really listen in order to ask more meaningful questions to find out others’ real truth.  If you do, you will find yourself in them and them in you.  Then, all that’s left is growth together!  Without a doubt, we need each other for that to happen.

Reflection (2017-2019):  Gratitude, humility, and compassion


The past two years I have been living in Grand Lake, Colorado on a ranch pursuing refinement within my daily disciplines of life coaching, horsemanship, personal growth, and ranching.  The experience has been one that will take me many articles to try to capture the essence of how unbelievably transformative It has all been.  Three words that best encapsulate the experience I have had over the past years is gratitude, humility, and compassion.  In order to do justice to all that has occurred in each area, this reflection will be broken into 4 different posts.  

  • Life Coaching
  • Horsemanship
  • Ranching
  • Personal Growth

In each of the posts, I will be dissecting the maturation of the gratitude, humility, and compassion derived through each individual topic above.  I hope you enjoy my reflection upon these past two years in a way in which may help guide you through your own life!

For those people who find my life intriguing, relatable, or kindred in some way please continue to reach out!  The conversations I have had with old acquaintances that I have grown apart from, or complete strangers I have never conversed with before, have been really meaningful and beneficial.  Thank you to those who continue to reach out looking for honest conversations.  They continue to humble me through the unique hardships we have all been exposed to or continue to survive in!  

If I am ever able to put the reflection to rest, I will be going into a few focus points I believe to be of utmost importance based on everything I have learned up to now.  Just a warning, do not hold your breath for the release of any of these, as this is the most have been able to utter in clarity over 3-4 months now.  The struggle is real, but the learning is great and takes time!    

Good Writing Is Tough, But Important!


As I sit here once again, bug eyed at my computer trying to gather my thoughts, I found this to be an appropriate starting point.  The reason being, I have been trying to create some document worthy of posting for far too many months now.  The deeper I go, the more lost and overwhelmed I begin to feel.  That feeling of complete ineptitude, i know all to well, starts to fester from the depths of my soul yet again.  I begin to ask myself the infinite questions stemming around the who, what, why, how, and where?  The harder I try to create a finished product the more my mind begins to whirl downwards into an abyss of nothing productive.  I finally subdue myself to my ignorance and admit defeat……for the time being.  

I find myself drawn back to the keypad or paper to once again have a go at immortal victory over this craft called writing.  I get through one of the seemingly endless rough drafts from days, months, years past thinking maybe, just maybe, I wrote something better then what I thought.  Never the less, i am once again defeated.  I take the boo boo trash of yesterday and immediately send it into oblivion, for no eyes should be doomed to its nothingness.  

There I sit, clean slate and topic on the ready.  I take one deep breath with my eyes closed, imagining how great these thoughts in my head are and just how amazing they may be on paper.  If only the task was that easy and my thoughts matched up with the words in their physical form.  Undeterred, I begin to write about the same matter at the forefront of my consciousness, hoping there will be something presentable before my time on this earth is up.  Depressing, right?

Wrong!  This is what the whole writing process is about.  The struggle to refine ones thoughts into a presentable physical form that not only relates to the individual, but can potentially become timeless to all who cross it’s path.  Maybe, even immortal.  The ability to take from ones own experience, simplify it to the absolute minimal, and present it to the masses in a matter in which all could benefit from it, is a true art.  As with any discipline of self mastery it takes time, deep thought, and tons of effort on a daily basis.  

You are not a prolific writer immediately, just as one is no horseman in 5—10 years.  The more intentional work done towards writing, the better it will become.  I have created countless drafts covering anything and everything most intriguing and confusing to me in hopes to find some new understanding of them.  Ninety nine percent of those help me personally grow within, but at the end of the day i have no product to present to the public to prove my efforts.  That took me a long time to be ok with. 

With every word typed and reread, I become a little bit better.  Little by little, each one of those seemingly clear thoughts in my head start to match up more with the letters splattered out on paper.  When these moments happen, my thoughts are stress tested.  Each test bringing me closer to what my thoughts are actually trying to convey through new platforms.  One correct word, leads to one correct sentence, eventually leading to one clear paragraph even.  Eventually something is edited to the best form I am capable of at that time, exposing me to real growth or sending me back to the beginning to further develop the thought.

The best edited form of the original mental thought transformed into written form, creates clarity of spoken word.  I must be capable of taking a thought from my mind, speak and write about it in such a manner that others can understand my point and perhaps, even relate with their own similar story.  This is proof of understanding and a indicator that I just may be on the correct path. 

