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Inspired Life Lessons From A Master Equestrian

Kelly Wendorf and I do similar work: She, in northern New Mexico, and I in southern California. I’ve never had the occasion to meet Kelly, however, I am on her email list and receive her monthly newsletter. I admit I always look forward to what she has to say. This month I am re-posting some of her inspired thoughts.

Kelly has written about her recent experience with Frédéric Pignon, whom she describes as, “a gifted horseman, artist and the original visionary behind the world-renowned equine spectacular Cavalia.”( http://mailchi.mp/equussantafe/21-lessons-in-leadership-love-and-life-from-an-uncommon-master?e=5683412894)

While spending time with Pignon and his wife, Kelly gleaned not only a very long list of “profoundly transformative lessons on optimal horsemanship, but on leading, living and relating.”

I am proud to share a few of the life lessons she learned from a couple who work with horses on a daily basis in a much more public way than she and I do. The horses in Pignon’s life are clearly members of his family and he and his wife interact with everyone with equal respect.

Wishing you and everyone you meet along your life’s journey the most happiness in the holiday season and beyond. To aid in that endeavor I offer the following wisdom from Kelly Wendorf that she put together after observing horses and humans working together in perfect harmony. These are applicable in your interactions with friends, family and co-workers.

“1. Do not dominate, but guide and inspire – loyalty, trust and co-creation can only truly come from a true ‘yes’ from the other. The key is to inspire the other to want to be their best selves, and to enjoy what you are inviting them into.

  1. Remove fear and obligation from your lexicon – neither lead with it, nor be lead by it. Dignity for all parties is the only way to live.
  2. Improvise rather than choreograph – think about your time with the other as a blank canvas on which you will both paint. Rather than plow ahead with your plans and agenda, be acutely present to the influences of the other, and co-create.
  3. Connection is more valuable than obedience.
  4. Take the time needed to build trust – the link between you and the other is fragile. It is built link-by-link, moment-by-moment. And creating trust takes time, slowness, and presence.
  5. Do not let your dreams and ambitions eclipse your happiness in the moment. The only way to achieve your dreams and ambitions is to see the beauty in the reality of what you have in this moment.
  6. Stop being a leader (or partner, wife, mother, father, husband, etc) – your concepts and ideas of what it means to be these things gets in the way of just truly being with others in the moment. It adds stress and tension, and trust is not built with stress and tension.
  7. Sometimes let the other ‘win’ – when you listen to and honor the edges and comfort level of the other, you are actually winning too… you are winning their trust and confidence.
  8. If the other disconnects, keep your connection with them alive anyway – resist the temptation to disconnect or ‘treat the other as they treat you’ when they disconnect. Someone has to rekindle the connection, and it may as well be you.
  9. A task ‘well done’ by you or the other with tension or resentment is not a task well done. Re-assess tasks and accomplishments by how much ease, joy, freedom and happiness are within them.”

( http://mailchi.mp/equussantafe/21-lessons-in-leadership-love-and-life-from-an-uncommon-master?e=5683412894)