Get to Know Horsewoman: Lela Mullen
I could go into a summary of all my technical qualifications to assist you and your horse on this journey you are thinking about taking, but I would like to share something a little more personal, more real, and more substantial than that. I want to share where I am coming from and where I am going- in hopes that you see something inspiring along the way.
P.S.- Those technical qualifications are still found on the FAQ page, for all my fellow Type-A riders ;)
WHERE AM I COMING FROM?
I started off with horses at a young age. You all remember I am sure- the age where you fell in love with horses, and felt that draw that made you want to be near them- no matter what. If we could bottle that feeling, I am sure it would be the most addictive drug in the world. But, as many of us do- I started to think that as I grew up I could turn my passion into a career, and I did. But, as many people do- I began to pay the price for turning my passion into work. I got caught up in the pressures of our industry and although I thought I was doing right by the horse- I started to realize, maybe it was not the best I could do.
Often times in the horse world, we get caught up. Caught up in the drama, caught up in the showing, the winning, the failures, the successes, the friends, the foes- you know- ALL THE THINGS. The problem I learned with being caught up in all things "horsey" is that all too often we are swept away by it as well.
What does that mean? I think it really means we get lost. Horses become a way to prove something- to ourselves, to others, to judges, to peers and in that moment- we lose the ability to really connect with the horse because his perspective is lost. It becomes all about US- the human- and what the horse can do FOR us to achieve our goals.
On the other hand, there are those of us who never leave that phase of horse love- who always are emotionally bound to them, who love them- but sometimes do not know what to do with them from a training standpoint because they have never grown out of being a horse crazy kid who likes to pet, treat, and maybe ride a little bit on our horses.
But, this can be just as challenging- we get older, but not necessarily wiser, and our horses stay smarter than us. We get nervous to ride, nervous to get hurt, and nervous just not knowing how to make it alright. We cannot be the leader the horse needs, and he looses faith in us, and soon we stop expecting him to listen at all, and we stop listening too.
I say all this to say- I GET IT. I know where you are coming from, because I have been there too. This understanding and empathy is what allows me to help you and your horse-I can meet you where you are because I have been there too.
WHAT INSPIRES ME?
The list used to be long and complicated, but recently I have managed to get it down to one word- THE HORSE.
While I find my mentors inspiring, and word of wisdom motivational- the reality of my life is that everything is driven by my love of the horse. All my actions are geared towards being a more effective communicator, a better ambassador, and a truer partner to the horses I meet and train. Each one gets my 100% focus and attention, 100% of the time I am with them. I have learned that to achieve my goals with the horse, I have to do one thing really well and that is be a better human being.
To that end, I have spent the better part of the last several years, learning that lesson. I have chosen to surround myself with elements that support this goal, and my gains with horses have been greater than the other 20 years of my professional career combined.
One element I realized was factoring into my progress with horses was surrounding myself with other like-minded people. Not necessarily from a training or discipline standpoint are we all alike, but from a MENTAL standpoint- we are the same. Positive, supportive, effective, direct sometimes but not critical or destructive, and above all willing to lift each other up and inspire- rather than "compete" and tear each other down.
I realized the feeling I got from being lifted up by my horsemanship peers and mentors, rather than torn down- was something I wanted to promote and share with others as well. Thus, B.N. Spired Horsemanship was born.
Whether you take a in-person lesson with me, subscribe to my viral channels, or fellowship with me at a clinic down the road, my goal is to show you how to appreciate the horse- where they are, for who they are.
My hope for you as a student of mine, is to show you there is a better way to learn and grow in our sport. A positive, inspiring way that makes a winner out of you as a human being, so you can make a winner out of your horse. According to the great Ray Hunt, that's what it is all about after all.
Hope to inspire and aspire to greatness with you soon!