As with anything worth pursuing, in order to become better, I must turn it into a discipline to be intentionally practiced daily.  If done so correctly, I may be able to better serve others.   Serve others in unimaginable ways, opening doors to unimaginable paths, to be taken into the future.  No matter what the discipline is, the recipe is always the same.  Time, effort, help, and deep thought.  Sorry no quick “fixes” or “shortcuts” here!   

In parting words, I challenge you to think deeply through writing.  Try to match up your mental thoughts with the physical and oratory counter parts.  Take your thought, expand it, then simplify it to the purest form that still encapsulates the original thought, then repeat.  In the simplest form you can create, see if you can have that version remain true to you, the person across from you, and finally to the masses.  If that happens you have reached the end of the deep thought process, at least for the time being, until your next growth experience.  Then you get to go back and challenge that simplification to see if it still remains true.  In the meantime, move on to your next challenging thought.   

That is the marker of a truly refined thought.  Simple in written or spoken form, infinite in relatable detail; both personal and to the masses.

Why did I leave the horse industry to pursue life coaching?

Strawberry Creek 5This is a question I have thought about deeply over the past six months.  The decision probably seems very odd to those who know me, especially those within the horse industry.  The decision came down to results, refinement, and practicing what I preach in every aspect of my life, not just my profession.  

I will forever be grateful to the horse industry.  I got paid to travel the US to work with the most beautiful horses, work alongside some legendary mentors within the industry and outside of it, tour the natural landscapes of ranches, explore perfectly manicured farms, meet some amazing people, and most of all, learn from the interactions between horses and humans.  At the end of the day, though, there was always a gut-wrenching feeling in my soul that something wasn’t right with what I was doing.

That feeling took me a long time to dissect in order to understand and accept the truth behind it.  First, I was working for other people within a bureaucratic system that ensured that change was almost impossible. The result was that you worked against your own being and became the robot they most desired you to be.  Then I began exploring the horse industry on my own, because I decided that I would rather be miserable and work for myself provided that it led to actual improvement, rather than seeing what needed to be done and not being able to do it for all the most nonsensical reasons. 

Oddly enough, I really didn’t even begin my journey of learning until I had the opportunity to pause, which happened to about eight years in. At that time, I went from survival mode to a point where I didn’t have to worry about finances, and as a result I was then able to think and reflect upon everything that had happened up to that point. Before that, it was all I could do to find the next job that would pay for my next meal, and I had no time or brain capacity left to think. I only had room for action.  This is the worst spot for any individual to be in, because it’s a vicious cycle that is tough to break out of.   

The reason why entering the horse industry in the first place had been a no brainer for me was because of what the horse helped me through on a personal level (which is a story for another time). Through my learning process with the horse, I felt that I had finally found a medium through which I could help others live their lives better. It didn’t take me long to realize that the only way for a person to improve their horsemanship is for them to be very intentional with their actions and cultivate the proper mindset right from the start. This mindset is one that accepts the fact that change must occur within ourselves before any change can manifest outside ourselves, i.e. with the horse.  Unfortunately, I soon figured out that people were not interested in that type of learning process because it is one in which the blame can fall only on the person involved.

This is where I stubbornly trudged headfirst into a metaphorical brick wall for far too long. I betrayed myself and the principles I believed in by succumbing to outside influences that I knew were wrong.  Instead of leaving the path I was on, I became the embodiment of all the problems within the industry that I despised. I became an enabler, saying and doing the exact things that I was against just in order to “survive”, thinking that someday I would be able to change the industry for the better. This was, of course, an impossibility, but I clung to it in order to be able to stifle the sense of discomfort I felt every day, a feeling that tainted every dollar received and every horse I trained from that moment on.  

The saddest part of all of this was that I did it to myself. I should have realized long before that I was going about everything in the wrong way and that I was ultimately in the wrong industry to accomplish what I had originally set out to do.  This was all my fault, and no one was going to tell me any other way of doing it. I guess some people just need to suffer before they believe they deserve something better.

I ignorantly believed in the idea that when one is in doubt, one should just work harder and harder. I traded in my desire to change the rider to suit the horse, and I began to fit the horse to the rider. Meanwhile, a darkness continued to spread throughout my entire being, screaming and yelling at me to change my path, but I went deeper into the darkness by hiding my unhappiness from everyone and pretending that I was “living the dream”.  I felt like every second that I spent with a horse was a second during which I was betraying them on a exponentially increasing level.  

Mind you, this is all happening within me, and the horses were not conscious of or affected by this inner struggle.  This is merely a journey within my own head, and it was one that I needed to experience in order to break down the old false realities, unrealistic expectations, and irrationalities that I had let take root.

