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The Benefits of Bringing Your Spurs ... Just Don't Use Them

As an avid equestrian since the age of four I related many things in my life to my love of and experience with horses. My greatest memories of my childhood surround my love for horses. As an adult I reflect often on those wonderful times and recently realized that they had taught me some pretty valuable lessons I use in my professional life as well.

You see it's easy to ride a dumb horse - they never anticipate what's coming next and it's not hard to keep your training program ahead of them intellectually. A smart horse, like my current horse Cele however, is always trying to outthink, outsmart and outwit you to get himself out of work... or sometimes just to amuse himself at my expense.

In my discipline, I use humane spurs that "speak softly". The thing about Cele is, he knows when I have them on and I never have to use them - which is great. The bad thing is, he knows when I have them off... when I forget them... and it's his mission to embarrass me in the arena. A feat he enjoys entirely too much.

So, I've been preparing for this show for weeks, polished everything twice, washed every inch of him and braided all loose hair just so so. In changing into my show attire I forgot to put my spurs on my show boots. I swear I heard Cele let out a little chuckle under his breath. Every pace they asked for he was at least ten seconds behind getting started. He acted like his feet were made of lead and when they asked for the canter I found myself flapping my legs like I was on a Shetland pony and everyone was looking at me like "What happened to her?" He was quite pleased with himself.

"I'll fix him next class," I thought. I strapped on my practice spurs with sharper points and prepared with a sly grin to enter the next class. "He'll not expect this," I thought to myself. This was before I understood that he was already ahead of me. They called for the paces and I used those spurs with vigor, and found myself holding on for dear life in the middle of the arena with the announcer screaming, "stop please, rider down"... and everyone was staring at me as I tried to land on my feet as gracefully as possible. You see Cele needs to know the spurs are there... using them, however, is not required (not without consequence at least).

Message: be prepared in business. When you are planning for the meeting, bring your spurs, your big guns and come loaded for bear... everyone will know you are armed. Just have the smarts to apply pressure ONLY when it's timely and necessary.

Posted August 25, 2011

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