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Prancing my Patience Away

700 horses being ridden by youth, adults, beginners, experienced, rusty and a few unruly riders took off from the tiny town of St. Paul Oregon to kick off the rodeo season with my mare and I among them.

It’s not a difficult ride. Mostly flat and moves along and around fields and beside a river. The purpose is to bring out the community, connect with other horse lovers and for many it’s the first ride of the year. The weather was mild and though clouds threatened, no rain fell.

My mare, spirited and pretty and smart did fine until we turned onto the long road, and we could see the hundreds of horses stretched out ahead of us, turned around the big field over half a mile away and turned again as far as you could see.

It was an awesome sight – all those horses and riders, in all their colors and gear. And exciting sight, to be a part of it and for my mare it was more than she could comprehend.

When she saw all those horses stretched out ahead of her something inside of her snapped. It was as if she suddenly felt behind, isolated and off. She picked up her pace – and the fact I intended a nice leisurely walk became a hindrance to her new goal of racing to the front of this herd where she could see, be and feel comfortable.

My mare didn’t like her placement and she decided she was going to do something about it. The fact her rider had different ideas became her focus – “I will get to the front!” she seemed to shout with every prance, crow hop, neck bow and side step she presented.

“No you won’t” was my unspoken communication and I’m going to sit here and hold you regardless of your desire. Because I am in charge – this is my choice.

They say that a spirited horse helps make the rider better and so I am grateful for this mare.

Do you have any customers like this?
People so anxious to get the latest thing, the food they just read about or to be in first in line?

Tiring aren’t they?

Just like my mare that pranced her way over my patience, it takes a steady hand and strong resolve to do what is right.

Next time you have the pushy customer, the demanding pet owner, the run you over person, take a lesson from my spirited mare.

• Collect yourself and hold your stance.
• Be easy with your hands and gentle with your language.
• Know you are strong enough and skilled enough to handle this situation.
• Praise when you get the response you want.
• Remember that this little hissy fit will end and you’ll be able to laugh about it.

Customers aren’t really that different than our pets – so use what you know and most importantly – love them regardless – that’s why you got into this business after all.

Now – Go Do Your Business!

Author:  Shawna Schuh

Shawna Schuh is an extraordinary storyteller, who works with corporations and associations to develop environments that help people bring their best selves to the work they do.

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