So I soon figured out how to fit horses to their riders, which was invaluable.  I learned amazing things about the human mind by honing my skills of observation and deductive reasoning over time.  This allowed me to completely ignore any words out of the riders’ mouths because I knew how to get them to help their horses without really involving them at all.  In other words, I found out how to take humans out of the equation and deal only with the horses in front of me.  

I know that sounds heartless and arrogant – and I agree – but at the end of the day, it kept me sane.  I’m sure everyone can relate to this scenario in some way? Sometimes with family, significant others, or coworkers, you just find a way to work around them.

Then came the last piece of the puzzle: figuring out how to make money working with horses.  Toward the end of my journey in the horse industry, I was making an average of $15,000 per month, but I had never felt worse in my life. This financial stability did, however, finally allow me the space and time to step back and take full account of what I had created.  Did I even enjoy it anymore?  Was there any indication that I had helped change occur within the individuals I worked with?  Was this really what I wanted my career to be about from the beginning?  The more I thought about all of this, the sicker I felt within. 

The answer to all these questions was a resounding NO!  It was the same “no” I felt when I started this process long ago.  The big question that followed naturally was what did I want my career to be and how do I go about doing it?  Keep in mind the fact that I had been riding on average between six and fifteen horses each day, six or seven days per week, for the past ten years, traveling nonstop, coast to coast, across the US. I was utterly exhausted all day, every day. I know, right? How stupid was I? Pretty obvious in hindsight that something needed to change.

The transition process went something like this. I knew I wanted to work forever on becoming my best self, but instead of working on that through the horse, I thought that maybe I should try doing that directly through other people.  (When I say work on being my best self, the essence of that statement is centered in the fact that the better I can become as a person, the more I can help others do the same for themselves). That’s what led me to life coaching, or, in my words, “a guide to the journey of self-mastery.” For obvious reasons, it’s easier just to call it life coaching.  The next step was simply to try it out and see how it went.  After just one session, I was in love all over again, just as I had been at the beginning of my journey with the horse.  After seven months of full time life coaching, the only thing I wonder is why it took me so damn long to figure this out.

I still work with horses, but now I do it for the purity of the experience and so that I can continue to grow as a person alongside the horse.  I only work with four clients per day in order to maximize the quality of my work The rest of my time is spent working on all the things I practice and preach, both with the horse and with guiding others through the mentoring process.  A lot of my time is allocated to spending quality time with the people I want to be around most, learning from all the aspects of life and ranch living, and considering how everything relates to the beauty of the surrounding landscape. I am maximizing my ability to improve myself through the daily process of self-education and the application of this education to all aspects of my life. I am taking the time to reflect on my own being and thoughts.  It has all been very intentional to get to this place, and of course things are constantly changing, but I can honestly say this has been the best seven months of my life.     

This post is in no way meant to degrade the horse industry because I wouldn’t trade a single moment of my time spent on the road working horses for the public. Every person, every city, and every horse taught me more about myself and others than I could have discovered in any other way. This is why I am grateful for all the help I received from everyone along the way. I couldn’t have done any of this without them!  If I expressed any negativity along my journey, it was simply due to the state I was in personally at the time. I was the one who gave in to the negativity and ignored the clear signs within myself that said I needed to change.

If there are a few last words I can leave you with, they are these: there is a way to live a simple, more meaningful life through intentionality. Take ownership for yourself. Don’t let others decide your future for you, but don’t hesitate to seek out the guidance of those around you; it will help you realize that we’re all going through the same hardships, they’re just in different forms that correspond to our individual journeys.  We all need to raise our awareness by learning how to observe ourselves and our world more carefully, but guidance sure helps to speed up the process.  Thanks for your time, and I appreciate you greatly.


The Boys in the Boat Review

I absolutely loved this book! It was an easy read, and it covered so many different aspects of the 1930s that I imagine there is something in it for everyone.  I really enjoy books that show me history from a specific viewpoint, as they help me etch out how things really were from certain perspectives and allow me to create a more complete timeline of events in my mind.

The Boys in the Boat tells many personal stories about hardships and difficulties that were eventually overcome. Some of the stories are truly heart-wrenching, and I found it quite unbelievable that some of the people involved even survived at all. These stories are, however, very inspiring due to the sheer grit displayed by each and every one of the characters as they overcome their circumstances.  For some, living in appalling circumstances was simply a way of life, which is terrifying.

The book also describes many competitions that put you on edge even though, for the most part, you already know the outcome.  The history of the sport of rowing and of this particular team was interesting on so many fronts that it’s actually hard to dissect it in a summary review. There were even a few words in the text dedicated to the horse world in the 1930s and the famous racehorse Seabiscuit.  I thoroughly enjoyed that little snippet!

