How to Lean into the Curve – Lessons two Horses Taught Me

I don’t remember wanting a horse, but one day a white gelding showed up for me to try out. Like some people I know, he loved going fast. Once he got up to speed, he wouldn’t stop.

He ran me through a row of trees and brush. My parents sent him back. That’s when a buckskin Quarter Horse arrived. It must have been June. The hay was about a foot tall.

Barrel racing.

Look where you're going, not where you've been.

We bought the buckskin. I rode him over snowmobile trails. He navigated streams brilliantly. We drove the cows in for milking. He was a boy’s delight. I was 13.

Quarter horses are bred for sprinting. He did everything quickly.

When he arrived, the seller explained that he was trained for barrel racing, but it didn’t make an impression on me until we got up to speed.

While in full gallop I laid the reins on the right side of his neck. He went left. I went right. I landed in the grass on my butt. He was breathtaking.

I’m not sure when, but he developed asthma. We ended up selling him.

Three lessons from two horses:

#1. Stop running.

Some leaders are addicted to the thrill of getting things done. You’re dangerous if you can’t stop.

Doing nothing is doing something.

Connect by standing around. Talk about local events, family, sports, or common interests.

Stopping restores energy, strengthens resolve, and generates clarity.

#2. Adapt quickly.

Adapt to the strengths of others or you’ll end up on your butt in the grass.

Most people excel at one or two things. That’s it.

#3. Lean into the curve.

Leaders that resist change land on their butt in the grass. Turbulent times require responsiveness.

Look where you’re going, not where you’ve been.

What have animals taught you?

Which lesson from horses seems most relevant to you today?