Setting Goals and Smashing Them!

Under promise and over deliver is a motto that I swear by. At the same time I believe setting challenging goals for yourself and going out of your comfort zone is the key to truly experiencing life. There was a time when I thought the ability to run two consecutive miles meant you were in great physical shape. Little did I know that one day I would not only run seven miles a day for a “light” workout, but that I would willingly enter, run, and finish three marathons (the full 26.2 miles). Now that I’ve done that and ultra-marathons have now entered my awareness, I no longer think running a hundred plus miles is close to impossible, but I also don’t feel the need to at this point in my life, never say never.

Running is just one example. I set goals all the time in my professional and personal life. Sometimes the goals are important and accomplishing them has far reaching consequences not just for me, but for my family and even complete strangers. Other times the goals that I set seem weirdly frivolous and personal. However, there is magic in achieving something you once believed impossible. Frivolous may just be a matter of perspective. I’ve also been known to set a goal and drop it like it’s hot for a newer shinier goal.

Not to sound cliche, because “Living your best life” seems to be a thing now, several years ago I began a journey of self-improvement. Reflecting on my past, my present, my motivations, and who/where I wanted to be in the future, I began to actively focus on not allowing my emotions to take control. In any twenty four hour period I try not to allow myself more than fifteen minutes (one hour maximum) of negative thought. Positivity attracts the positive, and negativity attracts, well the negative. That’s easier said than done. As someone that has dealt with the chaos of entering a Chik-Fil-A drive thru at noon in a 3500 Cummins diesel, and the complete entitlement/cluelessness of a Gen Z kid in a hybrid SmartCar that’s “saving the environment”, it’s easy to hold onto the rage/desire to run them over looong past the encounter, but letting it go requires control and redirection of thought. Mainly I want to set a good example for Offspring, and maybe demonstrate a perspective I wasn’t exposed to growing up.

Remaining positive and a belief in the impossible is key to smashing your goals. I’m sometimes overwhelmed at the things I’ve accomplished that seemed impossible to my high school and college self. I’ve also learned to let go of goals that seemed like a good idea at the time, but in reality just weren’t a right fit without remorse. This week I accomplished something that five months ago seemed easy peasy, but just a month later seemed unlikely. That fueled a reflection fest of the past twelve months. I’m really writing this post as a reminder to myself and anyone who’s reading, the value of pushing past your self-imposed limits, taking the risk, and don’t wait until you have all the details figured out to start your journey. Bad ideas will either turn into experience and/or great stories. Every once in a while they turn into something amazing.

One year ago, I was attempting to train a pony to pull a cart for the very first time. I had zero knowledge about harnessing/cart balancing, but decades of experience training riding horses. Little did I know that in less than a year, I would train not one, not two, but four ponies to drive frequently taking them on the open road, even through a parade. Last year at this time, my Appaloosa gelding, Comanche, was coming off an injury as a neurotic hot mess that pulled like a freight train. He’s now a softer, rounder, more collected partner that is currently schooling 3’6″ and not speeding away from the fence like a drag racer.

On October 1 of 2018, I swore that we would not be bringing any more animals onto the Gardner Hard Luck Horse Farm. Seven days later I agreed that entering the 2018 Fall Mustang & Veteran’s Program (M&VP 2018) would be a great experience for Darling Husband which required adopting a wild caught BLM Mustang. I also impulse purchased a pony during an online auction that I would greatly regret for four months. Now I couldn’t imagine life without Dixieland Delight (aka Moonshine). We ended up adopting and taming a BLM Burro six months later. Then Darling Husband brought another miniature horse home from auction to save her from the fate of the kill buyer who was the only other bidder. I know we are starting to sound like animal hoarders, but I swear we’re not! All the critters are happy and healthy!

The M&VP 2018 and Koda (obligatory adopted Mustang) were such significantly life changing experiences for Darling Husband and our family, that I’ve taken vacation and agreed to drive to Paul’s Valley Oklahoma next week to adopt another. We’ve (Darling Husband and I) now have a joint goal of entering an Extreme Mustang Makeover (EMM) competition and will be using this adoption as a practice run. Attempting an EMM wasn’t even on my radar of potential new goals prior to the M&VP 2018.

My equine goals this year were to:

  • Train Apple Jack to drive.
  • Take Comanche on his first cross country course.
  • Enter the W/T/C(L) classes with Odessa.

What I actually achieved:

  • Trained Apple Jack to drive.
  • Apple Jack now canters and hand gallops with the cart.
  • Trained Moonshine to drive.
  • Started this blog to journal all our misadventures.
  • Trained Apple Jack #2 to drive for a friend.
  • Drove Beau Pony w/Offspring as a passenger through a parade.
  • Tamed/Halter trained Thistle the BLM Burro.
  • Odessa’s ready for her first W/T/C classes.
  • Taught Odessa and Comanche their flying lead changes.
  • Comanche is ready for his cross country course now I need to fit it in my schedule.

2019 isn’t over yet, and we still have tons of excitement planned, a new Mustang, a Christmas light trail ride/drive, and hopefully another parade. If I didn’t accomplish another equestrian goal, this year would still be a smashing success, but it’s always about pushing toward the next goal, not because I’m striving for any sort of perfection, but because I like to see what else I’m capable of. Happy goal setting my friends!

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