Saturday, December 13, 2014

Rules to ride by # 1

This story goes back some years over three exciting episodes engaging on horseback. Everyone learns by experience, some a little quicker than others. Carve out your own destiny by paying attention to the rules of the game. Enjoy part 1 now.

Go it alone
“Your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other thing.” Abraham Lincoln
At the start not everyone close to you will believe you. They all know you too well. Create a distance if you must, to be able to sustain your belief in yourself, but always protect and take care of your loved ones first.
We’re in Durban on holiday and when aunt Sienie tells me she would like to go to the Wild Coast Sun, I have a vision of horse riding again in the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary in Swaziland. Before setting off for my first outride in many years I drop her off at reception, telling her to enjoy a waffle and cream on me.

Life happens
“When your foot is in the stirrup, you must ride.” Johan Kriegler
No one will give you carte blanche at first. Respect their concerns and live with it. Trust is earned.
It’s only me and the instructor riding on the beach at the Wild Coast. The horses go into a canter on the wet hard sand, but he insists on holding my horse’s reins. I’m happy just to have the experience of the horse under my bum, the surf in my ears, and the sea spray in my face.
Tell everyone about it
“You must engage in order to advance.”
When you’re stoked up about a great new venture, talk about it. Putting your dream out there puts you on the line, committing yourself to action and to reaching your goal.
Shortly before Caroline returns to France we talk about horse riding and I say that would’ve been nice. She says, “Sure, I can ride horses, it’s on my CV.”

Search for the fire inside you
“You can, because you think you can.”
Know your own strengths; but as important, know and use the strengths of everyone in your team. Not only learn from them, but champion them when they excel.
“This smells so good!” Anne-Sophie says when we walk into the stables. With the horses walking down the mountain trail at Mont Rochelle Hotel & Mountain Vineyards in Franschhoek she rides with her feet out of the stirrups, totally at ease in the saddle.

Dress the part
“…stay in sync with the event, with a sense of style and occasion.” Lungile Kunene, Izembetho
Be aware of the occasion and your part in the show. If unsure, rather be overdressed. You can always dress down. What’s more, you’ll be certain to make an impression. Let it be the right one though.
I’m dressed in shorts and sandals, but my tog bag is in the boot. Anne-Sophie remarks “Oh, I wondered how you would ride in that outfit,” when I re-enter the stables in jeans and takkies.

Hold on tight
“The magic lies within you.”
When the team moves, stay in the bus. You’ve got to pick up speed when the project starts, else you’re going to stay behind, or fall off.
I’m last in the queue and Ray, the instructor, goes into a gallop up the mountain. My horse follows suit, and not ever having galloped before I grit my teeth and grip the reins tightly.

Fake it
“When you stop being afraid you feel good! Move with the cheese!” Dr Spencer Johnson
Display courage and do your best to stay on top of things. Even when you’re not sure what’s going to happen next, anticipate and go with the flow.
When the horses get to the last stretch before the stables, mine breaks out into a gallop and passes everyone. I’m petrified but hold on tight. When Ray asks me “Were you in control there?”, I say “Sure, I enjoyed this sprint.”

Take the chance
 “Success is often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.” Coco Chanel
At first, a totally new opportunity is daunting. Weigh up the risks and the consequences, but once your gut instinct tells you it’s ok, embrace it without serious concern for the challenges.
Perchance I see a Filmmakers Guide SA post on Facebook to do a film shoot requiring a man who rides “English” well. Acting I can do, horse riding is another matter entirely; but one can learn, not so? 
“I’m an adventure girl!” Caroline tells me with pride before she embarks on a scuba diving course.

See the final result
“Expect to succeed.”
You will never succeed in any major project if you don’t at first see the final result in your mind. Believe this to be true before you start. After that it’s easy – you simply follow the blueprint in your mind.
At the audition Barry Armitage and Joe Dawson, the two directors of The Ride tell me, “You’re perfect for the part, absolutely the right build, exactly like Sir Harry Smith.” Ignoring that I can’t ride, I’m super charged to be the star of the movie.
Try it out
“Being offered chances is one thing; taking them another.” Angus Powers
Not all things work out at first, unless you’re naturally gifted in what you do. When trying something completely new it gets much more complicated, but never hesitate to give it a full go.
Joe phones me ½ hour later to arrange an outride with their horses at DelVera outside of Stellenbosch, that same afternoon. “Sure” I say, “I’ll be there.” He saddles up both horses and I’m happy to stand by. Once we’re on the hill my horse veers off in-between the vines. Embarrassed, I manage to turn him around. Next we go on a gallop, but I hop around in the saddle. Looking back, Joe remarks “Find the rhythm of the horse and go up and down with the flow.”

Savour those small victories and let-downs with a chuckle, a glass of good wine, and a few great friends.