My favorite part of all was the perspective I gained of how the world was before WWII started.  Everyone was very aware of what was happening abroad, but yet there was never any true understanding of what was about to come.  It really made me wonder what it must have felt like to be in Berlin for the Olympic Games, and it gave me such a disturbing feeling deep down as I thought about what would happen shortly thereafter.

The historical timeline given by the book through the lens of the struggle of individuals and families is unbelievably chilling.  Through all the hardships of economy and nature, I can’t even begin to imagine how hard life must have been.  What never ceased to impress me was how people kept on making things work as best they could.  This was especially of Joe Rantz’s life and family, the specifics of which the book depicts skillfully. Rantz was truly an amazing man that seemingly had everything against him in life, but he kept the best frame of mind that a fella could in order to survive and ultimately succeed brilliantly!

The one person featured in the book who I most wish that I could meet is George Pocock!  He is the one person to whom I am most been drawn on a personal level. He was a true master at his craft and life.  Every single quote he said was beautiful and true because his sentiments were universal and not constrained to the art of his craft.  I could have changed a few words here and there to make each one fit with the art of horsemanship without any problem.  The way Pocock handled himself and lived his life gave me goosebumps.

I highly recommend The Boys in the Boat because I imagine that everyone can find in it something good to take away. This is a truly inspiring and educational book that I can’t say enough about.  In the weeks to follow, I will be discussing this book chapter by chapter in order to highlight some of its most interesting aspects. I am also excited to say that I will not be alone as I make my analysis.  I hope you all read and join in on the conversation!


Beyond The Specific!


I was recently encouraged to express my feelings on the book entitled Control by Glenn Beck, so here is my attempt.  In short, I believe he summarizes the book perfectly with two quotes on the final page of the text.  One, in his own words, says, “It (a solution) can only be found in the rooms of our homes and the streets of our neighborhoods.  The other quote is from Obama, who says, “When a child opens fire on another child, there’s a hole in that child’s heart that government can’t fill.  Only community and parents and teachers and clergy can fill that hole.”  I couldn’t agree more with those two views, but I believe it goes even one step further than that.  The real solution should be focused on the real culprits, Me and You.

I believe we are responsible on an individual level for each and every negative and positive thing that takes place in the world.  Each and every negative action done by one or more persons was simply a failure of those closest to them.  This could be a lack of positive influence, a lack of action, or just ignoring someone clearly in need. If we live lives of unaware selfishness, we continually add to the deepest issues in the world today.

We all believe that something so tragic could never be done by those closest to us in our lives, and especially not ourselves.  Why couldn’t that be you or me?  A better question yet, why couldn’t we be the ones who went down the same path as those “crazy” negative humans who finally got to a point of taking extreme action?  Take all the positive moments in your life and replace them with all negatives and isolation; before long who knows what each of us could do?

If you can’t imagine any version of reality that could lead you to the darkest of dark places, well, quite frankly, I believe you are currently living in a delusional world of self-righteousness, blaming all the issues in your life or in the world on someone else or something else.  If that is the case, then we are avoiding the truth at the core of the issue: a lack of personal responsibility for all actions in some way, shape, or form.

We all get so caught up in the meaninglessness of our day-to-day schedules that we become self-centered, unaware monsters, oblivious to the people around us.  We ignore those in our lives who need help, guidance, leadership.  We ignore the small moments in which we could make a positive difference.  If this is the case, then we continue to add to the corruption instead of changing it for the better.  We each need to take personal responsibility for influencing all those around us, especially those nearest to us.  It could be as simple as a smile to a passerby or as deep as a heart-to-heart with a loved one about some negative behaviors.

An example from the horse world would be a “problem” horse.  These horses are simply misguided horses.  We could all say that the horse was simply born that way or is beyond help, ignoring that they can all be redirected over time.  The reality of all “problem” horses is that they were created by someone just like you or me. This horse could have been created by one catastrophic event or, more likely, by tiny negative reinforcements eventually getting the horse to respond with extreme negative force. The horse may become dangerous to the point of taking a human life.

Either way, these horses can always be brought back to the realm of a purposeful life full of positive relationships and interactions.  All anyone can do is start from where the horse is currently and build them up from the foundation.  Start with the basics, the very beginning, and work with them from where they are coming from, not where you want or expect them to be.  All they need is guidance from their perspective and a leader to show them the foundation, acknowledging success with small consistent rewards, redirecting them in times of error, and letting them become their own teacher so that they can find the path toward a great life.

Please just try your best to be the positive force in others’ lives. Acknowledge those in need and help where you can.  Don’t leave it to others to make life better; take it upon yourself every day.  The best way to that is a two-fold plan done every day for the rest of your days.

