Now let’s not stop at the first hurdle. Take a deep breath, be innovative, and rise up with the momentum of the horse; or your project… Here is part 2.
Use what you’ve got
“Make the most of what you have got.” Dr Murray Banks
Ask advice and search inside yourself for ideas, courage, and wisdom. Talk to someone close to you whom you can trust, when you're not sure what next to do.
About to fly off to ProWein in Düsseldorf, Germany I ask a few friends to urgently put me in touch with an instructor. Kathleen comes back to me, “Lana knows about horses and riding. I couldn’t answer her questions. Call her.”
Do the work
“Try harder.” Anonymous
Nothing worthwhile is easy or quick. Be prepared to put in lots of effort. Then get stuck into what needs to be done, scheduling your whole project and breaking it up into manageable compartments.
It’s two days before my flight, with the shoot one month after I return. I call Joe: “I’ve arranged classes for six days a week for a full month. Joey-Marie at Paarl Diamant assured me that I’ll be able to do the rising trot by then.”
It’s all about prepping
“Be bold. Be helpful. Be a pleasure. Trust & act on your instinct.” Anton Blignault
Get to where you need to be in good time, and be well prepared. View your meeting / project from your client’s point of view – what would they want to get out of it? Then structure your answers / actions accordingly.
At first I’m a visitor, arriving when my horse is saddled up. But very soon I get to understand that I need to be there in advance of my lesson so that I can saddle up and bridle my own horse. Apart from getting into the mood and relaxing me completely, this becomes such a bonding experience with my horse, and indirectly with my coach.
Get back up
“Failing is a temporary condition; giving up makes it permanent.” Pierre Blignaut
Nothing is plain sailing, expect difficulties and handle it. Try a different approach: focus on other USP’s of your product, - on your POS and promotional programme, change your pricing structure; but don’t give up at the first barrier.
We’re three students in the ring doing jumps. This is a first for me and I’m totally lost. I’m just obeying instructions and letting the horse go, she’s a natural... The girls are experts too, and in front of me. To my right I see a whir of legs up in the air and hear a thud behind me. Everyone stops and Joey-Marie runs to check up on her. She gets up slowly and dusts herself off. “Ok, let’s get you back up there,” Joey-Marie says as she holds the reins.
“Be consistent. Do what you say. Follow your heart.” Anton Blignault
The meeting’s not over when it’s over. The most important part is your briefing afterwards, concluding your agreement, thanking your client for their time, and ensuring them of looking after their business.
It’s not long before that after my ride I need to take off the saddle, the blanket, the bridle, and brush my horse. This is actually incredibly relaxing, for both me and the horse; she absolutely loves the attention and I get to chat with whomever is around, feeling like a seasoned rider.
“It is the nature of man to rise to greatness if greatness is expected of him.” John Steinbeck
No one will take notice of you if you’re a wimp, neither will you get anywhere. Be sassy. Show some grit.
Céline tells me before our outride, “I’m putting on this helmet; but I have no intention of falling off.”
Laugh at yourself
“Don’t take yourself too seriously.” Anonymous
Take your work seriously, but never forget that you’re fallible and that failure is a necessary part of succeeding.
Our group is at the dam after a long time in the saddle. Joey-Marie’s mom says, “Let’s first stop to give the horses a drink.” We all wade into the water. A co-rider shouts at me as my horse rears up and thrashes with its hoofs, “Watch out! He’s going to go down!” Acting on instinct, I stand on my toes in the stirrups. The horse disappears under the water and I jump off, straddling him. I’m totally soaked up to my knees. With much joking of everyone around me I lead my horse to the shore and remount.
Laugh it off
“It isn’t worth winning if you don’t have to fight for it.” from ‘Cutting Edge 2: Going for the Gold’
You can’t win every account, so expect some hiccups. Cut prices but bargain for extra distribution outlets, increased volume, more shelf space... Listen to your client to know what’s important for him / her and offer that.
Back at the car we have a cold fruit juice before getting in, but Céline doesn’t say a word… I take my soggy boots and socks off, driving back home bare feet.
Enjoy each moment
“Stay in the moment.” from ‘Cutting Edge 2: Going for the Gold’
Focus on where you’re at and enjoy the process. This is only truly possible when you’re relaxed. It’s only from this vantage point that you’re able to see the whole picture, direct where you need to be going and change course midway when your client’s directive changes.
During all these hours in the saddle I forget about everything else and live in the moment, connecting with my horse and reveling in its rhythm. It’s like a mini-holiday every day. What bliss!
Start all over
“To win, you have to be willing to fail.” from ‘Cutting Edge 2: Going for the Gold’
Strive to win another day. You can’t win every time; else it wouldn’t be a challenge. Accept defeat graciously and move on. You’ve given it your best shot, learned some new tricks, and are groomed for the next project that’s going to turn all the lights on.
After working out very early in the mornings, six days a week for one month and being able to gallop comfortably, I press Joe for a 2nd audition. Finally he comes back to me, “Sorry, I’ve been in Durban. We got a long-distance endurance rider to do the shoot. We’ll be using many different horses and we can’t guarantee how they’ll react.” So now I can gallop without holding on for dear life, and it feels great!
Lately I’ve been thinking… I can act. I can sing. I can dance. Do I first have to be jobless before I can give “The Full Monty” a go? Fortunately a glass or two of wine puts most things in perspective, especially around sunset. What? I’m here on my own! Where have all the girls gone to? Is anyone out there?