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My Horse’s Toolbelt

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As we grow, we learn. As we learn, we add to our “toolbelt” of life.

Sometimes we exchange those tools, sometimes we throw old ones out and replace them with new ones.

Plus, we all have a specific toolbelt for work, for relationships, and for our horses.

But no matter what we are trying to do – in business, love, health, etc. – if we don’t believe we can, and if we do not trust our ability to figure it out and absolutely go for it, then we won’t.

Not fully anyway.

That goes for working or training our horses as well.

One of the tools in my “horse’s toolbelt” that I have found useful is to get your mindset right. To have a mindset of growth and development, and a positive mindset.

That includes developing our liabilities or weaknesses into positives.

I do this with a passion and love of horses and through a continual drive to learn how to make my horse’s life better.

My Horse’s Toolbelt

An easy way to continuously grow and develop your horsemanship skills is to focus on your innate strengths. Learn what you’re good at and what you can improve.

You can do this by writing out two lists:

  1. A list of all the things that you feel are your strengths around horses
    a. What you feel you do well
  2. A list of all the things that you feel are your weaknesses around horses
    a. What you feel you could improve

Work on list #1 first. Focus on your strengths.

You are unique. There will never be another person like you.

If you’re in business, I’m sure you already know what your unique strengths are, your innate gifts and talents.

But what about with horses?

These could be your grit or endurance, your ability to diagnose issues, your intuitive and empathetic nature, your riding skills, your ability to bond or read your horse’s needs.

And if you know your strengths, you can build on them. You can put yourself in a position to use those strengths at their maximum.

You may even want to share what you’re good at to help a few of your friends at the barn.

Think back on how you learned something new…

Did you read about it? Did a friend help you figure it out? Did a trainer show you how to do it?
Then once you figured out how, I bet you practiced and practiced on your own until you got it down. Developing a weakness into a strength.

Now it’s time to write list #2.

You have already seen how your strengths came from learning something new, a weakness per se, and you practiced and practiced and made it your strength.

List #2 should be about what you feel you still need to work on or something new you want to learn.

Don’t get too negative while working on your weaknesses list but knowing your vulnerabilities and working on them can be very useful. It can also be a positive experience.

Because when you firm up what was weak, you become stronger and stronger until your weaknesses become your strengths.

But it is a process, and it takes time and patience.

One possibility, while you’re growing and developing your skills, is to work within your abilities and stay away from your weaknesses.

For Example:

  • If you’ve got great speed but lack endurance, it would be wise to put yourself in a position where the speed can be highlighted, and lack of endurance is less detrimental to the overall plan. (Be a sprinter instead of a marathon runner.)
  • If you’re deeply intuitive but struggle with the practical, it would be wise to do work that highlights your strength while you work on the weakness. (Do 1:1 work with clients, rather than jumping into a group program that needs lots of tech on the backend.)
    Another possibility is to make your strengths even stronger by working on your weaknesses at the same time.

For Example:

  • If you really enjoy trail riding, but you’re not very confident at groundwork, it would be wise to do some due diligence to find out how groundwork can actually help improve your trail riding and bring you and your horse into better sync together. (Read a few books or take a few online courses on groundwork and become more in-sync with your horse.)
  • If you’re sensitive to your horse’s needs and care deeply but lack the ability to understand your horse’s unpredictable behavior and acting out, it would be wise to look into getting help from an expert. (Have a trainer come out or get a personal online coach to walk you through the particular issues with your horse.)

When you approach your work from a place of strength, you have room to mitigate or eliminate your weaknesses.

Building on your weaknesses actually develops stronger strengths.

Don’t just focus on what you want to change. Integrate.

Remind yourself of your innate gifts and strengths and leverage those while you improve your weaknesses.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

We all learn new things throughout our lifetimes and we all falter sometimes and lose our confidence in what we are doing. It’s natural.

And frankly, you must KNOW your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t be fooled into thinking you’re the unicorn who is all strength and no weakness.

Aim for being the Pegasus who flies around strong even with his liabilities. Continually learning and growing.

How to use this tool – Ask yourself:

What are your natural strengths?

  • In what ways are you unique, special or gifted?
  • What are your weaknesses? What do you already know needs improvement?
  • What is your plan to build on your strengths and build on your weaknesses?

How to implement this tool:

  • Take inventory of all of your strengths.
  • Identify any of the ways you may be limiting your ability to let those strengths shine.
  • Identify at least three things you can do to highlight these strengths.
  • Ask for help to build on your strengths and develop your weaknesses

This tool has been a “keeper” in my horse’s toolbelt, and I’ve used it off and on throughout my lifetime. I hope it is helpful to you as well.

Please let me know your experiences in the comments section.

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