1.)  Become your best self.

2.)  Help others to do the same.

In order to become our best, we need to study, apply, and reflect on how to do this in line with our own interests.  There is no magic, one-route way to become our best self. It is merely a refinement of your daily process.  If you don’t know where to start, either follow your current interests or find a mentor.  We also need to help others by trying to understand their point of view and why they think the way they do.  This is perfect because it allows us to practice what we are personally working on ourselves. The process allows us to further our understanding that everyone we meet is actually our teacher, not our student.

It’s hard to imagine this type of world, but it’s possible.  Don’t get caught up in the small things. Acknowledge them, then move on to the bigger picture.  The positive influence you can have every day on yourself and those nearest you is important.  Accept responsibility, become aware of those around you, and take action to help one person at a time. Start with yourself!

Process and Purpose


In working with a horse, it is important that one focuses on and understands the connection between the physical process of training the animal and the ultimate goal or purpose for which the horse is being trained. The physical process of training a horse is made up of countless small interactions between horse and rider, and it is important that all of these interactions are carefully considered by the rider. If one interacts carelessly with a horse or does not ensure that each interaction supports the ultimate training goal, the horse is likely to become dull or resistant in his response.

Often times, there are multiple interconnected purposes behind any given process of training. For example, if the training process consists of encouraging a horse to engage physically and mentally, the immediate purpose might be to facilitate a compassionate and clear understanding between the horse and the rider. This purpose may, however, lead to a secondary purpose, such as allowing a horse to think independently, seeking and finding answers for himself.

This example is reflected in the process of starting colts and the purpose behind it. First, in the round pen you indirectly connect the horse’s feet and mind to yourself by correctly positioning yourself in relation to the horse. This process builds the connection necessary for a smooth transition to a direct form of connection, such as halter work. The same concept can then be applied to the transition from halter work to saddle work, in that direct connection between horse and rider via the halter will pave the way for a successful connection between horse and rider under saddle. Ultimately, this direct connection will mean that the human is able to communicate clearly with the horse and support the desired training outcome of fluid, controlled movement of the feet.

Just as correct halter work and saddle work build on the movements of indirect communication established in the round pen, each interaction builds on and refines the foundations of the horse’s training. Complete refinement can only be achieved if there is an even trajectory from indirect connection to direct connection in the horse’s training and each element is in harmony with all the others. Each process must reflect the ultimate purpose and build upon previous processes, never deserting any piece of the training along the way.

With consistent quality work, this process of building connection creates a horse that is the same in all areas of horsemanship, no matter what the given circumstances may be. With a cultivated awareness of purpose behind each element of the horsemanship process, you can reap unimaginable benefits for both yourself and your horse. Beware, though – it takes great desire, effort, and self-reflection to reap the benefits, and all of this has very little to do with the horse. It’s all to do with you!

What Can We Do For The Horse?

img_0244At the end of the day, we do little for the horse.  Think about it –  the only things we can give the horse are peace of mind in places it naturally finds unnerving, a meaningful and enjoyable job to do, and a sense of superiority over other animals.

Horses, as prey animals whose instinct is to flee, are inclined to stay away from anything dangerous to their well-being. As riders, one of the things we can give horses is a sense of peace in ‘dangerous’ circumstances.  When a horse is encouraged by the rider to be calm and connected in surroundings that seem threatening, a rapport of trust between horse and rider is formed.  This rapport gives the horse a feeling of safety and comfort with the result that it learns to let down its instinctual guard and relax completely.

Horses can also benefit from the work that we, as riders, demand of our mounts. A meaningful and enjoyable job can give a horse a sense of focus and purpose that, once understood, can provide a great deal of enjoyment. A horse that enjoys his job can’t wait to be caught up and go to work.

Finally, by working with horses, we can teach them to be dominant over other animals. As herd animals, horses are constantly trying to establish themselves within the social hierarchy, moving up or down in accordance with their level of aggression or dominance. Horses in the wild often establish their dominance by forcing their herdmates to move away from them in deference to their presence. A newly alpha horse might need to bite or kick another horse to force it to withdraw, but eventually it will take only a look to send another horse away. When we train a horse to herd cattle or other horses, we are reinforcing this dominant behavior and instilling a valuable sense of confidence in the horse. If the horse grows to associate your training with its dominance over other species, it will come to associate you with the endorphin rush of dominant behavior.

In these three ways, we encourage the horse to grow and improve while simultaneously submitting themselves willingly to the training and leadership of their rider. This creates a harmonious partnership between horse and rider that is inspiring, and both parties will seek to strengthen the bond.