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Enjoying Now

by Caitlin Yoder

Published: Friday, January 11, 2019

Cowgirl to the Core

A new year is beginning. A fresh start, or clean slate, as some might put it. I've never been one for New Year's resolutions, but I do love setting goals for myself. Many relate to horses and training.

Like most writers, I am a lover of words and believe they can hold powerful meaning when strung together perfectly. I think having a mantra is a great way to motivate and remember those goals I set for myself.

2018 brought the loss of my Grandma Doris. She was a quiet woman, but my grandma had many wise things to say to those who would listen, but my favorite words from her were written in a letter to me when I was younger. "Take time to enjoy the now times." Those words now stick with me and motivate me in everything I do.

When I am training a horse, it is so easy for me to get caught up in the end goal. I forget to revel in the small victories along the way. I worry that I'm not making progress quickly enough and get discouraged. When I take the time to enjoy each moment for what it is, I begin to realize it's not about getting to the end or the next best thing. It's about appreciating every effort my horse gives me, and learning from my mistakes. Each day has something beautiful to offer, even if that something is hard to find at times.

When I set one big, long-term goal, I find myself only focusing on how great it will be when that day finally comes and I can look back at my progress. I start to believe that those days will be better. When I accomplish this, then I can relax and be happier, I tell myself. Goal setting is great, but this kind of mindset becomes toxic for me. I've come to realize that I need to set smaller goals along the way to that final destination and reward myself now.

It's OK if it takes me longer to reach my goal than I planned. One thing I've learned from working with horses is that things rarely go as intended. They have a mind of their own and honestly, things usually go the opposite of what I envision. Some horses learn at different paces or need to be taught in a different way. Horses need to relax and enjoy their work just as much as people. Some days, I might have to scrap my plans completely if my horse or I need to decompress.

My goal for myself in every aspect of my life is to enjoy each day. I might not be happy with every single moment, but that doesn't mean my whole life is bad. As every second passes by I'm getting closer to achieving my goals. But I know once I get there and look back at my progress, I'll miss the process.

I love to be challenged. I think that's why I love starting over with a new horse once I have finished training the one before. I've got a taste of what it's like to have a horse do anything for me. Knowing that feeling and having that to work for makes the process so much more fun.

As much as I love daydreaming about what 2019 has in store for me, the bracelet I wear on my wrist with my grandma's words etched into the silver serves as a reminder. All we really have in the end are moments and memories. If we keep putting off our dreams until tomorrow, we won't have much to look back on next year. Instead, do one thing each day to get just a step closer. Most importantly, breathe, and do one thing that makes your heart happy. For me, that means saddling up another horse.

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