Trail to 2021: True Tales (and tails!)

As we all know, 2020 has been quite the year. I don’t need to explain that to you! It seems like EVERYTHING just kept changing.

I thought it would be fun to get a jump start on looking back over 2020 in these last few weeks of December… and… very importantly… where we want to go in 2021.

Together, over the next 5 videos, we’re going to take a look back; we’re going to check out where we are now, and we’re going to look forward to what we want to create with our horses in 2021.

My hope is that you enjoy this series of videos. And perhaps, in the process, we’ll create a new story for what we’ll design in our horse lives as we move forward into a new year.

This video is about one powerful question you can ask yourself. It can give you an empowered perspective about where you are now as you look forward to 2021.


As we all know, 2020 has been quite the year. I don’t need to explain that to you! It seems like EVERYTHING just kept changing.

But I bet that in the future, as we get a number of years beyond 2020, we’ll look back, though, and see how we grew… and how some things changed for the better.

So I thought it would be fun to get a jump start on looking back over 2020 in these last few weeks of December… and… very importantly… where we want to go in 2021.

Together, over the next 5 videos, we’re going to take a look back; we’re going to check out where we are now, and we’re going to look forward to what we want to create with our horses in 2021.

My hope is that you enjoy this series of videos. And perhaps, in the process, we’ll create a new story for what we’ll design in our horse lives as we move forward into a new year.

The keyword is ‘fun’! These five videos are meant to take you on a journey of thinking in terms of possibilities, what’s important to you, and get you excited.

Let’s get started.

First, I think you’ll understand when I say that 2020 seemed like it had an extraordinary amount of loss in it. Some losses were big, and some small.

Maybe with our horses we felt like we lost ground in our progress. Maybe we thought we were behind to begin with, and now we’re really behind.

Maybe we felt like it was so frustrating not to be able to stick to our original riding or showing plan we had oh so beautifully laid out at the beginning of 2020.

When the ground shifts under us, it’s so easy to have those little voices in our heads pop up and say, “You’re behind. You’ll never get there. You should be further along by now.”

But I have some questions for you that might change your perspective.

Here we go.

Where were you in your skills at this time last year?

Think back to your situation, to where you were in your riding, and perhaps to your mindset. Taking the time to think this through is so interesting.

Now, think about where you are now?

If you’re like me… and again… if you really take the time to do this little exercise, you’ll be surprised at how much you’ve learned and how far you’ve come since last year at this same time.

And by the way, this is measured by you, not by anyone else.

It feels so good to look back with no expectation except to take a peak and gain perspective.

That doesn’t make this year easy… or mean that we have to ignore the losses… but perhaps some of them led the way for totally unique progress that you did make with your horse, or within yourself.

So that’s what I have for you today.

First, take a moment and jot down all the ways you’ve grown… or all of the good things that have transpired since this time last year.

And then… if you like… each day this week, choose one item on your list… and celebrate it. You did it!

Be your own biggest cheerleader. You DID accomplish those things.

This exercise is just the beginning of an exciting story you can design for the next chapter in your riding life in 2021.

For all of the uncertainty and pain, we can cordially say BYE-BYE to 2020. Thank you for the good things, and now we’re looking forward to creating a new riding future in 2021.

I’ll be back next week with the next fun step in designing 2021.

In the meantime, we’d love to hear how you progressed since last year. Let us know in the comments.

And one last thing… I so celebrate you. I take my hat off to you.

Well, maybe I won’t take my hat off right this second, (it wouldn’t be a pretty sight) but I do salute you. Twenty-twenty was hard… and you… and all of us… we made it.

We still have work to do, both with our horses and with mining all of that beautiful potential each one of us has, but we’re doing it… and that’s a great thing to acknowledge.

We’re never giving up on this incredible adventure, no matter where it takes us sometimes.

Please leave a comment. We want to know what you will celebrate about your treasures from 2020. And remember, those nuggets of gold are measured by you, and not by anyone else.

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15 Comments on Trail to 2021: True Tales (and tails!)

  1. Joanne Milton on Sun, 6th Dec 2020 3:42 pm
  2. While there were definitely some down-sides to 2020 (not giving many lessons due to lockdown will certainly affect my bottom line & reduce my retirement income to feed my horses this winter), it also gave me more time & energy to get back in the saddle for myself. By mid-June, I had logged more saddle time than I had in the previous 3 years put together! I intend THAT trend to continue through 2021!

  3. Barbra Schulte on Sun, 6th Dec 2020 4:01 pm
  4. Good for you, Joanne!

  5. Robin Graves on Sun, 6th Dec 2020 8:16 pm
  6. I may be one of the few people who gained more than I lost in this remarkable year….and that is because your videos have accomplished what you intended and given me the exact tools along with the confidence that I needed to finally really connect with my horse. Honestly I did not know I had been holding my breath all this time! Thanks for believing in and pursuing your own passion for encouragement because I am one of the many grateful beneficiaries of it all…

  7. Carol MacGregor on Sun, 6th Dec 2020 8:17 pm
  8. Hi Barb, You are always so positive and have such a good attitude that makes it “fun” to listen to you. I think this IS a good exercise to do–looking back over the difficult year and try to find some “gems” in it. I did not ride as much as I have in the past due to a lot of reasons–rainy weather, then hot and smoky from the many large fires in California–but I know the difficulties of this year have brought me closer to God, and that’s a good thing 🙂 I’m looking forward to applying your “Well Connected” class exercises to myself and my horses in 2021!! Nic looks different in this video; must be his winter coat–Ha Ha.

