Recently I found myself looking for a little inspiration for the next step in my horsemanship journey. I tend to reflect a lot, and most of the time those reflections do provide a spark of inspiration. But there are other times when I’m just not feeling inspired, at all. It is in those moments that I will usually decide to go looking for a little inspiration. It could be going out and doing something spontaneous, or revisiting whatever inspired me in the first place. Some of my recent reflections helped me realize that I needed to revisit inspiration from years past, and rather than keeping it to myself, I thought I would share that list with all of you. Today’s inspiration list is about some of the people who inspired me before, and during the start of my horsemanship journey.
Steve Irwin – The Crocodile Hunter
I can feel your confused looks already. How does The Crocodile Hunter relate to horses? Well to be perfectly honest I don’t remember anything about Steve Irwin in relation to horses. However, Steve significantly influenced my desire to learn everything I could about any animal I encountered, and his passion was infectious! I never had any aspiration to hold a snake, wrestle a crocodile, or do even one third of the things Steve did, but it was his care and passion for all animals that had me absolutely hooked on The Crocodile Hunter tv show. I could tell Steve loved what he did, and he loved sharing it with the world. He inspired me to passionately pursue the things I loved, especially animals, the same way he did.
Clinton Anderson – Downunder Horsemanship
The first horseman to inspire me was Clinton Anderson of Downunder Horsemanship whose motto happens to be: “To Inspire The Dreams of Horseman.” A little over a year before I started working with horses I was watching a video series on YouTube documenting the training of a rescue horse named Fancy. In the videos, trainer Scott Downs kept mentioning Clinton Anderson, and The Method. Being curious, and really impressed by the drastic improvement I saw in Fancy during her training, I started watching Clinton’s videos.
For me, a big part of what inspired me to pursue a career working with horses was the way that Clinton teaches horse training in a step-by-step progression, providing a solid training foundation for the horse, and rider. Not only was I able to see the results, but he made the process, and horses, easy to understand. Something that was extremely helpful when I started working on a farm where, most of the time, I was the only person on site. What I learned from Clinton’s videos gave me confidence around those horses that I might not have gained otherwise.
Natasha Althoff – Your Riding Success
The next inspirational person in my horsemanship journey has been Natasha Althoff of Your Riding Success. Though the start of my ground work foundation with horses was a little sporadic, my first couple years of riding went fairly well. For the most part I had little to no fear, even with a few spooks, and a sometimes stubborn trail mount. But after a spook and bolt incident, I found myself scared of riding. Heartbroken at the thought of not riding, I began looking up any video on how to get over my fear of riding. The first video to pop up was Natasha Althoff’s video, “How To Overcome Your Horse Riding Fear.” In the video she did not hold back any punches! She drew the line of how yes, to a degree, fear is designed to keep us safe, and comfortable, but you need to draw the line when that same fear is costing you progress.
What has inspired me the most watching Natasha over the years is her passion to not only succeed, and reach her own goals, but how much she loves seeing others conquer their fears, and succeed as well. You can really feel how much she enjoys sharing her knowledge, and helping riders and their horses reach their full potential. She is also a Grand Prix Dressage rider who is amazing at teaching dressage in a way that makes it fun, and understandable for everyone.
Dan James – Double Dan Horsemanship
Speaking of fun, if you haven’t seen Dan James’ Freestyle Reining ride as Tonto on his horse Smart Little Elan you need to! He set the competition bar so high incorporating liberty work, riding bareback, and at times backwards! But as awesome as everything Dan can do with his horses is, his “My Story” video is the one that inspires me the most. Dan James never quit. He sprung back from that accident, and got right back on not just to ride, but one month after the injury he decided to compete. Seeing his story, and his determination to get back up, really inspired me to push myself to keep riding, even during the times that just the thought of riding caused me quite a bit of anxiety.
If those two videos were all I ever knew about Dan James that would be enough, but in typical Dan James style there’s so much more! Dan James has literally done everything you can think of, and then some! He is the closest example I can think of when I say in order to be an all-around horsewoman, I want to learn as much as I can about horses and riding.
A Little Inspiration Can Come From Anywhere
This is a short list, there are many others who have inspired me along my horsemanship journey. Whether I was riding English, or Western I have always tried to surround myself with the voices of people who inspire me to never give up, to keep learning, to keep riding, and to keep conquering my fears.
Leave us a comment about who inspires you to be the best horse person you can be!
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