Comfort Zones

Lee Burton and James O'BrienIt’s 10:40 pm and Lee Burton is cruising south bound on 281 just south of Pleasanton, Texas as this is getting written. Well, maybe he’s already hit 37 and is rolling on to Corpus Christi. You see, Lee is the Loreles division manager for the King Ranch and will be hitting the pavement tomorrow before 6:00 am even though he’s got 2 more hours to go and horses to take care of when he gets there. But he’s in his comfort zone. Traveling is not an issue. Hard work is not a problem either. Calling a stranger about a colt he’s riding . . . well we may be crossing the line.

Lee is a good friend of mine and brought a three-year old up here to San Antonio over the weekend. He plans to demonstrate the gelding on Tuesday for the annual colt competition that the ranch holds for the cowboys. I’m no stranger to hard work either. And riding horses, well that’s just my bag. But telling someone else what to do with their horse . . . well we may be crossing that line again.

Twos, threes, even older horses have that line, too. It’s our job as trainers to bring them to it comfortably and then guide them through it. They don’t improve until they’re beyond it. Then, there will be another line, a comfort zone that they’ve fallen into and don’t want to leave. And we’ll prepare them for the next stage, wait for the right time, and guide them outside their comfort zone again.

So why do we ALWAYS chose to stay in that zone. Improvement can not be found until we step outside of it. I have not done Lee any favors by with-holding tips for his colt. If what I have to say doesn’t work for him, he moves on. Tries something else. Works it out. But if I say nothing, he benefits ZERO. Even if it doesn’t work, he has the opportunity to find out why. And he has something else to try with his next one. Lee, if you happen to find time to read this in your non-existant spare time, I’m sorry I didn’t spend more time with your gelding.

Back to the phone call. If Lee makes the call to the gentleman I recommended he speak with about his prospect and is made a fool of, what has he lost. Nothing. He probably will never even see the guy. But the benefits could be endless. So Lee, make the call.

Sometimes, we need a ‘trainer’ ourselves. Someone to push us out of our comfort zone. You may have someone in your life already. You’re probably mad at them 😉

Anyway, if not, give yourself more credit. You can do more. Step out there and find out just how much more. Good Luck!

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