  9. Keeley Vanek on Mon, 7th Dec 2020 4:42 am
  10. Great way to stop and reflect back on 2020. This time last year I was starting to work really hard with a trainer and my paint gelding. Things changed quickly as I bought a new horse in June, completely disconnected with the current trainer and ended up wiht a 4 year old horse that has a big motor. After several injuries I am taking a step back and reassessing what is the right horse for me. Thanks to some awesome people in my life that I totally trust I will not lose sight of my passion of riding and showing. Things sometimes don’t go our way but it doesn’t mean that we stop. It means that we continue to push and look deep for paths that are better options. Your video was much needed this morning. Thanks Barb for always encouraging and helping us to look at things through a different perspective when we get down.

  11. Jackie Snyder on Mon, 7th Dec 2020 8:03 am
  12. Keeley – I know you will make the right decision about your horse and find the right horse for you. This situation has happened to me and, I suspect, many others. Barb’s reminders about checking in with your values and why you ride (and I love riding with you!!) will help you in your decision process.

    Barb – Thank you for your support and such positive inspiration. This is a great time to review the past year and see where we are going in the next. During this past year I have really progressed in my cow work and continue to learn from and have so much fun with my older little cutter. I sold my other performance horse (that I also really liked, but is very different from Rascal) as I just didn’t want to work 2 performance horses – a difficult decision, but the right one. This year I plan to show Rascal in Stock Horse of Texas, including Ranch Cutting, with a 6 week summer layoff for us while my total elbow replacement is replaced with one that should be more durable. I am also very grateful that I am retired as my former business would have been extremely difficult to maintain and keep my staff employed during Covid.

  13. JANICE on Tue, 8th Dec 2020 12:07 pm
  14. I have “come a long way, baby.” I have a better understanding of how some things should feel in the saddle and that really was one struggle for me. In understanding that, I’m more aware of how far I have to go – not just in riding but also in interacting with my horses. It’s not the same for every one. I feel more confident in my ability to handle the difficulties. Thank you.

  15. Christine miller on Tue, 8th Dec 2020 2:39 pm
  16. Thank you barbra. I’ve been doing your well connected course & im still missing lots of bits but gradually more & more is sticking. This time last year I couldn’t catch my horse – he ran when he saw me & now he knickers when he sees me & comes right over. It makes me happy every time. We’re in scotland & the weather is so wet & soggy now but we’re looking forward to spring. Thank you for your kind & inspiring messages.

  17. Jeannie Boy on Wed, 9th Dec 2020 4:18 pm
  18. Great exercise! Last year my mare hurt herself at the end of August and I had a kidney stone at the exact same time! 2020 was not a year for shows, but we were both healthy and had a lot of awesome trail riding with a few great lessons squeezed in. I also purchased a yearling filly as my “Covid crisis” moment and have no regrets. God had proved faithful in the little and big things, so I have so many blessings to be thankful for!

  19. Carla whitney on Thu, 10th Dec 2020 4:53 pm
  20. You rock! I too have found myself riding more and finding the bond between my Jewel starting to grow stronger than ever before. Much more calm today than 6 months ago for sure.

  21. Liz L on Sat, 12th Dec 2020 10:18 am
  22. Barb
    In the not too distant future I will lose another person very dear to me .Somehow 2020 has led me to a place of continuity where I will embark on owning a horse which is quite strange as I had previously decided not to. I think the evaluation of life, purpose, dreams and realities of 2020 has enabled progressive thought like no other year. Despite all the losses we endure life is to be treasured and lived to the best. Having time to listen, learn and process ideas and experiences from those we have come to value has helped me create a new bright horizon . Thank you for your part in that. Being grateful for what we have not what we don’t have. Liz

  23. Pam on Sun, 13th Dec 2020 9:35 am
  24. Fir the last few years I have slowly gotten back into riding after having 2 years off for various reasons including back problems and fibromyalgia. This year I was finally able to transition from a Western saddle back to my dressage saddle feeling comfortable in my riding skills and return of muscle memory. I’ve also focused on relax, slow down and focus. Thank you for your help.

  25. Anne Crawford on Wed, 16th Dec 2020 4:02 pm
  26. Hi Barb,
    I loved this session and reflecting on the year! I l had a few behavioural issues to sort out with my mare underscored by a confidence problem riding her but had a big breakthrough. With help, I learnt the skills to tackle what she was doing and had the amazing realisation one day that I was no longer nervous doing this. I looked at her and realised she was “misbehaving” because she was bored – I started mixing it up and then cutting for fun and she loved it and dropped the nonsense (mostly!). 2020 for me was eventually one of growth and achievement. I’m now looking forward to going back over your course with this mare (as well as with the 19yo pony). Your positive messages have been fantastic. Thank you so much!!

  27. Kimberly Moody on Sun, 20th Dec 2020 4:41 pm
  28. Hi Barb! I am always amazed with your impeccable timing…it brings tears to my eyes to think about where I was last year at this time to how far I’ve come with my horse this year. Honestly, I was boo-hooing, because I hadn’t made the progress I hoped…but this fall was filled with some very unique circumstances for our family…kinda put a temporary halt to my riding. But the Lord is good, and with everything we press towards the goal. I love this video…and mostly I am thankful! My progress is because of this CC class, your passion to educate and the endless encouragement you and others have given. Thank you!

  29. katherina on Thu, 7th Jan 2021 5:09 pm
  30. Thank you for helping me to start the New Year off in a positive light after this difficult year. Looking back to last year and where my skills were at this time compared to this year is a challenge for me. But I’m taking up this challenge and I’m looking forward to the spring riding season. I recently purchased a weekender horse trailer and now have the challenge in front of me to go camping with my horse friends. I have a lot of anxiety riding with other people, and my horse acts up accordingly. I’ve never met another horse on the trail, so I’m not sure how he will react. But this is something I’ve always wanted to do. It’s a big goal for me.

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