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Starting Fresh

I love New Years Day even more than Christmas. Last night we “celebrated” in our sane and civilized way, which allowed us to be tucked into bed by 10p. Rich worked all day, ending the busiest weeks of the year at the ski area Normally I would go up and ski with him on NYs eve but with a high of -10 plus snow and 20 mph winds, I opted to hang out at home by the fire all day instead. At the end of the day, I headed up the mountain to meet Rich for the NYs festivities—a torch light parade followed by an exceptional professional fireworks display on the mountain followed by toasting the new year and hugging and laughing with many old friends. The whole thing is over by 6:00, leaving plenty of time to head home, eat dinner and be in bed by 10. We prefer to celebrate NYs on eastern time.

This morning we awoke to subzero temps giving me another great excuse to stay home, cook and sip coffee by the fire all day. It was so cold this morning that my hair froze to the edge of the hot tub and feeding the horses required arctic fleece top and bottom, insulated carhart overalls and parka, a neck gaiter and the fur-lined Elmer Fudd hat. No one cares about looking good in this kind of weather. It’s too cold to ride today, even in our solar heated indoor arena. I have a rule about that—when you go outside and take a deep breath in through your nose, there will be no riding if your boogers freeze. So instead of riding today, I’ll make the obligatory NYD black-eyed peas and hang out in front of the computer.

Watching the horses on the coldest of mornings, I always see the same behavior. Since our horses are in individual stalls which open into pens, they’ll each be hunkered into their stalls until the first rays of sunlight hit. Right before the light hits their pen, each horse will come out of his stall and stand in the very spot that the first rays of sun hit. It hits each horse’s pen at a different time and a different place in the pen, so it is very clear that each horse makes this intentional move to absorb as much heat as they can at the earliest possible moment. I’ve watched this behavior of horses in the winter here in Colorado for more than 25 years and it’s one reason why I love living in the middle of my barnyard—it’s amazing what you can learn by looking out the window. Have you made any discoveries about horses just by watching them?

I am not making any formal NYs resolutions this year because I already have a number of irons in the fire in that regard. I restarted my five-pound challenge a couple weeks ago by cutting a few calories (not so easy to do when baking 45 dozen Christmas cookies) and by boosting my workout up to a whole new level. I’ve been working out daily for a number of years and I am not in too bad a shape, but I had my butt kicked with my new workout video, “Banish Fat Boost Metabolism” by Jillian Michaels. Maybe you’ve heard of her—she’s the one from the Biggest Loser show, which I’ve never watched but I have lots of friends that love that show. Love was not the main emotion I was feeling the first week of this workout– it’s a killer and she’s brutal; but in a strange way I love it! During the first week I was so sore I could barely put my shoes on, but after two weeks, I am feeling much stronger and Jillian is starting to grow on me. I have vowed to do this workout every day for six weeks.

For me, the five pound challenge is regular and ongoing; I’ve lost the same five pounds hundreds of times. How about you? But what keeps me motivated is that for me, there is always a TV shoot right around the corner. Not much is more motivating for losing weight and getting in better shape than seeing yourself on TV. Especially these days with the HD and widescreen format (obviously it was a tall skinny person that had the brilliant idea of making the picture wider). With a shoot coming up at the end of January, I can put up with Jillian’s brutality with a smile on my face if she lives up to her promises.

Another non-new year’s resolution that I have been working on for a couple months is a total make-over of my office. This is a big project that includes cleaning out, reorganizing and labeling all my files (almost done and they are BEAUTIFUL!) and going through every stack of papers and every nook and cranny, taking each item and either throwing it away (how liberating!), filing it, or putting it into an “action” pile. The final step in this total office make-over is to reduce and reorganize the action pile by either doing it, delegating it or organizing it into a long-term project. It’s an enlightening and empowering process that I read about in a fantastic book called Getting Things Done by David Allen. Once I am finished in the office, I plan to go through my house and do the same thing. If you are looking for a resolution, I highly recommend this book.

My other non-new year’s resolution is to spend more time working on developing new products. I have resolved to get up early and spend an hour or so each morning, while it’s still dark and quiet, working on one of several projects of mine that are in the R&D phase. I’ve actually been making headway on my book—a major work on developing riding skills incorporating all the concepts, theories and teaching techniques I have developed over the last 30 years. It’s a big project that I’ve been working on for a while and it might not be finished this year, but I am making progress. My other projects include an audio series on horse behavior, new audio mounted workouts, a riding club curriculum for people that want to form study groups and the development of an apprenticeship program, which I hope to start in 2012. If I get half of that done this year, I’ll be happy. Now that I’ve gone on record with these goals, I’ll have some accountability this time next year.

What about you? Do you make resolutions? Do you actually keep them? Do you relish starting over with a fresh new year or do you begrudge the passing of time? If you have any inspirational thoughts or proven ideas to better yourself, I’d love to hear them. But for now, it’s time for me to take some more abuse from Jillian.

Wishing you a successful, productive and happy new year,



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