In the Stirrups – Dec 2014

Just realised I didn’t share December’s edition of IN THE STIRRUPS MAGAZINE with you … Doh!

Here it is for your belated enjoyment.  My article is shown on pages 27 – 31 and in all it’s full glory below.



As the year comes to a close, we become reflective and looking back I have been relatively successful in my career, starting out as a secretary and moving through first line management to middle management and now reaching the dizzy heights of Director.

Turning to my dressage ambitions, it occurred to me that what separates ‘the wheat from the chaff’ in the equestrian world is a burning desire, a thirst for knowledge, structure and a businesslike approach.   This has clearly been applied in my working life but until recent years has been sadly lacking in the approach I took to my riding.   The burning desire was there but no structure.   Success then is a philosophy, an attitude, it’s a state of mind and it is available to each and every one of us.  So if you want it, but can’t get the leverage you need, I’ve put together a three part series, beginning with business values that can very easily be applied to your approach to your training and help you get the focus and motivation to achieve your riding goals.


Too many people believe that there’s something wrong with aiming to be really successful. You hear it a lot in these days of Classical versus Competition Dressage, the suggestion that somehow, if you strive for competitive success you can’t care about your horse. It’s almost as if being a go-getter is incompatible with being compassionate, socially conscious and a good person! It’s a generalisation and like anything that tars everyone with the same brush, totally untrue.


Personal greatness takes work. I’m not someone who would ever tell you that you could get to your dreams without having to make some sacrifices and pay the price in terms of dedication and self-control. The best amongst us make it all look so easy. The very best way to create spectacular results is through dedicated practice.


Too many people believe that success requires them to revolutionalise their riding. And for most of us, that’s a scary thought. No one wants to make massive changes to the way they think, feel and behave. Human beings love staying within the comfort zone. But guess what? In my work I’ve realised that lasting personal change does not require you to turn your beliefs upside down. The best way to achieve results is through small continuous steps. Baby steps. A little at a time.

IN THE STIRRUPSBaby Steps can be the equivalent to a huge leap in the right direction.


Too many of us postpone stuff. We say that we will do it when we have more time or when we finish the pressing jobs that are consuming us or when we have more money. Yet, deep within us, each one of us knows that there will never be a better time than now to begin working on our dreams.


One of the primary reasons that people fail to achieve their goals is that they try to be too many things to too many people. The most successful human beings are wildly focused. They have a very clear picture of what it is they want to create and then they have the discipline (and courage) to stick to their mission – saying ‘no’ to everything that is not mission critical. So my suggestion to you is to simplify. Strip away all that is unimportant, these are the things keeping you from getting to your dreams. And then once you do your clean up, focus, focus, focus. You’ll be surprised how good you will then get.


Years ago, it was believed that no human being could ever break the 4 minute mile barrier. But after Roger Bannister broke it, many more replicated his feat within weeks. Why? Because he showed people what was possible. And then armed with that belief, people did the impossible. What’s your “4 minute mile”? What false assumptions are you making in terms of what you cannot have, do and be?


IN THE STIRRUPSOne of the primary traits of world-class performers (in business and in Dressage) is that their success does not come by luck, it is by the ability to ‘detach from the noise’. Each day, ‘noise’ such as little crises, minor interruptions and interesting distractions beg for our attention. To get to your own unique form of greatness it’s important – no, essential – to detach from the noise and stay ‘on vision’.


You’ll never know if you don’t even try. There is giant power in asking for what you want. All too often, our internal chatter prevents us from taking the steps needed to get us to where we want to be. My partner Mark Bentley could barely keep his feet in the stirrups let alone trot a circle when he asked a world class elite rider to train him.  The best of the best, those who live the dream – ask like crazy.  The more you do it, the easier it gets (like any skill). And so they ask. For the support and help they need. Nothing happens until you ask.


what you do between today’s sunrise and sunset is creating your destiny, your future, your legacy. A single choice you make today can change your life over the coming months if consistently acted upon. This day is special. Honour it. Make a decision about how you will change things for the better, do something exceptional today. I know you can.

And finally …


Most training programs don’t have lasting impact. Most provoke only micro-change. Most training method books we read get us excited only until we wake up the next morning and reality intrudes on our idealistic vision. Why does this all happen? Because too many training programs, clinics and books are attempting to cause a revolution rather than nurture an evolution.

There’s so much to transform and so little time to do it in. And human beings don’t like to change (scares us). So we drift into overwhelm. And we don’t even start. I suggest to you that there’s a better way to get what you want: by evolution; daily and continuous micro improvements. Steady and consistent increments in the way you work.  Every dream started off small and grew step by step. The Everest climbers don’t jump up to the summit. No, they climb it bit by bit.  Day by day, step by step, you can move towards your own personal mountaintop. You really can be, do and have a lot more than you’ve ever imagined. The way you train today can be radically different from the way you train 3 or 6 months from now. All you need is vision and focus and a plan.  I see it happen all the time, with Mark’s clients. And you’ll get to the personal greatness you deserve through evolution.

There you have it, the first 10 great business ideas that could help you to get your mindset right for riding and training your horse.

IN THE STIRRUPSHave a very merry Christmas folks.  In the New Year we’ll dig a little deeper into business motivation and how it can help you kick start your 2015 training.

In the meantime, why not take a browse around and see if any of the hints and tips there can help you make a few baby steps towards greatness.

As always, have fun!

Patricia – The Dressage Tipster



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