How do we measure success? Is it how much money you make, the car you drive, the trophies you win. Is success based on how happy you feel, or how you well other people perceive you doing? I think success comes down to how you perceive it, some people will finish a race and have a overwhelming sense of success just for participating, while another might do the same race and come 3rd and perceive it as failure because they didn't win. Likewise at a horse event a rider might be over the moon to come home just having finished without penalties, while another did the same and viewed it as failure because their score wasn't good enough. whose to say which attitude is right? We cant all win every time so are we failures every time we dont, or are we successfull because we are doing somethign we love.
What about the pony that carries endless number of children around gymkhana rings, along endless trails, and over countless jumps safely, but never wins the champion ribbon, is this the real success story? or is it the fiery pedigree pony the only an expert can ride, but with its beautiful looks comes home with the awards? whose really to say. I think that the safe pony with the heart of gold, and the super model looking fireball are both success stories, in their own right. Just like with people, the stay at home mother who raised well loved happy children, is probably just as successful as the woman who gives up everything to prove she can foot it in the professional world. Its definitely just how you perceive it, because no matter what you choose to judge it on, other people will have other opinions and other standards for success.
Where am i going with this??
Well, that little wild stallion, and a phone call i received today got me thinking. Up until now i felt a bit disappointed with myself that i didn't do as much as i could, with Matai while i had him. I am a competitive person by nature, i like wining, or being the best at something, and its a huge driving force behind me. This doesn't mean i don't get a sense of achievement, just by accomplishing things, just that i am always looking to do that little bit extra. I tried to convince myself that it was still a success to get that horse, from being totally wild to being the tamest horse on the property, and from being skin and bones to glossy and healthy, but until today is just had the ring of excuses to my ears.
Then the phone rang. It was a number i didn't recognise, and when i answered a very small child voice greeted me " Matai wheely likes me", i was taken aback who was this little voice on the other end of the line?, and then i clicked as the little voice continued talking " Mummy wode him today" the wild stallion's new owner has two very young girls, four and two years or around about that age. I was clearly having a conversation with a four year old girl, who was very importantly telling me about her day. I heard about "making mooseli wth gwandma" who apparently like all grandmothers has the nicest food, and all about her own pony, but most importantly i heard through a little girls eyes, about how much the wild stallion likes her, and she likes him to, when asked. After a few minutes of talking we said bye-bye.
Not long after that i got a text from the mother, who owns Matai. It said something along the lines of, her daughter was very excited and had wanted to talk to me all day, as she thinks Matai is pretty cool and cuddles him all the time, she herself has been riding him everywhere, and that he has been perfect and the whole family loves him. Basically the wild stallion is now the perfect lady rider mount and little girl cuddle buddy.
After that i felt that his adoption and training had truly been a complete success for the first time. It just took a four year old girl to adjust my perception. That horse has gone on to make so many people happy. I gave him the start he needed, to be able to look after himself and behave in a way that will guarantee him a loving and permanent home. He is a special horse and he didnt need ribbons, or to learn fancy movements, or jump massive obstacles to be successful. He justed needed to be calm and happy enought to let a little girl walk out and cuddle him, and a mother to feel safe enough to ride him everywhere. It takes a lot of effort to make a produce a horse to any level, a now to me it will always feel like a success now, knowing that the months of work put into a horse,have worked. He has gone on to be so loved straight away by his new family, surely that is the true measure of a successful horse??
On another note, people like me who truly love the horses we sell, it means the world to us, to hear back from their new owners. To know that they are being well loved, well taken care of and appreciated in their new homes. Sometimes it can be a truly thankless profession training and selling, the money is pretty low and hard to come by, so sometimes, a thankyou note, updates, an email, or in this case a text and a phonecall, make all the world of differance. I know today it made my day.