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Barbra Schulte

Finding Peace in Relationships & Time Well Spent Out of the Saddle



Barbra Schulte


From time to time I do interviews with other professionals because I love to share their ideas with you. It is such an awesome way for all of us to keep learning.

Recently, in preparation for my upcoming interview with Bobby Kerr about finding our way through grief and loss, the renowned mustang trainer shared some insights about training mustangs.

He said the mustangs “changed his approach to horses forever”.

You see he originally had 100 days to prepare a wild mustang for competition. And it was a high level competition. Once a competitor made the finals, he or she competed in a VERY sophisticated free style.

During our recent informal conversation in preparation for the interview, he shared that in order for mustang training to advance, the mustang must ALWAYS end a session on a totally comfortable note in order to advance. The mustang had to trust Bobby.

Now, of course we all know this idea is the same for training all horses. But the point Bobby made was that when you train mustangs, you HAVE TO end on a comfortable note in order to make progress.

He said, “There is no ‘scare’ in training mustangs. When scary situations came up for the mustang, somehow, someway he weathered the storm until it was completely over for that session. He never ended a session with a mustang in a scared state of mind. Trust. They had to trust.

Bobby believes this is the way to find peace in all relationships and in life.

“Weather the storm until it’s past” and “never end in a scared state of mind”.




It can be frustrating when you can’t spend the hours in the saddle you want. Real life or distance from your horse can limit saddle time. It’s easy to feel discouraged that you are not getting anywhere or even backsliding.  The key is to find solutions that will help you make friends with your situation. Unchecked frustration can lead to a lack of appreciation of what you do have.    Looking for and adopting solutions (although not perfect), allow you to make the most progress possible.

Here are some tips to help you maximize whatever physical practice time you do have.

Put a power punch into your mental practice. 

Give serious time to mental practice.  Nothing occurs without happening in your mind first.

While you cannot develop technical skill without physical practice, your mental practice can accelerate your progress incredibly.  Research has shown that your body does not know the difference between something vividly imagined and the real thing!  You actually develop neurological pathways with mental practice!
Learn the tools of self-talk and visualization.  Practice getting into a state of focused, high positive emotion and then experience wonderful rides in your mind.  I cannot overstate the power of this.

Maximize your physical/technical practice.

When you do go to ride and practice, make it count.

Identify your greatest weaknesses and be clear about improving them … instead of a generic practice where random errors are corrected as they come up. Strive to work on your weaknesses in targeted small chunks.

Map out a clear, sequential riding practice plan with your trainer that is precise.  Let him or her know how committed you are.  Bounce ideas back and forth in terms of the number of times you can show up and how your sessions will be structured.

Enjoy the journey.  Keep reminding yourself that nothing is more important than this. 

Trust you are where you are meant to be.

Appreciate your current skills as you get excited about the future.

As you review your most passionate dreams, think of your situation as only a matter of time until you get to where you want to go.  Know you are on a path that has blessings to be enjoyed now (in both the “good stuff” and the challenges) and … see a future that thrills you.

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This article was printed in Performance Horse Digest, Volume 8, Issue 9-10

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